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Dobson Bashing Hits a New Low

John on April 16, 2007 at 12:47 am

The International Herald Tribune carries a piece on evangelicals by Albert R. Hunt. It manages to be not only biased and belittling but obnoxious:

The evangelical Christian movement conjures up a very negative picture to many Europeans and to more than a few Americans. A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll last year found that more than one-fifth of Americans would not vote for an evangelical Christian for president, far more than those who ruled out a Jew or a Catholic.

This picture is of a narrow, bigoted collection of pious people who wish to impose their politics and religion on the United States. It is reinforced by the likes of James Dobson, an influential religious leader who recently pronounced a Republican presidential hopeful, Fred Thompson, as insufficiently Christian.


Dobson is willing to use almost any tactic, however incendiary and divisive. On his radio programs, publications and speeches, his favorite targets are gay civil unions, which Dobson would have you believe threaten the fabric of a moral society. He even has a program to “cure” gays.

So we first set up the anonymous image of evangelicals which is attributed not to the author of this piece but to “many Europeans.” This is the famous “some people say” tactic beloved by liberal media shills everywhere. From there we drag in Dobson and flatly state that the man has no scruples or honor. He’ll do anything!

Worst of all, he’s a gay-basher. Okay, let’s step back from the homophobic launch codes for a moment and look at this. Does it really seem strange to Albert R. Hunt that a man who has devoted his life to building a ministry called Focus on the Family would be a tad worked up about gay marriage. Note that Hunt can’t even bring himself to use the word marriage, even though that is the fairest reading of Dobson’s campaign.

A few weeks ago, Dobson declared that Thompson was not a Christian. That was news to the former senator from Tennessee, who figured this was simply a calculated Dobson move to help Gingrich, the other potential new Republican entry into the presidential race. Dobson, sure enough, soon praised a Gingrich candidacy.

Again, let’s look at the facts. Dobson was called for an interview by US News. He was asked what he thought of a Thompson candidacy and responded that he hadn’t known Thompson to ever have spoken out about his faith. He suggested this might be a problem in trying to win over evangelical voters.

I’ve been critical of Dobson for later playing this down as some kind of personal comment that shouldn’t have been taken as a threat. You can’t talk about voting to US News and then label it personal. That’s silly. That said, which part of what Dobson said is not true? Has Thompson ever spoken about his faith? Possibly, but if so I missed it. Would that reticence in fact be a hurdle for him in winning evangelical voters to his camp? Probably. Is Dobson the guy in a position to offer an informed opinion on this? Definitely. Dobson loses points for the cover-up, but there was no crime here.

Here’s where Mr. Hunt really hits the afterburners:

Dobson is following in the footsteps of two preachers, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, the Batman and Robin of the religious right who have long traded on fear mongering and personal invective.

The Batman and Robin reference is funny but we cross a line after that. They’ve “long traded on fear mongering?” I think that’s a bit much, even for two guys I myself often wish would just shut up. Not to mention the irony of such glib condemnations of fear mongering in an article that is itself little more than fear mongering for paranoid liberals. In fact, here’s his last line:

Republican 2008 candidates beware: It is going to be a lot harder to fly below the radar screen especially if you are traveling with Jim Dobson.

Right, because his flaming skull and ermine eyes will be noticed be all.

It almost goes without saying that the Tribune would never publish such an offensive and belittling attack on any other segment of the population. Can you imagine someone calling Sharpton and Jackson the Batman and Robin of racial grievance mongering? Never.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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