It looks like Dr. James Dobson is at it again. He is saying that Obama has a distorted view of the bible and a 'fruitcake' view of the constitution. First off you should know this article is not defending/attacking or advocating Obama in any way. In all truth, Dobson could have said the exact same thing about McCain, or the green party candidate, or GWB and I'd be just as incensed. My problem lies not with who the target of the day may be, but with the system that has been created that has married religion with politics, creating a frankenstein that denigrates both.
The title "conservative christian" should not exist. Neither should the term "liberal christian" or "moderate christian". Putting those two words together regardless of which flavour of politics and faith you choose to subscribe to is mixing two things that have absolutely no business being together. You can be a christian and be a conservative, that's great. You can be a christian and be a socialist too, and that's great also. You can be also be a liberal or conservative budhist, it really doesn't matter.
What does matter goes back to two very important lessons, one learned by the founders of the United States and one taught by Jesus himself (along with many others). The founders of the U.S and their descendants saw first hand the effects of allowing religion and politics to be combined in the national dialogue. They saw wars between protestants and catholics and persecution of other faiths in Europe, depending on which side held power at the time. They knew that in order for a country to be stable and truly free, religion should be kept in the pulpit and out of the halls of legislature. This is why a president, in theory, could be a Muslim, Orthodox Jew, Christian or Budhist and it shouldn't make a difference on the national level.
Imagine if the U.S had instead, for whatever reason, been mostly colonized by Hindus with only a small Christian minority. Or, if the wars of the 13 colonies against various native tribes had turned out differently (and smallpox hadn't wiped out massive numbers of natives) thus leading to a U.S today in which native groups made up half or more of the population. Imagine a media with prominent Hindu religious figures or Tribal Medicine Men (forgive my ignorance, whatever the equivalent religious position would be) attacking a political candidate on the national stage for not adhering to that particular group's religious beliefs. Especially if that candidate happened to be, God forbid, a Christian or even worse an Atheist!
Jesus addressed this issue himself directly when asked about a topic that will be eternally hated and debated as long as man lives.... TAXES!
When asked about taxes his reply was "Give to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's" It was these simple words that illustrated the divide between physical/material loyalty to the state and spiritual loyalty to God (or whatever diety or lack thereof you subscribe to) It was stated less eloquently in the movie Full Metal Jacket when the drill instructor yells "You can give your hearts to Jesus, but your ass belongs to me!!"
The Roman Empire saw what a truly powerful entity religious faith was and how in a free environment it created people with dual loyalties who weren't as easily controlled. This was unnacceptable, so they merged the Church and the State by creating among other things the Catholic church. They (the Romans, I'm not attacking or defending the catholic faith here as that's a whole other ball of wax for another time) also quite succesfully created a militarized version of Christianity...which at it's core is actually quite pacifist..which lead to all sorts of romping-fun adventures with knights and armies razing and pillaging cities in the name of reclaiming glory for their God, or trinity of three God's in one or whatever the flavour of the day was.
The real issue at hand here is that once you succesfully mix the church and the state there is virtually no limit to all kinds of abuse of power. When this happens you have priests, reverends and pastors telling their congregations whom they should vote for, insinuating that if they vote differently then they're somehow violating a tenet of their faith. You get sermons that don't deal with teaching the actual faith but with spreading a political opinion on a certain subject and then twisting scripture to try and support it. This is why the founding fathers created the United States as an explicitly secular nation. Not to harm the church, but to protect it, it's members and all those of different faiths or no faith at all. The religious views of a president, or a presidential candidate should have no bearing on an election. The church should have no voice in national politics, just as the state should have no voice in the beliefs or application of those beliefs by it's members. There will always be caveats and exceptions to that statement and we see the church vs state battle all the time whenever a child of a Jehova's Witness family needs a blood transfusion to live and a legal battle ensues between the government and the family (I hope that is correct, if it's not JW beliefs regarding blood transfusions I apologize)
Instead over the last few decades we have seen constant attacks against the mechanisms that ensure separation of church and state which have benefitted everyone. We saw the creation of the christian coalition which married right wing politics with a particular brand of christian faith, thus making the statement that "true" christian values subscribed to a particular flavour of politics.
We've seen these groups continually push political agendas while using religion as a mask for justification. Jesus never spoke about labour unions but somehow they've become a dirty word. Why? Jesus never advocated right wing or left wing politics. Those terms didn't even exist then. He never addressed the issue of illegal immigration or abortion or the right to post the 10 commandments in a court house or whether or not we should support our troops or pursue stem cell research. The only time he got angry was when he entered the temple and saw it being used as a market place. Now today these advocacy groups are very well funded and have extensive investments in the marketplace and massive marketing drives selling bibles or CD's or left behind books and even hope (yes, you can now sell hope) which directly contradict his message. What he did do was heal the sick and the poor out of compassion, told us to love our neighbours and never advocated violence (so much so that he stopped his own disciples from defending themselves when the authorities came ot take him away)
Everything above I just said about Jesus can be debated ad infinitum and that's great. The beauty of separation of church and state is that everything I just said about Jesus is meaningless if you're not a christian. If you're an atheist or a Hindu it doesn't apply to you, so why should one particular religion or group of religions have license to hijack the political dialogue of an entire country that (supposedly) is free from all that?
Should it matter if the president is a Christian or subscribes to Focus on the Family's particular political ideas? No, it should not. And James Dobson, while he has every right to speak his mind, has no ground to make a statement that marries political views with scriptural interpretations in regards to the suitability of a political candidate. Obamas' religious beliefs are his own and should stay that way and the same goes for McCain and anyone else who runs for office. On the flipside of that, if a president starts pushing law and policy based on their flavour of religion then that too is an abuse and that person should be removed from office. Most of these so-called "Spiritual Leaders" who are so influential and have such massive congregations spend far more time pushing political agendas and then using heavily skewed interpretations of snippets of scripture to support them, than they ever do actually teaching their faith.
I grew up in a home that was trapped in the southern-baptist mentality. We had Focus on the Family magazines by subscription and "Christian" books and music that pushed far more politics than they ever did actual Christianity. At the root of it all was control. James Dobson (or perhaps his organization) is more concerned with controlling the audience through fear and induced outrage. They push the fear of damnation. They push fear of criminals prowling the streets, crying that the justice system is too soft and needs harsher punishment. Fear of "immoral" behaviour and practices that will somehow destroy our way of life (by immoral what they really mean to say is most anything different from their beliefs) and of course the ultimate clincher of the end-times; "it's just around the corner you know, and if you don't shape up and vote for our preferred candidate you just might be left behind... don't believe us? Here, we can sell you a book that'll tell you all the nasty things that will happen to you in detail if you're not an obedient little automaton".
The end-times (whatever that means) may indeed be around the corner but when they come I certainly do not expect the monstrous, intolerant, corporate friendly, anti-union, pro-gun, pro-death penalty, anti-stem cell research, free-market God that these frankenstein groups have created to push their agenda on us. And if that God really is or were as these groups say he/she/it is, I think we're all better off without him.