When activists adopt the “my way or the highway” attitude of Dr. James Dobson, oftentimes you end up with the highway. And that is where we find ourselves today. If evangelicals do not learn that there is no perfect candidate and that in the end we must support the best available choice, we will never win again. Now, Focus on the Family’s Dobson seems to have thrown in the towel. In a recent radio program, he states:
"I want to tell you up front that we’re not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything.
There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can’t stop them.
We tried with [Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius and sent thousands of phone calls and emails to the Senate and they didn’t pay any attention to it because they don’t have to. And so what you can do is pray, pray for this great nation… As I see it, there is no other answer. There’s no other answer, short term." (Article VI Blog)
While it is true that conservatives have lost in the last two elections, it is certainly no time to give up our political activism. Prayer is the most effective tool available to us, but we need to continue to make our earthly voices heard as well, regardless of whether we have the votes.
What is frustrating about Dr. Dobson’s sentiment is: James Dobson’s attitude, prevalent among most evangelicals, is one of the reasons that Republicans lost the last election. You may recall his statement that he would not vote for Senator John McCain should McCain become the nominee. You may also recall that he discounted the candidacy of Senator Fred Thompson because, in Dobson’s opinion, Thompson was not a Christian.
As an Evangelical myself, I understand the frustrations expressed by Dr. Dobson. However, common sense dictates that in order to effect change in government, conservatives will never succeed with an all-or-nothing strategy. We must work with other factions of the Republican Party, and we must think strategically. Politics is not the same as Christianity. It is tempting, at times, to give up on politics, but we are called to not grow weary in well-doing.
Instead of “my way or the highway,” Evangelicals are going to have to remember that for the GOP, it’s united we stand, divided we fall. If we will stop the circular firing squad and focus on our core principles, we may once again prevail.