I'm not sure what Dr. Dobson's beef is with Governor Huckabee, a former minister whose policies, while in some respects could be described as populist, is the only candidate who most closely matches the "social conservativism" that is so important to the Religious Right. At the same time, Governor Romney has been claiming all along he's the most in line with staunch conservatives, although his record as governor would beg to differ. Evangelical leaders have been hesitant to support Romney outright because he's Mormon. Yet, all evidence from primaries so far show that Huckabee and Romney are splitting the self-described "conservative" and "evangelical" voters.
One thing that is clear though, the evangelical political mouthpieces like Dobson and Tony Perkins absolutely hate John McCain. And this got me thinking, especially after reading Dr. Dobson's comments. What is so bad about John McCain?
I understand some evangelicals don't forgive him for calling them "agents of intolerance" in his last run for the White House. But that was more focused towards the "God hates fags" crowd, and in that respect I whole-heartedly agree with him. He also opposed President Bush steamrolling Supreme Court nominees whose sole qualification was what church they went to (Harriet Miers) or that they opposed Roe v Wade. Personally since a Supreme Court justice is on the bench for life, there's a pretty good chance he or she would hear more cases about subjects other than abortion than on that one issue alone. Yet there's the clear "lithmus test" that's existed for Supreme Court justices for years now. I guess as a Christian I should be upset he didn't vote to restrict embryonic stem cell research (a very grey area ethically, no matter what religion you are), opposes a Constitutional amendment defining marriage (which I believe is an insult to the spirit of that living document), and opposed President Bush's tax cuts.
Waitaminute. Tax cuts? That's a religious issue? I guess it is to Dr. Dobson. But I think the real nail in the coffin for McCain is that he is responsible for the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill. What does campaign reform have to do with religion? Well, opponents claim that it prevents groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council (hmmm, I see a connection) from spending obscene amounts of money in political campaigns. Supporters note that it applies to all special interest groups, and restrictions keep candidates from promising favors in return for financial backing. By the way, to put this in perspective, last week leading up to Super Tuesday it was reported that Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama were each spending $1 million A DAY on TV adds. And it was reported today that Clinton "loaned" her campain $5 million. That's a lot of money that comes from somewhere. And I'd much rather see evangelical organizations spend those kinds of sums on mission work, philanthropy, and local ministry. But Dobson and others feel differently.
There's a lot of evidence that Dobson and the like don't have the same influence they had getting President Bush elected. Even so, it's a dangerous stance for an Ambassador of Christ. Especially considering one of Dr. Dobson's critiques of John McCain was that he more often than not resembled someone from the "other" party. As if the whole Democratic Party is a bunch of Baal worshipers.
For more on this see this article at Slate and these at the God-o-meter blog at Beliefnet.
To close, I want to remind Christians of their citizenship.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as
his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was
going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a
foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with
him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with
foundations, whose architect and builder is God....
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not
receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a
distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People
who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If
they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had
opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a
heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has
prepared a city for them. (Heb 11:8-10, 13-16)
Our true citizenship is in heaven and we're only renting space here. Our political allegience should be to no party, no special interest, no race or gender, but to God alone.