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08 December 2008

Focus Offers Obama Nightmare

By Ari

(Reposted:) Westword pointed to a document from Focus on the Family titled, "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America." I figured I'd take a peek.

The document purports to describe events that could happen. "Many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court and a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate," the letter predicts. How might this happen?

Obama could select three Supreme Court justices who are "far-Left, American Civil Liberties Union-oriented judges." (Apparently the ACLU is still a scare word in some circles.) What is the harm in that? Does Focus on the Family worry about eroded economic liberties? Eroded personal liberties? After all, the purported concern of the letter is freedom.

The answer is no:

The most far-reaching transformation of American society came from the Supreme Court's stunning affirmation, in early 2010, that homosexual "marriage" was a "constitutional" right that had to be respected by all 50 states because laws barring same-sex "marriage" violated the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The first thing to notice is that such a ruling would in no way restrict "our freedoms" in any way, unless by "freedom" Focus on the Family means the freedom for the majority to impose controls on the minority. Such a ruling would expand the freedoms of some. My freedom is in no way restricted if my gay friends get married. This hardly raises a blip on the Scarometer.

I am not much concerned whether gay couples go the route of "marriage" or "domestic partnership." But what is interesting is that this is the top concern of Focus on the Family, even though such a ruling would have no practical significance for the day-to-day lives of most Americans.

The Court might also further violate rights of contract and free association in the name of anti-discrimination. Obviously I'm against that. However, conservatives have hardly taken a consistent position on the matter.

Government-school training on the virtues of homosexuality? I doubt it. If it were a problem, the solution is to separate school and state. But, generally, evangelicals have been more interested in capturing tax-funded schools for their own purposes, not restoring liberty in education. Those who want school prayer and the tax-funded teaching of creationism can hardly whine when their opponents want to capture the same system for their own purposes.

"There are no more Roman Catholic or evangelical Protestant adoption agencies in the United States." It's unclear to me why religious organizations should have the "freedom" to place children according to religious doctrine. Those organizations don't own the children.

Outlawing "offensive" speech from the Bible? Well, if the justices are ACLU types, we hardly need to worry about that. The irony of the evangelical movement whining about censorship is palpable. The evangelical movement poses the much more dangerous threat to free speech.

Controls on doctors? Again with the hypocrisy. Hello! Focus on the Family wants to throw doctors in prison -- or worse -- for performing abortions. I share the concern about controls on association and contract. But the religious right hardly offers a better alternative than the left.

Focus on the Family's concern with fertility treatments is especially laughable. Remember that Focus praised Amendment 48, which would outlaw most fertility treatments because they involve the destruction of fertilized eggs.

Focus on the Family then tries to argue that outlawing abortion and censoring pornography is somehow consistent with freedom. Notice that, in the same document, the same organization laments censorship of religious speech even as it advocates censorship on religious grounds.

For demographic reasons -- evangelicals tend to be more rural and suburban -- the religious right sides with gun ownership. Well, that's great. But in the general context of faith-based politics, such a right is practically meaningless, as the greatest threat to our liberty is the government.

Focus on the Family worries about Obama's foreign policy and health policy. But of course George W. Bush, the evangelical president, was a complete disaster on both fronts. (Bush did allow Health Savings Accounts, but at the cost of a massive expansion of health entitlements.)

The letter's closing paragraph states, "I still believe God is sovereign over all history, and though I don't know why he has allowed these events, it is still his purpose that will ultimately be accomplished." In other words, all of this concern expressed by Focus on the Family about freedom is merely a front. The organization doesn't fundamentally care about freedom; it cares about seeing God's alleged will imposed on earth.

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