Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, Wright

A reader writes:

I have to agree with the reader who commented on the tone and content of the Dish pre and post Obama's speech on Race (and ultimately Faith) in America and on your own assessment of Obama's great strength.  He gives us permission to be flawed, to sometimes contradict ourselves, to "flip-flop" when facts force a reassessment of previous positions, to have controversial bedfellows, to love the sinner.  Above all else, Obama is teaching me to be less judgmental.

If I'm going to ask the Right to move beyond the Wright soundbytes and examine the man's full resume, I must do the same with people like Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Pastor Hagee.  It's been so easy to dismiss these pillars of the Christian Right as hate-mongers and bigots based on soundbytes posted throughout the liberal blogosphere.  But clearly their messages are not limited to the demonization of gays and abortion-providers or they would not have developed such enormous support.  If I truly believe in the decency and honor of the American people, I must assume that the millions of Americans that congregate to these churches are going because these men inspire them in some way and provide a positive spiritual message.

Obama's message inspires me to question my own biases and assumptions, to keep an open mind about people with whom I disagree, and to stay positive.  Obama has even inspired me, a life-long agnostic, to consider exploring some congregations in my community. Not because I've suddenly "found God", but because I see in his experiences the value that can be gained from involvement with the spiritual community.

I have been thinking along the same lines. I do know, for example, that James Dobson, for example, has done good for people, even though he has also demonized people like me and my husband. This Easter, I found myself forcing myself to ask whether I have also been too quick to condemn on the bases of soundbites. I'm not saying that opposing the worldview and hatefulness of some statements from the religious right is in any way wrong. I'm saying that Christians have an obligation to try and see the good others do as well - and to realize that we are all a mix of good and bad.