[In Children at Risk, Dr James C.] Dobson claims that until thirty years ago the basic values and beliefs in the West, which Congress and the judicial system reflected, were biblically based concepts. If you're wondering about the time our "biblically based" Congress and judiciary determined in their "biblically based" wisdom that blacks were personal property and slavery was moral and it was irreligious for women to vote, I'm not sure what chapter and verse of the Bible Jim would point to for an explanation. But if you gave him sufficient time, I'm confident he could offer some reason for his sweeping generalization.
Dobson then describes the other side of the rift dividing society, those with whom he sees himself locked in a bitter, bloody moral struggle for the very soul of America. They are the secular humanists, people for whom "God isn't", and for whom right is determined by whatever seems right at the time. According to Jim all manner of evil, such as abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, flows from these godless Americans. Because of them "everything emanating from the Creator was jettisoned, including reverence for Scripture or any of the transcendent, universal truths."
Perhaps you are surprised to learn that "everything emanating from the Creator was jettisoned" from our society years ago and that the national community each one of us helps create each new day no longer contains any reference to transcendent, universal truths. Is that your experience with America? Let's see, we have more churches in our country and more religious involvement by our citizenry than any nation in the world. Our coinage still declares that we trust in God and we still refer to God every time we recite the pledge of allegiance. And as I write, there are more individuals holding seats in the Senate and the House who openly declare activist religious commitments than at any time in recent history. Nevertheless, to Dobson's eye, everything transcendent has been jettisoned.
Dobson goes on, in Children at Risk, to lament that his values are incessantly mocked by the media, children are corrupted by TV, obscenity abounds, and government is encroaching on his constitutional freedoms. Humanistic values dominate in the power centers of society, in Jim's view. They have outstripped Judeo-Christian precepts in the news media, the entertainment industry, the judiciary, business, medicine, psychology, law, the arts, and the halls of Congress. To Jim's way of thinking, unlimited resources are available to the incredibly well-organized secular humanists among us for their expansive agenda and for their calculated attack on him and his values. Dobson believes that his opponents are highly motivated and armed to the teeth, but that many on his side are unaware that they are even under attack. He then goes on to tell us that warfare is dangerous, exhausting, and expensive, but that he cannot remain uninvolved.
As you hear these opinions and try to picture the mind and temperament behind them, allow me to apprise you of the following: When Jim says that Judeo-Christian precepts have been outstripped by those of secular humanism you have, in my view, one of the central reason why James Dobson has declared war on virtually every sector of society. He perceives that his belief system is losing ground and he's angry about that. He's a poor loser. The idea of holding the minority opinion in America, the minority value system, minority power, or minority control of any situation is anathema to James Dobson. Again from Children at Risk: "The humanistic system of values has now become the predominant way of thinking in most of the power centers of society. It has outstripped Judeo-Christian precepts..."
You are not reading the words of a man of peace, a reluctant warrior, who is deeply saddened by the moral decline of his beloved nation. These are the words of a man of competition who is deeply offended and angered that his side is losing and who intends to take back lost ground by sheer political force.
...[F]rom my perspective the war to which Dobson refers is primarily a conflict that has its origins within itself, a type of moral tension he personally experiences over individuals and movements within our society that are different from him, not a legitimate conflict that he reluctantly joins for the greater good of our country. I fear this is a fight he is picking with us and I'm concerned about just how bloody it may get.
As we turn toward a new century, the truth behind Dobson's belligerent words and views is that, to some moralists like him, America has become an inexcusable, intolerable place to live. He takes it all very personally. His moral system is losing ground and he's mad. And he doesn't plan to tolerate it or you if he thinks you're the enemy. He refuses to put up with America as it has become. He has declared war to take us back to the past. This is his own fist fight with anyone different than himself, his beliefs, and his America. We have a word for this type of intolerance. We call it demagoguery.
I am reminded of a highly descriptive line from the film The American President. The Democratic president, played by Michael Douglas, and his love interest, played by Annette Bening, are taking time out from a busy election year schedule for an evening at Camp David. They're going through scrap books of the president's college days and watching TV. The president's Republican challenger appears on the screen ranting and raving about the moral deficiencies of the president and his girlfriend and everyone else except himself, or so it seems. Bening turns to Douglas and says, "For a man who says he loves America, he sure hates Americans."
Gil Alexander-Moegerle, James Dobson's War on America
Copyright © 1997 by Gil Alexander-Moegerle. All rights reserved.
Posted 14 July 1997
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