Dr. James Dobson's November 2016 Newsletter


Dear Friends,

If I have calculated properly, you will receive this letter a few days after the U.S. elections are over and the winners have been declared. Undoubtedly, you know the results by now. I am writing you a few weeks before November 8th, which will allow me to address the issues and their implications without violating the IRS code for non-profit organizations. Obviously, my purpose is not to influence the election but to speculate about its profound consequences. You have just witnessed one of the most important national elections since the mid-1800s, which ultimately led to a bloody Civil War.

As I write, a dark cloud hangs over this nation. It concerns the future makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court and the entire federal judiciary. Judges and justices will be nominated by the new president for at least the next four years. When added to the two Supreme Court justices and thirty percent of the lower court judges appointed by Obama in the last eight years, a Clinton presidency would mean these two together will have soon “packed the court” with leftists. Donald Trump has indicated that if he is elected, he will nominate conservatives to the Court. We will see if he delivers on that promise. This, above all else, is what was at stake in the election you just witnessed.

So, what happened on November 8th? Did this nation affirm and reestablish the wisdom of the Founding Fathers who fought and died for our liberties? Or, did it move even further toward what Barack Obama referred to as a “fundamental transformation?” If the latter occurred, President Hillary Clinton will stand on the shoulders of her predecessor to implement more of his radical policies. She pledged during her campaign to help pay for abortions all around the world, provide almost unlimited funding for Planned Parenthood, give free college tuition to all students, raise taxes dramatically and continue the spending policies that have virtually bankrupted America.

If Donald Trump has been victorious, he may have some surprises in store for this country. I view him as less predictable than Clinton, but time will tell. This has been a bewildering election season for Americans. Regardless of who was elected on November 8th, we now stand at a pivotal point in our history, and I believe future historians will look back on our day as a time of monumental significance.

I’ve mentioned the awesome power of the judiciary, which is unaccountable, unelected, and tends to be imperious. There is another issue that should be of concern to us all, and, in fact, it is linked to the first. We’re seeing an assault on Constitutional guarantees that are coming at us like a tsunami. I’m speaking of the effort to destroy or limit the twin liberties of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. If you doubt that these rights are in jeopardy, read the rest of this paragraph: the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on September 9th, calling for restrictions to be placed on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The chairman, Martin R. Castro, minced no words when he wrote, “Religious liberty and religious freedom are code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, [and] Christian supremacy.”1

Can you believe anyone in an official capacity would say something this inflammatory? It tells us how confident the left is of revolution. Stated another way, the rights our ancestors viewed as almost sacred and protected by the Constitution are now perceived as evil. Those who try to exercise those rights or defend them from attack will be persecuted—and/or prosecuted. There are hundreds of other assaults on religious liberty. The Obama Administration issued a series of mandates in 2011, requiring ministries such as Little Sisters of the Poor, Family Talk, and Christian-owned businesses to provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees through their health plans. The required medications include the “morning-after-pill” and RU 486, which are known to kill tiny embryos. The leaders of institutions who refuse to comply on the basis of their religious convictions are faced with ruinous fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The only recourse to Christians in this dilemma is to engage in lengthy and costly legal battles, which have no guarantee of being successful.

Let’s return now to the election of 2016 and its implications. For the sake of discussion, if Hillary Clinton has won, then the nation is about to take a huge swing to the left. Or, what if Donald Trump is victorious and he becomes even more radical than she is expected to be? I don’t believe that will be true of Trump, but voters don’t fully know whom they have anointed until the winner begins to make decisions. Furthermore, power changes those who obtain it. As Lord Acton famously said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Truer words have rarely been spoken.

The framers of our Constitution understood this truth. It led them to build a system of checks and balances into the foundational documents. They were seeking to prevent “absolute power” from residing in human hands. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Eunice Harris, explained that principle to thirty-three wide-eyed ten-year-olds one afternoon. I never forgot what she said. Unfortunately, many of our congressmen and senators HAVE forgotten it, and they have permitted our president to operate rather like an autocrat for the last eight years. I pray that neither Clinton nor Trump will be given dictatorial powers by our out-of-control government.

The question for us now is this: what if a power broker emerges, now or in the future, who imposes his or her will on the people? What if that official runs roughshod over anyone who gets in his or her way? What if the interpretation and application of our Constitution become so weak and ineffective that our citizens are unable to worship or occupy the sweet spot of freedom? What if all the safeguards and limitations on presidential authority break down? What if there are no fair and equitable courts that will defend citizens against acts of tyranny? What then, my brothers and sisters?

In fact, tyranny has been the human condition since the beginning of civilizations. Freedom and democracy are aberrations and anomalies in human history. They come together for a brief moment as blessings from a loving God, but then disappear when the people become wicked and forget the difference between right and wrong. I believe that is happening now to this shining city on a hill, whose luster has been dimmed by sin and depravity.

What does the Scripture tell us about coping during such times of trouble? Will we sink into despair when elections are lost? The words of the Apostle Paul are particularly meaningful in response to such questions. He was writing to the believers in the church at Ephesus when he penned this passage:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, [or presidents or judges] but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18)

I can think of no greater encouragement for people of faith than the admonishment to stand strong in the midst of a perverse generation (see Philippians 2:15). Parents, continue to love your children and protect them from evil (such as bathrooms and locker rooms populated by both sexes). Teach them the truth about God’s Word and His design. Husbands, love your wives. Wives, respect your husbands. God is in control, and nothing has escaped His notice. We must pray for our nation and its leaders, and then use our influence in this great representative form of government. We all have a part in its decision-making process. Let’s use our voice as God would lead, regardless of who just won the presidential election.

Every day at Family Talk, we seek to preserve and protect this most valuable of institutions given to mankind by God Himself. Government may attack the family, but people who are committed to His ways will work to preserve it.

Well, those are my thoughts for this month of decision. As we approach the end of the calendar year, I need to speak candidly with regard to the finances of this ministry. This has not been an easy year for us. The summer was particularly difficult, and this fall has not brought much of a recovery. May I ask those of you who are able to consider giving generously between now and the end of the year?

We’re in this together. A generous supporter has agreed to match your gift of any amount dollar-for-dollar, allowing us to reach and equip twice as many families.We are doing a good work, and it is growing in opportunity and accomplishment.I hope you will join us as we wrap up 2016.

Thank you. God’s blessings to you all!

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1. http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/Peaceful-Coexistence-09-07-16.PDF p. 29

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, 2016 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S.A.

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