From the New York Times:
Evangelical Leader Threatens to Use His Political Muscle Against Some Democrats, January 1, 2005, By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
COLORADO SPRINGS – James C. Dobson, the nation’s most influential evangelical leader, is threatening to put six potentially vulnerable Democratic senators “in the ‘bull’s-eye’ ” if they block conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.
In a letter his aides say is being sent to more than one million of his supporters, Dr. Dobson, the child psychologist and founder of the evangelical organization Focus on the Family, promises “a battle of enormous proportions from sea to shining sea” if President Bush fails to appoint “strict constructionist” jurists or if Democrats filibuster to block conservative nominees.
Dr. Dobson recalled the conservative efforts that helped in the November defeat of Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the Senate minority leader who led Democrats in using the filibuster to block 10 of Mr. Bush’s judicial nominees.
Christianity developed from an oppressed people. The early Christians were hounded by Rome, which ruled that everyone had to accept that Caesar was divine. They were also oppressed by the Jews, who ruled that everyone had to subscribe to the ancient law and contribute to the ruling religious government. Both of these oppressors were empowered by divine right — the Word of God to Moses and the word of the gods to Caesar.
America was founded upon an idea of representative government, not divine right or divine law. It was not even founded upon majority rule. Inherent in the system of representative government is tolerance for people of diverse faith, creed, color, and national origin. Democratic (representative) government protects the rights of the few against the oppression of the many. It assumes that all people have the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” American Constitutional law protects the individual and the minority group — whether minority due to race, creed, or national origin. We have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to vote. Two of the reasons for which the Constitution was established are to “promote the general welfare” and to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
Christianity was not an oppressive creed at its origin, but it became so when married to the authority of Rome and the royal families of Europe. The American Constitution broke this bond with separation of church and state, a constitutional rule against establishing a church as the state church. Most people today believe that this separation idea was incorporated as a protection for religion, so that people could worship freely. In fact, it was a protection for democracy, which cannot co-exist with divine right.
Neither Christianity nor its founder believed in civil government by the law of God or in the attachment of gods to nations:
- In Matthew 22:15-22 the oppressive Jewish leaders of the day, the Pharisees, knowing that Jesus taught there was only one God, challenged him regarding giving tribute to Caesar. After all, if you support Caesar, are you not acting against your own God? Jesus explained that the money was Caesar’s money, and he answered “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (KJV) The modern translation gives his response as “Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.” (CEV)
- In John 4:5-29 we have a story in which Jesus spoke with a woman of another nation and creed and explained to her that the true worship of God was not tied to a particular mountain or a particular city. He said: “…neither in this mountain nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father….God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (KJV) In modern translation: “…you won’t worship the Father in this mountain or in Jerusalem…. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.” (CEV)
Spirit and truth have no geography. God has no geography. The attachment of God to nations is a false claim and a power grab by human beings. Whether it is a claim of an Islamic fundamentalist or a claim of a Christian evangelical, it is false.