During the debate on John R. Bolton's nomination as US ambassador to the UN, I was a little dismayed about the lack of attention devoted to his long and troubling history of collaboration with Christian right interest groups to, for instance, restrict condom distribution in developing nations. Now that Bolton has been installed in the UN by Bush, his so-called "reform" agenda will undoubtedly include a host of reactionary Christian right social policies. A disturbing reflection of Bolton's plans was provided by James Dobson in today"s Focus on the Family broadcast, in which he and FoF President Jim Daly described a private, hour-long meeting they and a group of FoF staffers recently held with Bolton in New York.
Here are key portions of Dobson and Daly's discussion of their meeting with Bolton:
JIM DALY: He's [Bolton's] a good man. I mean, everything we saw of him in that almost hour we met with him...he's just a solid pro-life gentleman and uh, certainly more meek than what the Democrats portrayed. He's a nice guy.
JAMES DOBSON: But we had an opportunity to talk to him about the possibilty of Focus on the Family working with the United Nations. That really did excite me.
DALY: Absolutely. I think what came across in the meeting is that he [Bolton] is pro-life and pro-family and he gave us an invitation to work with him in setting some policy there at the UN that would support the values we believe in.
DOBSON: Now we're finding out why the Democrats didn't want him...
DALY: It had nothing to do...
DOBSON: He's [Bolton's] pro-life, pro-family, pro-morality and sees things the way we do regarding condom distribution and abstinence and other things.
For a little perspective, consider what Bolton's predecessor at the UN, former Republican Senator John Danforth, wrote about Dobson and his ilk:
"When government becomes the means of carrying out a religious program, it raises obvious questions under the First Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a political party should resist identification with a religious movement. While religions are free to advocate for their own sectarian causes, the work of government and those who engage in it is to hold together as one people a very diverse country. At its best, religion can be a uniting influence, but in practice, nothing is more divisive. For politicians to advance the cause of one religious group is often to oppose the cause of another....
As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around."