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.
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:
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?
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.
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?
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.
Watch Jimmy Spencer Jr. on RLC TV