There was a time when I used to listen to James Dobson. I was a young kid in high school and college and you heard his name a lot. I read a couple of his books, and I even had friends whose parents played his cassette tapes on the birds and the bees for them. But somewhere in the past decade or so he seemed to become more and more irrelevant.
Now two things are probably happening:
- I have gotten older, matured, and my views: spiritually, theologically, psychologically, politically, etc. just don’t line up with James Dobsons’.
- The current younger generation (late teens to early 30’s) just don’t find Dobson to be very relevant. A lot of people in my Christian circles as Tyler mentions, don’t even know who he is.
- I think we are tired of some major evangelical figures coming out and acting as if they speak for us. Whether he is trying to do that or not, that’s how it appears, and it rubs people the wrong way. This isn’t just limited to James Dobson. But why do we see the same evangelical leaders paraded before the media for a sound bite on various issues? I don’t think most of us believe they speak for us.
Now, I don’t think Barack Obama or James Dobson speak for me, but I just wish there would be some new Christian leaders..not to speak on our behalf..but to offset some of the noise coming from certain evangelical circles. In this day and age there are many, many voices, and therefore not one voice speaking for all of us. Rather, I think you will find a majority of younger Christians identifying with ideas and thoughts coming from a variety of people, rather than one person.
I also agree with some of the bloggers. Dobson’s worldview seems to be a very homogenous, conservative, understanding of the world. It’s a very different view than the pluralistic, diversified world we live in. Christianity also looks very different to these two groups.
I like what Dr. Mouw said a week or so ago about Christianity and public policy. His post was concerning gay marriages in California, but I think it’s appropriate words when we talk about Christianity, politics and public policy.
In the debates about public policy, however, I know that I cannot simply quote Scripture or cite ancient theologians in order to defend my position. I do not believe that everything that is declared sinful in the Bible ought to be decalred illegal in contemporary pluralistic societies. Here we enter a more pragmatic arena where we need to explore with our fellow citizens whether we have any common assumptions about what makes for a healthy society, and whether we can then figure out a workable arrangement that can accommodate our respective moral convictions. Unfortunately, that is not an easy discussion to have in the present climate.
Check out this news story on the debate, and then check out some of the commenters below:
Tyler has a good post on Dobson v. Obama: The Battle Begins, and besides some of the posts I found on this issue, Tyler has some pretty good links to the back and forth arguments.
Several key people weigh in, one of them being Scott McKnight over at Jesus Creed (205 comments and counting).
Zach Lind has a post, Yo Mr. D! Keep walkin’….
My former college student Brad has a post over at The God Blog, James Dobson doesn’t speak for me either. In Brad’s blog he links to the James Dobson Doesn’t Speak For Me website which states the following.
James Dobson doesn’t speak for me.
He doesn’t speak for me when he uses religion as a wedge to divide;
He doesn’t speak for me when he speaks as the final arbiter on the meaning of the Bible;
James Dobson doesn’t speak for me when he uses the beliefs of others as a line of attack;
He doesn’t speak for me when he denigrates his neighbor’s views when they don’t line up with his;
He doesn’t speak for me when he seeks to confine the values of my faith to two or three issues alone;
What does speak for me is David’s psalm celebrating how good and pleasant it is when we come together in unity;
Micah speaks for me in reminding us that the Lord requires us to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him;
The prophet Isaiah speaks for me in his call for all to come and reason together and also to seek justice, encourage the oppressed and to defend the cause of the vulnerable;
The book of Nehemiah speaks for me in its example to work with our neighbors, not against them, to restore what was broken in our communities;
The book of Matthew speaks for me in saying to bless those that curse you and pray for those who persecute you;
The words of the apostle Paul speak for me in saying that words spoken and deeds done without love amount to nothing.
The apostle John speaks for me in reminding us of Jesus’ command to love one another. The world will know His disciples by that love.
These words speak for me. But when James Dobson attacks Barack Obama, James Dobson doesn’t speak for me.
Where do you come out on this issue?