Falwell, Dobson, and Robertson: the left’s favorite targets for pointing out the undeniable truth that Christians are both human and flawed.
I thought about these three men when reading Howard Fineman’s piece on the Orlando conference of religious broadcasters. Mr. Fineman’s headline labels them the “Three Kingmakers”. Each of the men have had moments in their lives in which the glare of the spotlight has magnified their spoken words, causing the casual observer to wonder who these men think they are, and the committed left to have their worst fears confirmed, and even supporters to question the wisdom of their seeming interjection of personalities into principles, personal influence into the political arena.
Falwell used to rub me the wrong way when I was a young man. Thinking back, it was probably the whole “Baptist thing”: the “once saved, always saved”, and “you can’t be sprinkled, you’ve gotta be dunked”, and other pecularisms that to me seemed just so much dogma; a way of putting the traditions of man before the spiritual principle of Salvation by faith. Robertson seemed like the tent-revival preacher who was apt to say whatever was on his heart, or on his mind, and mostly unable to distinguish between the two. Dobson was the newer guy on the beat, talking about themes of family, discipline, and modeling behavior. I read his book The Strong-Willed Child, at a time when the challenges of raising a strong-willed boy was a difficult challenge for this young father. It’s hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since I read that book, and that the little boy is now a young man. The time does get by.
It’s interesting that those pecularisms that used to seem so important to me have lost their ability to rub me the wrong way. Have Falwell, Robertson and Dobson changed that much? Probably not. I guess, I just realized that it’s not about them. As long as they preach the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus, the rest of it really isn’t that important, including which candidate they endorse. And, I suspect that there are many more on the so-called Religious Right who agree with my assessment rather than with Mr. Fineman’s. It is enough to live usefully, work productively, and give generously, proving all things by the Eternal Standard, trusting that they do indeed work for the good of those who believe.
Here is Mr. Fineman’s concluding paragraph:
I always thought that Huckabee was the logical candidate for religious conservatives — the next step in the progression. If you want to put God in the public square, why not get a preacher to do it? Eliminate the middleman — or men.
OK, so he doesn’t get it. No big surprise, there. It does, however, remind me of some of the semi-flame wars at the blog which will not be named. I realized then that although we were political allies, the secular conservatives trusted and respected Christian conservatives only slightly more than Mr. Fineman and the secular liberals.
Other good reading:
Hatless in Hattiesburg, I can plainly see , Gulf Coast Pundit, Doug Ross, In the bullpen, The Hill Chronicles, Morning Coffee, Ironic Surrealism, John Carey, Traveling the dirt roads, Too much is enough (TWS), What would you do?, The Dream, Truman North, Blogrolling, Planck’s constant, MSGrits, FooD!, Maxine, Writer Chick Talks