To The Dobson Haters: Suck It Up

Part of me thinks I should not put this on the front page, but what the heck.

Some of you are out bashing James Dobson for his criticism of Fred Thompson not being a Christian. You know, if the election were held tomorrow, I’d be voting for Mitt Romney. But if Fred were on the ballot, I and a lot of my friends would be like, “Mitt who?” I’m a Fred Thompson guy, but until he enters, I’m voting for Mitt, though I’ve ceased considering myself a Mitt guy.

But you people who are so outraged by James Dobson need to suck it up and get over it. Your outrage over Dobson goes directly to my frustration with Hugh Hewitt — instead of dealing with the issue, you want to make the issue out of bounds. Folks, that is what the left does, not what the right does. When the left wants to keep something out of bounds, it declares you a bigot in some way for dealing with the subject. Apparently now, when someone brings up a Presidential candidate’s faith, you are also a bigot.

Let me put it to you very plainly and you can disagree all you want and you’ll still be wrong — some people have different values and place different emphasis on things than you and me. And they, just like you and me, are entitled to their opinion. And sometimes they have bigger microphones than you or me, but they are still entitled to their opinion.

Now Hugh thinks Al Mohler, James Dobson, and I are religious bigots. The first two for not being comfortable with Romney because of his faith and me because I don’t have a problem with their lack of comfort and their willingness to discuss it (yeah, yeah, I know, Hugh says he doesn’t think that about those two people, but he’s just selectively excluding them from his very general category that they’d fall into, but for his exception to prove his silly rule of bigotry). The reason Mohler, Dobson, and so many evangelicals are bigots in Hugh Hewitt’s eyes and in the eyes of others, and the reason some of you are so frustrated with Dobson today, is because Dobson is a Christian first, a conservative second, and a partisan third.

Dobson wants a Christian to be his nominee and he, like me, is really frustrated that so many of the candidates in the race are Christian in name only. And I’m sure he is also frustrated that one of the front runners is not even a Christian. Some of you, I realize, are hitting the brakes here. Yeah, yeah, I know Fred was baptized, Rudy and Sam are Catholic, etc. This goes to the heart of the problem that so many evangelicals have — there are lots of people wanting to call themselves Christians who are not actually Christ followers. “Christian” is the acceptable terminology for a secular world. Lots of people say they are, but there are actually not as many who actually, you know, follow Christ.

I’m not going to start a theological debate here, and I think Dobson can defend himself, but the key difference between a nominal Christian and a Christ following Christian, i.e. a real Christian, is that the former shows his colors by the inactive pursuit of his faith and the latter shows his colors by the active pursuit of his faith. Fred Thompson, I think Dobson is suggesting, falls into the former category. I haven’t paid attention enough to know whether Fred does or does not follow Christ, though as others have said, if that is the case it’d probably put Fred on par with Ronald Reagan.

Sure, you have the right to be angry with Dobson expressing his opinion. But a lot of the outrage I’ve heard has been directed at Dobson for not pulling for the team, whereby the team is the GOP. Folks, James Dobson is on Christ’s team. All others are incidental to that cause. You may not like it, but then again I really doubt James Dobson is too worried about your partisan outrage. And I’m right there with him, I don’t care about your outrage over James Dobson speaking faithfully about faith, but I’d still vote for Fred.

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Erick Erickson

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3 Comments

  • Well said.

    Despite the fact that it looks like Dobson was misquoted, the idea that we can’t raise questions about a candidate’s faith is just silly. As Christians, we should always be in favor of leaders who will advance Christ’s kingdom in our society.

    Having said that, we also have to be realistic. As much as I would love to see a viable candidate who leaves no doubt about his faith, I’ll support the one who promises to deliver the policies closest in line with what I believe to be right. If Fred jumps in, there’s no looking back for me.

  • “some people have different values and place different emphasis on things than you and me.”

    And those values and issues a person emphasises are open to challenge but saying someone is Christian doesn’t tell you what values an individual holds or which issues are important to them.

    Saying you will or won’t vote for a person based on the positions they hold is fine voting against a person simply for the God they proclaim to worship, regardless of their positions, is foolish. Piety is easy to fake and if a politico can win a group’s votes simply by muttering a few prayers and showing up to a weekly service despite their official action we’re going to have a pretty poor government.

    A Muslim, Jew, or Atheiest could be more in line with Christian core values than many Christians.

  • Here’s the issue that I think you’re missing. The complaint I have with Dobson is that he has no right to make a judgment about whether Senator Thompson is a Christian or not. It’s not that it’s out of bounds. It’s just not for him to make a judgment.

    Dobson should have said, “I would like to know if he is a Christian or not.” That does not reach a conclusion. But, “I don’t think that he is even a Christian” does.

    And then to just so casually have your spokeswoman say, “We’re glad to hear that Senator Thompson claims to be a Christian” is really the height of arrogance. Is it not? Is it not, “Ah, now I’ve got what I wanted from you. Good for me and all my followers.”

    What is sad is that Dobson remains unrepentant about claiming a right to make a judgment about people’s faith or not. He has none.