If you read a major national newspaper this week, you may have seen the screaming full-page ad beginning with this headline: “These Religious Leaders Have a Serious Gambling Problem . . . ” The ad, which also runs on television, pictures Ralph Reed, formerly with the Christian Coalition, Rev. Lou Sheldon from the Traditional Values Coalition, and Jim Dobson of Focus on the Family with a sinister photo of Jack Abramoff. Talk about guilt by association.
I was called the Nixon “hatchet man,” so I ought to know a “hatchet job” when I see one, though I am not sure that I have ever seen anything quite this vicious since the McCarthy era.
The facts are these: Jim Dobson had nothing to do with the Indian tribes or Abramoff. The allegations in the attack are without any basis in fact. Jim has fought gambling in forty-three states. This is nothing less than libel.
The attack on these Christians is sponsored by a group called Defcon. Its website lists the people, a Who’s Who of the extreme left, including same-sex “marriage” and pro-abortion activists, liberal professors, and ACLU luminaries. And they have the nerve to say that Dobson, Reed, and Sheldon have “waged war against our Constitution.”
While battling such horrors as stem-cell research, the ad says, “all the time they must have been betting that they would not get caught taking their thirty pieces of silver and selling out the millions who believed them. [But] they were wrong.”
Well, whoever is bankrolling Defcon will soon discover that sensible people do not react kindly to this kind of vicious smear and guilt by association.
But there are two lessons here. First, there is no way in today’s polarized environment that you can boldly oppose evil without being viciously attacked—even if you speak gently, lovingly, and winsomely. Attacks, I guess, mean that we are having an impact.
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