I looked yesterday at the deplorable response of the Religious Right to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. There is an old truism that in a disaster, each will respond according to his measure, and we have seen that truism born out: While Dick’s Sporting Goods suspends (at least temporarily) sales of what are known as ‘modern sporting rifles’, NRA-owned Republicans in Congress hide, and the Religious Right says God will go on killing our children until we turn our public schools into churches and use them to train future generations to be an aberrant species of Christian.
Yesterday, we heard from Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee, two of the most despicable men on earth, certainly. But not far behind comes Focus on the Family and Family Research Council founder James Dobson, who spoke up yesterday on his radio program, Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson, telling listeners that the Sandy Hook school massacre was the result of God punishing us for turning our backs on him.
Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I’m not talking politically, I’m not talking about the result of the November sixth election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.
I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.
And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.
In truth, if you want to look for evidence of moral rot, you have only to look as far as the Religious RIght, with their pseudo-Christianity based on idolatry of wealth. They have turned their back on Jesus by embracing the rich rather than condemning them, as the man from Galilee did time and again. They have thrown Jesus’ message of love under the bus and embraced a cherry-picked reading of Old Testament fire and brimstone and put it in Jesus’ place. As a religion, it is neither Judaism nor Christianity but some monstrous offspring of their hate and bigotry.
People like James Dobson, Bryan Fischer, and Mike Huckabee, are the purveyors of this false, anti-Jesus gospel.
Dobson’s message was not a new one. It was no different than his message last week, when he said,
Once again the nation is being led down the path to destruction and once again by and large God’s people are looking the other way. I don’t have to tell anyone in this room tonight how far that path to destruction we’ve already traveled. You see the evidence in families that are fractured and marriages that are broken; in young people that lose their way and often their lives in a maze of alcohol and drugs; in a culture that can no longer distinguish between lust and love; that is willing to tolerate the vilest perversion as an “alternative, acceptable lifestyle” while pestilence stalks the land; in public schools that have become facilitators for fornication and procurers for the abortionist knife; in a nation that has lost the moral will to distinguish between that which is right and that which is wrong: we know all too well how far down that road to destruction we have already gone.
Speaking of the vilest perversions…it is almost as though Dobson were gazing into a mirror. The truly frightening thing is that sick individuals like Dobson have the certainty of a medieval inquisitor, convinced of his own righteousness and the holiness of his cause even as he commits untold evil on those who trust his connection to the divine.
Dobson is not an ordained minister. He is just another bigot with rancid opinions forming the ideological framework of his warped worldview. As such, he is little different from the Religious Right’s rank and file, though ambitious enough to be selling the Kook-Aid rather than drinking it. It is hardly a wonder that he does much of this peddling for Fox News, when he is not recording his radio program.
Joe Scarborough can question long-held beliefs after the fact, determining that “It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas” and we can admire him for actually trying to justify his ideology based not on preconceptions but on the facts on the ground. But you won’t see this kind of soul-searching coming from the Religious Right. Look at SNL alumnus Victoria Jackson, who outdid her own wing-nuttery the other day by taking to Facebook to say,
‘My friend Jim Riley posted: “Wasn’t the Connecticut killer just doing what abortionists do every day? It’s a wonder we don’t have more 20 year old “dads” doing what women and doctors have been an accomplice to for years in America. When you forget the TEN COMMANDMENTS, people, THIS is what you get.”‘
As religious fanatics have always done, they will insist they are selling the word of God and therefore embody his will. As Socrates said, (Apology 38a),”The unexamined life is not worth living.” But if God has spoken, what is there to examine, someone like Dobson might answer.
Reasonable people know that certainty is not necessarily a good thing. As Voltaire said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” Bertrand Russell went so far as to call it an “intellectual vice.”
And that is what the Religious Right is: a vice, though to use the word ‘intellectual’ might be presumptuous. Friedrich Nietzsche was certainly right when he said, “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”
If you doubt that for an instant, taking some time to listen to James Dobson and Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee, and like Joe Scarborough, you may find yourself following Socrates’ advice, and actually examining what you thought you knew.
James Dobson says America has turned its back on God and Sandy Hook is God’s response: the murder of our children in retaliation. Who needs a God like that? And who needs James Dobson?
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.