Friday, March 21, 2008

Dobson Fears for the Future of the Religious Right

A week ago, James Dobson and other leaders of the Religious Right movement gathered in D.C. for the National Religious Broadcasters convention. Many prominent conservatives, including President Bush, were present for the occasion. When it came Dobson's turn to speak, he expressed concern that the old guard of the Religious Right movement (people like Jerry Falwell, James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, and himself--a group he referred to as "patriarchs") are aging and dying off. Dobson conveyed a sense of doubt that the up-and-coming generation of Evangelical leaders might not carry on the torch.

From the Associated Press:
With a generation of Christian right leaders dead or aging, the founder of the conservative evangelical group Focus on the Family says he's concerned about the movement's future leadership.

"It causes me to wonder who will be left to carry the banner when this generation of leaders is gone," Dobson told an audience of nearly 1,400 at the National Religious Broadcasters conference. "The question is, will the younger generation heed the call? Who will defend the unborn child in the years to come? Who will plead for the Terri Schiavos of the world? Who's going to fight for the institution of marriage, which is on the ropes today."

Dobson's comments come as national groups like the Christian Coalition are struggling, and the organizational muscle of the movement now rests with local pastors, not national figures.

Christian activists and other observers of the movement say that the next generation of leaders isn't as interested in polarizing debates and wants to broaden the evangelical agenda beyond divisive issues like abortion and gay marriage.

"Who in the next generation will be willing to take the heat, when it's so much safer and more comfortable to avoid controversial subjects," Dobson said. "What will be the impact on the conservative Christian church when the patriarchs have passed?"

Hat tip: Right Wing Watch, Ex-Gay Watch


seithman said...

I sincerely hope that Dobson's fears are well founded. It would be nice if tomorrow's conservative, evangelical leaders realized that the Way of Dobson is not synonymous with the Way of Christ. In fact, I'd say the two bear little resemblance to one another.

Joe Moderate said...

I agree, Seithman. Dobson's ministry seems to have veered so far away from its roots in effectively helping parents rear their children. Now it's so involved in politics and--much worse--disseminating reams of distorted information about Dobson's political opponents.

I'll confess I am unfamiliar with Dobson's accuracy record when it comes to his political opponents on women's rights, end-of-life decisions, and other issues. However, I know all too well how incorrect his claims about science and gay people are.

::shakes head::

So much untruth. I hope the errors, distortions, and mischaracterizations he's leveled at gay people for over a decade are mistakes on his part. I hope he hasn't made conscious decisions to lie to people about the lives of actual gay families and about what the scientific literature has reported about gay families.

I think you said it well: the Way of Dobson and the Way of Christ bear little resemblance of one another.

TweetyJill said...
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grace said...

it's such a fallacy when he says the new generation is turning from those old ways because it's "safe and comfortable"

it's's's everything in the world but comfortable and safe, but rarely is the right thing to do safe and comfortable. it's SO much easier to have all these lines in the sand and just blithely walk over to one side and say "screw the rest of you"....

that's a perspective folks like Dobson just don't "get"