By Mitch Holt, Special Contributor
Don’t Believe the Hype
If people have important questions about baseball, they wouldn’t ask John Madden because we all know football is Madden’s area of expertise. If people have important questions about football, they wouldn’t ask Peter Gammons because we all know that baseball is Gammons’ area of expertise.
If people have an important question about politics, they wouldn’t ask a famous preacher for his view. If people have important religious questions, they wouldn’t ask John Kerry what he thinks.
I don’t want to point any fingers; I simply want to present an idea from the perspective of someone who isn’t easily sold on all of the corporate political Christianity being marketed today.
As long as I can remember, my family and I have been consumers of the various Christian resources provided by Focus on the Family, a company created to pinpoint the shortcomings of America’s perspective on family and relationships from a Christian aspect.
It is amazing how much impact Focus on the Family has had on the lives of millions across the globe. The organization, since its beginning, has effectively stressed the importance of family and Christian values, changing the lives of many and catering to individuals of all ages. I remember watching and loving the Adventures in Odyssey videos when I was a youngster. My parents have frequently used Focus on the Family lesson plans and books for classes they’ve taught and for simple enjoyment.
Focus on the Family has played a major role in bringing focus back to important elements like family and spirituality.
In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed this organization becomming more politically vocal. In interviews, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said that emerging into the political world is not something he necessarily wanted to do, but something he felt he needed to do.
When I read this, I wondered why any prominent Christian leader would need to be involved in politics. It seems like dangerous ground to me. Wouldn’t the ideals and compassion of its ministry be overshadowed by any deliberate political dabbling a prominent organization like Focus on the Family might do?
As I read a little more in-depth, I noticed that Dobson wasn’t just a presence in the political world, he was zealously promoting one party and linking it with one belief system. Sure, we all have our own political views, but it caught me off guard to see an expert in Christianity and family being recognized as an expert in the political realm as well.
How can a trusted Christian organization with this much of a following ease into a spectrum such as politics without taking advantage of the trust that it had previously earned through its family and ministry resources?
This situation is similar to one I saw on the E! Channel not too long ago. At a Hollywood ball, several actors and actresses were interviewed on matters concerning their political stance. The majority of them said similar things. I wonder how many impressionable fans that were watching the program took their views as truth after seeing the interviews, even though these stars probably knew very little on the subject they were discussing.
Bottom line: With great respect comes great responsibility. Christian leaders and companies need to be careful about what they promote. Better yet, they need to be careful how they promote it because a Christian following can quickly turn into a political following. The two should not go hand-in-hand.