Focus on the Family Needs to go Back to the Future

Just prior to the recent presidential election, Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, an organization founded by evangelical Christian Dr. James Dobson posted an imaginative letter entitled, “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.”  In this hyperbolic letter, the fictional writer lays out a “possible” scenario of what the United States would look like if Senator Barak Obama was elected President of the United States and both houses of Congress were to be run by the Democrats.  Here are some of the proposed scenarios according to Christianity Today:

-The Supreme Court would lean liberal
-Churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages would lose their tax-exempt status
-“under God” in the Pledge would be declared unconstitutional
-Doctors and nurses who won’t perform abortions will no longer be able to deliver babies
-Pornography would be openly displayed on newsstands
-Inner-city crime increases when gun ownership is restricted
-Homeschooling would become restricted, so thousands of homeschooling parents emigrate to other countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
– “Since 2009, terrorist bombs have exploded in two large and two small U.S. cities, killing
hundreds, and the entire country is fearful, for no place seems safe.”
-Euthanasia is becoming more and more common.
-New carbon emission standards drive many coal-powered electric plants out of business. “The country has less total electric power available than in 2008, and periodic blackouts to conserve energy occur on a regular schedule throughout the nation.”

“After many of these decisions, especially those that restricted religious speech in public places, President Obama publicly expressed strong personal disapproval of the decision and said that the Supreme Court had gone far beyond what he ever expected,” the letter reads.

It suggests that younger evangelicals were the tipping point for Obama’s pretend victory.

“Many Christians voted for Obama – younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain – but they didn’t think he would really follow through on the far-Left policies that had marked his career. They were wrong,” the letter says.

The author also proposes that every conservative talk show would have to be followed by an instant rebuttal to the program by a liberal “watchdog” group and eventually shut down by 2010. Another hypothetical scenario is that because no Christian is willing to write books critical of homosexuality, many Christian publishers go out of business.

The author suggests that Bush administration officials who had involvement with the Iraq war would be put in jail.

The author writes, “Many brave Christian men and women tried to resist these laws, and some Christian legal agencies tried to defend them, but they couldn’t resist the power of a 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court. It seems many of the bravest ones went to jail or were driven to bankruptcy. And many of their reputations have been destroyed by a relentless press and the endless repetition of false accusations.”

Upon reading this apocalyptic, I thought it might be good to consider another scenario, based in the same factitious quality and tone.  Using another time machine, I chose to take us back to the year 2000,  specifically on November 6th, the day before the election that saw Texas governor George Bush running against Vice-President Al Gore.  Keeping with the spirit of the recent Focus on the Family letter, just imagine if someone, possibly one of those Democratic operatives, were to have written another pretend letter called, “Letter from 2008 in Bush’s America.”  How would those supporting George Bush have reacted?

Perhaps, the 2000 letter would suggest some crazy scenarios like the following.  Just imagine.

If Republian George W. Bush is elected, America will begin a dramatic decline toward chaos not seen since the Great Depression and an obvious manifestation of God withdrawing His hand of protection and favor from this country.  During the next eight years, if George Bush is elected and reelected, the following conditions will occur:

Within a year of his election, the United States will experience the greatest attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor.  This terrorist attack will be against the symbols of US economic and military might, in New York and in Washington, DC.    In response to these attacks, President Bush will launch a massive propaganda campaign that will propel the nation into two wars resulting in the deaths of over 4,500 troops and over 30,000 wounded service personnel.  Aside from these physical casualties to our men and women in uniform, the US taxpayer will foot the bill to the tune of about $600 Billion directly and by extension, about $3 Trillion. This war will become the longest in US history and least supported since the Vietnam War.

In an attempt to keep their eye on terrorists, the Bush administration will move to allow domestic espionage, opening all kinds of opportunities for spying on citizens, some for their religious affiliations.  This action will allow the National Security Agency and others to conduct secret and illegal wiretapping and spying operation against the people of the United States all in the name of national security.

On the economic front, the Bush administration will pass a tax cut that will favor the wealthiest taxpayers and at the same time increase spending at an alarming rate.  The surplus he inherited from President Bill Clinton will turn into the biggest deficit in national history and as a result, the national debt will rise dramatically.  During George W. Bush’s presidency, the national debt will grow by more than $4 trillion. It will be the biggest increase under any president in U.S history.  On the day President Bush takes office, the national debt will stand at $5.727 trillion. By his last year in office, the national debt will stand at more than $9.849 trillion. That’s a 71.9 percent increase on Mr. Bush’s watch.

Toward the end of his second term, with two wars still being fought, the US housing and mortgage industry will suffer a huge deflation leading to millions of foreclosures, bankruptcies, and the collapse of many large institutional banks and brokerages.  This will require the US Congress to bailout the lending industry, adding about another trillion dollars of debt to the US Taxpayer. Other world economies will suffer equally. Also, during that time, even though George Bush is an oilman, his expertise will not prevent the cost of gasoline and other oil products from more than doubling in his final year.  George Bush’s friends in the petroleum industry will see record-setting profits, while hundreds of business fail due to the high price of energy.  His slogan, “Compassionate Conservatism” will sound quite hollow.

In the midst of Bush’s terms, natural disasters will occur, but due to the weakness of his government, many will suffer for lack of critical government services.  George Bush will be seen as a reactive president, not prepared for the future.

By the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, he will have garnered the highest disapproval rating in modern history.  Due to that in part, a Democratic candidate will win the 2008 election and will be joined by a large majority of Democrats in the Congress and Senate.  States that are normally seen as safe Republican bets will reject the Republican Party, some for the first time in decades.

Although these predictions are only possible scenarios and may seem far-fetched to the rational mind, there is always the possibility, given the character of George Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney that such things could, in fact, occur on George Bush’s watch.  Therefore, be prayerful about your vote.

The sad thing is that there are those who would readily consider and actually believe the 2012 Focus letter, but if they were back in 2000 reading the letter above, would call it a hateful, liberal diatribe, or more directly, an absolute, groundless lie.  To them I would say, “Don’t drink the Koolaid.”

I know I shouldn’t have to say anything, but there are those folks who won’t see the obvious.  So let me clean it up.  In the 2012 letter, Focus on the Family Active is predicting some very dire circumstance to an Obama presidency.  All this without the benefit of God’s stamp of approval.  No one is saying, “Thus saith the Lord.”  Therefore, the predictions should be seen as merely the creation of a fearful mind, not one that relies on the scripture that declares that, “All things work together for good, to them who love God and are called to His purpose.”  Christian should fear not, but be courageous.  The 2012 letter on the other hand is a profession of fear, discord, and faithlessness.  Not one of a sound mind, unity, and faith in the living God.

It has become very clear to me that the actions of Focus on the Family Action is evidence of a para-church organization that is set adrift from the Living Word of God.  Winning the culture wars seem to be tactically, an anything-goes methodology instead of being tethered to the moral code of Christ’s example.  I think the 2012 letter is reprehensible and Focus on the Family should repent for its dissemination.

As for my personal prediction for 2012, I see more Christians relying less on the leadership of the likes of James Dobson, and more on the power of real prayer and love for enemies, real and perceived.

Related Articles”

James Dobson, you owe America an apology – Jim Wallis

Advertisements

Obama, McCain and the Ninth Commandment

The perennial dilemma I run into every political season is the conflict that comes with one’s duty to participate in America’s future by voting, while at the same time having to hold my nose over the choices. It’s a blessing to live in a democracy, yet a curse to have to choose between “the lesser of two evils.” Such is the case for me in this year’s presidential contest as well. As time passes through the summer months, and the last day of the Bush/Cheney debacle nears, (Check out the Bush Countdown Clock here) I’m not feeling very comfortable with what I’m discovering about both candidates and their campaigns. In the cases of both Barak Obama and John McCain, one can very simply find too many examples of misrepresentations, outright lies, and bearing false witness against each other. That last one, bearing false witness is #9 on God’s Top Ten list. You know… the Ten Commandments. Unlike lies and misrepresentations of one’s own actions, ideas and policies, bearing false witness is an act of free will that is meant to destroy the character, status, and future of another. McCain does it. Obama does it.

Although I won’t address any of the specific charges against these two men in this post, I prefer to focus on the Ninth Commandment and it’s application in daily life, and most specifically, in the realm of politics. To start let’s look at the commandment in its context. We find the specific commandment in Exodus 20:16 where it states,

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Many people assume the scripture is merely talking about lying. While there are many caveats against telling lies, this one has to do specifically with lies against another person. Contextually it fits well with the general thrust of all the other commandments and is congruous to the command that Christ gave when he summed up the ten commandments into two basic motivations. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk. 12:30-31) Although it is obvious that the ninth commandment applies specifically to our love of neighbor, it is thoroughly accordant to the love of god as well. As the Apostle John noted, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) Simply stated, our love of our neighbor is the tangible measuring stick to mark our love of God. It would seem by this standard that it would be hard to certify that Barak and John, both professing Christians, are passing the test of the kind of change (aka repentance) that is the required evidence of true salvation. It seems that political expediency has won the day over honest profession of faith. It’s pretty upsetting. If anything, Obama and McCain are bearing a true witness to their lack of credible faithfulness to the Word of God. One writer concerned with this contridiction noted it this way:

    …most of us are disenchanted with governing officials. Why? Because so many of them promise one thing on the campaign trail and then, once they’re in office, fail to fulfill their word. Not only do they make promises that, in all likelihood, they have no intention of carrying out, they spend a lot of their time and money bashing their opponent. Or if you will, breaking the ninth commandment of God. Just think, if the ninth commandment were in force what sort of changes we would see in the smear campaigns that pass for politics!

    If God’s law against bearing false witness were in full effect there would be no more ‘cover ups’. No group mentality where one segment of the populace, be it cultural, political, medical or even religious, felt it necessary to cover the facts in order to ‘protect their own’. Everyone would be honest and straight forward.

Good point. Nevertheless, it seems inherent in American politics that ad hominem attacks, smears, and personal bashings are the rule and not necessarily the exception. I’ve even heard professing Christians laud the use of such tactics, claiming the ends justify the means. If that were true, why do we need the commandments anyway. It’s all relative, isn’t it? Sadly, and I can’t pass this up, many Christians are actually doing the Devil’s bidding by engaging in and encouraging such behavior. In a word what they’re doing is EVIL. That’s right, evil. I use the word because I know what it means. (More about this in my next blog).

In a previous post titled, “Are You Doing the Devil’s Business” I submitted that a true test of whether God’s presence was having affect (CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN) in one’s own life was determined simply by which side of the blame game you fell on. As I’ve said before.

The work of Jesus was to be our advocate. The work of Satan is to be our accuser. Which one do you model?

In John 8:43-44 Christ says Satan is a murderer and liar. Jesus says of Himself that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). As a liar and murderer, Satan is the exact opposite of “the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Christ is the truth, Satan is a liar. Christ is the life, Satan is a murderer-one who takes away life. The thing about bearing false witness is that it is contrary to the truth and of the nature of Satan.

If our two major party candidates continue to claim a moral high road and specifically a relationship with Christ, then a good place to begin to show it is with how they characterize each other. They should continue to argue the facts of policy and account for their own political decisions. The same should holds true for their campaign surrogates and staff as well. That would really take some leadership. It’s the kind of straight talk and change I could believe in.

At this moment in history, or for that matter, any political contest, Americans should demand that their candidates exhibit respect for each other and a credible witness of civility. Moreover, Christian Americans, should not only demand it from their candidates, but of themselves as well. For many of them, that means that they will have to shut their favorite radio talk show hosts off and any other pundit or “prophet” who doesn’t show a commitment to the biblical axiom found in Philippians 4:8,

“whatever things are true, whatever things have honor, whatever things are upright, whatever things are holy, whatever things are beautiful, whatever things are of value, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, give thought to these things.”

When you have a steady diet of Limbaugh, Hannity, and O’Reilly on the right, or Combs, Goodman, and Maher on the left, there’s no way you can be following the principles listed in the above verse. Listening to these folks on a regular basis will paralyze your faith. Like the children’s song says, “be careful little ears what you hear.” It’s simple and wise.

If there’s anything a Christian can do during this political season it’s this:

If you’ve been bearing false witness or propagating false rumors and gossip about any candidate, repent of it.

Pray for each candidate and their families. One of them will be the leader of the nation on January 20, 2009. Get in the habit now!

Write the candidates and their campaigns, urging them to abide by the highest ideals of civility, respect, and Christian brotherhood. Remind them of their role model responsibilities and their witness as professing Christians.

Send letters and cards which reflect your blessings on them. Tell them you are praying for them and asking God to protect them and bless them with His wisdom. And,

Encourage others to do the same (especially if your pastor or Christian leader isn ‘t doing it).

As I pointed out before, come January 20th of next year, either Obama or McCain will be sworn in as the next president of the United States. If you are a Christian, it is mandated that you pray for your leaders, whether you like them or not.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

If you actually believe the Bible is the Word of God then you may deduce from the scripture above that the reason we live less than peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness may just be because there isn’t much fervent and effectual prayer being offered up for our leaders (and others, as well). Instead, the contemporary church in America has chosen the path of least resistance to curse instead of bless. No wonder we’re in this mess.

For over 25 years now, many Christians have cited 2 Chronicles 7:14 as the remedy for the nation’s ills. Even though I see the value of this scripture as being axiomatic to healing the nation, I also believe that too many Christians have failed to see that the health of the nation is dependent on the holiness of God’s people, “those called by His name,” not those outside the faith. It’s pretty clear.

IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Well, there it is in a nutshell. Our nation’s well-being, safety, and security are totally dependent, not on political figures or radio talk-show hosts, but upon the faithful being faithful. We should encourage each other to follow the model laid out in the scripture’s above. As on of my favorite verses directs,

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Let’s follow these principle’s and encourage our politicians to do the same. If we can’t stomach their policies, at least we can choose to love our enemies.

Related Articles:

Obama Lies shamelessly about McCain – Hot Air

Distorting Obama – Newsweek

Factcheck.org

Obama – McCain Comparisons

John McCain Official Website

Barak Obama Official Website

The Audacity of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s waterboy, Lanny Davis was on CNN after the South Dakota-Montana Democratic primaries, putting everybody straight regarding another guest’s accusation that Hillary Clinton did not congratulate Barak Obama on winning the required delegates for nomination. Although I think Lanny Davis is mostly fair in his representations, I think his loyalty to Hillary Clinton has given him a bit of tone-deafness and a case of “you only hear what you want to hear.”

Case in point…If you listen to Hillary Clinton’s speech in New York City on the final night of the Democratic Party primaries, you will indeed hear Senator Clinton congratulate Barak Obama. She said,

“I want to start tonight by congratulating Senator Obama and his supporters on the extraordinary race that they have run. Senator Obama has inspired so many Americans to care about politics and empowered so many more to get involved, and our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result. So, we are grateful, and it has been an honor to contest these primaries with him, just as it is an honor to call him my friend. And tonight, I would like all of us to take a moment to recognize him and his supporters for all they have accomplished.” (Read it here)

That piece of boilerplate could have been delivered on each and every primary night since the beginning of the the year. It would have been appropriate for any state contest, whether Obama had won or lost. But on one of the most significant nights in US history, Hillary Clinton profaned the moment by serving up an officious and tarnished puff piece in place of a genuine and appropriate tribute. On a night when the Democratic Party should have been popping champagne over the historic accomplishment of Obama’s campaign, Hillary Clinton couldn’t find the class to do what well-mannered, and decent people do under the circumstances. Give honest, praise to the victor. Heck, even George W. Bush knows how to do that. (read...)

For Lanny Davis, he may be able to explain what Bill Clinton meant when he questioned what the meaning of the word is is, but when it comes to defending Hillary Clinton’s lack of genuine tribute toward Barak Obama for his historical win in the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, Lanny has no play. It’s not about her psyche or her supposed commitment to her supporters. It’s still about her character.

As a life-long Democrat, I’m tired of the brand of politics the Clintons represent. Their’s reminds me of a roller derby game. Its a game with real rules, but a game where bending and breaking the rules, as well as brutality are winked at and encouraged. We need leaders who are humble in their winning and gracious in their losing.