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Friday, December 21, 2012


Dear Dr. Dobson:

I briefly interrupted my grieving over the deaths of the children and teachers murdered in Newtown, Connecticut to consider your recent comments concerning the massacre. This is part of what you said on your international radio program:

“Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I'm not talking politically, I'm not talking about the result of the November sixth election. I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God. I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn't exist, or he's irrelevant to me and we have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences, too. And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God almighty, and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that's what's going on. We’re seeing things happen that didn’t happen just a few years ago, and there’s a reason for it. Something has gone wrong in this country.”

I created those innocents who were murdered by Adam Lanza. I created Adam Lanza. I mourn deeply that My defenseless creations could be mercilessly destroyed by another of My creations whose brain went utterly out of control, as his soul plunged into pure evil. I also created you, and like every other human being, I gave you moral and behavioral freedom. You claim that in Newtown I wreaked judgment upon America. Please stop speaking in My name and engaging in dangerous perversions of faith.

We are not going to argue about abortion and gay marriage right now, but you dare not forget that the people whose lives you condemn are made in My image no less than you are. Enough said. Let me instead argue against your dark insinuation that I would use a mass murderer as an instrument of judgment, punishment and warning to Americans. This assertion ultimately robs humans of moral freedom and responsibility by asserting that our most horrible behaviors are really just a part of My great plan for sinful humanity. Further, it’s true that Western religion developed early on the belief that I punish communities and individuals for their sins through nature and human violence. However, early in the Bible, Abraham took Me to task for even contemplating destroying the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah without first sparing the innocent people living there. He challenged Me, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do justly?” The ideas and values of communities of faith developed along with their sacred texts. The prophet Ezekiel repudiated an earlier belief that children will die for the sins of their parents. The book of Job utterly rejected the earlier biblical idea that if good people suffer evil, they are being punished by Me for their hidden sins. People’s perspectives about Me have developed and grown. Why haven’t yours?

I’ll assume that your beliefs about Me are sincere and that you are genuinely concerned for the health of America’s children, as you explained on your show. However, have you not forgotten other teachings of Mine that should be of equal or greater concern to you? What about your obligation as a person of faith to help those who suffer, or at least not to make them suffer more because of your words? What about the book of Psalms’ warning that you guard your tongue from speaking evil? What about your sacred obligation to support those who mourn? Some people take perverse comfort from your words because, as obscene as they are, they offer simple explanations and solutions for the most baffling tragedies: evil would no longer plague humanity if everyone just returned to basic biblical principles and averted My wrath. Trust Me, as a God of mystery, I assure you that with respect to human evil, even I am often mystified.

There are those who dismiss you as a bigoted crackpot who should be ignored. However, you are much more than that: you are a high profile psychologist and powerful evangelical leader whose daily Family Talk radio show is estimated to reach two hundred million listeners worldwide. Use your unprecedented influence to foster inclusive national dialogue about what ails America and to teach the best values of religion without distorting My image. Otherwise, My name and the memories of those who died will have been desecrated.

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