Dobson and Stowe?

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing RightWingWatch.org.  I’m simply using their video because I didn’t find this clip anywhere else.

I’m also not making a final judgment on Mr. Dobson’s book, Fatherless, because I haven’t read it (yet).  I am going to try my best to read it.

But, independent of the quality of the writing in Fatherless, let’s examine the claim that Fatherless might be the modern-day Uncle Tom’s Cabin (“This is this,” Beck says and Dobson seems to completely agree with the assessment).

I recently read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, so I can speak to the standard set by it.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a complex novel that, while it does not leave its message to interpretation, is complex in its methods.  Stowe uses themes like humility, Christian faith and redemption, and racial and gender roles to tell a complex story.  It’s not just about the cruelest brands of slavery.  It demonstrates how even the slaves’ best conditions were unjust and degrading to everyone involved.

It displayed the everyday life of everyone involved in the slave system.  It had flawed characters, like St. Clare who ultimately achieved salvation through faith in Christ, and it had characters like Senator Bird who believes in the legality of slavery (specifically fugitive slave laws) but takes the opportunity to help a slave escape.

In short, Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows the slave system as it was…right then.  It didn’t speculate.  It didn’t predict.  It was a story of now…in 1851.

Also, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this complex novel so that she could change prejudiced minds.  It was published first in a major magazine read by people who needed convincing.  Fatherless would have to reach beyond a very conservative, predominately Christian audience (and change minds) to have the same impact as Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Fatherless, which is set in the future, is very much open to the inherent pitfalls of speculation and prediction.  Interpretation of current attitudes, economic and political changes, and changes in medical technology are just a few of these.

I definitely hope Fatherless doesn’t ignite a war given these inherent issues.

Again, I can’t say Fatherless is a bad novel.  I haven’t read it, but is it Uncle Tom’s Cabin?  Well, only time will tell.  I guess I have to concede my predictions are open to the same vicissitudes as the novel.  It seems unlikely though.

Has anyone read it?  How does it measure up?

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Glenn Beck and his ilk

This is a blog about American culture written by me, a Christian.  The underlying goal of this blog is to help bring disparate voices together so the “rank and file” Christian can form intelligent and educated opinions.  I do not want Christians to end their involvement in the culture or even politics, but I do want to see that involvement more effective for the sake of the Gospel.  This blog’s content will question those cultural and political activists who claim to speak for the Christian Church.  Thus, people you will not see a lot of on this blog are:

  • Glenn Beck
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Sean Hannity (though as a Roman Catholic, he may appear more than some others)
  • Bill O’Reilly

and others who do not claim to be Christians or whose commentary is primarily political.  Yes, they influence the Church and speak on moral issues with political implications.  However, this blog is not about whom we should elect but about what we the members of the Christian Church think and who should speak for us.

Thus, you will, most likely, frequently see the names of these and other people and organizations (because people tend to speak through organizations):

  • James Dobson/Focus on the Family
  • Ralph Reed/Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • Family Research Council
  • Sarah Palin
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Jim Wallis/Sojourners & the God’s Politics Blog
  • Tony Campolo
  • Brian McLaren
  • Ron Sider/Evangelicals for Social Action

You may notice that the second list includes people who fall all along the political and cultural spectrum.  I envision this blog to, eventually, become something of a clearinghouse of ideas from many perspectives.  In the meantime, though, I believe the first step is to think critically about what those who speak for us, the Church, are saying.  I’ll try to do this by digging into the reasons behind the things these voices say and their implications.

I’ll often draw my own conclusions.  Ultimately, though, the discernment is up to you.

As always, please comment and include people and organizations you think I should have included on my list.  I know there are more, and I know who many of them are.  But, if you want to discuss certain people and organizations, let me know.  Also, feel free to question my own motives, actions, and opinions.  Discussion and discourse contribute to an intelligent, truthful, and effective Church.  Please, just be respectful.