A campaign worker for Barack Obama and the Texas Methodist pastor who advises President Bush have been linked to a website that bashes prominent Christian leader and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.
The site, called “jamesdobsondoesntspeakforme,” appeared just days ago after Dobson criticized Obama’s interpretation of the Bible during a 2006 speech and Obama responded essentially by calling Dobson a liar, accusing him of “making things up.”
Now a report from OneNewsNow, a division of the American Family Association, said the website originally was registered to Obama campaign worker Alyssa Martin, but the registration later was changed to Kirbyjon Caldwell, who leads a Methodist megachurch in Texas and has advised Bush.
Donald Wildmon, chairman of the AFA, suggested Caldwell could do some explaining about his participation in the campaign to bash Dobson, the author of “Bringing Up Boys” and dozens of other family books.
“We are dismayed that the pastor of a large Methodist church in Houston, Texas, has had trouble remembering the facts of his relationship with the Barack Obama campaign,” Wildmon said today. “On Wednesday of this week, the Associated Press quoted Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, who has endorsed Obama, as saying he belongs to a group of religious leaders who, working independently of Obama’s campaign, launched a website to counter critical remarks about Obama made by Focus on the Family leader James Dobson.
“Pastor Caldwell repeated the assertion that he did not work with the Obama campaign to develop the site during an interview with OneNewsNow.com. However, in a subsequent interview with OneNewsNow.com, Caldwell stated that he had worked with Obama campaign worker, Alyssa Martin, to help set up the site,” Wildmon continued.
“Why has Pastor Caldwell changed his story about the website, and why has he been reluctant to reveal his close working relationship with the Obama campaign in setting up the website which has been used to attack the credibility of James Dobson?” Wildmon asked.
Caldwell’s personal page on his church website notes that he believes the church must “embrace theology, identify societal problems, and deliver solutions holistically.”
The dispute arose following Dobson’s evaluation of Obama’s 2006 speech.
Dobson, whose daily radio broadcasts reach millions, said the likely Democratic presidential nominee distorted the Bible and pushed a “fruitcake interpretation” of the U.S. Constitution.
Obama’s comments had come in a June 2006 speech to the Call to Renewal group, which was described by the Associated Press as “liberal.”
“Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?” Obama said. “Would we go with James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s?”
Obama cited Leviticus as suggesting slavery is all right and eating shellfish is an abomination. He said in the speech, “Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles.”
Dobson said Obama improperly equated Old Testament dietary codes and texts to Jesus’ New Testament teachings.
“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology,” Dobson told the AP. “He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.”
Obama’s response? “I think you’ll see that he was just making stuff up, maybe for his own purposes.”
Now the site assembled by the onetime Obama campaign worker and Caldwell accuses Dobson of not speaking for its supporters.
“He doesn’t speak for me when he uses religion as a wedge to divide; He doesn’t speak for me when he speaks as the final arbiter on the meaning of the Bible; James Dobson doesn’t speak for me when he uses the beliefs of others as a line of attack;
He doesn’t speak for me when he denigrates his neighbor’s views when they don’t line up with his; He doesn’t speak for me when he seeks to confine the values of my faith to two or three issues alone,” the website says.
Instead, “What does speak for me is David’s psalm celebrating how good and pleasant it is when we come together in unity; Micah speaks for me in reminding us that the Lord requires us to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him; The prophet Isaiah speaks for me in his call for all to come and reason together and also to seek justice, encourage the oppressed and to defend the cause of the vulnerable.”
It offers readers a choice to sign onto its political agenda.
It also lists comments from Obama in response to Dobson’s criticisms. It even addresses what many Christians see as one of the more visible apparent conflicts between Obama’s statements abouthis adopting Christianity and his actions: his dedicated support for abortions even through late-term procedures.
Obama says: “I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”
Dobson’s responded to that statement with: “And if I can’t get everyone to agree with me, it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the Scripture. That is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution. … Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of tiny babies?”
The Washington Post noted Caldwell “has for months participated on a weekly Friday morning prayer call with members of Obama’s staff and other Christian ministers who dial in from across the county (sic).”
On the OneNewsNow forums page, the anonymously submitted opinions were running heavily against Caldwell:
- Obama is either ignorant or misguided because he declared his mother was in heaven even though she was not a Christ follower and even a good Muslim would go to Heaven. All such is an affront to Jesus own words. Settle it Obama. Jesus was either a liar, crazy or who He said he was, the only begotten of the Father!
- I have to question the Christianity of a man who has the same philosophy about the sanctity of human life as the Nazis did. Just as the Nazis justified the Holocaust and the murder of millions of people because they considered them not to be human beings and therefore killing them was not murder, Obama doesn’t consider an innocent child in its mother’s womb to be a human being and therefore killing them is not murder. Abortion does not equal murder in Obama’s eyes and yet he calls himself a “Christian.” There were Nazis who called themselves “Christians.”
- While Dobson doesn’t speak for me, I do agree with him on this item. Obama has said so many things that are totally against God’s word that it is scary….i.e “there are other ways to heaven than just through Jesus,” “my mother was an atheist, but she was the nicest kindest woman, and I believe she is in Heaven” Excuse me! What Christian could say something like this???? God help this country if he is elected because we will need it.”