Dobson’s 2012

James Dobson recently wrote a piece of science fiction-a letter written from a future America under the domination of Obama. In this Obama Apocalypse, America is a gunless land of gay marriage and other moral horrors calculated to terrify the religious right. Pornographic magazines proliferate and painted whores leer from their pages at children at every news stand. Old ladies get run over because there are no Boy Scouts to walk them across the street. The entire Bush administration is in jail, no doubt being shanked in the exercise yard. America is militarily weak and Christians are an oppressed minority. Sadly, zombies are not mentioned; but perhaps they can be assumed.

Given Dobson’s influence and fame, this letter does require a response. While it is tempting to respond by dismissing it as a mere paranoid rant, the letter does raise points worth considering.

From a critical standpoint, the letter has two major flaws. First, his extreme claims require equally strong supporting evidence and such evidence is lacking. Dobson’s methodology seems to be primarily the use of the slippery slope. He simply asserts that these bad things shall come to pass if Obama is elected and does not provide a logically convincing case for such an outcome.

Second, his vision of the future seems wildly implausible. America is a conservative country and the extreme changes he envisions simply seem all but impossible in so short a time. While the President does have power, he does not have the power to work such radical changes. Nor does the Supreme Court, despite what Dobson claims in his letter. Dobson also indulges in a classic persecution fantasy, namely the delusion that Christians are persecuted in America and that such persecution will be even more extreme under Obama. America, as almost everyone else realizes, is religiously tolerant and (more importantly) is predominantly Christian. As such, the idea of Christians being a persecuted minority by 2012 is absurd.

That said, Dobson’s letter does raise some reasonable concerns. While his fictional future seems to be an impossibility, he is right to warn people to carefully consider their voting choices and to be concerned about what the future might bring. It is always wise to be wary when handing power to people. As history shows, things do not always go as people hope.

Dobson is also correct in considering the possibility that dominance by one party can lead to serious moral and practical problems for America. While the government cannot reshape America into the Dobson’s vision in a mere four years, it (or rather the people that make it up) can do a significant amount of damage. After all, just imagine a letter from 2008 sent back to 2000. Such a letter would tell of an America that had engaged in torture, created secret prisons, and violated basic liberties. It would also tell of the botched handling of natural disasters, an economic meltdown and two wars. Such a letter would certainly be terrifying.

In light of the past eight years, we should heed Dobson’s warning and be on guard against moral decay and disaster. If only such a warning had arrived eight years ago.

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