Time Magazine has an interesting article about James Dobson’s recent attacks on Obama. I missed Dobson’s actual remarks, but the article essentially suggests that Dobson’s attempts at tearing Obama down have backfired, resulting in even conservative Republicans being bothered by his attempts to suggest that he has the ‘only’ right interpretation of Christianity.
The article links to JamesDobsonDoesntSpeakForMe.com, a website founded by a Christian group. The site begins:
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;
It’s interesting that it so closely matches what Obama’s been saying. It also contains some of the more interesting quotes from Obama speaking on religion: really not at all the atheist, “don’t even say the word ‘religion'” view that Republicans love to paint of the Democrats.
So then I went to look up James Dobson on Wikipedia, and came across this sentence that really strikes me as strange: “[F]rom his earliest childhood, religion was a central part of his life. He once told a reporter that he learned to pray before he learned to talk. In fact, he says he gave his life to Jesus at the age of three, in response to an altar call by his father.”
Can a three-year-old grasp the concepts necessary for religion? It seems to me as if the typical three-year-old would have no idea what “eternal life” or “salvation” was, so it seems pretty odd to think that one could commit their life to Jesus at age three. Or at least, do so and understand it.
It gives me a lot of hope, actually, for Christianity. Increasingly, it seems like the people who speak out as Christians do so in hateful manners. They’re never seen calling for an end to torture or world genocide, or helping the homeless. (Of course, they do all of that, but you never see vocal religious leaders speaking about those things.) Instead, they get painted as just lambasting people over absurd things. The reaction to Dobson’s rant is making me think that maybe Christianity can be restored to preaching love, not hate.