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View Diary: Dobson: Waiting for A Signal from God (206 comments)

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  •  Dr. Dobson (none)
    "I've watched Dobson and he's turned into something vile and detestable, much like the sins he preaches against. He's a shining example of why church and state must be absolutely seperate. When churches become intertwined with government, churches are corrupted by their inherent affiliation with government. All the worst qualities of politics become readily apparent in the church. On the other hand, in a society that supposedly guarantees freedom of religion, it doesn't do to have one particular denomination with a few charismatic leaders dominate the government"

    This post also refers to Dr. Dobson as a "right reverend."  All this is wrong.  Dr. Dobson is a psychologist with a Phd. from USC and was a medical school professor for 17 years.  He is not a minister, clergyman, or preacher, and has never claimed to be.  Moreover, he does not lead a church and is not affiliated with any particular denomination.  To imply that Dobson must not be involved in politics because of the First Amendment is entirely mistaken.  No one's faith should be a disqualification from participation in the political process.  After all, the civil rights movement was led by a clergyman who presided over a church, which Dobson is not.  Religion has always played a crucial role in American politics, and always will.  This is as it should be.  Be careful of imposing a "religious test" on those seeking to participate in politics in our country.  

    •  Corrected (none)
      I stand corrected. To be honest, I wasn't that familiar with his background. He's become a defacto minister, even if not ordained. I recognize the importance of not imposing my religious beliefs on others and I realize people's faith is important to them. But... how does one deal with a situation when their religious beliefs, by their very nature, means they must impose them on someone else and further, they seek to dictate terms of morality not just to their followers but to the country as a whole?
      •  Dr. Dobson, continued (none)
        One deals with that situation by voting against that person, or the people who represent that person's policies.  The United States is a democracy, and all are invited to participate and bring whatever they want to the table, including religious beliefs.  In fact, the more open about it they are about it the better, because the voters can then evaluate them more completely.  It is one thing to call Dr. Dobson vile or other nasty names and George Bush a lying murderer (although I wouldn't advise this because it violates the Christian ethic of charity and the social principle of politeness, among other things) but it is another to assert that they cannot participate in this democracy because of their religious beliefs or are somehow not entitled to express those beliefs publicly.  The former assertion represents your own (however questionable) contribution to the political process; the latter seeks to discriminate against people because of their ideas.  The Constitution, as amended after the Civil War, clearly prevents the government from doing this.  Shout nasty things at people all day, but please don't try to prevent them from shouting a reply by barring religious expressions from public life.  Liberals have always openly used religion as a powerful force in politics (the progressive movement, the civil rights movement); they should not pretend that the Constitution bars conservatives from doing the same thing.  Religion is a part of who people are and thus will always be involved in politics; indeed, it often provides the best vantage point for people seeking to change their government or society.
        •  This is crap. (none)
          "Religion is a part of who people are and thus will always be involved in politics; indeed, it often provides the best vantage point for people seeking to change their government or society."

          You say it all very nicely, but none the less, it's crap.  That is, you make a universal statement that is only true in some cases.  You also make the erroneous assumption that ethical behavior stems only from religious faith.  Not true.  Further, you confuse oppression based on religious dogma with actions motivated by humanist ethics that coincide with some teachings in some faith traditions.

          Lots of people in lots of countries manage to keep "religion" out of politics.  Use that fine mind of yours to do a little reading about one of the OTHER countries on the planet.

          •  American religion (none)
            Your criticisms:
            1) "That is, you make a universal statement that is only true in some cases... Lots of people in lots of countries manage to keep "religion" out of politics"

            Fair enough.  People should avoid unneccesary generalizations, but my central point was that religion in America is, and historically has been, inextricably tied up with politics.  No one who has studied the civil rights movement can dispute its overt religious tone and ideology and the extent to which it employed pre-existing religious networks, such as churches and charitable societies, to achieve its goals.  Read Thomas Jefferson, who even as a skeptical Diest justified his political policies as advancing the will of God on earth.  Read Washington's "Farewell Address" on the crucial importance of religion in preserving freedom and democracy.  In America, if nowhere else, religion is one of the most central features of our politics and our culture.  Still, to the extent that anybody, anywhere is seriously religious, this part of their lives will be reflected in their politics.  Something like 90% of Americans call themselves Christians, and this will show up in their politics, no matter what anyone thinks about it.  Lets not make people be dishonest about it by hiding their religion from public view.

            2)"Further, you confuse oppression based on religious dogma with actions motivated by humanist ethics that coincide with some teachings in some faith traditions."

            As I've said, Christianity was central to the American civil rights movement in a number of ways- it did not merely "coincide" with humanism in this case.  In addition, I dont buy your implication that there are large political factions in this country seeking to "oppress" others through the application of religion to politics or government.  Even if I did, however, its still irrelevant to my central argument.  The Constitution forbids the government from pushing people's religious beliefs out of politics, just as it forbids politicians from establishing a national religion and thus restrains potential "religious oppression" by anyone serving in office.  It is up to the voters to distinguish between various political and religious ideologies and vote accordingly.  This is what democracy is all about.  It is beneficial to this process if everything's out in the open and people can thus make better-informed choices.  If you don't like the potential "oppressers" vote against them.  That's the only alternative the Constitution leaves us with, and I believe thats wise.  To disqualify anyone from public life because of sincere religious beliefs is to open up a Pandora's box of potential totalitarianism and, yes, oppression.          
            And, yes, there are moral systems that exist indepedent from religion, but in America their influence is infinitismal compared with Christianity.

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