The Success of James Dobson’s Call for “Moral Outrage”

James Dobson’s call for “Moral Outrage”

In his newsletter, “Homosexuals in Hollywood,” Dr. James Dobson lamented “the lack of moral outrage” among politicians and pastors in response to society’s increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians.  He attributed the alleged cowardice of church and political leaders to intimidation by gay and lesbian activists, and a “fear of being labeled ‘homophobic,’ ‘hateful’ or ‘politically incorrect.'”

For some people, there’s nothing like impugning their manliness with an accusation of cowardice. So how do y0u prove your bravery, “prove that you’re a man”? By expressing your “moral outrage” from the pulpit and when you vote.  Outrage is a feeling of fierce anger, often resentful anger.  And, according to James Dobson, moral outrage is a sign that you’re on the side of the angels.

Rage is an ugly thing. We have recently seen a number of pastors who embody Dobson’s moral outrage. Here are just a handful of examples of what happens when someone with Dobson’s stature and responsibility give people permission to express their “moral outrage.” After discussing briefly the recent spate of literally genocidal remarks, I’ll reflect a bit on what they mean.

James Dobson’s Moral Outrage: Pastor Steven Anderson (Arizona)

Pastor Steven Anderson, what a nice, clean-cut young man. Who would have ever thought he could favor genocide. What a shame.

The same God who instituted the death penalty for murderers is the same God who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals – sodomites, queers! That’s what it was instituted for, okay? That’s God, he hasn’t changed. Oh, God doesn’t feel that way in the New Testament? God never “felt” anything about it, he commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed.

James Dobson’s Moral Outrage: Pastor Phillip Kayser (Nebraska)

Phillip Kayser, the joyful advocate of genocide.

A confirmed Dominionist (click here) ministering in Nebraska, Phillip Kayser is less bombastic than Brother Anderson, and the very sobriety of his analysis suggests to me that he has followed Calvinist theology to its Rushdoony-freakish extreme.  Kayser discusses the difficulty of implementing the death penalty for homosexuals with the dispassionate coolness of General Reinhard Heydrich at the 1942 Wannsee Conference (click here) discussing plans to expedite the Final Solution.  Here is what Pastor Kayser says about surmounting minor legal difficulties in enacting his “Biblical” program of suppressing, if not eradicating, homosexuality.

Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just. But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative. Biblical law would recognize as a matter of justice that even if this law could be enforced today, homosexuals could not be prosecuted for something that was done before.

James Dobson’s Moral Outrage: Pastor Curtis Knapp (Kansas)

Pastor Curtis Knapp seems to think he could stomach the extermination of homosexuals. Do you think he’d take a second job as a camp guard?

Pastor Curtis Knapp of the New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, is a modest looking gentleman who seems to think he could live with a judicially enforced death penalty for gays and lesbians. (click here)

We punish pedophilia. We punish incest, we punish polygamy and various things. It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.

“Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them?”  No, I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.

James Dobson’s Moral Outrage: Pastor Charles Worley (North Carolina)

Pastor Charles Worley:
What some people will do to get attendance up.

Of the recent spate of theocratic “Final Solutions” aiming to undo society’s progress in accepting gays and lesbians, the death camp model of Charles Worley is probably the most well known. (click here)

I’ve figured out a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn’t get it past the congress. Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 miles long — and put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified ’til they can’t get out. ‘N feed ’em, and you know what?  In a few years, they’ll die out. Do you know why?  They can’t reproduce.

Nazi death camps held Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and others less than 70 years ago. My parents were still alive. I will not stand by and let it happen again in the name of “freedom of religion.”

This “solution” that will “get rid of all the lesbians and queers” was echoed recently in South Carolina by yet another minister, marriage chapel specialist Jay Randolph, who defended Worley’s idea (even in the face of Southern Baptist criticism), but offered an actual location, a somewhat exotic one, for his proposed death camp.

I have listen to the clip several times, and I agree with what he said, and think MORE pastors need to preach  it.  What he said is homosexuals can not reproduce. If you cleared everybody out of Hawaii and filled it with only people who are homosexuals, and there was no way for people to get onto the island, soon, there would be no people on that island….  But every pastor should have a sermon like this, at least once a year.

From this we can see how the fiery rhetoric is passed like a torch from one one leader to another down the food chain, from Dobson to Worley to Randolph. It gives a whole new meaning to one of my favorite choruses, “It Only takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going.”  That song will forever be spoiled for me.

According to the Bible, James Dobson shares Responsibility for Genocidal Rhetoric

Despite protests to the contrary, James Dobson shares responsibility for the genocidal rhetoric we’ve been hearing lately.  People may say Dr. Dobson can’t be held responsible for the genocidal talk of executions and death camps of his anti-homosexual lieutanants. They may try to clear him of responsibility for “over eager” followers of his call for “moral outrage,” but this deliberately ignores the warning of the Apostle James about the power of our words.

The tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And  the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which  defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

The writings of James Dobson fit this description.  For twenty-five years his call for “moral outrage” has been an agenda-setting call-to-arms for an army of genocidal arsonists. Irresponsible language like that of Dobson and his followers begs for anti-gay bullying, no matter what disclaimers they would attach to their inflammatory words.

The very word “rage” is derived from the Latin word for rabies, which meant “madness, rage, fury.” Dobson gave his receptive audience permission to behave like an out-of-control pack of rabid dogs.  If you have a more charitable description of Anderson, Kayser, Knapp, and Worley, I invite you to use it. Perhaps homophobic, hateful, or politically incorrect would be better.

However, in contrast to the fires of genocidal rhetoric inflamed by Dobson’s own permission and encouragement, James the Brother of Christ recommends something entirely different.

The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds….   And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Such will not Inherit the Kingdom of Heaven

In discussions of homosexuality, it is common to hear talk about who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  Please remember, the “fits of rage” we’ve been reading about are “works of the flesh” according to Paul, and people who are characterized by rage will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20-22).

There are other sins in this category.  If you are not troubled by things like orgies and sexual immorality, count yourself blessed.  But please know that every voice in every pulpit must be scrutinized.  The tongues of some of our most respected leaders are, at this very moment, defiling the entire body of Christ (the Church), leaders whose tongues are set on fire by hell itself, if James is to be believed, if our own ears are to be believed.

My Own Rage

I am familiar with rage.  Before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and diabetes, both conditions could express themselves in outbursts of rage and anger.  Even now, a sugar high can spark an angry outburst or a curse.

Territoriality is an abiding instinct in the race, and I am tarred with its inevitable brush.  I have goals and ambitions, and when they thwarted, or I feel frustrated in reaching them, anger and rage can result–not always, but sometimes.  I posted a personal account, A Seminarian’s Rage, describing a particularly vivid episode in my own life.

As a young man I was a fundamentalist, and was sometimes very outrageous in my convictions and beliefs.  Even my wife Diane, who was born and reared a fundamentalist, was sometimes shocked and embarrassed at how outrageous I could be.  For some people, I guess, there is a point where they delight in being extreme.  For some people its green, spikey hair, for some its full-body tattoos, and for others its being a full-on fundamentalist.

So I understand where younger men like Curtis Knapp and Steven Anderson are at this point in their lives.  Hopefully they will one day realize that their genocidal views are not consistent with what their Lord and Messiah taught.  It may be hard for them, because it may cost them their ministries, ministries which mean an awful lot to them. But these are the kinds of sacrifices Jesus had in mind when he talked about cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye.

As for the older gentlemen–Dobson, Worley, and Kayser–I have less hope for them than for younger men.  At a point in life where many men mellow, it appears that they have stubbornly dug in their heels. For Worley, Kayser, and Dobson I can only hope that the Lord frustrate their plans and protect the innocent from their influence.

Hope, pray, and work, that is.


For more on the rhetoric of James Dobson, click here.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
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18 Responses to The Success of James Dobson’s Call for “Moral Outrage”

  1. Religion is frequently a cover for hatred, and all hatred is rooted in fear. These “men” are fearful, scared out of their wits, petrified, for who knows what reasons. This kind of fear is rooted in the deep crevices of mind and soul and DNA – it’s horrible stuff, beyond reason, beyond faith, and no better platform from which to spew this bile then the pulpit. Thanks for posting this. Vigilance is always needed to be wary of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”


  2. R Marshall says:

    I thank God that he will ultimatly have the “Final Solution” and I will be counting on not having to share my final position with these 5 men.


  3. Duncan Beach says:

    I think that the men mentioned in your post today will certainly inherit the kingdom of Hell, should there actually be such a place. I’m not damning them. They have damned themselves, according to Jesus, by damning others.


  4. To which I asked the Church of the Nazarene specifically to issue a statement that condemns this sort of hate speech, and they have yet to do so.


  5. rjwalker says:

    Does his moral outrage help feed the hungry? Clothe the naked? Give succor to the sick and the imprisoned?

    Is he a Matthew 25 sheep? Or goat? Which line will he be in on judgement day?


    • Duncan Beach says:

      rjwalker, I think we both already know the answer to that one. The Lords Prayer says “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Does that sound like what Dobson’s doing?


  6. D. Lowrey says:

    “That’s God, he hasn’t changed.” If that’s true…why did He send his Son to die on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for sin? If this didn’t change the use of the sacrifice of animals…why waste His Son?


    • Duncan Beach says:

      God hasn’t changed. The Bible did. In 600 bce, the nation of Babylon sacked Israel, tore down the temples of David and Solomon, destroyed the Ark of the Covenant, and everything therein, but they didn’t stop there. They slew all the old ladies past childbearing age, and every Israeli male down at least to the age of 8 and maybe down to birth- that depends on which historical record you believe. They also destroyed EVERY known copy of the Torah (the first 5 books of the bible). The Jewish women and girls who survived were enslaved and carried into Babylon. There they stayed for 65 years, knowing that at best they had to rear children to take up the roles of elders, judges, and priests, and at worst that they had to use children put on them by their captors for these roles. Accordingly, they had to rewrite the Torah. When they did, I’m sure that maximizing the number of eligible men was foremost on their minds.


  7. Tim Attwell says:

    Gay people don’t reproduce. But then again, what if some got it right scientifically and reproduced… straight people!? Anyways, far as I know, more straight people conceive gay people than gay people conceive straight people. Problem isn’t gay people who already are, slim chance them reproducing themselves anyway, in Hawaii or Nebraska. Real problem is straight people conceiving gay people. Stop straight people conceiving gay people, for crying out loud! If a straight couple is suspected of conceiving a gay person, have a law that says that, before the second trimester, the mother must have an…Oh shucks, I just remembered, Dr Dobson and Pastors Worley, Randolph, Anderson, Kayser and Knapp champion “the right to life” (don’t they?)
    Fundamentalism and homophobia aren’t the only problems, stupid is another one.


    • Duncan Beach says:

      I don’t know what to think! Lmao.


      • Tim Attwell says:

        I was offering a rather mischievous satire on an imaginary fundamentalist homophobe trying to figure out where gay people came from and what to do about stemming the flow of gay people into society, just as those pastors seem to have been doing in Ron’s blog above. I was hoping to draw out the essential irrationality and inconsistency in fundamentalist attitudes to same-sex orientation.


      • Duncan Beach says:

        Yeah, Tim, I got that. I was laughing at it, and ran out of air for a minute there. You gave me something to laugh about out of something horrible, and that, my friend, is what I call one of Gods true miracles.


  8. Tim Attwell says:

    Hey Duncan, whew! That’s a relief – for a moment there I thought you thought I was nuts.


  9. The men mentioned in this post are led by their ego. Their egos have become so entrenched that they can’t see the real message of Jesus’ words. Good post like these strive to show the true ignorance of a religious heart over the spiritual one.


  10. Bob says:

    If you have any negative feelings toward Gay people then you are going directly against God!!! God created everyone and it is the immoral powerful leaders who have infected people’s minds with evil dogma. James Dobson is a right-wing conservative b*****d who lies for political advantage. If you do not follow Jesus you will go to hell? What a sick statement. I would not want to be associated with such an evangelical lie!!! A true God is love and Focus on the Family is a religious cult and shameful!!!!


    • Duncan Beach says:

      The question I had to answer when I realized what Christianity was, Bob, was do I believe Jesus?

      Not do I believe IN him, the way kids believe in Santa or Batman, but do I believe what Jesus said, what Jesus did, what Jesus taught? For me, that answer was yes. Consequently, I became a Christian.

      Bob, nowhere in the Bible, does Jesus condemn gay people, or even ask if they’re sleeping with another person of the same gender. Jesus also never asked a persons politics or even their religion before healing them or helping them. He just helped, healed, and taught. He used parables to do his teachings, in part to avoid the axe, and in part to keep the interest of his students-who doesn’t like a good story? Jesus said that God is love, and when he said that nobody gets to God except through him, he wasn’t presenting himself as a barrier, but offering his knowledge, path and skills.

      And yes, if you harbor hate in your heart against gay people (or anyone, for that matter, according to Jesus), you ARE going against God.


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