Dobson’s Dog-Whistle

First of all, I can’t even imagine why CNN would give the cyberspace to this homobigot retrofuck to air his asinine rantings in the first place, though considering he uses the opportunity to rail against CNN for their part in promulgating the radical homosexual agenda, I can only presume they’re motivated by some sort of deeply entrenched, masochistic shame about the merest perception of “liberal bias,” and a belief that flagellation-by-proxy will relieve them of their burden.


Dr. Dobson spends the majority of his column citing a bunch of meaningless statistics about state percentages of support for gay marriage—meaningless because the Family Marriage Amendment’s failure does not mean that gay marriage will suddenly become legal across the country, and meaningless because many of the Senators who voted against it did so not because they support gay marriage, or because they “don't give a hoot about the traditional family,” but because they do not support codifying discrimination into the Constitution or addressing marriage at the federal level.

Then he whines about activist judges for a bit, including those appointed by Clinton, who he conveniently fails to note was responsible for the Defense of Marriage Act passing on his watch. Then there’s the requisite caterwauling about “liberal judges and activists … destroy[ing] this 5,000-year-old institution, which was designed by the Creator, Himself.”

And here’s the best part: “So where does the issue go from here? Time will tell. It took William Wilberforce more than 30 years to bring about an end to Britain's slave trade in the 1800s. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of a protracted victory.”

Yes, that’s right. Evangelical Christian leader James Dobson just compared legalizing gay marriage to slave-trading.

I suspect the lunacy of that comment needs no commentary…but why do you suppose Dobson chose to reference the end of the British slave trade instead of the more obvious example of American slavery? An obvious explanation is that none too few Americans of any color would take exception to our horrendous history of slavery being invoked in such a manner, but perhaps fewer will balk at the British reference. Another possibility falls under the old dog-whistle theory—he’s giving a shout-out to the evangelicals that only they can hear.

William Wilberforce was white (unlike some prominent American abolitionists one might name, like Harriet Tubman or Frederick Douglass), and he was also an Evangelical Christian who managed to successfully convince the House of Commons to require missionary work a condition of the British East India Company's 1813 renewed charter. In other words, to do business, they had to agree to “introduc[e] Christian light into India.”

To you or me, mentioning this rather obscure British patrician in passing might just seem weird. To Dobson’s devotees, however, it becomes a message that white evangelicals must continue their struggle to blur the line separating church and state—and, more nefariously, a message to politicians that if they want to stay in business, they’d better play by Dobson’s rules.

Impassionately urging his congregants to “vote their consciences,” because, if they do, “there could be some new faces in the Congress soon,” and invoking the name of a man who successfully made policy and commerce contingent upon religious indoctrination, Dobson has made his point very clearly to those whose ears are trained to hear his dog-whistle. And CNN opened its doors to give this extremist conservative bully the opportunity to threaten D.C.

(Thanks to Mr. Shakes for passing that one along.)

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