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Christine Wicker Headshot

Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun

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They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists. They've implied that unknown powers bought his allegiance by financing his education at Ivy League universities. They've used their pulpits to endorse McCain, hoping to spur a fight with the I.R.S. that would rouse their troops.

None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control.

So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town's people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand, using that very word and asking as the Religious Right/Republican Townhall magazine did in a September headline, "Could We Survive a Barack Presidency?"

Evangelical publisher James Strang answers the survival question by warning his readers that people who hate Christianity will take over the country once Obama is elected.

In fact, "life as we know it will end," Strang writes.

Last week Focus on the Family's James Dobson added his own doomsday predictions with a 16-page rant about evils that will befall the United States by 2012 if Obama is elected. A British commentator dubbed Dobson's list of a parade of horrors.

As a warm up Dobson blames misguided young evangelicals for putting Obama in office. It's them he's hoping to scare most. But they and emergent church leaders such as Brian McLaren, who endorsed Obama, have broken ranks and won't be coming back. He's truly delusional if he thinks they're listening to him.

A great mass of other evangelicals, who never followed the evangelical mullahs and never will, are also going for Obama. Maybe Dobson thinks they'll listen to him.

Not likely. They're using tried-and true-evangelical tactics on behalf of their own cause.

Seattle's Jim Henderson, a former Pentecostal preacher and head of Offthemap.com, is trying guilt.

He recently sent a mass email urging his friends to support Obama because he has the character and bearing to be president, and because his election gives Christians the opportunity to transform historical wrong.

The enslavement of Africans contributed greatly to our nation's wealth and has never been addressed directly and concretely by our leaders, Henderson wrote. Linking that lack of repentance to the country's $13 trillion of debt, he told his friends that our current troubles are a matter of reaping what we've sown. He then cited the chance to elect Obama as an example of "God's mercy - as a way through this historic dilemma and one that will do for our national character what reparations never could."

He and his ilk won't be convinced by Dobson's scare tactics. They're more likely to agree with a new bumper sticker popular in Colorado, where Focus on the Family is based.

It reads, "Focus on your own damn family."

So which evangelicals are left? Oh, I know. How could I have left them until last? The true faithful. The ones who always listen to Dobson.

He's going after evangelicals who may stay home on election day because they paid too much attention to his reasons for refusing to support McCain earlier in the year.

At that time, thinking that he was powerful enough to quash McCain's nomination, Dobson chastised fellow evangelical Gary Bauer for supporting the senator from Arizona.

"The Senator," Dobson said in a press release from Focus on the Family, "is being touted by the media as a man of principle, yet he was involved with other women while married to his first wife, and was implicated in the so-called Keating scandal with four other senators. He was eventually reprimanded by the Congress for the 'appearance of impropriety.' The Senator reportedly has a violent temper and can be extremely confrontational and profane when angry. These red flags about Senator McCain's character are reminiscent of the man who now occupies the White House."

The man who now occupies the White House? Oh yeah. That guy. Isn't he the last president the Religious Right elected?

But let's forget about that. Many of God's men have fallen. God's people move on.

Dobson's jeremiad against McCain also noted the senator's love of alcohol and gambling, as well as his acceptance of support from Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group.

Pretty strong stuff. All true. But let's forget about that.

The Republicans anointed McCain anyway.

When Dobson saw that threats to take his toys and go home didn't keep McCain from winning the nomination, he forgot his previous scruples. Now Dobson sees McCain as God's man. It's Obama who's the devil. And under God's direction, as he always is, Dobson is speaking out again. But this time he is no longer dealing in truth.

As he notes in the letter's preface, Dobson is now imagining things, things that could happen if Christians don't unite behind McCain and give that adulterous, profane, violent, scandal-tainted, bought-out-by-the-homsexuals drinker and gambler the most powerful elective office in the world.

In the letter Dobson imagines Boy Scouts disbanding rather than allowing gay scout leaders the complete license they will get if Obama is elected. He imagines the Pledge of Allegiance being banned in schools. He imagines Communism gaining new power. He imagines doctors killing children just minutes before birth. He imagines Americans forbidden to own guns. He imagines television and radio stations forbidden to preach the Bible. He imagines ministers, lawyers, doctors, social workers all being punished for following their consciences.

Dobson may have gotten his letter idea from Christian radio's Janet Porter who wrote an imaginary "Letter from a Future Prisoner" last year. She was fear mongering over the idea the Hillary might be elected. If that happened "thought crimes" would be instituted. Christian books would be banned. Christian speech would be called hate speech.

Porter, an even bigger drama queen than Dobson, imagined herself in prison doing hard labor merely for defending her faith. And who does she imagine in the cell next to her?

No, no. Not Jesus. Don't be ridiculous.

It's a home-schooling mother weeping inconsolably because her innocent children have been put in foster care.

All because they loved Jesus.

All because that adulterous, profane, violent, scandal-tainted, bought-out-by-the-homsexuals drinker and gambler didn't win the presidential election.

It's enough to make Mickey Rooney weep.