You may have read one of the hundreds of blogs and articles that were critical of Shirley and me following the recent National Day of Prayer event in Washington, D.C. Most of the criticism was aimed at me, which I’ll address in a moment. Almost all of the angry editorials were written by liberal activists who were apparently looking for an excuse to damage the prayer event in the nation’s capital. They are hostile to any public display of religious fervor. The writers of these blogs despise conservative Christians, especially those of us who stand firm for what we believe.
One of the most vocal is Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). He referred to me as a “religious terrorist” and repeatedly called Shirley a “Dominionist,” whatever that is. His lieutenant at MRFF, Chris Rodda, writing in The Huffington Post, referred to “Shirley and her merry band of warriors for Jesus.” Rodda also called the National Day of Prayer “the Pharisee Prayer Pageant.”i One of my friends read Rodda’s articles and said she made Shirley sound like a “hatchet woman.” When Weinstein and Rodda, et al., run out of cogent arguments against Christians and their faith, they resort to legal threats and name-calling. Weinstein is at the top of that list as he runs from one courtroom to another, filing, and usually losing, bogus lawsuits.
I don’t care what this bitter man and his left-wing friends say about me. It doesn’t matter. But to disparage and vilify Shirley is an outrage. She is one of the most gracious and godly women in America, and she doesn’t deserve these vicious attacks on her character. She has led the National Day of Prayer tirelessly and without compensation since 1991. Her only desire has been to call the nation to prayer on behalf of its families, its government, its military, its schools, its media, its businesses and its churches.
Here’s another example of Weinstein’s work. Attorney Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice, recently spoke in defense of a beleaguered Cadet at the Air Force Academy. This young man had written a single verse of Scripture on his “White Board.” Weinstein heard about the offense and demanded that the Cadet be “visibly punished,” and insisted that the officer who permitted the indiscretion be court-martialed. This is what Weinstein does for a living, and he receives a huge salary from MRFF for doing it. Sekulow said this on his radio program:
Mikey Weinstein sincerely-honestly believes that Christians actively want to take over the United States (via its military) and begin a nuclear war. He really -truly- thinks Christians want to institute a second Holocaust. He really believes Christians are a national security threat.” Weinstein has clearly indicated he believes evangelical Christians should be kept out of public service. [I] wonder when he’ll start demanding that Christians wear yellow crosses on their shirts.ii
Weinstein, for all his bluster, is not the primary threat to the free expression of religion. Despite the pandering he receives from the mainstream media, the greater danger is posed by our federal government. It seeks to limit or weaken religious liberty and to “fundamentally transform” this great nation. That was an oft-quoted campaign slogan by candidate Barack Obama during his presidential bid in 2008. We now know what he meant by it. Among other things, he was targeting religious freedom and set about accomplishing that from the beginning. That was the activity to which I objected strenuously during my comments in Washington. I offer no apologies for expressing those views now. The effort to force Christians to violate their consciences must be opposed with all vigor, regardless of the consequences—primarily because it is unconstitutional. Christians are being chastised, dismissed, harangued and sued for daring to practice their deeply held convictions in the Public Square. Family Talk is among those who have been pressed against a wall.
You may know that a mandate was imposed by the Obama Administration and its Department of Human Services, requiring us and thousands of other non-profit organizations to provide abortifacients, such as “morning-after pills” or Plan B pharmaceuticals to employees and their daughters.iiiThose medications can interfere with implantation of tiny embryos in mothers’ uteruses, causing them to abort. That regulation would have forced us to participate in the killing of babies from the first days of life. It was an egregious demand that we could not—and will not—abide. The governmental mandate would have levied $800,000 in fines annually on our small organization. Indeed, it would have resulted in the closing of our doors. And get this: These fines were set to begin on May 1st, the day I spoke at the National Day of Prayer.
Family Talk filed a suit against then Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, and ObamaCare. Legal representation was provided at no cost to us by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). This ministry that I helped found in 1994 is led by my great friend, Alan Sears, and I am grateful to him and his highly competent legal team for this defense.iv
Two weeks prior to the inception of the fines, we hadn’t heard from the federal court deciding our case. I scheduled a conference call with our board of directors and asked them what we should do. Again, we would have ceased operation if the horrendous fines had been imposed. Nevertheless, the board vote on that day was unanimous. We decided to stay the course. We would not yield. If we had to close Family Talk, we were prepared to do it. God owns it all anyway.
A few days later, the decision by Judge Blackburn reached our offices.v He had ruled emphatically in our favor and granted a “temporary reprieve.” Though the ruling sounds tentative, it will probably survive the Administration’s expected appeal. I thank God for hearing and answering our prayers, and for the decision declaring the mandate to be unconstitutional. The ruling also offers relief to some other Christian organizations. I know many of you have been praying for us in this regard, and I deeply appreciate your concerns.
During my remarks to the NDOP audience, I quoted something I had written in 2012, which expressed my determination not to be dragged into the bloody business of abortion. President Obama had announced that year through his HHS operatives that every person receiving health insurance would have to pay $12 per year to the government, for allocation to abortion clinics. That was unacceptable to us under any circumstances. I called Barack Obama “the abortion President” that day, which is a role he deliberately crafted for himself.vi
Remember that I reported to you two months ago that the President’s proposed federal budget for the next fiscal year, 2014-2015, included $286,000,000 for Planned Parenthood and other abortion enterprises.vii That has never been done in history. Fortunately, Congress rejected this budget out of hand and refused to pass it.
And do you recall that in the campaign of 2008, the President bragged about having voted 100% with the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL)?viii He was proud of it. How can anyone challenge my characterization of Mr. Obama as “the abortion President” given the facts? No other Chief Executive in history has been so committed to the killing of babies. He even voted three times in the Illinois State Senate not to protect babies who were born alive after surviving botched abortions.ix
This is what I wrote in 2012, and quoted during the National Day of Prayer event, 2014:
To pay one cent for the killing of babies is egregious to me, and I will do all I can to correct a government that lies to me about its intentions and then tries to coerce my acquiescence with extortion. It would be a violation of my most deeply held convictions to disobey what I consider to be the principles in Scripture. The Creator will not hold us guiltless if we turn a deaf ear to the cries of His innocent babies. So come and get me if you must, Mr. President. I will not bow before your wicked regulation.x
I finished my remarks by asking for prayer, and there was an enthusiastic standing ovation from the people in attendance. I tell you that not to boast, but to describe the setting. At that moment as people cheered, Congresswoman Janice Hahn, D-CA, shouted something from the back of the Caucus Room and then she huffed out the door. I didn’t see her and didn’t know about it until later. To my knowledge, I am not aware of anyone else who objected to my remarks. However, the media had their story for the day. Within a few minutes, it began to spread across the nation. Their headline read, “Congresswoman walks out on James Dobson.”
The media reports didn’t mention that Ms. Hahn also has a 100 percent voting record in support of NARAL.xi She is obviously committed to the pro-abortion position. The blogs ignored what actually happened at the NDOP. There were more than 42,000 prayer events in cities and towns everywhere. Those in attendance in Washington called it one of the most successful NDOP events in memory. The naysayers only reported the irritation of one woman, Janice Hahn, who said my remarks were “inappropriate for a day of prayer.”
That evening, Shirley and I accepted an invitation to appear live on the Fox News television program, The Kelly File, hosted by Megyn Kelly. It took us nearly two hours to get to the studio and wait our turn. When it came, we were given four on-air minutes, all of which was taken with Megyn challenging what I had said that day. Perhaps you saw it. Shirley was treated disrespectfully. Megyn asked her only one question, and before Shirley could say a word, the host said they were out of time.xii Off Kelly went to a commercial and another story.
As for Congresswoman Hahn’s charge that the National Day of Prayer was an inappropriate place to talk about abortion, let me remind my readers of another event, the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, that Shirley and I attended in 1994. It was during the Clinton Administration.
A diminutive nun named Mother Teresa was the principal speaker. We could hardly see her standing behind the podium, located in the center of the platform. This quiet woman took on the U.S. government and the entire abortion movement. She said, “Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child . . . Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted..."Three thousand people stood and cheered as tears streamed down the faces of many in attendance. President and Mrs. Clinton were sitting on Mother Teresa’s right. They looked embarrassed and sullenly sat with their heads down. On the speaker’s left, Vice President and Mrs. Al Gore also sat awkwardly. The little nun finished her remarks and sat down to thunderous applause.xiii
I don’t remember anyone that morning or in the days to follow saying, “It was inappropriate for Mother Teresa to have spoken about abortion in that setting.” No one dared to make her the butt of their castigations.
Then last year, Dr. Ben Carson gave his own impassioned speech at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast.xiv It was brilliant and has now been seen by over 4 million people online. Drawing from four Scripture passages and from our nation’s early history, he said:
. . . about political correctness, which I think is a horrible thing, by the way . . . PC is dangerous. Because, you see, this country one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. And it muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them. And at the same time, keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of this society is being changed. And we cannot fall for that trick. And what we need to do is start talking about things, talking about things that are important...
. . . Why is it so important that we educate our people? Because we don't want to go down the pathway as so many pinnacle nations that have preceded us. I think particularly about ancient Rome. Very powerful. Nobody could even challenge them militarily, but what happened to them? They destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay, fiscal irresponsibility. They destroyed themselves. If you don't think that can happen to America, you get out your books and you start reading ...
What about our taxation system? So complex there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle of our tax system. If I wanted to get you, I could get you on a tax issue. That doesn't make any sense. What we need to do is come up with something that is simple.
When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the Universe, God, and He's given us a system. It's called tithe. Now we don't necessarily have to do it 10% but it's principle. He didn't say, if your crops fail, don't give me any tithes. He didn't say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality . . .xv
As the Clintons did in 1994, President and Mrs. Obama sat in awkward silence. Then, within the hour after he finished speaking, Dr. Carson was asked by the White House to apologize to President Obama for “offensive remarks” contained in his speech. Dr. Carson replied that he didn’t think the President was offended and, to his credit, refused to apologize.xvi xvii
Was it inappropriate for Dr. Carson to speak boldly for righteousness at a prayer event? Of course not. And it was not inappropriate for me to speak candidly at the 2014 National Day of Prayer. More than 56 million babies have died by abortion in our land, and yet our President is trying to coerce Christians to join in the killing. I pray that my readers, nearly 300,000 of them, will also be willing to defend the sanctity of human life and principles of righteousness in the public square.
Our Founding Fathers referred to such a moment when they answered the call to arms. They knew the task before them would cost them dearly. In the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence, the writers said, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”xviii For us, the path you and I must follow is also clear, even if we are threatened by powerful people. If we live, we live, and if we die, we die. We will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but in no wise will we render unto Caesar that which belongs to God.xix Every baby, born and unborn, is His and they deserve our love and protection. I’ll say the obvious: what is at stake here is not just the right to pray in public. It is our obligation to defend the Constitution of this great nation that grants Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims and Hindus the freedom to worship as they please. Or they can choose not to worship at all. This is the first and most foundational of all our freedoms, and future generations depend on it. All others listed in the Bill of Rights flow from this basic liberty. It is what brought the Pilgrims to this new land, establishing Plymouth Colony in 1620. They were willing to suffer severe hardships in order to live as free men and women. That passion to worship according to our individual consciences has defined us as a nation.
When King George and the British forces began to restrict the religious liberties of the Colonists, ministers who had been passive to that point stripped off their clerical garb and became part of the Black Robe Regiment.xx They were willing to die for the right to worship and speak freely about their faith. Their passionate sermons infused those who would then author our nation’s founding documents. How dare we treat flippantly the liberties our forebears purchased for us with their own blood. Will you join me in defending what we and future generations can’t afford to lose?
I will leave you with one more thought. When Congresswoman Hahn protested that a prayer service was an inappropriate place to speak for unborn children and religious liberty, a colleague of mine, Dick Bott, reminded me of a speech given on March 6th, 1860, by Abraham Lincoln. He had been warned not to speak of the contentious issue of slavery. Here is a paragraph from that thoughtful speech:
There is no place where you will even allow it to be even called wrong. We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong.xxi
There is a tragic similarity between the horrors of slavery and the murder of infants. Both have deprived human beings of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” What Lincoln said about the first is what I would say about the second. Our countrymen continue to kill more than a million babies every year, and yet there is no appropriate gathering or venue to call it evil. Not in churches, not in Synagogues, not in polite society, not in businesses or corporations, not even in a prayer service where we have come in a solemn assembly to call on the name of God Almighty, to humble ourselves and seek His face, and to turn from our wicked ways. If we, His people, will meet those conditions, He promises to hear our cries from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land. (2 Chron. 7:14.) Where, other than the National Day of Prayer, is it more appropriate to confess our guilt, and ask the Lord to forgive us? And what better place than the nation’s capital is there to call attention to the efforts of our leaders to strip away our Constitutional rights to worship according to our consciences, and to speak the truth in love? Inappropriate, indeed!
Spoken from my heart,
P.S. In our interview with Megyn Kelly the evening after the National Day of Prayer, she said three times during our four-minute conversation that a surcharge of not less than $1 per month ($12 per year) for abortion coverage does not exist because it never went into effect. She was incorrect. Our attorney has verified that those who buy health insurance are required by ObamaCare regulations to pay the hidden premium. What I said during my remarks on the NDOP was accurate.
Our investigation also revealed that, depending on the circumstances, the Affordable Care Act regulations sometimes require the government (i.e., you, the taxpayers) to pay for abortifacients; sometimes require individuals to pay for surgical abortions, and as we know, require employers to pay for abortifacients. This is the true color of “pro-choice.”
Now do you believe that Barak Obama is “the Abortion President?”
He is also "the anti-religious freedom President."
This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright © 2014 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S.A. Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is not affiliated with Focus on the Family.
i Chris Rodda, “Pentagon to Join in ‘One Voice United in Prayer’, The Huffington Post, April 24, 2014. - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-rodda/pentagon-to-join-in-one-v_b_5208018.html
ii Jay Sekulow ACLJ radio program, as quoted in “Mikey Weinstein: It’s Not About Eliminating God,” Feb. 13, 2014, ChristianFighterPilot.com - http://christianfighterpilot.com/blog/2014/02/13/mikey-weinstein-its-not-about-eliminating-god/
iii Jeffrey H. Anderson, “Obamacare Mandates (Free) Coverage of Abortion Drug.” The Weekly Standard, August 4, 2011.- http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-mandates-coverage-abortion-drug_581969.html
iv “Court Blocks Enforcement of Abortion Pill Mandate Against Ministry of Dr. James Dobson.” Alliance Defending Freedom news release, April 17, 2014.- http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/News/Detail?ContentID=76431
v Dr. James C. Dobson, and Family Talk v. Kathleen Sebelius, HHS, et al., Civil Action No. 13-cv-03326-REB-CBS, In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado: Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction. http://www.adfmedia.org/files/DobsonPI.pdf
vi Paul E. Rondeau, “The Planned Parenthood President: Obama’s Obsession with Abortion.” The Washington Times, October 15, 2012. -http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/common-sense/2012/oct/15/planned-parenthood-president-obamas-obsession-abor/
vii Dr. James C. Dobson, “Our Nation is in Serious Moral Decline,” Family Talk, April 2014 newsletter. http://drjamesdobson.org/about/april-2014
viii Karen Cross, “Elections Have Consequences.” National Right to Life News, Vol. 35, Issue 7-8; July 2008. p.1.- http://www.nrlc.org/archive/news/2008/NRL08/Elections.html
ix “Obama Abortion Support Exceeds Even NARAL’s: Records document opposition to protecting born-alive babies.” WorldNetDaily, August 16, 2008. http://www.wnd.com/2008/08/72511/
x Dr. James C. Dobson, “The Truth About Life.” Family Talk, April 2012 newsletter. - http://drjamesdobson.org/about/commentaries/the-truth-about-life
xi Project Vote Smart, 2012 Positions. Rating Group: NARAL Pro-Choice America. Janice Hahn, D-CA, House District 44.- http://votesmart.org/interest-group/1016/rating/6754#.U3sN6y9niGO
xii “Exclusive: Dr. Dobson lashes out at Obama in open letter,” Fox News,The Kelly File. May 1, 2014. - http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/the-kelly-file/index.html#/v/3529042378001
xiii “Mother Teresa @ National Prayer Breakfast,” C-SPAN 2; YouTube.
xiv “Dr. Ben Carson’s Amazing Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast,” February 7, 2013. C-SPAN 2, YouTube.
xv “Full Video and Text of Dr. Ben Carson’s Speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast,” February 9, 2013. Black Christian News Network (BCNN1).
xvi “Carson: White House wanted me to apologize for ‘offending’ Obama,” Fox News, April 16, 2014.
xvii Leonardo Blair, “Neurosurgeon Ben Carson Not Sorry for Prayer Breakfast Speech…” Christian Post, February 13, 2013.
xviii “The Charters of Freedom, “ The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
xix The Manhattan Declaration. http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/man_dec_resources/Manhattan_Declaration_full_text.pdf
xx “National Black Robe Regiment; A brief History by David Barton,” Wallbuilders.com. http://brr.wallbuilders.com/original-black-robe-regiment/
xxi Abraham Lincoln, “Speech at New Haven,” March 6, 1860. The History Place; Abraham Lincoln. http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/haven.htm