Alexis de Tocqueville, the noted French historian and political thinker, visited America on a fact-finding assignment in 1831 and was surprised to find fervent Christian beliefs throughout its government and citizenry. This is what he wrote in his historic book, Democracy In America:
“…there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth...
“There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated…”1
Other than the horrible evil of slavery and the Civil War to which it led, the Christian commitment observed by de Tocqueville prevailed for more than 200 years. In the late 1960s however, it all began to unravel. Under a relentless assault from the media, the popular culture and various social movements, it became like a level-five hurricane that slammed into every dimension of society. The storm is still howling today, and indeed, its intensity seems to be gathering momentum.
I monitor those cultural markers regularly. My staff sends me as many as 100 blogs and articles per day, and I try to stay abreast of what is happening.
(We have also developed a “Culture Watch” page on our Family Talk website where a limited number of these articles are posted and updated. http://drjamesdobson.org/culture-watch.)
In the past two months I have seen a disturbing increase in political and social chaos. Let me share just a few of the developments that illustrate what is descending upon us. Read these items and decide for yourself.
1. President Obama released his federal budget proposal a few weeks ago, and it was packed with pork and waste. Hidden in the 218-page document was another $286,479,000 for Planned Parenthood’s abortion business. Can you believe it? America’s birth rate continues to fall perilously close to ZPG (zero population growth), yet the White House and the Congress are lavishing funds on an organization whose primary enterprise is killing babies. Again, that is $286 million dollars of your tax revenues for this wicked purpose in just one year. Other federal agencies contribute in excess of a million annually, although much of it flies below the radar.2
The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, must be thrilled. She said a couple of weeks ago that life doesn’t begin until birth. Before that, babies are just protoplasm.3 Any way you look at it, this murderous industry is wicked, and Washington supports it fabulously.
Here’s one more outrageous entry in the Obama’s budget: It allocates $317,000 to Louis Farrakhan’s organization! And you and I paid for it.4
2. It was reported by CBS that the Obama Administration has spent $770 million in recent years to rebuild and renovate mosques overseas.5 This is a breathtaking waste of our tax dollars! Our nation is hurtling toward bankruptcy, yet the President and the State Department have contributed three-quarters of a billion dollars since 2010 to this “good will effort” in Muslim countries.6 What is the rationale for this expenditure, Mr. President? I wish the media would ask that question.
This is what makes these allocations and grants so egregious: The Administration is proposing to cut our military budget to pre-World War II levels. This wouldn’t be so foolish if the world was at peace and goodwill prevailed. As we all know, however, we have never been in greater peril. That is especially true now that Russia and Iran are on the march.
There are many tyrants in positions of power who want to bring us down. Nevertheless, the White House intends to release many wonderfully trained Armed services personnel who have sacrificed mightily for our protections. Now they have to look for work elsewhere, when jobs are not available. If Americans allow Obama to radically demobilize our military, we may never recover from his unilateral decision. Furthermore, the money saved will not be used to pay down the debt. It will be spent on political gain, entitlements, and for other liberal social programs such as Planned Parenthood and foreign mosques.
3. Also in early March, Lena Dunham, the creator and star of the cable sitcom, Girls, appeared totally nude in a two minute skit on Saturday Night Live. She was naked as a jaybird. Dunham was accompanied by her co-star, Taran Killam, who was wearing nothing but a scanty leaf. Not only was the skit obscene; it mocked the biblical account of Creation and the Creator.7 Was there any outrage to the response? None that I heard about.
Speaking of mockery, one of the worst incidences of blasphemy I’ve seen on television was spoken by Bill Maher on his program, Real Time with Bill Maher, which aired on March 14, 2014.8 I didn’t see it but saw it discussed on Fox News Five show. Maher was referring to Noah and the Flood and said:
“But the thing that’s really disturbing about Noah isn’t the silly. It’s that it’s immoral. It’s about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God. Genesis says God was so angry with himself for screwing up when he made mankind so flawed – rrrr – that he sent the flood to kill everyone! Everyone! Men, women, children, babies. What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at?
“No one can blame me when I say this is a stupid country, when 60% of the adults in it think the
Noah’s Ark story is literally true. Which is why I’m already sick of seeing the ads for this floating piece of giraffe cr—p.”
I apologize for reporting this sacrilege. It is embarrassing to even repeat.
4. The following comments were reported in Salon Magazine, dated September 2013. Brace yourself for this one:
In a recent interview with Time magazine, Richard Dawkins, noted author and advocate for Darwin and evolution, attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia.” Dawkins described graphically how a schoolmaster had abused him and his classmates. You don’t want to know the details, but he called it “a mild touching up.” Then he said, “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”9
Frankly, Dawkins’ comments about sexual abuse make me angry. I have talked to many women who were abused as children, and they still feel dirty and defiled by their experience. The shame and anger often last a lifetime. Dawkins’ words are hurtful.
5. The majority of voters in my home state of Colorado have foolishly legalized and decriminalized the sale, distribution and use of marijuana. State officials are bragging about the $2 million they generated in tax revenue in January by the sale of weed. Marijuana is available now in the form of candy and beverage products, which are especially attractive to the young and those in the inner city. This is an entirely new industry that will be promoted by an aggressive marketing program targeted at those who are most vulnerable. The consequences are already coming to light.10
One in six teens is now a chronic user! These are your kids and the children of others who are being corrupted. Their educational motivation, ambition and self-discipline are being weakened, leaving them less prepared to take their place as productive citizens. Does anyone care?
Two former Congressmen do. They are both members of the Kennedy family and are liberal Democrats. One of them is a former addict. They know the scene. Despite their political leanings, they have begun speaking out against the marijuana industry.11 It is a “gateway” substance that leads to the use of harder drugs. How dare George Soros and other fat cats help to release this plague on the people of Colorado! Doesn’t the younger generation deal with enough harmful enticements already?
6. Perhaps before this letter hits your home, the ultra-liberal Supreme Court of Colorado will have ruled on whether it is constitutional for our governor to proclaim a Day of Prayer.12 The ruling will be announced on the National Day of Prayer. This is the court’s in-your-face effort to insult people of faith and Christians in particular. If it strikes down the call for prayer by officials in the State, it will be binding for all other courts in Colorado.
Did de Tocqueville perceive this kind of judicial tyranny? He certainly did. These are his words:
“There is hardly a political question in the United States that does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.”13
7. Though it has not yet occurred in this country, the legislature in Belgium has decreed that disabled or diseased children as young as 12 can decide to be euthanized (killed.) The vote was 86-44 in favor of enactment, and the legislators had wide public support.14 What is also distressing is that there has been almost no outrage about the measure in the UK, Australia, Europe, and America. Some reporters and pediatricians in this country have objected, but most have not.15 It is reminiscent of the early years of the Nazi era when people who were less than perfect, including some mentally or physically disabled children, were murdered en masse. Evil is hardly a new phenomenon.
Concerning the Belgium issue, who would be callous enough to claim 12-year-old children are equipped to make “informed decisions” about being “put to sleep”? Also, when this law goes into effect, will there be compassionate people there to protect broken children from coercion by adults who don’t want to care for them? I am also mindful of the orphaned children and street people who have no one to advocate for them or to defend their right to live.
As reported by The Blaze, Hans Bonte, a Socialist, said, “All Belgians, including minors, deserve the right to ‘bid farewell to life in humane circumstances’ without having to fear they [are] breaking the law.”16 How cruel the designers of this legislation are! Can you envision an elected official speaking of children having the right to “bid farewell to life!”
8. The Walt Disney Company will eliminate funding to the Boy Scouts of America, beginning in 2015, in protest against a policy that bans gay adult scout leaders in the organization.17
This may be the most predictable news story of the year. Most of us knew the moment the Boy Scouts relented and accepted gay Scouts in membership that a new campaign would begin to admit homosexual adults into positions of leadership. Tragic events will follow.
These are just a few of hundreds of news stories that that caught my attention in recent months. Every day brings additional outrageous developments. They have become so commonplace that many decent people now suffer from what I call “protest fatigue.” They are worn out by constant battles that are usually lost. Americans have been desensitized by what is happening to our culture. Nothing shocks us any more, and our nation is, indeed, losing ground morally.
The question is, what do we do about it? Would a more conservative political party be able to turn the country around? Probably not, although I would support one as a private individual. Could a man or woman of character set us on the right path? Possibly, but the change would be superficial and temporary unless the people rise up to demand it. My father always said, “Democracy is the worst form of government if the citizens want evil, because there will be no stopping them.”
Let me illustrate. I served on the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in 1985-86, at the invitation of President Ronald Reagan. My fellow commissioners and I wrote a 2000-word report that resulted in 26 changes in the law that were later passed by Congress. 18,,19,,20 America was beginning to cleanse itself and the worst offenders were convicted and given life sentences in prison. It was a heady time.
Then the Internet came into popular use and it made pornography accessible to all. President Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 and quickly dismantled the legal apparatus to oppose the sale and distribution of obscenity. He appointed Janet Reno as Attorney General, and she refused to prosecute adult pornography for and involving adults. The ACLU cheered, as did the entire smut industry. Then, unbelievably, Reno tried to weaken federal regulations against child pornography. I was incensed and talked about the outrage on the radio for days. Our listeners flooded the Department of Justice with telephone calls and they completely shut down the DOJ switchboard. Janet Reno headed for the tall grass and reversed her decision.
Eventually, however, the Administration rallied and again began eliminating constraints against all forms of adult obscenity. Since then, America has been inundated with filth. Teens are the primary purchasers of graphic sex materials and are becoming addicted to it at younger ages. Even many parents have become tired of fighting and have elected people who didn’t care.
That’s the way the system works. Unless citizens have the will to defend decency and righteousness, they will not prevail. I have quoted our second president, John Adams, many times, but his words bear repeating. He said.
“...we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”21
De Tocqueville said it like this, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”22
What, then, is the solution to our moral crisis? Who will defend the institution of marriage? How will children be protected? The same answer is relevant to each question. It is concerted and fervent prayer. Only the Holy Spirit can bring conviction for sin and a determination to do what is right. In days gone by, that was called “a revival,” or a spiritual renewal. It has happened before, as Nineveh experienced in Jonah’s day and during the Great Awakening. The turnaround usually occurred in conjunction with catastrophic social developments. I believe the world is likely to suffer judgment again if we continue down the path we are following. I don’t know when or how that will occur, but the Scripture offers explicit warnings about it. Jeremiah wrote about such a time in ancient Israel, as follows:
“Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. So do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them.’” (Jer. 11:11, 14)
Clearly, if depravity becomes so pronounced and pervasive, there will come a time when calamity will fall on us. Has America reached that point of no return? I don’t know. I pray not. I do know our Heavenly Father is compassionate and long-suffering. David wrote,
“The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9
It is time for repentance and forgiveness, and there is an occasion set aside for it. The next National Day of Prayer is upon us. It will occur on May 1st. My wife, Shirley, has led the Task Force for 23 years, and her team is making final preparations now for another nationwide prayer vigil. There should be 100,000 prayer events from coast to coast.
I hope you will participate in one of them. A national gathering will occur again in Washington, D.C., and will feature Ann Graham Lotz as the honorary chairman. She is one of the most articulate and passionate defenders of righteousness in our era, and I admire her enormously. (By the way, the Pentagon has changed its scheduled time so that Mrs. Lotz can’t be there. They prevented her brother, Franklin Graham, from speaking there, too. What does that tell you about the growing hostility toward the Christian faith by senior military leaders?) Anne will be speaking at the Cannon House Office Building the morning of May 1st, along with many other noted speakers. Be there if you can, or get involved in a gathering near you. For more information, contact the National Day of Prayer Task Force at http://nationaldayofprayer.org/2014-national-observance/ or (800) 444-8828.
I regret having to bring this disturbing information to you about the culture at this time, but I feel led to do it. I hold it in until the Truth must be spoken. America cannot long endure the consequences of blasphemy, violence, infanticide, and immorality. Ours is a holy God who will hold us accountable at some point.
I have never written a newsletter like this one before, but I believe it is my obligation to tell it straight. America is in peril. It is time to call on Him.
God bless you all.
James Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and President
P.S. I must take this final moment to make an urgent appeal for you to help Family Talk financially. Contributions in February and March were not adequate to support the work we are called to do. Even a small gift would be appreciated.
This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright © 2014 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S.A. Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is not affiliated with Focus on the Family.
1 Democracy in America (Volume 1, Unabridged), Alexis de Tocqueville. Digireads.com http://Digireads.com/ Publishing , Jan 1, 2007, p. 214.
2 “President Obama’s Budget Sends $286,479,000 to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz,” by Steven Ertelt, Washington, D.C., LifeNews.com, http://LifeNews.com, 3/4/14.
3 “Planned Parenthood Prez Cecile Richards: When life begins not ‘really relevant’ to abortion,” by Ben Johnson. Feb. 28, 2014, LifeSiteNews.com, http://LifeSiteNews.com/
4 “Congress is Spending Money We Do Not Have…,” Conservative Patriot. March 10, 2014.
5 “Report: Obama Spent $770 Million in Taxpayer Funds to Rebuild and Renovate Mosques Overseas,” by Jason DeWitt. Top Right News, March 10, 2014.
6 U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Cultural Heritage Center. Annual Reports, 2011-2013 AFCP Awards.
7 “SNL Skit Hammers Pro-Life Activism, Viciously Stereotypes Politically Involved Conservative Men – and Audience Response Spoke Volumes,” by Dave Urbanski. The Blaze, March 9, 2014.
8 “Bill Maher attacks Noah’s Ark story,” Daily Kos, March 15, 2014.
9 Richard Dawkins defends ‘mild pedophilia,’ says it does not cause ‘lasting harm’ Salon Magazine, September 10. 2013.
10 “Middle School Students Arrested for Pot Edibles,” CBS4News, Denver, CO, March 10, 2014.
11 “Consequences of marijuana legalization,” O’Reilly Factor, Fox News, March 12, 2014.
12 “Christian Legal Group Alliance Defending Freedom Defends Colorado Day of Prayer Proclamations in State Supreme Court,” by Heather Clark. Christian News Netword, Sept. 19, 2013.
13 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. George Lawrence, ed. J.P. Mayer (New York: Harper and Row, 1969), 270.
14 “Belgium Passes Bill Allowing Terminally Ill Children to Choose Euthansia,” by William Bigelow. Breitbart, Feb. 13, 2014.
15 “Physicians are Healers—Not Killers,” press statement from American College of Pediatricians, Feb. 17, 2014.
16 “Belgium Votes Overwhelmingly in Favor to Allow Child Euthanasia,” by Liz Klimas. The Blaze, Feb. 13, 2014.
17 “Disney ‘very forthright’ on cutting Boy Scout funding over gay policy,” Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2014.
18 The Attorney Genera’s Commission on Pornography: The Meese Report (1986) YouTube.
19 “Meese Pornography Report: Alan Sears discussed the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography’s Report.” C-SPAN, July 10, 1986.
20 “Attorney Generals Commission on Pornography: final report.” HATHI Trust Digital Library, 1986.
21 John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts on October 11, 1798.
22 Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville; Introduction, p. 12. Library of America, New York, NY, 2004 (translated by Arthur Goldhammer).