Friday, November 07, 2008

Evil

I try not to throw that word around too much. It's pretty loaded. But every once in a while it seems warranted. Take this, for instance: a Focus on the Family fundraising email that went out after Tuesday's election.

Dear Friend,

The spirit of Winston Churchill was alive and well on Tuesday night at Focus on the Family Action headquarters.

You may recall that in the most desperate days of World War II – when Great Britain was being pounded daily by Hitler’s Luftwaffe – that Winston Churchill called on his countrymen not to despair from danger but to rise to the challenge.

Excuse me. Did James Dobson just compare President-elect Barack Obama to... Hitler?

I am writing a sermon to be preached on Sunday. In it I make the point that, after such a contentious presidential election, Christians can make a difference by trying to be vehicles of reconciliation. Maybe, from the easy chair of those who were rooting for the victor that's easy to do. Maybe, if Senator McCain were president-elect, I'd be preaching fire and brimstone about him bringing about Armageddon. God help me... I hope I wouldn't be, but maybe I would, in my sadness and frustration.

But I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say: this is evil. This is evil. To equate this newly elected president to Hitler-- it's evil. It would be evil if I did it to McCain. It's evil when Dobson does it to Obama.

Which brings me to the question: How can organizations like Focus on the Family spread their money all over the political process and still benefit from tax-exempt status? For those interested in the process for filing complaints about that with the government, and in order to read the entire article from whence this tidbit came at Crooks and Liars, go here.

And people? Let's try not to be evil out there, ok?

3 comments:

Choralgirl said...

Mags, thanks for this. Will do.

And I'd submit that it's not necessarily easier for "victors" to preach cooperation at this point, as there's a significant amount of forgiveness involved before it can happen with real integrity. But I can't think of anything more NECESSARY than for those in ascendancy to try to break this toxic, vitriolic cycle and try for some peacemaking instead.

Of which Dr. Dobson and his ilk are apparently not capable or interested. Sigh. WTF?

steve said...

It's outrageous and sad. And then they wonder why people mistrust the religious right.

Thom said...

Not sure if you're interesting in the technical answer to your question ("How can...FotF spread their money...and still benefit from tax-exempt status?"), but there are two partial answers. First, to lose tax-exempt status, politics must be a "substantial" part of what you do. This is what will protect, e.g., the LDS church from losing its tax exempt status in spite of lobbying for Proposition 8. Second, Focus on the Family actually has a separate political arm, The Family Research Council. Though they're related, they are administratively separate. So, Focus focuses on more general religious admonishment, while the FRC does the politicking.