john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology

I am a Christian.
I am a pastor.
I am a father.

As all three of these things, I apologize to the world (and to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting), for Mike Huckabee and James Dobson.

This week, these “representatives” of Christianity in the American media, have done what they seem bent on doing and content to do in times of tragedy; they have stood on top of someone else’s pain and grief, while preaching a message of dreadfully misplaced, fear-infused hatred and horribly dangerous theology.

During a time when most people, (both religious and non-religious), have rallied around hurting people to express heartfelt condolences and great anguish, and have sought ways to somehow bring hope and healing to a devastated nation, Huckabee and Dobson have chosen instead, to blame the victims.

It’s your fault.

God is ticked-off at you.

Apparently, having a mentally unstable young man, whose childhood seems filled with dysfunction and oddness; having that young man brutally murder his mother, grab an arsenal of her own weapons, break his way into an elementary school and mindlessly butcher classrooms full of first-graders and those caring for them; this is God’s way of complaining about abortion and gay marriage and lack of prayer in schools.

God, according to Huckabee and Dobson, has been excluded by America, is deeply offended, and so He allowed the carnage of last Friday to unfold, (as God likes to do).

So let’s try and wrap our minds around this… According to these supposed religious experts:

God, (the all-knowing and all-powerful, Creator of all things, and Savior of the World), is…

… one; able to be “kept out of schools” by rules about verbal prayer and Nativity scenes. He is that neutered of power, that insecure and benign, that He needs our consent to enter a building, like a magazine salesman or a visiting aunt.

… two; so upset by gay marriage and abortion, that instead of perpetrating acts against those entities (surely the easier and more direct way of Him expressing this fact to a nation), creates instead, random deadly hurricanes and kills rooms of school kids, expecting His people to somehow connect the dots between such completely disparate things. (Not only is God peeved, but he wants to confuse us to as He tells us).

… three; so thin-skinned, that He’s willing to destroy entire”nations”, because some people in those nations, disobey Him or do things that He doesn’t approve of. He’s a grudge-holder of, “Biblical” proportions.

The thoughts seemingly never occurred to them…
… that God gives people free will, and that free will, enables some to make catastrophic choices, such as the one a young man-made last Friday. Some things (as incomprehensible as they are), are what they are;┬ánot veiled signs of something else.

… that God is not in the “nation” business, but the people business; that Jesus came to create a People; a new community, who are defined not by a border, or government, or continent, but by faith in Him. There is only one nation in the eyes of God, and He builds and disciplines it one person at a time.

… that God is made of Grace, and that Jesus tells us that because of this, He comes with a relentless, pursuing, extravagant love, and a heart for the lost and wayward. His mission is redemption.

It would take me months and months, and millions of words to adequately illustrate the lack of sensitivity, the perverting of Scripture, and the overall ignorance Huckabee and Dobson and others like them exhibit, when using something like the senseless disaster in Newtown to somehow give ammo to their agenda and credence to  their cause.

For now, let me just say; to every victim, every grieving family member, every frightened classmate, every terrified parent, every scarred first-responder, and every questioning, hurting, hopeless person across this nation seeking from religious leaders; healing, and finding only contempt…

…I’m sorry.

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308 thoughts on “Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology

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  1. Please remember, dear people, that God does judge his people and he does discipline them, as any good father would do. But he is not a God of revenge. He is a God of love and mercy whose teachings and commandments we are to follow. Just as we are with our own children, God tells us, his children, that there are consequences when we turn from him and fall into sin, but he is always calling us to come back. Read again the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.

    God does deal with nations. Recall Israel in the Old Testament. Also, recall this Bible verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14:

    “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”


    Divine mercy in my heart!- That I may love with HIS LOVE
    Divine Mercy in my eyes, may I look upon others with compassion
    Divine Mercy in my ears, may I respond to what I hear with forgiveness
    Divine Mercy in my actions-may I serve without judgement
    Divine Mercy in my words-may I give hope and dignity to the sinner!

    • Thanks for the very thoughtful comments, but disagree about God dealing with “nations”. Your quote from Chronicles is pre-Jesus. I strongly believe God sent Jesus to create “one nation”. I believe Scripture strongly supports this.

      See more thoughts on this here:

      Appreciate your participation in this discussion greatly!

  2. As a devout Christian (Catholic) woman who does NOT want to be associated with such “preaching” that comes from Huckabee and Dobson, I thank you so much for this post. Very well said and I couldn’t agree more. My husband teaches in a public school and he sees God’s presence every day at school in so many ways.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Sheri. I am glad these words resonate with you. Will pray for your husband, as he does great work in difficult places, and am thankful that he can testify to the BIGness of God there.


  3. I am baffled as to why you took down my reply? And did not even respond?

  4. Frances Robson on said:

    I heard Rev. Huckabee the night he made the comments you find so offensive and I agree with those who say you did not hear them or read them objectively for he had total empathy for the families and the young man. Like others, you heard what you wanted to hear just like when I read your article, I read it from my point of view and disagreed with you. The comments from some of your readers were expressed in a way that Christ would never condone and I was surprised that you did not delete them. If this is the manner “Christians” treat each other, no wonder the world does not want to have anything to do with us. Also, Rev. Huckabee is very accessible through email and is not isolated from the world. He is a fellow minister of the Gospel and where is your respect for him as you would expect him to respect you? I pray you rethink your blog posting and ask yourself if this is what Christ would say about these 2 men? After all, as Christians that should be the guideline for anything we say, do or write. Pray about it.

    • Frances, I respectfully disagree.

      To say someone “hears what they want to hear” works on all sides. We all have different perspectives and experiences and receive words differently. That is the essence of opinion. I have given mine here, and stand by every word.

      As far as comments on this log you deem “unChristlike”, I chose to allow a freedom of expression from all parties involved, as long as no cussing or inappropriate language was used. Jesus had some pretty harsh words for the Pharisees, hypocrites, liars, thieves, and in general, people who did not act in accordance with God’s word, especially leaders. It is not unChristlike to make others accountable for words and actions, especially other Christians.

      And the heart of it all is, I find the words of Dobson and Huckabee to be anything but Christlike here, and that is why I offered my opinions of them.

      Even though I disagree with much of what you say here, I am glad you said it, and will not censor it.

      I think Christians can disagree and still glorify God.

      Thanks for commenting.

  5. P. Hoover on said:

    And we wonder why the non-believers mock Christianity. You, my misguided friend, are part of the problem.

    • Thanks for your opinion, P. Hoover.

      Non-Believers mock Christianity for lots of reasons.

      One of the reasons those outside the church most dislike it, however, are the hateful, mean-spirited, Biblically fraudulent teachings espoused by such high profile representatives of the faith as I critique here.

      Even those with very little understanding of The Gospels recognize when they are being given an imitation Jesus.

      I stand on every word here, and the reactions of many outside the Church to them, remind me that we will need to continue to challenge the bad teachings that have come from loud voices for too long.

      Thanks for commenting.

  6. gocru01 on said:

    Thank you for your words. As a teacher, I’m interested in your sources concerning Dobson and Huckabee so that I, too, may analyze them and pray over them. Please, if you read this, email then to me. Thanks.

  7. excellent publish, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do
    not understand this. You should continue your writing.
    I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

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