Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dobosn Seeks to Divide Nation

James Dobson is upset about the Ten Commandments rulings handed down yesterday by the Supreme Court. In a press release issued by Dobson’s rightwing religious group, Focus on the Family, he says the decision:

"[T]ore a hole through the First Amendment."

I was unaware that the First Amendment guaranteed the right to display the Ten Commandments. But that’s just how it starts. There’s more:

Dobson also calls on his millions of listeners to ready themselves for the "mother of all battles" -- the fight to fill a vacancy on the high court if a current justice steps down soon, as is widely anticipated.

"The decisions released Monday make it more evident than ever that the next justice must be a 'strict constructionist,' a jurist who understands his or her role is to uphold, not shred, the Constitution," he said. "All people of faith, those 'values voters' who made the difference in the last election, must be prepared to make their voices heard to make sure that a future Supreme Court lineup doesn't completely eradicate even our rights as individuals to acknowledge God publicly."

Let’s be very, very clear. We all have the right to acknowledge God publicly. If you want to stand on a street corner and proselytize about Jesus or bow to Ala in the park or light a menorah in your store window, you are allowed.

What the Ten Commandments ruling and, in fact, all so-called “establishment clause” rulings deal with is government reference to specific religions. Our Founders intended our government to be strongly secular or, at the very least, careful not to promote one religion or one sect over any other.

Dobson, however, seems to think this should change. His outrage at the Ten Commandments ruling is disturbing. What does he think? That our government should be posting the Ten Commandments at every turn—specifically promoting the tenants of Judeo-Christian religions over all others?

Even worse than his bad reading of law is his attempts to use these decisions as another excuse to divide the nation. Our right to worship was not touched here. Our freedom of religion remains unscathed. All people of faith still live in the most religiously open and tolerant nations on earth. We have no reason to be mad. In fact, we have reason to rejoice that we Americans have found a way to be at once solidly religious at heart and yet strongly secular in governing.

Apparently, Dobson would prefer and end to this historic balance. Apparently, Dobson seeks to turn people of faith against their government. At this point in America, we need people working to bring us together, not tear us apart. My only hope is that most people will ignore Dobson and his divisiveness. We don’t need it.


Post a Comment

<< Home