On the rewrite of history . . .
Finally someone has acknowledged the role Romney’s faith played in the election just past, something sorely missing from political wrap-ups so far. Sadly, it’s American United For Separation of Church and State. There is something very wrong with that. This is not an issue of a”hard” separation, but of a proper balance.
On Beck/Dobson . . .
The coverage continues to grow, after we broke it Christmas Eve. (Glenn Beck’s photo is at right.) Now the SLTrib and Colorado Springs Gazette (Dobson HQ location) are in on it, and they managed some comment form a Dobson PR person. Turns out my prediction of Sunday night was half right:
Now, here is what I anticipate will happen. The story will reappear at CitizenLink after the holidays with the appropriate corrections – and an explanation that it was merely withdrawn pending those corrections and the holidays, with the resulting lack of available personnel, are the reasons for its extended absence. No mention will be made of McConkey or his press release, and if pressed, FotF personnel will deny it having any influence on their editorial decisions.
The story is not going to reappear (quoting from the CS Gazette):
Focus’ political arm, Focus Action, recently removed an article from its Web site about conservative talk show host Glenn Beck – a Mormon – because it offended some of its evangelical followers.
Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said Monday that the story was put online through an “oversight.”
Schneeberger said Focus Action’s decision to pull the story was not driven by McConkey’s news release.
This is a mistake. I have not read Beck’s book, but as I understand it it tells a basic Christmas story and then uses it in an analogous fashion to describe atonement – a theological concept common to both traditional Christians and Mormons, though somewhat differently understood by each. Of course there are radical fundamentalists out there that berate even “secular” Christmas interpretations, but I do not see Dobson joining in those protests. Lots of people think a lot of things about Christmas, and we can take the best of each – particularly when it is coming form a political ally in a political setting.
Again, quoting from the Gazette piece, the Dobson organization is trying to put a politically cooperative face on this:
On Monday Schneeberger had kind words for Beck.
“We intended no insult,” he said. “We merely miscalculated on how best to feature Glenn, whom we greatly appreciate.”
But Beck pointed out the real issue:
“The concept of religious tolerance is too important to be sacrificed in response to pressure from special interest groups, especially when it means bowing to censorship,” wrote Beck, who could not be reached for additional comment.
Once again, Dobson and his organization are just ham-fisted in handling this stuff. They simply cannot make up their mind between leading and following. They try to lead and then get a little criticism and pull back. But then he is a radio host, not a pastor or a politician. That is one of the bigger problems in the Evangelical movement, we turn to the wrong people for our political leadership.
Lowell comments: Beck’s statement is both depressing and powerful. Depressing, because it is such a sad commentary on the current state of Mormon-Evangelical relations; powerful, because it is so true– and so embarrassing to Dr. Dobson and his organization. I do not believe that Steve McConkey or others of his ilk are representative Evangelicals, but we saw during the 2008 presidential election cycle that they have great influence as spoilers. In other words, they cannot make someone president, but they can stop a candidate – but only in the Republican primaries, not in the general election. I wonder if conservative values voters are going to be content with that limited level of influence? It does not seem to have worked out very well for them this time around, having produced John McCain as the Republican nominee and Barack Obama as president.