June 26, 2008
James Dobson and Obama's Theory of Abortion RelativityBy Lee Cary
In his confrontation with James Dobson, Senator Obama faces a degree of absolutism that pales in belligerent intensity compared to what he could, as President, face from America's most hostile adversaries. His response to Dobson is a clue to how he might deal with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, et al.
It's no secret that the Obama Campaign is executing a plan to woo evangelical voters coordinated by Joshua DuBois, the National Director of Religious Affairs. DuBois, a member of a United Pentecostal Council Assemblies of God church in Cambridge, Mass., was a graduate student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School when he was "enthralled" by Obama's reference to faith issues in his 2004 Democratic Convention speech. He volunteered to help Obama get elected president.
Dobson's recent comments haven't helped that effort. Dobson said,
The candidate who wants to bring religious peoples together by understanding each other's positions responded that Dobson was "making stuff up," and that,
James Dobson is a son, grandson, and great-grandson of Nazarene evangelists and remains a member of the largest denomination to evolve from the 19th Century Holiness Movement.
Barack Obama was a long-time member of a liberal, mainline protestant denomination. His chosen congregational affiliation was, for two decades, as a member of a local church unreservedly based on black liberation theology.
These two Christian communities will naturally hold different exegetical views on some Biblical concepts, akin to the relationship between medical and chiropractic doctors. And, they'll place varying emphases on specific Biblical passages. It harks back to why all churches don't have "Roman Catholic" on their marquees.
So Dobson said Obama is distorting the Bible, and Obama said Dobson is "making stuff up." Sounds like a case of He said, He said.
So what does this have to do with how a President Obama would deal with belligerent, international dogmatists, be they religious, political, or some combination thereof? Stand-by.
Dobson heard, in Obama's June 28, 2006 Call to Renewal Keynote Address, relativity imposed on the debate concerning abortion. Dobson asked,
In response, Obama described his purpose in that 2006 speech this way:
Universal language? To Dobson that's the language spoken when an issue is taken down to "the lowest common denominator of morality." And at that point it either is, or verges on, immorality from his perspective.
The burning issue for Dobson is partial birth abortion.
This exchange between Obama and reporters from Christianity Today is posted on the Obama Campaign website.
It took Obama 270 words to say: I'm not against abortion. Yet he begins with, "I don't know anybody who is pro-abortion," as the "premise" to everything that follows. (So the National Abortion Rights Action League, Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice America, National Organization of Women, and American Civil Liberties Union are not pro-abortion? They're just anti-anti-abortion?) Didn't "pro" used to mean in favor of a proposition or opinion? Wouldn't at least a woman intent on having an abortion be considered pro-abortion? Senator Obama must have never known such a person.
From Dobson's perspective, Obama's position represents a diminution of the abortion issue to a state of relativity, a place without absolutes. But, is Dobson's position any less an absolute than the belief espoused in Obama's former church of 20 years that today's descents of former African slaves live in continuing oppression in their American Diaspora? Seems like one man's absolute is another man's relativity.
By another twist of Obama logic, being not against something is not equivalent to being for something. Flip it to another issue for comparison purposes only. I'm not against the death penalty. And I don't know anybody who is pro-death penalty. Or try this. I'm not against war. And I don't know anyone who is pro-war. This is Obamik's Cube language.
Unfortunately, in global realpolitik national leaders have emerged, and will doubtless emerge again, who are definitely pro-war. They may, as others have in the past, wage war with the intent of bringing damage upon the people and property of the United States. That's why we call the POTUS the Commander in Chief and not the Litigator in Chief.
So, finally now, what does this have to do with how a President Obama would deal with leaders like Ahmadinejad.
Obama assumes that those who express positions opposite his can be reasoned with in a meeting of the minds, in a joint search for a common purpose. This is one world - we can all get together. Why not? Yes, we can.
Image a President Obama meeting with Mahmoud, Hugo, Jong-il or the like. He smiles, deploys his linguistic judo, and finds himself face-to-face with a stone-cold, black-hearted dictator. A fearless ideologue sitting right there just across the table.
What if in his intransigence -- a relative state because one person's perception of intransigence is another's non-negotiable belief -- this leader won't conform to Obama's position? Nor, to his offered compromise? What then?
What's he going to say when Air Force One lands back at Andrews AFB?
"What could I do? He was making stuff up."