James Dobson!

What, maybe you were expecting Bill Clinton? That is so yesterday.

On his Tuesday radio program, Dobson took time out from his no doubt very busy schedule as a professional Child Psychologist, complete with Ph.D, to address the masses with a blistering attack on Barack Obama. The target of his ire? Obama’s Christianity. Unbelievable. Some gems from this diatribe:

Barack Obama “deliberately distorts the Bible…”

Obama is “…dragging biblical understanding through the gutter…”

… in order to “wilfully confuse people…”

and who has a “fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, James Dobson, Biblical Scholar, Theologian, Lawyer, and Pontiff of American Evangelicalism!

In all seriousness, I suppose I should be grateful for the fact that I do not know by what authority Dobson believes he can go off like this. Certainly not on his authority as a child psychologist. He rightly claims he has no religious or theological credentials other than whe he himself believes. But the fact is that millions of Christians have listened to him promote his version of Christianity now for over 30 years. Among evangelicals, perhaps only Billy Graham has spent more time and exercised more evangelical influence in Washington than Dobson.

But Dobson is not a politician. Child psychologists, even if they exercise influence over a lot of people (primarily Boomers, from what I can tell… the largest voting bloc), don’t belong in partisan politics the way Dobson and so many other evangelicals with a little influence, a healthy dash of media savvy, and a lot of cash have done. Personally I don’t care what Dobson thinks politically. One of the great things about the US is exactly the freedom to disagree over politics, policy, religion, and so on, without fear of imperial repercussions. But I find it absolutely reprehensible that Dobson and others of his ilk attack Obama’s faith for what can only be interpreted as political dream of evangelical theocracy.

Dobson’s diatribe, in fact, says very little about Obama’s current campaign. Instead, Dobson and his henchman Tom Minnery go after Obama’s 2006 Call to Renewal Speech, which deserves to be in the canon of great American speeches. If Obama is distorting the Bible, as Dobson alleges (being the biblical expert and all that he seems to be), Dobson has distorted Obama’s Call to Renewal speech in such a way that strains credibility. (Maybe that will prove to be a good thing.)

And so it is with great disgust that I present the 2008 Just Shut Up! Award to Dr. James Dobson.