Essay / Culture

And Hurtful is He. . .

The Trivialization of James DobsonFit the stereotype, even once, and you are in trouble. Urban legend says that Evangelical Christians are joyless, book burners. These folk always live in a state to the South of you, even in the deep South where South is a state of mind not a place. Reports say they are always in the town next to your own: the one slightly more rural. It is hard to meet these folk, but you would know them if you saw them. With prune faces, empty wallets, emptier minds: the sort of folk who wore American flag pins before FOX News and 9/11. Everyone knows they exist, but nobody is quite sure where to find them. To be an evangelical in America, and thrive, means to prove every day that you are not one of “them.” Mess up once and you will never recover.Bill Clinton’s great strength was that his sins insulated him from this worry. He could be as down home as he wanted, and quote the Bible more than the revival preacher, but no one would believe him one of them. His titanic indiscretions nearly sank him, but saved him from being a citizen of Jesus Land.James Dobson was hard to stereotype. Secularly trained as a child psychologist, he has the right pedigree. He is soft spoken and cultured. He has no sex or money scandals and most of his advice was to the left of the Evangelical main stream just twenty years ago.Now he has been linked in the public mind with Sponge Bob. Why? The pop culture belief, which no longer even needs to be true to be a hook, is that he wants to “censor a gay sponge.” It is a lie, but what does it matter? Dobson is religious and to the folk who own the mainstream media, this alone is enough to condemn him. Even some Christians, worried to cultivate their cool, rush to ridicule the man who would attack a cartoon. Book burner. Hateful. Opposed to tolerance. Jim Dobson.It is all a lie, of course. It is a character blackening, sick, and twisted lie of the sort done by cynical people who will do anything to knee cap a foe. However, it fits the stereotype and so it sells. Like African Americans of an earlier generation no real evidence is needed. Whatever he said then, or says now, we know Dobson hates fun, just as we knew African-Americans were lazy, fearful, and dumb. The very denial of the victim leads to knowing nods. “Methinks he doth protest too much.” we say.Here is what Dobson said and says (HT Hewitt).What parent would not want to know if ideas must Americans thought wrong were being sold to their kids using innocent characters? Note that the point of concern is that characters like Winnie the Pooh and Sponge Bob are innocent. To hi-jack them for a message many of us think extreme and wrong with small children is wrong.It is also wrong to wrap a message of hate up and call it tolerance. The groups that sponsor the video (itself a harmless bit of fluff) suggest using it with tools that convert the Pope’s views on homosexuality into mere bigotry. If your elementary school kids miss the subtle argument used to get there, it is because there is not any. One could be pro-gay rights and still find this sort of tax payer funded assault on the views of most the tax payers and users of the system very offensive.Here is the pledge the We Are Family Foundation is using with the video. Some have suggested that this pledge is just about tolerance. Who can be against that? Stereotypes of Evangelicals and snickers begin at this point, but a bad thing may be wrapped in a lovely word. What this group, the WAFF, means by tolerance is a form of group think where anyone who disagrees with them is a bigot.The pledge links race and sexual identity. By doing so, WAFF suggest that having majority American views regarding homosexuality is not just wrong, it is wicked. They are trying to get public air time, for free, in order to proclaim this view to very young children using suggestion and not argument.It is not hard to look at their web site and discover the world view behind their bland exterior. If you want to know a site, check out who they recommend for resources. It is a list of usual leftist suspects. We are entitled to read their intentions with the school project in that light. After all, where are their conservative voices (far larger than the left in the USA) in this “neutral” project?Their site contains projects such as this:American Culture in the World is being co-organized by Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) and the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF). AID is an organization of young professionals and students from more than 70 universities who seek to promote global understanding through dialogue. WAFF is an organization dedicated to promoting diversity and multiculturalism and the vision of a global family through education. Other speakers involved in the series include World Press Review editor Alice Chasan , independent filmmaker and CNBC producer Danny Schechter , and A History of News author Mitchell Stephens .Even if you agree with the point of view of the group to pretend it is “neutral” to the views of the vast majority of parents who voted for Bush (parents of kids were one of his strongest demographics) is nonsense. This group, WAFF, is not “world view” neutral. . . and should not be allowed to introduce materials into public school classrooms as if they were.But perhaps Dobson is just a jerk. After all, isn’t he an evil white man? Wasn’t his dad a pastor, worse a Nazarene? American Christians, eighty percent of the population, should be warned. When the secular establishment and the legacy media turn on you, nothing will protect you.For example, one of my heroes is Bernice King, daughter of MLK. See how she is treated by tolerance.org where her Evangelical views are described as “bigotry.”If you agree with Ms. King, the sorts of folk who run the WAFF think you are a bigot. Period.Shouldn’t Christians resent this? Wouldn’t it worry you if a group and its allies, that think Bernice King is a bigot, were writing stuff for your kids that looked “tame”? Wouldn’t you want to know if they might (!) have a not so hidden agenda?Millions of Americans are not comfortable linking sexual preference and race in the manner of this pledge. In the context of the actual cultural debate, this pledge is loaded and everyone knows it. Race and sexual identity are side by side in the statement. The Civil Rights movement is being stolen to honor the gay rights agenda.What about tolerance? Doesn’t the pledge say to respect all “beliefs” as well? Does this include the belief that the pledge is a bit of meaningless leftist good? Does it include the belief that the people who finished off Sadaam and the rape rooms did more for women than all the WAFF videos in the world?That is not the worst of it. The site calls us to respect all beliefs. This is either fatuous, we really mean beliefs that all p.c. Americans include in the sanitized list we are talking about, or it is a wicked thing to teach kids.How can I respect wicked beliefs? I can be nice to the people having them. . . but I have no respect for people thinking that persons of other races are inferior. Why should my child be taught that a Nazi should be given respect? Shouldn’t respect be earned? What does it mean to have “tolerance” and respect for such beliefs?Isn’t it o.k. that I wish them stamped out?I do not welcome differences over voting rights, as the pledge seemingly wishes me to do. People who think that terrorism is a good and that they should blow up people
about to vote do not earn my respect. I hope their beliefs die out and that they, if they do not change, die with them. I would hope that schools, at a young age, cultivate a healthy bias toward freedom and voting and against torture chambers and despots.My bottom line has always been (and I repeat): such “hot topics” do not belong in lower grades unable to resist, handled by people without training, using materials put out by groups with ideological points of view hostile to most parents in the government funded schools.Iraq should note the difference. Conservatives removed despotic regimes and favor voting. Liberals would send smarmy videos and be unable to do anything but have respect for Sadaam while he is in power.Isn’t this an old story? Shouldn’t I give it up? I don’t think so. I great man has been defamed and mocked by the creation of a false history. Some might say that Dobson should just suck it up and move on with his life. I am sure he will do so. Politics and the public square are tough and Dobson is a strong willed psychologist and he can handle it. The rest of us see what can be done by the legacy media when they decide on an issue. Most people will go on believing that Dobson said what he did not say and an evil little stereotype will be strengthened. You know the type: one not quite wicked enough to ever be exposed and rooted out, but enough to get some other Jim passed over for a job (“Too religious, not a team player.”) or a scholarship.The legacy media should apologize to Dobson or the rest of us should start to realize that the bigotry of the old media will spare no one. If Dobson can be made to look the prude, what will happen to the rest of us? Instead, let’s break the stereotypes, because they are wrong, and keep our kids safe from socialists with cartoon characters. Note: some of my comments appeared in somewhat different form in a conversation on the Biola public discussion boards. None of my comments here are directed to the fine people in that discussion.

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