Dobson Christianity

Ken AshfordGodstuff3 Comments

The "influential" Publius has a post about Hugh Hewitt’s defense of James Dobson.  In it, Publius invokes the term "Dobson Christianity", distinguishing it from others forms of Christianity.  I’m sure this comes as a surprise to many on the religious right, who simply don’t believe in diversity of beliefs even within the Christian faith.  To them, you are either a Christian — meaning, their kind of Christian — or you are not a Christian at all.

But I’ll let Publius explain further, picking up from his post mid-stream:

An attack on Dobson Christianity is not an attack on Christianity. Just like an attack on the Ayatollah’s interpretation and exploitation of Islam for political purposes is not an attack on Islam itself.

On another level, I’m not sure there is such a thing as “Dobson Christianity.” Dobson actually represents the opposite of Christianity. If I’m recalling my Sunday School classes correctly, Jesus’s whole point was to emphasize love and tolerance, and to show the ridiculousness and spiritual bankruptcy of blind adherence to a rigid set of moral codes long since divorced from the more basic values of love, forgiveness, and tolerance. The hapless Pharisees – those rule-bound suckas – were always the butt of Jesus’s jokes.

Whether you’re a Christian, atheist, or anything in between, if you actually sit down and read the four Gospels, I suspect you’ll see that Dobson fits the role of “Pharisee” pretty well. He’s everything that Jesus opposed. That’s why it’s so utterly ridiculous for him to claim the mantle of the values of love and tolerance espoused in the Gospels – values that do not, by the way, require a belief in the divinity of Jesus or even in God at all.

Right. On. The. Money.

Of course, the thing to remember here is that Publius’ views on Christianity and Jesus (which parallel mine) are no more "correct" or "valid" than Dobson’s.  But that’s the point.  In this society, we don’t allow one religious view to have government-approved dominance over another view, because such a situation would be contrary to the notion of religious freedom. 

The goal of Dobson, Frist, and Co., however, is to saturate our political and legal systems with adherants to their brand of Christianity.  This should cause discomfort to followers of other faiths, followers of other brands of Christianity, and even to followers of Dobson as well. 

Why?  Because when you empower government to impose or encourage one particular religious view, you ipso facto empower that government — at some future point in time — to impose or encourage a different religious view, one with which you might not believe. 

As it is now — and as the Founders envisioned — government should not have such power at all.  That is precisely why our forefathers believed strongly in separation of church and state, even though many of them were themselves religious.  The role of government is to be religion-neutral, thereby permitting "Dobson Christianity" and "Publius Christianity" (not to mention other Christian views and non-Christian religious views) to flourish in society on an equal or equivalent parity.