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Religion Last Updated: Aug 25th, 2008 - 00:56:57

America�s religious fascists waging war on love, people and families: Part 1, the perpetrators
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 25, 2008, 00:18

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Can�t really call them �Christian� because their actions and rhetoric are designed to hurt people. Can�t really call them �Religious� because they use dogma for political gain. They believe their interpretation of the Bible -- and their�s only -- should supercede all civil laws, including the U.S. Constitution. They are Dominionists, religious fascists or more precisely �Christo-fascists,� as Chris Hedges dubbed them in his 2006 book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.

Three of the most prominent leaders and organizations are James Dobson and his Focus on the Family, Don Wildmon and his the American Family Association, and Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council.

Notice the �logocide� in the organizations� names? Hedges described logocide in American Fascists:

Dominionists and their wealthy, right-wing sponsors speak in terms and phrases that are familiar and comforting to most Americans, but they no longer use words to mean what they meant in the past. They engage in a slow process of �logocide,� the killing of words. The old definition of words are replaced by new ones. Code words of the old belief system are deconstructed and assigned diametrically opposed meanings.

Focus on the Family, American Family Association, Family Research Council. They all use the term �family,� yet they work feverishly to hurt -- in any way possible -- the families, extended families and the children of gay and lesbian Americans, then they smile and say �God bless you� and �God bless America� to those who help them.

Exhibit A: James C. Dobson and Focus on the Family.

The founder and chairman of Focus on the Family has a Ph.D. in child development. In his book Dare to Discipline, Dobson urged parents to spank their children with �sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.� Despite having no formal theological training, Dobson has set himself up as the final word on the Scriptures, morality and all things �Christian,� his version of �Christian� of course.

Like all religious fascists, he can�t stand criticism and responds irrationally. Dobson used his June 24 radio broadcast to make preposterous claims and attack Barack Obama.

A top U.S. evangelical leader is accusing Sen. Barack Obama of deliberately distorting the Bible and taking a �fruitcake interpretation� of the U.S. Constitution.

In comments to be aired on his radio show Tuesday, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson criticizes the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for comments he made in a June 2006 speech to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal.

In the speech, Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.

�Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?� Obama asked in the speech. �Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount? . . . a passage that is so radical that it�s doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application.�

Dobson�s comments and accusations were so outrageous that a group of pastors lead by Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell started On the site, Dobson�s statements are compared, point by point, with what Mr. Obama actually said in his 2006 speech which, by the way, warned against the dangers of America become a theocratic state.

Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners also responded to Dobson�s comments. His comments were based on firsthand knowledge. Rev. Wallis was present at the 2006 speech. Indeed, Sojourners sponsored the event:

The clear purpose of the show was to attack Barack Obama. On the show, Dobson says of himself, �I�m not a reverend. I�m not a minister. I�m not a theologian. I�m not an evangelist. I�m a psychologist. I have a Ph.D. in child development.� Child psychologists don�t insert themselves into partisan politics in the regular way that James Dobson does and has over many years as one of the premier leaders of the Religious Right. He has spoken about how often he talked to Republican leaders -- Karl Rove, administration strategists, and even President Bush himself. This year he tried to influence the outcome of the Republican primary by saying he would never vote for John McCain or the Republicans if they nominated him, then reversed himself and said he would vote after all but didn�t say for whom. But why should America care about how a child psychologist votes?

James Dobson is insinuating himself into this presidential campaign, and his attacks against his fellow Christian, Barack Obama, should be seriously scrutinized. And because the basis for his attack on Obama is the speech the Illinois senator gave at our Sojourners/Call to Renewal event in 2006 (for the record, we also had Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republicans Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback speak that year), I have decided to respond to Dobson�s attacks. In most every case they are themselves clear distortions of what Obama said in that speech. I was there for the speech; Dobson was not.

True to form, Dobson -- as �God�s� right-hand profiteer who calls on the sheeple to defend him (and contribute) whenever he�s criticized -- sanctioned a Focus on the Family response that was carried by the propaganda organ of fellow Christo-fascist Don Wildmon�s American Family Association:

Obama radio ad targets Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family is speaking out against a new pro-Obama radio ad airing on Christian radio. The ad calls for �a better Christian witness in politics.�

The new liberal political action committee
Matthew 25 is running pro-Barack Obama ads on Christian radio. Salem Radio affiliate KBIQ 102.7 FM in Colorado Springs, Colorado -- home to Focus on the Family -- aired an ad that came in response to Dr. James Dobson�s recent criticism of the presidential candidate�s theological views. . . .

Spokesman Carrie Gordon Earll says Focus on the Family�s response to the ad would be Christ�s words found in Matthew 7:20, �You will know them by their fruits.� [links added]

Dobson and Wildmon are notorious for cherry-picking the Bible to support their agenda. The link OneNewsNow added to �Matthew 7:20� was true to form. It provided only a snippet of the message. A fuller context perfectly describes James Dobson:

Matthew 7 (New International Version)

Judging Others

1 �Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 �Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother�s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, �Let me take the speck out of your eye,� when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother�s eye. . . .

15 �Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep�s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Dobson makes his living judging others. And, of course, those who do not support his theopolitical views are judged �morally lacking� or accused of �distorting the Bible.� As Chris Hedges demonstrated throughout American Fascists, that�s a standard tactic for Christo-fascists: only they can interpret scriptures correctly, only they can say what�s right and wrong for everyone, only they can tell who�s fit to be a political candidate, a teacher, a lawyer, a judge, and only they should be listened to and obeyed . . . without question. A perfect description of James Dobson.

Using his grandfatherly persona and soothing voice, James Dobson exemplifies the �false prophet� who comes �in sheep�s clothing.� A classic example was his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire. In his best down-home, folksy mannerism, Dobson deployed false information, manipulated facts and deliberately misrepresented research to argue that if gay and lesbian Americans were allowed to marry, �God� would destroy the earth �as it was in the days of Noah.� (See �Out of Focus on the Family: A Response to Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage,� Popular Culture Review, 16:1, 45-75.)

The fruit James Dobson and the FOF bear is three-fold: hate, bigotry, discrimination.

Dobson sees no flaws in his actions or his socio-political agenda, but he�s quick to point out flaws in others� actions and in all other political points of view except, of course, when he may lose influence or power. Then, his Christo-fascism loses its theology and maintaining his political power becomes the only goal.

When there were several contenders for the Republican nomination for president, Dobson adamantly refused to consider McCain. The headlines blared: �Dobson says �no way� to McCain candidacy: Christian leader declares he couldn�t support senator �under any circumstances.�� Now that McCain is the presumptive nominee, Dobson has changed his �no way� and �under any circumstances�: �Dobson may endorse McCain.� Power and influence trump principles and theology.

Hypocrite: 1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. 2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

Exhibit A-2: The Wisconsin Family Council that demands

state authorities charge gay couples who marry in California under an �obscure� 1915 law that �makes it a crime for Wisconsin residents to enter marriage in another state if that marriage is illegal� in Wisconsin. The law �carries a fine up to $10,000 and nine months in prison.� Julaine Appling of WFC, a state affiliate of [James Dobson�s] Focus on the Family: �You purposely left the state for another state and you get married and you know it�s not going to be legal where you reside and you have every intention of returning, that�s defrauding the Government.� [italics and link added]

�Defrauding the government�? The state government that passed the 1915 law was trying to do something the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1967. A DailyKos writer saw that too:

Fair Wisconsin has sent out an email to over 10,000 supporters warning that same-sex couples could face $10,000 fines and up to nine months in jail for going to CA to get married. Watch this heartbreaking video from CNN to see one couple talk about what it is like to be forced to choose between �prosecution or persecution.�

Why would Wisconsin pass a law in 1915 that enacted such stiff penalties against couples that married out of state? While I am not a legal historian, I can offer a clue. Wisconsin was not alone in passing legislation that severely limited the freedom of individuals to marry at that time.
Anti-miscegenation laws were sweeping the nation:

�In December 1912 and January 1913, Representative Seaborn Roddenbery (Democrat of Georgia) again introduced a proposal in the United States House of Representatives to insert a prohibition of miscegenation into the US Constitution and thus create a nationwide ban on interracial marriage. According to the wording of the proposed amendment, �Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians . . . within the United States . . . is forever prohibited.� Roddenbery�s proposal was more severe because it defined the racial boundary between whites and �persons of color� by applying the one-drop rule. In his proposed amendment, anyone with �any trace of African or Negro blood� was banned from marrying a white spouse.

�Roddenbery�s proposed amendment was also a direct reaction to African American heavyweight champion Jack Johnson�s marriages to white women, first to Etta Duryea and then to Lucille Cameron. In 1908, Johnson had become the first black boxing world champion, having beaten Tommy Burns. After his victory, the search was on for a white boxer, a �Great White Hope,� to beat Johnson. Those hopes were dashed in 1912, when Johnson beat former world champion Jim Jeffries. This victory ignited race riots all over America as frustrated whites attacked celebrating African Americans [Rust and Rust, 1985, p.147]. Johnson�s marriages to and affairs with white women further infuriated white Americans. . . .

�Spurred on by Roddenbery�s introduction of the anti-miscegenation amendment, politicians in many of the 19 states lacking anti-miscegenation laws proposed their enactment. However, Wyoming in 1913 was the only state lacking such a law that enacted one. Also in 1913, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which had abolished its anti-miscegenation law in 1843, enacted a measure that prevented couples who could not marry in their home state from marrying in Massachusetts.�

Wisconsin never succeeded in passing anti-miscegenation statutes, though many bigots in the legislature certainly tried. The 1915 law that is being used as a threat against gay couples was passed in a general atmosphere of fear and racial hatred that the United States should remember with shame. Instead, many Americans seem to want to return to those times, fanning the flames of bigotry and homophobia for political purposes.

Unfortunately, the CNN video does not seem to be available, but what�s crystal clear is that Ms. Appling and her organization -- like Dobson and his -- are dedicated to hurting people and families. All that matters to them is their Christo-fascist agenda . . . and power.

To be continued . . .

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