Kathleen Parker

"It's hard to admit defeat, but this one was self-inflicted," he wrote in an e-mail. "Yes, Dr. Dobson and the pro-family or Christian right political movement is a failure; it would have made me sad to say this in the past but they have done it to themselves."

For Christians such as Moore -- and others better known, such as columnist Cal Thomas, a former vice president for the Moral Majority -- the heart of Christianity is in the home, not the halls of Congress or even the courts. And the route to a more-moral America is through good works -- service, prayer and education -- not political lobbying.

Moore says: "In the modern era of the Christian right, we have traded these proven methods for a mess of pottage ... and often in a shrill and nagging manner, which makes our God look weak in the eyes of the world."

Amen to that, says Thomas, who made similar points in his 1999 book "Blinded by Might," co-written with Moral Majority platform architect Ed Dobson. Thomas, who speaks with a stand-up comic's clip (and wit), has long maintained that the religious right is in left field.

"If people who call themselves Christians want to see any influence in the culture, then they ought to start following the commands of Jesus and people will be so amazed that they will be attracted to Him," Thomas told me. "The problem isn't political. The problem is moral and spiritual."

Whether James Dobson's admission of failure -- or Deace's challenges to Minnery -- foretells a crackup of the older Christian right remains to be seen. But something is stirring, and it sounds like the GOP may be losing its bailout money. God apparently has his own stimulus plan.

"You have the choice between a way that works and brings no credit or money or national attention," says Thomas. "Or, a way that doesn't work that gets you lots of attention and has little influence on the culture."

It is hard to imagine a political talk show without a self-appointed moral arbiter bemoaning the lack of family values in America.

But, do let's try.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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