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If Obama’s Elected, Doomsday’s Coming!

October 26, 2008

My wife has become a political junkie… Although we are Canadians, and even Western ones at that, we are keenly observing the U.S. election. For those Americans out there who think this is a dubious practice (foreigners weighing in on things), remember that what happens in the U.S. has profound implications for Canada (and the rest of the world).

Today, she found a letter posted on Focus On the Family Action’s website on Oct 22. The thing is astounding (see below).

Focus is a lobby group institutionally independent from Focus on the Family (for tax exemption purposes), but undoubtedly representing the political views of most of its adherents. And for those of you unfamiliar with Focus on the Family, it’s an organization headed by psychologist James Dobson, a conservative evangelical who has increasingly weighed in on political matters.

I grew up with Focus on the Family literature around the house: Breakaway Magazine, Plugged In (with Bob Demoss), and the monthly Dobson Q&A insert in our church bulletin. In those early 80s days, Dobson was someone who advocated discipline in child-rearing, thoughtful parenting, and his magazines promoted Christian athletes as role models and Christian music as an alternative to pop music. A bit old fashioned, but not especially controversial stuff.

Like I say, however, he has increasingly become political (understatement). Here’s a screenshot for the website – the letter link is on the right below “08 Election Coverage”:

This letter is so far out there I could have believed it came from The Onion!

Written by “A Christian from 2012,” the piece is a hypothetical disaster scenario of what happens in America after Barack Obama is elected (partly because of impressionable young pro-Obama evangelicals).

The summary from Christianity Today’s blog names the following features of the post-Obama dystopia:

-The Supreme Court would lean liberal
-Churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages would lose their tax-exempt status
-“under God” in the Pledge would be declared unconstitutional
-Doctors and nurses who won’t perform abortions will no longer be able to deliver babies
-Pornography would be openly displayed on newsstands
-Inner-city crime increases when gun ownership is restricted
-Homeschooling would become restricted, so thousands of homeschooling parents emigrate to other countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
– “Since 2009, terrorist bombs have exploded in two large and two small U.S. cities, killing
hundreds, and the entire country is fearful, for no place seems safe.”
-Euthanasia is becoming more and more common.
-New carbon emission standards drive many coal-powered electric plants out of business.

Wow. Quite a list. But that’s not all: Obama’s administration leads to more unionization, the pledge of allegiance is no longer said publicly (due to references to God), the boyscouts disband, there’s universal healthcare, and Christian book publishers and campus groups are only skeletal remains of their former selves. And that’s not even all (the letter also manages to equate homosexuality with pedophilia!!!).

I realize that this letter is a sincere depiction of how people genuinely think about Obama. While it’s tempting to satirize this perspective (aim gun into fish-filled barrel, pull trigger), I’d think it’s better to engage it, at least briefly.

As an evangelical Christian, I would ask folks like this:

– Do they think America is, was, or should be Christian?
– Is faith inextricably linked to government?
– Do they really believe that God will be God, regardless of the outcome of the election?
– Do they think that Christianity is primarily about the nuclear family?
– Do they think that the Bible teaches the world will get worse, better, or some combination thereof?

As a Canadian, I have to tell them that:

– As a country more “liberal” than the U.S., Canada has not seen the systematic destruction of church and parachurch organizations, the demise of free speech, or any of the disasters predicted by this letter.
– Unions aren’t necessarily evil. In fact, they are responsible for 8 hour workdays, vacations, and work safety standards. Many people see them as performing a valuable social function. Economists suggest unionization can increase hirings, productivity, and not just the burden on consumers. In many countries, unions contribute to a healthy, cooperative workforce.
– Universal healthcare is seen as a positive thing by most Canadians. While not without difficulties, most Canadians believe it is a vital aspect of society, regardless of political or religious stripe.

I could go on… but won’t.

I urge my American evangelical brothers not to get sucked in by the negativity. Don’t fall for the hype, work hard to rid yourself of any persecution complex, maybe even look at what evangelical groups like Sojourners or Matthew 25 Network are saying (you don’t have to agree), realize that many many Christians feel that it is necessary to take action on climate change, and above all, don’t let anyone link Christianity and a political party! It’s bad theology and bad politics.

Above all, think about how letters like these might reflect on your faith. Think about how this might look to non-Christians.

You know what? You might find the world is not as interested in destroying your way of life as you think.

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4 comments

  1. As shocking and disturbing as the letter was, it’s good to see the outrage coming out of other Christian camps. The following was posted on the Christianity Today website:

    Jim Wallis:
    “In a time of utter political incivility, it shows the kind of negative Christian leadership that has become so embarrassing to so many of your fellow Christians in America,” he writes. “Such outrageous predictions not only damage your credibility, they slander Barack Obama who, you should remember, is a brother in Christ, and they insult any Christian who might choose to vote for him.”

    Matthew 25 Network:
    “As you can see, Focus on the Family Action has abandoned reasonable appeals and resorted to shameless tactics of fear mongering. They have abandoned the belief that voters can make informed decisions and have instead appealed to fear as their fundamental motivator.

    “As Christians, we stand appalled and ashamed at such tasteless demagoguery. We believe that civil, educated, and compassionate dialogue should and can occur with the active engagement of our faith, but believe that Focus on the Family Action has, in this letter, stepped far outside of reasonable boundaries into pure sensationalism. We believe that such thoughtless expressions coming from an organization that purports to represent Evangelicals continues to mar our legitimacy and voice in the public arena, and damages our basic Christian witness.”


  2. Regrettably the letter is not as far out as you may think. Many of the predictions mentioned are based on current events and situations that are already in the courts and impacting peoples daily lives. Your great country of Canada has already arrested Priests that have confirmed the Bibles teaching on homosexuality. Hate speach laws can be broad based and regrettably force any opposition to comply or be jailed. To call the letter nothing but propaganda is also wrong.
    The real question is will you post a comment word for word that does not agree with your own assestment? Free speech means not censured. Hate speech laws are censure, plain and simple.


  3. Oh, I don’t think Canada is especially great. It’s just that the slippery slope argument is not accurate, at least to my mind. You hear the same arguments here, but I’m not sure the ‘comply or be jailed’ ultimatum happens all that often.

    Americans often refer to Canada for rhetorical effect — either it’s the best place on earth, or it’s a socialist, terror-harboring hell. So I won’t say that Canada doesn’t have issues, but at least it shows the culture war folks may exaggerate what might happen if they lose.

    Priests have been arrested? New to me. I’d like to hear what you’re referring to.


  4. Looked a little into the allegation that “priests have been arrested,” which has popped up in articles around the Focus allegations of a post-Obama America:

    There are mentions of an arrest of a Canadian pastor (unnamed):
    http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=20055

    There have also been several cases which have reached Canadian human rights tribunals:

    In Alberta, an evangelical youth pastor named Steve Boissoin was fined for a letter to a Red Deer paper:
    http://glenncartwright.blogspot.com/2008/07/pastor-fined-for-criticizing.html

    A Basilian priest, Fr. Alphonse de Valk, is under investigation with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for allegedly defending the official Catholic position using biblical texts and official teaching:
    http://catholicexchange.com/2008/06/04/112780/

    Some have drawn a connection between the two (Boissoin as precedent for de Valk) cases:
    http://catholicexchange.com/2008/06/09/112825/

    So to summarize, it doesn’t appear that there have been arrests, but there have been cases appearing before human rights tribunals.

    If I have missed something, please let me know by commenting.



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