James Dobson vs. Kathleen Parker

JAMES DOBSON VS. KATHLEEN PARKER…. Last week, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker urged the Republican Party to move away from the “evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP.”

Yesterday, James Dobson responded to Parker’s advice. As one might imagine, he was less than pleased.

The accuracy of her numbers isn’t the point, anyway — it’s the notion that, because there are people of many faiths in the United States, those of the Christian faith must not think or act like Christians when engaging the public square. […]

[W]e don’t need an embossed note from Ms. Parker — or anyone else — to take part in the political dialogue — of either party. Our invitation to engage the process comes straight from our Founders. We will continue to stand up for the sanctity of human life, the sacredness of marriage and the right to have a say in the principles that will continue to guide this nation founded on biblical principles.

The headline on Dobson’s piece reads, “We Won’t Be Silenced.”

I’m certain Kathleen Parker can defend herself, but looking over Dobson’s harangue, I think he missed Parker’s point. Her column didn’t argue that Dobson and the religious right should be silenced, but rather, that the Republican Party would be wise to stop listening to them. Indeed, Parker’s piece wasn’t really directed at the Dobsons of the world; it was directed at the GOP about the Dobsons of the world.

Dobson seems to have taken all of this quite personally, insisting that politically-active evangelical Republicans must fight back at these efforts to squelch their free speech. As far as I can tell, no one wants to infringe on Dobson’s ability to promote his far-right, vaguely theocratic agenda. The point here is whether the Republican Party is going to take Dobson’s radical demands seriously, and allow the religious right to dictate the party’s policy agenda.

By becoming the party of the religious right, Parker argued, the GOP has alienated “other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.”

Dobson didn’t really respond to this. In fact, he didn’t even try. His argument is premised on the notion that he deserves to speak his mind. No one disagrees. Whether anyone listens is another matter entirely.