I tend to distance myself from politics, but as the election is coming very, very soon, we might as well get right to it. I’d like to disclaim my views right now, in that they most likely do not represent any significant portion of the pagan community. If any. I’d also like to offer up the fact that if it were the other side being criticized in the same fashion, I would be just as quick to leap on the opportunity.
The Evangelist James Dobson is criticizing Senator Obama in his choice of words in 2006, at a meeting with the Christian Group, “Call to Renewal”. From the article I read, Obama was at first, pointing out inconsistencies between biblical culture and modern culture – there is no more child abuse, animal sacrifice, or slavery, at least in the United States.
The criticism by Mr. Dobson begins there. He claims that the antiquated bible verses should not be applicable to present day. However, he fails to realize that in including the Old Testament into the Christian Bible, a certain amount of responsibility and reverence comes along with that inclusion. In essence, not only the words of Jesus, but also the words of his ancestors and the traditions that predated Jesus should be held important.
Obama is, at most, with his statement that scripture should not fully lead the country, pointing out the inconsistencies between the two cultures:
Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy? 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?
The second criticism mentions Obama’s appeals to the Christians to translate their believes into something with universal appeal to better their aims among other people. Dobson refutes this, saying that Obama is attempting to lower America’s standards to the “lowest common denominator.”
Does Dobson realize that in such a religiously mixed society, this must occur? And that some values – love, peace, respect – tend to be inherent to most religious values of the society in which we live? Instead, he is merely presenting himself as intolerant of the idea that anyone could possibly be different than himself.
What he doesn’t understand is, that in those public schools which I graduated from not too long ago, every day, we’re taught that we are special. We make our own choices. And in the churches of America? Your choices are your own. God(s) love you. You take responsibility for your actions. And other religions? They’re not that bad. As long as they preach the same ideals: love, trust, peace, respect.
In this day and age, we’re concerned about oil and the wars that may be spawning from that concern. We’re most interested in keeping peace and saving our failing economy – not preserving the ideals of a few fundamentalist Christians who want us all to be the same as them.
In addition to that, appealing to the majority? Common economic principle. Common business principle. Common sense. Dobson’s objections that Obama wants to be indecisive are unfounded. Obama is, at most, recognizing the fact that he needs to appeal to more than one group of people. As president, he needs to be willing and able to work with the country with all of its organized and disorganized religions alike, both “us” and “them” to find something that we all are happy with.
And go back to bible school, Mr. Dobson. Even Jesus understood the importance of a universal message. Why else has his legacy lasted 2000 years?