Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar blasts Focus on the Family
â€? “I think that the way Focus on the Family and the conservative right wing is attempting to take the country will threaten the basic cornerstone of our freedom.”
– Sen. Ken Salazar, who says evangelical Christian leaders are trying to turn the U.S. into a theocracy
â€? “This is not about Catholicism. This is about an effort in the Senate to block people of faith and also people with conservative views. It’s not just those with Christian views.”
– R. Albert Mohler Jr., of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family on Salazar’s criticism of the group
…it has escalated into a brawl in which the sides are trading shots over whether the U.S. Senate is anti-Christian and whether Focus on the Family is anti-Catholic.
A political arm of the Colorado Springs-based ministry has mounted an aggressive ad campaign against Salazar and senators from 15 states. It is pressuring them to scrap filibuster rules that have allowed Democrats to block a handful of controversial judicial nominations.
Salazar, a Democrat and lifelong Catholic, blasted the ads on Wednesday, saying Focus on the Family was “hijacking” Christianity and becoming an appendage of the Republican Party. The ministry reaches millions of evangelical Christians through the leadership of its founder, James Dobson.
“I think the kind of attack that is being used against (Democratic senators) and against me has the potential of moving our country to abandoning the freedom of worship which we enjoy in this country, and moving toward the creation of a theocracy,” Salazar said.
After his first verbal barrage on Wednesday, a Focus on the Family spokesman said Salazar was aligning himself with Democratic senators who allegedly showed an anti-Catholic bias in rejecting one of the appeals court nominees, former Alabama attorney general William Pryor.
Salazar responded Thursday with a terse letter to Dobson. In it, he defended Senate colleagues of various faiths, and he called on Dobson to repudiate a Focus board member who once referred to Catholicism as “a false church.”
The board member, R. Albert Mohler Jr., said Thursday he stands by the comments he made in March 2000 on the cable news show Larry King Live. “I believe that the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel,” Mohler said at the time. “And indeed, I believe that the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office.”