18 December 2012

An Open Letter to Mr. James Dobson and Rev. Mike Huckabee

Dear Sirs,

I write you an open letter concerning your recent thoughts on why the terrible massacre in Newtown, CT took place.  Please know that there are many people that I love and respect who look to the two of you for guidance; many good hearted and tender minded folk who have made, and are making, an impact on my life. So for their sake, and I know this will be difficult for you to do, please shut up, please put your pens down, step away from the microphone, take a walk, and hear this word from a fellow Christian, to use the words that you, Gov. Huckabee, used to say to reporters, "You're constipated"  i.e. full of sh*t.

Humor me for the next few moments and hear me out.  I want you to seriously consider that it is not my theology of openness, free inquiry, and reconciliation that is to blame for the recent tragedy but it is yours.  Yes, yours.  Your theology of exclusion and shame and individualism.  A theology that sees God ready to punish any for waywardness, a theology that pushes out any and all that do not fit into your definition of what a Christian is.  A theology produces and brings that most fundamental, rock bottom, of all human emotions: shame.  You both know full well that when a human being is shamed that they are defenseless, vulnerable, and disposable.  Your theology that has torn asunder communities because of the exclusion and shame you have promoted in the name of the Holy.  It's is time for you to start practicing the precious saying from the Desert Fathers and Mothers, "speak only to improve the silence."

You have had your time in the national spotlight, and I'm sure you've done quite nicely from a financial perspective because of your position, but it's time to step aside.  Your way has done too much harm.  We have seen the results of your theology and rather than continuing to replicate them time and time again (what again is the definition of insanity?) find some space in the shadows.  So for the sake of the nation, turn off the microphone, develop self-imposed lock jaw, and take a nice long sabbatical.  And let a different way have a chance.

Recall that before we Christians ever landed on the shores of this land, before we deemed this a "Christian Nation" the indigenous peoples seemed to be doing quite nicely.  I've yet to hear the narratives of God constantly punishing them with natural disasters, massacres, and falling stock markets because they were not Christian enough.

In place of a Christian Nation let us try for a different kind of national community that includes all, that seeks to eradicate shame (imagine a community where people view mental illness as physical illness, that personality disorders are viewed the same as a torn ligament!), that appreciates and encourages free inquiry, and seeks to rebuild communities on these principles alone.  I cannot promise that gun violence will decrease and I'm sure that natural disasters will continue to visit these shores but at least we will be a healthier nation, a more loving, forgiving, embracing, and happier place to live.  And, and, when tragedies do come we can at least grieve without your constant and harmful babble.


Unknown said...

Well said. Thanks man!

Charles Hartman said...

Ummmm...blame frame is still blame frame. We can howl back but until we all can reframe (repent?) and join in looking for healthy outcomes for all. We all have fallen short...