4th Anniversary of Dobson’s “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America”

James Dobson1
Today is the four year anniversary of the Focus on the Family Action’s release of a “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America”. This tragic letter was dropped in the media just weeks before the 2008 election with the intent of showing “Christians what is really at stake in this election”. It ‘accounts’ disaster after disaster that has befallen the world since (then Senator) Obama was elected into the office.

It conveniently places the blame squarely on “naive” Evangelical Christians who  “didn’t take time to find out who Barack Obama was when they voted for him. Why did they risk our nation’s future on him? It was a mistake that changed the course of history.”

So I thought it would be good to take a look back at the 34 events that it warned Christians about (please check out the letter linked above). It turns out that of all the accusations only half of 2 are even close to accurate.


Why draw attention to this anniversary today?

It’s good to go back and see if statements by Focus On The Family Action were accurate—or was I right to believe that the letter was a prime example of the pandering to fear-mongering tactics. My conservative Evangelical friends preach accountability and integrity…so lets hope that some accountability leads to future integrity.


It’s important for society to hear some Christians to speak up and say that not ALL Christians endorse these type of attacks on the character of fellow Christians like Barack Obama.

I hope the anniversary of this tragic document sparks a conversation that leads all Christians to consider how our political agendas can warp our practice and our contributed to our low view of our fellow humans—as in this case.

Also by Jimmy: Whose Death Does God Cheer? Osama bin Laden’s?

Below you will find an un-edited re-release of my article called “A Response to Dobson’s Letter:Thoughts on Christians Behaving Badly in Politics” which originally posted at Neue’s website in 2008 and sparked encouraging replies from prominent Evangelical leaders across the country

Sadly, as I watch the political landscape from the real October 22, 2012—I continue to recognize the rotten fruit offered to the world by many Christians.

—–

Focus on The Family Action released a 16 page letter entitled “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” on October 22. It was written to portray what life would be like in the future should Barack Obama, a Christian, become President.

In the first page the letter, from a future Christian, states it purpose:

“So here is a picture of the changes that are likely or at least very possible if Senator Obama is elected and the far-Left segments of the Democratic Party gain control of the White House, the Congress, and perhaps then the Supreme Court.”

Hold onto your hats … this letter has some bombs in it.

According to Focus on the Family here a few of the 25 events that will likely take place if Barack Obama is elected:
•    The Supreme Court would pass law that legalizes same sex marriage across the US
•    Elementary schools will mandate homosexuality as a choice to children
•    Christian radio stations will be removed from the airwaves
•    Churches will be forced to hire homosexuals and host homosexual weddings—or lose 501c3
•    Christian nurses and doctors banned from practice—after Obama forces them to do abortions.
•    Pornography is mandated to be openly displayed in gas stations, newsstands, and grocery stores
•    Home Schooling has been outlawed
•    4 US cities have been bombed, Obama does nothing in response
•    Obama increases funding to known terrorist allies.
•    Obama deepens ties to Communist nations & Communist revolutions break out in Latin America.
•    Russia retakes all of Eastern Europe emboldened by the fact that Obama is weak.
•    Tel Aviv is destroyed when the new Russia launches a nuclear attack against Israel.

That’s a brief look at the world from Focus on The Family’s perspective should Obama be elected. All of these things assume that Obama does nothing to stop these events or perhaps encourages them. I would highly suggest getting a copy of the letter and reading it for yourself.

The letter wraps with the future Christian asking the question: “Who is to blame?” I find it interesting that the people to blame are naive Christians who have allowed Obama into office.

My Reaction to James Dobson & Focus on the Family:

I’m not a political writer and this is not a political commentary.

I am not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. So I’m not coming from the standard pro-Obama viewpoint. I’m not here to defend Barack Obama, or John McCain. I’m here to ask what Jesus would think about all this.This letter is a direct reflection of James Dobson’s worldview… a worldview many assume reflects the heart of Jesus. That puts the proverbial ball into my wheelhouse.Here are my conclusions from this published letter:

First, I see nothing distasteful about religious people endorsing a candidate:

Religious people should have the right to endorse and promote their candidate. This is good and healthy. It’s the American way. Pastors of churches legally have the right to abstain from influencing their congregations politically. However, many influencers in the world of Christianity are not legally pastors. They may be writers, or speakers, and It’s my opinion that religious voices need to be a part of the conversation in our country no matter there origin. So on this account— Focus on the Family and Dobson deserve to be commended for engaging.

Change happens within the context of dialogue, not slander:

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We have a responsibility to represent the name of Jesus with integrity. People are watching. You want to know why there is even a fear of “hate speech” laws being enacted? Read this letter. Why do homosexuals claim Christians hate them? Read this letter. Why are Christians increasingly being marginalized in society? Read this letter folks … and you will know exactly why we’re at this crossroads in society. I’m ashamed at the tactics taken by Dobson and his crew.

This letter is not about creating meaningful dialogue. We cant scream that if Obama gets elected the world will end—and set forth apocalyptic visions—and then claim to love him.We cant slander a man so disgracefully in the name of “Truth” and then expect a pat on the back come our Judgment day.

We reap what we sow…

If we slander “them” (whoever that may be)…don’t be shocked when they slander us.Which begs the question—does Focus on the Family even care about slandering someone publicly? What does the Bible have to say? What about Jesus—is this His Way?

Also by Jimmy: Love Wins — A New Split in Protestant Evangelicalism

This letter’s tone and intent does not reflect the Way of Jesus.The Way of Jesus is different from society’s. Jesus conquered through love … not fear.

Certainly not hate.

This letter reflects the way of society—not Jesus. What happens if Focus on the Family is “successful” in its campaign against Obama? If you overpower a strong man through violence and slander—don’t be shocked when a more powerful, and more persuasive person throws you off the hill soon. This is the pattern of politics—and society— that Focus on the Family has stooped to.

Even if Obama was evil—and Focus on the Family helps defeat him with a slanderous letter—all Dobson has accomplished is to repeat the cycle of society.

Dobson has missed the whole point of Jesus.

I thought Jesus showed us a new Way? A Way that compels followers to love our enemies so extravagantly that the watching world rises to our defense, or walks away compelled to investigate further. A Way that sheds light on conversions through follower’s unwillingness to fight fire with fire. A Way that shows the world what it truly means to be human. This is the Way of Jesus. The pattern of Jesus. It is a Way of love. A conquering and raging love, unstoppable, unshakable and unmistakably different from what we demonstrated in this letter.

In Conclusion:

Ultimately, its not my place to judge or condemn Dobson’s tactics. But it is frustrating and sad that this letter will muddy the name of Jesus—and I certainly can’t see how it advances The Kingdom of God. In general, I will continue my assigned work for The Kingdom of God—and let The Foreman deal with other workers. I honestly believe God allows people to expose themselves for who they are for good or for evil. I choose to see Dobson as a brother who has lost a bit of perspective…perhaps he will read his own letter and realize the path he has chosen. Perhaps my letter will open a dialogue.

Either way, I love him and Barack Obama—-because I choose the Way of Love.

I would like Dr. Dobson to ponder this: The opening paragraph of your letter refers to Obama and quotes Jesus in Matthew 7:16. He says: “you will recognize them by their fruits.”

What type of fruit is this Dr. Dobson?

Respectfully,
Jimmy Spencer Jr

—–
Jimmy Spencer Jr. (@jimmyspencerjr) is the founder and CEO of Love Without Agenda and author of Love Without Agenda: Moving Our Spiritual Goalposts from Heaven & Hell to Wholeness. He’s just a good guy trying to change the world—and himself—one act of love at a time.

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About the Author

Jimmy Spencer Jr.

Jimmy Spencer Jr.Jimmy Spencer Jr. (@jimmyspencerjr) is the founder and CEO of Love Without Agenda and author of Love Without Agenda: Moving Our Spiritual Goalposts from Heaven & Hell to Wholeness. He’s just a good guy trying to change the world—and himself—one act of love at a time.View all posts by Jimmy Spencer Jr. →

  • Homer2332

    Jimmy, I don’t think change happens in dialogue. Great events in history did not occur because of dialogue. Jesus did not come to ask us what we thought on certain subjects. He had a very clear agenda and you fell in line or you fell out, that’s just the facts. If change did happen in dialogue we would not have armies, borders, money, elections etc….

    • http://twitter.com/jimmyspencerjr Jimmy Spencer Jr

      The appalling thing is someone actually liked that comment.

    • http://twitter.com/jimmyspencerjr Jimmy Spencer Jr

      I’m wondering Homer if you not see the irony that you are on a comment section dialoguing with others about this article—claiming dialogue does not work?

  • Harry D.

    Jimmy your response to Dobson’s letter really hits the point. You mentioned ‘ extravagant love’ as Jesus way to conquer hatred or sin…is an old biblical phrase made new and refreshed as I’ve hearing/ reading it in sermons and papers plenty of times just recently and I strongly agree to that. I believe that it holds true at all times , much more today. God bless America.

    • http://www.jimmyspencerjr.com/ Jimmy Spencer Jr

      thank you sir :)

  • otrotierra

    Jesus didn’t teach his followers to lie. Will Focus on the Family apologize?

    • Frank

      Making a prediction and lying are two different things.

      • http://www.jimmyspencerjr.com/ Jimmy Spencer Jr

        yes this was fear mongering and lying. shame on you for advocating things to acheive your pet agendas.

    • Questioning

      Nor did he teach them to slander and bear false witness…. It it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable.

      • Frank

        Considering the Obama attack machine we could not possibly vote for Obama.

        • Questioning

          Nor could we for Romney…. I mean he is a cult member…. or was. I guess I’ll stay home….. :>)

        • b3wh169

          I don’t see much of a difference between Obama’s and Romney’s attack machines. That’s sad. I do see a difference between their policies and track records. I’m voting for Obama. Doesn’t mean I like everything he’s done or everything about him. I can see how others would be attracted to Romney.

  • Frank

    Certainly some predictions were off the deep end but others are close to the truth even though the timing may be off. I cannot defend Dobson but I do know we cannot afford another four years of Obama.

    • b3wh169

      I don’t think the point of the blog post was whether or not the predictions were true (although perhaps if most came true one might argue that they really were predictions) or whether we can afford four more years of Obama or 4 years of Romney. I think the emphasis was on representing Jesus with integrity and avoiding falling into the traps of slandering opponents and demagoguery.For me it’s about not bearing false witness and loving one’s enemy while still speaking hard truths and trying to promote justice. To me, being faithful to those family values means at a minimum not misrepresenting one’s opponent.

      • Frank

        So you could not possibly vote for Obama and his attack machine without being a hypocrite. The majority of ads for Obama are lies and misrepresentations of Romney. Afterall Obama has nothing else to run on except the demonization of his opponent.

        • Questioning

          Are you implying all of Romney’s attacks and ads are glowing examples of truth and fact? Are you also implying that Romney is not attacking Obama? If so, you need to put down the Kool-Aid. Both sides are spun out the wazoo and contain varying levels of truth, fact and fiction. The BEST thing we can do as citizens is make an informed decision, not one based on what we are being fed, because very little of it is nutritious or palatable.

          • Frank

            Obama is all about attack. He has nothing else. And yes an informed decision can only lead to a Romney vote.

          • Questioning

            You did not answer the questions…. but somehow I do not think you care.

          • Frank

            I do care. I think Romney’s ads are based on Obamas record. So of course they are negative. Obama has been terrible.Obamas ads are all about mischaracterizing Romney which smart people see right through.

          • Questioning

            Romney does not have a record as President so kinda hard to base anything on that. Obama’s performance as President depends on who you talk to or listen to. In any event, terrible is not a word that comes to my mind. Nor is stellar. It’s very hard to “characterize” Romney. He seems to float on the most favorable wind, which smart people can also see right through. The choice is not cut and dried, otherwise it would not be so close.

          • Drew

            “Romney ads = truth, Obama ads = lies.” Pretty intellectual, Frank, pretty intellectual.

          • Frank

            Reality is nether smart nor dumb. Obama attacks because he has a terrible record and no plan for the future, Romney simply points out Obama’s record.

          • Drew

            As Questioning pointed out, Obama cannot discuss Romney’s presidential record. I hope this is obvious to you, Frank.

          • Frank

            And your point? Romney has a long record of his accomplishments..

            He has a record of success. Obama has a record of failure. The choice is clear on many levels.

          • Questioning

            In your opinion, and clear to you maybe. Just clarifying, otherwise you need to explain this to about half the voting population.

          • Frank

            Well those that are voting for Obama are doing so for all the wrong reasons and the wrong priorities I suspect. Can’t cure mass ignorance over night.

          • Frank

            Are you seriously asking where were the Christian voices when Roe V Wade was enacted? Does someone really have to do your work for you?

            Christians fought hard against it and protested en masse immediately and continue to fight to this day. Thankfully the next generation is more pro-life and more anti-abortion than any of the previous ones. There is hope for the future. One election at a time.

          • Drew

            Trying to divide people over politics is probably not a kingdom strategy, Frank. There are a fair amount of informed Christians voting for Obama, as I am sure there are a fair amount of informed Christians voting for Romney.

          • Frank

            It’s not me that divides people. I don’t have that kind of power. It’s an anathema to the Christian faith to vote for a party at has abortion on demand in its platform. It’s quite simple really and if that divides people, it should. Separates the wheat from the chaff.

            Abortion is not a part of Gods kingdom.

          • Questioning

            Come on Frank, that’s a bunch of baloney. This one topic does nothing to separate the wheat from the chaff. If we were truly voting with our bibles we would not be voting for either one. Since Roe v Wade there have been both Republican and Democratic administrations and no one has overturned it. If it were not law, and one side or the other were clamoring to make it a law, then that would be different. Where were the Christian voices when the law was enacted? I suspect there are many reasons you do not like Obama, and if abortion is a trump card, then you are voting your heart, but it does not mean a Christian voting the other way is now part of the chaff.

          • Frank

            Justify an unchristian position all you want but it does not change the reality of it. Abortion is not part of Gods Kingdom and anyone working for Gods Kingdom cannot take any action that supports abortion, including voting Democrat.

          • Drew

            Questioning,

            Republicans have not failed to overturn Roe vs. Wade due to lack of effort, but rather due to lack of circumstances. You don’t only need the House, Senate, and White House, but the Supreme Court as well. It’s a tall order.

            In any case, Frank is a good guy, but he is just another guy that worships politics a little too much at times. It’s becoming more and more common, so I can’t hold it against Frank. He needs to realize that there is more than one way to solve a problem, which is why people differ on politics. Countries with the lowest abortion rates are ones that best support mothers. If the U.S. Government and U.S. Churches did a better job of supporting pregnant mothers, the abortion rate would be affected more so than a law against abortion.

          • Frank

            Drew I agree we should should do all of the above but the priority is to stop the killing first as we work to make sure that women want and can afford their children.

          • Drew

            Passing legislation does not automatically stop something, Frank. I hope you can think about this concept. God gave us the Ten Commandments and that did not stop anything. Legislation helps, but it is not going to solve much, Frank. I think you support legislation so much because it is the easy solution… you can sit back and night, give no money, time, or effort… show up to the voting booth for five minutes… and pat yourself on the back for solving the issue of abortion.

          • Frank

            You might want to re read your post to me for my answer:

            “How do you know I do nothing, Frank? A bit presumptuous, Pharisee.”

          • questioning

            Sadly, this hits the nail on the head. A lot of these same people clamoring for legislation will cry “foul” when the government requires money for programs to help take care of and educate all the potential juvenile delinquents thrust upon us. You cannot have it both ways, and in my view these kinds of things need to be discussed and plans made before we arbitrarily just ban abortions.

          • Frank

            Is that how you justify letting over 6000 unborn children get killed each week while we figure out how to help others? You have your priorities backward. We can never save those 6000 this week next week. Stop the killing as much as possible first as we figure out the rest.

          • Questioning

            Frank, I’m not justifying anything and you know it. Two wrongs do not make a right. I did not vote for Roe v Wade nor would I, but we have it. The one thing we might successfully do now is throw all our prayer and our support behind preventing the need and desire for abortion and supporting those who choose not to have it That means education, love and support. That is something I believe our government could successfully do if we would allow them and encourage them. This would also energize the private sector I suspect. This is also, after all, the Biblical way, the way of Jesus, to take care of the innocent. Instead we want to stand off to the side and demand that the “government” fix this by banning it. Trouble is it will never fix it or even successfully ban it. I worry the “figuring out the rest” would only lead to more squabbles and very little of anything getting done.

          • Frank

            I think you are justifying which at the end of this week will leave over 6000 innocents dead. Think about that every Friday night. And you are right banning it will not eliminate it. There will always be evil in this world. That’s why we have to work hard at all levels to change the selfish mentalities that would allow this atrocity as well as providing helping hands when needed.

            You may have put faith in the governments ability to effectively do what needs to be done but reality has shown that they are incompetent and extremely wasteful, not to mention ineffective. The reason we are in this mess in the first place is because the government failed and yet people want to throw more money at it. Bad money after bad money is just plain dumb!

          • Questioning

            I understand all the effort that would be involved and I am not hopeful that those planets will ever align. In the meantime we need to do a better job of supporting pregnant mothers, yes, but we also need to do all we can to prevent unwanted pregnancy….. that means education, contraceptives, etc. Of course all that implies government will be spending some dollars, which some see as posion, even though they seem to be unconcerned about a child being born into poverty, into a broken family or no family, or a child who may be unwanted. These things are seldom as black and white as we think they are. Once we realize that, and are open to the fact that there are really two sides, then a meaningful dialogue can begin. That is the only way politics have ever worked or ever will work and, in my view, why it is not working today.

          • Drew

            Many Republicans tried to recently cut the US Food for Peace program to zero, a program that has fed 3 billion people in 150 countries. I don’t think that is a part of God’s kingdom either. That is why I refuse to pledge blind allegiance to a political party, to worship a political party.

          • Frank

            Whatever you have to do to justify sleeping well at night while over 6000 innocent unborn children are killed each week. I doubt Jesus will accept your excuse for not doing anything.

          • Drew

            How do you know I do nothing, Frank? A bit presumptuous, Pharisee.

  • http://twitter.com/afwade afwade

    As mud is slung by both sides, it’s really important that all of us who follow Jesus as Lord reflect deeply on our words and the things we promote. I am guilty, I admit that. But if our call is to preach and be the “Good News” of the gospel of Jesus, we must continually ask ourselves if how we are expressing our passion for Christ is truly Christ-like. Do we promote the Kingdom of God with our words and actions or are we allowing ourselves to be co-opted by the tactics and attitudes of the world, “proving” to the world that Christianity really has nothing new and nothing special to offer – just more division and hate. Again I must pray, “forgive me Father, for I often have no clue about the implications of my actions.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/otro.tierra Otro Tierra

      Because false prophecy is addressed in the bible, I’m not sure it’s wise to obscure it today as mere “mudslinging.” It’s more than that. Also, it is helpful to clarify that “both sides” are most certainly not engaging in false prophecy. In other words, the Obama Administration did not release a mean-spirited “Letter from 2012 in Focus on the Family’s America” filled with lies, deception, and fear-mongering. Dobson and his followers will be held accountable for their words and actions. Accountability is not politically correct, but we need it for good reasons.

  • Drew

    I agree with you that Dobson should not have taken this path, for two reasons.

    Reason One is that the scenario is only possible with “far-left segments” taking over Congress, which is almost impossible. This letter seems to be more of an indictment of one-party rule than of Obama. In that case, you could say the same thing if “far-right segments” took over Congress and McCain or Romney won, that America would be radically different and probably not for the best.

    Reason Two is that Jesus’ model was to change hearts and minds one at a time, which requires substantial effort and work, which is in contrast to what Dobson is doing in this letter. We live in an age where putting a bumper sticker on car means you support the troops or saying you are against abortion means you are a pro-life advocate. James 1:22 says it best “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” In other words, the best way Dobson can bring about the world he wants to see is through working through Focus on the Family, not writing letters to tell people who to vote for.

    • Guest

      I’m not sure Jesus’ model was to change hearts and minds one at a time.

      • Drew

        If you want to parse the phrasing, replace the sentence with “Jesus’model was to change hearts and minds on a person level, not on an impersonal level.”

  • b3wh169

    I wrote a letter to FOTF complaining about this “letter” at the time. Got back a canned response that basically said that they based their letter on scenarios being reported or proposed by various columists, etc. I thought the letter, and the response, lacked integrity (not all sources are created equal) and family values. Had similar thoughts about Rolling Stone’s smear job on McCain, but at least that wasn’t baptized with religiosity.

  • PB

    It looks like in 2012 there are a lot of unemployed Christians. I went to a “get out and vote” rally featuring Dr. Dobson, whom I admired very much. After that night I realized that the agenda for the Republican Party and Evangelicals were to slander anyone who opposed them. I voted for B. Obama then and will again this time. I feel he and the Democratic Party are more in line with Christian views than the others. Reaching out and helping others in need should be the desire of all who are blessed.

    • mike

      This is a tragic statement. It is hard to comprehend how on earth you can say that the Democratic Party – the one that expelled God from its platform prior to finding it politically expedient to include Him at their convention -somehow represents the views of Christians. The Democratic worldview is one of abortion on demand, approval and promotion of homosexuality and agreement with welfare policy which does nothing more that insure that more and more of our citizens are reliant upon government support in exchange for their vote. The Bible is quite clear on God’s position concerning these and yet somehow you ignore those key factors in favor of government mandating caring for the poor? That’s not in the Bible – no where does Jesus say rely on human government ttoprovide for those in need.

      I would say that the Republican party has along way to go but to state emphatically that the Democrats have moved their platform closer to God is not only specious, it calls into question the idea of your very commitment to Christ and that is truth. Biblical truth.

      Watch for false prophets. You sir are one.

      • Tim the Prodigal Sorcerer

        This guys is awesome!

        PB has been declared a false prophet! Get outta her with all those false prophecies you just made.

      • Questioning

        Mike, all you have done is prove PB’s point. “After that night I realized that the agenda for the Republican Party and Evangelicals were to slander anyone who opposed them.” I think you may have religion and politics a bit too confused. You also may want to consider that you could be wrong. I do every day… it keeps me humble.

    • Andy

      If you voted for Obama–especially the second time around–then you voted for one of the many antichrists littering church history. Way to go.

  • Lynn Bell

    For many years now I’ve been very sad about the turn Dr. Dobson has taken toward politics. He started a great ministry and then veered off course and misplaced a bit of his integrity, or so it seems from many of his public statements.

  • johnatpatmos

    The letter by dobson is disgraceful…wrong wrong wrong…whats wrong with these people…

  • billy

    so have you folks decided that mormons are christian? i believe so. billy

  • Timothy D. Hooper

    I find it interesting how many advocating the “love of Jesus” blatantly ignore that Jesus, in his love, tore a strip out of the religious leaders for their hypocrisy. Obama holds a very similar position of what the Pharisees had int their culture only on a much grander scale. Obama claims a christian belief system. Ergo, for Focus on the Family to warn against the hypocrisy of Obama seems to be an appropriate responce to the WWJD question that would be posed to an organization in their position. To make “love” a quality that ignores the danger and hypocrisy of one with such great impact on our ability to worship and live in freedom in order to passify the comfort demands of those who just want everyone to feel good is an affront to everything Jesus stood for and his definition and expression of love. If the “red letters” are true, Jesus offended and turned off way more people than he attracted. He seemed to ramp up his offensive and higher calling rhetoric when he had the largest crowds or the most powerful and influential of audiences. So to diminish the meaning of biblical love to what the author seems to do is discredit anyone who is truely seeking to live like Chirst and a disservice to anyone who is trying to find him.

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