It is Dobson who, in his intolerance of perceived evil, seems in the tradition of the abolitionists, and Barack who appears more like the milquetoast believers of whom Christ said he would spit them out of his mouth because they were neither hot nor cold and whom Dante consigned to the deepest reaches of hell.
Does social peace require the toleration of manifest evil?
In the Roman Empire before Constantine, Christians accepted martyrdom rather than burn incense to Caesar. Thomas More went to his death rather than assent to the divorce of the Henry VIII, declaring, "I am the King's good servant, but God's first."
A disciple of Gandhi, Dr. King is celebrated as a champion of civil disobedience against the injustice of segregation. What would Obama say to massive civil disobedience by those who believe the killing of 50 million unborn children since Roe v. Wade is a greater evil than segregating folks by race in public accommodations?
Would an Obama, who hails the abolitionists and Dr. King, condemn them as divisive? Was not that the charge thrown up at Dr. King?
The divide between Dobson and Barack is mirrored among many who profess the Christian faith. It split the Baptists. It is splitting the Episcopalians. A traditionalist minority has severed communion over female bishops and homosexual marriages.
Barack has a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution if he thinks it requires us to give up fighting for justice because it may be divisive, says Dobson. Here, too, he has a point.
The unbridgeable divide between the two portends a troubled future. Can Americans ever come together if we are divided in our deepest beliefs about morality and truth, where one side believes gay marriage is moral progress, the other holds it a moral outrage; where one side views abortion to be a mighty advance for women's freedom, the other sees it as legalization of mass slaughter of unborn babies?
There can be no peaceful coexistence in a cultural war because it is at root a religious war. Far into the future, Americans seem fated to face each other again and again "at some disputed barricade."