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

Should I, an Evangelical, be afraid of Obama?

On most days I usually peruse a hefty sum of articles, blogs, and forum entries addressing a host of issues. More than not, I tend to gravitate toward those that are in the genre of the religio-political. It’s where I find the most interesting, outlandish, and mixed-up thinking on the planet.

Since Barak Obama sewed up the majority of the Democratic Party’s cache of delegates last week, the media (of all types) has been abuzz with prognostications. It’s natural that we do this. But my eye has been skewed mostly toward what my peeps (evangelicals) are saying. The responses have filled every part of the spectrum.

On one hand there has been praise for Obama and it seems likely that he will garner a large number of evangelical votes in the fall. Some have suggested that he could get up to 40%. That’s huge!. On the other side of the equation, there are those who not only claim that Obama is dangerous, but claim the he is the Anti-Christ. One writer posted some of these dubious and arguable points in a Topix Forum. (I thought I should add some questions to his facts for clarity.)

Yahaim wrote:

Obama is the Anti-Christ. This is the evidence:

1.– He will come as a man of Peace (Obama promises peace in Iraq, defeat for the US)
When did he promise defeat for the US?
2.- He will come mounted on a white Female horse(Obama mother is white who had 6 African husbands)
Does this mean that his mother was a white horse with 6 black legs?
3.– He will come to deceive( Obama says he’s a Christian but in fact he was born a Muslim, practices the Islamic religion, prays Friday’s facing Mecca)
Is there any evidence that he still prays toward Mecca, not that he claims to be a Christian.
4.– He will make himself the most powerful man on earth, if elected.
Really?
5.– He will try to destroy the Jewish People and Israel( Obama has said he loves the Arabs specially the Palestinians, hates Israel and Jews. Admires Hitler, Osama etc) 1.Try reading some Israeli material that says otherwise. 2. Oh yeah, the Hitler-Osama statement. How about some evidence. There is evidence that Obama admires George Bush and Ronald Reagan though.
6.– He will present himself as good and righteous but in fact he’s Satan himself. Violence is in his heart.
Again, really? Your evidence, please.
7.– Obama will help Al Qaida in its evil projects.
Yeah, that’s the impression I got when Obama promised to hunt down Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
8.– Barack Hussein Obama is the “King of the South” predicted in the Bible.(Daniel .11, Kenya is south of Jerusalem)
So is Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda.
9.– Obama comes to implant muslim Sharia Law upon America.
If Christianity hasn’t been successful in forcing Judeo-Christian theocratic law on a nation that promotes a seperation of church and state, how will Barak Obama?
Obama is the Anti-Christ, beware of him.
Watch him and don’t let you be deceived by Him.
Supporters of Obama: 1.5 billion Muslims, Oprah, Louis Farrakanh, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and all American Muslims.
OBAMA’S GAME IS DECEPTION AND VIOLENCE
A VOTE FOR OBAMA IS A VOTE FOR OSAMA AND KILLER ISLAM!!
YIKES!!!
So, what do I think? Should I be afraid if Barak Obama is elected president? Should I throw up my evangelical, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage hands in surrender. Why, heck no! The fact is that for believers in Christ, who actually trust in, rely on, and cling to Him, there is no fear of the future. God is still in control.
If Barak Obama were to become Christian America’s worse nightmare (and I’m not saying he will be), do you think for one minute that God’s will is going to be undone? Only if God is a actually a man.

In the past two-and-half decades, all too many evangelical and fundamentalist Christian have placed their trust, not in the God who promises to heal their land by humbling themselves in repentance and prayer, but in numbers and political strength. They have fallen into the sin of counting on man’s strength, thinking, and method’s. Isaiah 55:8-9 warns believers that the thoughts and ways of man are contrary to God’s thinking. Naturally, when one’s thinking takes form, that which is formed is also contrary to God’s ways. The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Corinth, “for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

The root problem with most evangelicals who are “fearful” of certain political results and world affairs is that they are rooted in an earthly mindset, not on God’s Kingdom or it’s power. They rely on circumstances and conditions and fail to live in faith. They have not renewed their mind, but have continued in their old thinking. Unfortunately, many believers are being encouraged by politically-minded ministers, evangelists, and other religious luminaries to follow a world view that is born in an emotion that God tells us to cast aside. That powerfully deceitful feeling is fear.

The reason I don’t fear or lose any sleep whether Barak Obama or John McCain becomes president is because I know that God’s love for his people gives liberty. The Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear.” It’s not my love, but God’s love. I have faith in His love, therefore I fear nothing or no one. Furthermore, there are other truths that buoy my faith. I know that the God who is in me is greater that anyone in the world (1 John 4:4), that I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35-37), that my effectual, fervent prayers avail much (James 5:16), and that, as I learned from my childhood, “in all things God works for the good of those that love Him and are called to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). These passages of scripture provide the framework for being free from fear and being empowered to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8) The moral condition of national leaders do not change the efficacy of God’s Word.

So what if Obama is the devil some predict? What do I do? Do I call for his impeachment or God’s swift sword. Nope. God’s word tells me to do the opposite of what man’s thinking resorts to. He calls for me to pray for him, not curse him. (I Timothy 2:1-3)

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions,

and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

For kings, and for all that are in authority;

that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour”

Notice the first (four) things Christians are to do in order to “lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty? They are:

1. Supplications – means to petition or entreat God for something with passion, zeal and a hunger to see the request fulfilled.

2. Prayers – activity motivated by our desire to be in God’s presence and to know His will. Prayer is an acknowledgment of our spiritual poverty and our reliance on God to speak to our poverty.

3. Intercessions – is the act of advocating for someone else. For the Christian, it is the continuation of the ministry of Christ, showing love for those who are sinners.

4. Thanksgivingan acknowledgment of appreciation for a thing received. If we believe that God hears and answers our supplications, prayers, and intercessions, then the proper attitude is one of thanksgiving

“Be joyful always; pray continually (no matter who gets elected); give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Veto-proof the new GI Bill. Have Halliburton manage it!

Pardon my cynicism, but if you really want George W. Bush and his surrogate father, Dick Cheney to get behind the latest revision of the GI Bill, then you had better make it a gravy train and leave the driving to Halliburton. That would muzzle any complaint the White House could possibly have. And by the way, don’t worry about the cost either. Halliburton provides value that can’t be measured by any Inspector General or Senate sub-committee…which brings me to my real point.

This past week, on May 22nd, the Senate voted and passed the 21st Century GI Bill, a World War II-style GI Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as an amendment to an emergency supplemental war funding bill. The new G.I. bill “is projected to cost about $2.5 billion per year,” roughly the cost of U.S. operations in Iraq for one week. On this vote, lawmakers had to go on record as to whether they truly support our nation’s newest generation of veterans or merely giving patronizing lip-service. Sadly, Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee protested against the bill and President George W. Bush has promised to veto it. Go figure? Strange that these two figures, who are so invested in patriotic aegis, should so publicly and recklessly expose themselves to the disdain of so many who have served the country in harm’s way.

I’m particularly saddened by former serviceman and POW, John McCain’s position on this landmark bill. McCain, along with Bush and the Pentagon have voiced their opposition to the bipartisan Webb-Hagel GI Bill by spouting fears that “too many will use it,” and it will therefore “harm” the military. According to a Congressional Budget Office study released a couple weeks ago stated Webb’s bill could, in fact, cut retention rates by 16 percent. However, that’s not all there is to the report. It actually predicts an increase of 16% in new recruitment. Note the following Think Progress report:

Literature on the effects of educational benefits on retention suggest that every $10,000 increase in educational benefits yields a reduction in retention of slightly more than 1 percentage point. CBO estimates that S. 22 (as modified) would more than double the present value of educational benefits for servicemembers at the first reenlistment point — from about $40,000 to over $90,000 — implying a 16 percent decline in the reenlistment rate, from about 42 percent to about 36 percent. […]

Educational benefits have been shown to raise the number of military recruits. Based on an analysis of the existing literature, CBO estimates that a 10 percent increase in educational benefits would result in an increase of about 1 percent in high-quality recruits. On that basis, CBO calculates that raising the educational benefits as proposed in S. 22 would result in a 16 percent increase in recruits.

The troubling thing I see in all this is the pretensions Senator McCain made concerning the motivations of those serving in uniform. His contention that people are going to enlist for just two years and then bail out of the service to go to college hardly has any merit at all and is a slap in the face to those who have given all before their two-year enlistments were up. John Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org noted these points among other points of McCain’s disconnected and baseless logic:

First, the time of service isn’t a measure of commitment to service. What about the troops who served under six years, did a few tours in Iraq, and came back without a limb, and could no longer serve? Have they shown less of a commitment to America? I would love for this spokesperson to go to Walter Reed and tell anyone there who served three years, but now cannot continue their service, that they haven’t shown a commitment.

Second, no one is leaving the military after two years. I’d note that when you sign up, it’s for an eight year contract, most for four years active. They can serve in a number of ways. For example, I served four and a half years active (because I was Stop Lossed), went to grad school and served in the reserves, but was called back up after ten months. So, the point remains that you’re not talking about a flood of people breaking their contract after three or four years. The overwhelming majority of men and women serve out their contract for eight years, so even if they do begin school when they’re done with their active duty commitment, the military can call them up at any time they need them, for the life of the troop’s contract. A GI Bill isn’t going to change it.

Third is that if the administration was serious about retention, they would focus on the role of contractors, who continually snatch up troops, offering them up to 10 times their military pay to do a similar job in Iraq. That’s a much bigger threat to retention than offering a service-member the chance to get a quality education.

Personally, it took me months after I got back to get contractors to stop calling me, offering me six-figures, tax-free, to do work for them in Iraq. I didn’t take them up on it, but there are far more who do leave to make money. I do not blame the troops for this, by the way. They have families to provide for, and if they’re going to take on a dangerous task, it’s far more attractive to do it for a lot of money, which they can leave to their families.

But the fact is that the administration hasn’t taken on contractors – it’s embraced them. The administration continues to dole out bloated contracts to private contractors, instead of increase the size of the military, or address how the war in Iraq has overextended our forces. The result is that those contracts are spent, in large part, to lure away members of the military.

So, the latest spin by the Pentagon isn’t just nonsense – it’s offensive nonsense, because it insults the intelligence of the service members who recognize that the administration has never been serious about retention. Otherwise, they would have done something about contractors a long, long time ago.

(You can read all about this issue, and how the troops and veterans are reacting, over at www.VetVoice.com)

John McCain is no doubt a patriot and is committed to the defense of the republic. As he asserted in a Memorial Day speech, “I have many responsibilities to the American people, and I take them all seriously. But I have one responsibility that outweighs all the others and that is to use whatever talents I possess and every resource God has granted me to protect the security of this great and good nation from all enemies foreign and domestic.” Regarding the new GI Bill, he felt that the bill would undermine the effort in Iraq and would be “catastrophic.” He vowed to fight it.

Strange that John McCain would fight against a measure the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) assert “… is the military’s single most effective recruitment tool.” They further attest to the fact that “the number one reason civilians join the military is to get money for college, (and) As our military recovers and resets in the coming years, an expanded GI Bill will play a crucial role in ensuring that our military remains the strongest and most advanced in the world.” You would think that John McCain would understand the value of the bill, but for some reason, he’s choosing to look at this glass, half-empty.

I’m hoping that both John McCain and George W. Bush will truly act upon the words of a great American who once said,

“The sacrifices made by veterans deserve to be memorialized in something more lasting than marble or bronze or in the fleeting effect of a politician’s speeches. Your valor and devotion to duty have earned your country’s abiding concern for your welfare. And when our government forgets to honor our debts to you, it is a stain upon America’s honor. The Walter Reed scandal recalled, I hope, not just government but the public who elected it, to our responsibilities to the men and women who risked life and limb to meet their responsibilities to us. Such a disgrace is unworthy of the greatest nation on earth. As the greatest leaders in our history, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, instructed us, care for Americans who fought to defend us should rank among the highest of national priorities.

Those who have borne the burden of war for our sake must be treated fairly and expeditiously as they seek compensation for disability or illness. We owe them compassion, knowledge and hands-on care in their transition to civilian life. We owe them training, rehabilitation and education. We owe their families, parents and caregivers our concern and support. They should never be deprived of quality medical care and mental health care coverage for illness or injury incurred as a result of their service to our country.”

That great American was John McCain.

US Naval Academy

(The US Naval Academy, where John McCain received a free education before serving his country in combat. Now, he refuses to help advance those who have already stood in harm’s way.)

Related Articles:

A G.I. Bill for the 21st Century – The Progress Report

Fear of Troop Exodus Fuels Debate on G.I. Bill – New york Times

New CBO Report Proves McCain is ‘full of it.’ – Think Progress

Postscript: I found this comment posted by PaigeInPhilly on ABC News Political Radar. Its worth noting.

1) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation creates a flat education benefit, not taking into account the cost of state colleges where veterans live. This would mean veterans in states where the cost of education is higher than the benefit would have go to into debt to get an education, or uproot themselves and their families to move to a place where the benefit would cover college. The Webb-Hagel Bill determines the education benefit based on the highest state college tuition in a veterans’ home state, allowing veterans to come home and attend college, without upheaval in their lives.

2) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation creates second-class veterans, by offering those who serve in the military for 12 years the chance to transfer their education benefits to their children. This says to a veteran who serves for two years and loses both of his legs in combat that his service isn’t as valuable as someone who has served for longer.

3) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation leaves the National Guard and Reserve out in the cold. In the current conflicts, the National Guard and Reserve have served faithfully alongside their active duty compatriots, and deserve equal benefits. Yet, the McCain bill does nothing to reward our Guard and Reservists for their cumulative service. Under the McCain bill, over 160,000 members of the Guard and Reserves who have done more than one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan would get no credit towards an education for their additional sacrifice.