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Dobson Resigns as Chairman of Focus on the Family

posted by nsymmonds

DENVER – Conservative evangelical leader James Dobson has resigned as chairman of Focus on the Family but will continue to play a prominent role at the organization he founded more than three decades ago.
Dobson notified the board of his decision Wednesday, and the 950 employees of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based ministry were informed Friday morning at a monthly worship service, said Jim Daly, the group’s president and chief executive officer.
Dobson, 72, will continue to host Focus on the Family’s flagship radio program, write a monthly newsletter and speak out on moral issues, Daly said.
Dobson’s resignation as board chairman “lessens his administrative burden” and is the latest step in a succession plan, the group said. Dobson began relinquishing control six years ago by stepping down as president and CEO.
“One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority,” Dobson said in a statement. “… Though letting go is difficult after three decades of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do.”
While Focus on the Family emphasizes that it devotes most of its resources to offering parenting and marriage advice, it is best known for promoting conservative moral stands in politics.
Dobson, a child psychologist and author, has gotten more involved in politics in recent years. He endorsed Republican John McCain last year after initially saying he would not, and also sharply criticized Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
On political matters, Dobson “will continue to speak out as he always has – a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded,” said Gary Schneeberger, a Focus on the Family spokesman. He said the nonprofit ministry and Focus on the Family Action – an affiliate set up under a different section of the tax code that permits more political activity – will continue to be active on public policy.
Dobson has a devoted following. His radio broadcast reaches an estimated 1.5 million U.S. listeners daily. Yet critics say his influence is waning, pointing to evangelicals pushing to broaden the movement’s agenda beyond abortion, gay marriage and other issues Dobson views as most vital.
“In the short term, in the near term, Dr. Dobson will stay committed to the issues close to his heart,” Daly said in an interview. “He’ll continue to speak out on those topics.”
Daly said there is no timetable for Dobson to leave the radio program, and the group will “look for the next voice for the next generation” while Dobson remains on the air.
That will likely mean not one person behind the microphone but several speaking on their respective areas of expertise, Daly said. The organization, anticipating a post-Dobson era, for several years has tried out different voices on the broadcast and in giving media interviews on hot-button social issues.
At the same time, Focus officials have acknowledged difficulties in raising money from younger families critical to its future. The economy also has hurt. Last fall Focus on the Family eliminated more than 200 staff positions, its largest employee cutbacks ever.
Daly said the group is now “right on track” with a revised annual budget of $138 million.
Dobson’s wife, Shirley, also resigned from the Focus board. The new board chairman is retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Patrick P. Caruana, a longtime board member and a former executive with defense contractor Northrup Grumman.
“I don’t see any dramatic departure from what Focus stands for,” Caruana said of Dobson’s leaving the board. “There are obviously younger people the ministry would like to reach, and we’re on track to do that.”
Associated Press – February 27, 2009
On the Net:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



  • JohnQ

    All I can say is two things:
    First, I wish Dr. & Mrs. Dobson an enjoyable retirement.
    Second, Thank God he is finally retiring….the soon he is off of the radio…the better.
    Peace!

  • jestrfyl

    The only people whom I have met that listen to this anachronistic scold are well beyond their child bearing years. I hope he has a delightful retirement. If it is really great he won’t bother people anymore. The organization was built around his personality so much that it too may find a peaceful retirement in the not-too-distant future.

  • pagansister

    Good. It is time however I don’t think that the group is going to loosen up any with him gone…or partly gone, actually, from the article’s information.

  • nnmns

    It’s a start.

  • cknuck

    James Dobson is very important to many Christians I know I enjoyed him very much especially early on in my Christian walk. I hope he enjoys his retirement and I hope his replacement follows the path of truth also.

  • JohnQ

    cknuck-
    I am glad that you found something important to you in Dr. Dobson’s message. Unfortunately for thousands and thousands of families with gay/lesbian children he caused tremendous pain and suffering.
    It is impossible to determine how many young gays and lesbians took their own lives because of Dr. Dobson’s words.
    It is impossible to know how many gays and lesbians entered into mixed marriages that totally disrupted their lives and more greatly disrupted the lives of their spouses……in an attempt to live up to Dr. Dobson’s idea of “God’s Will” for other people.
    When I think of Dr. Dobson…..a profound sense of sadness envelopes me.
    Peace!

  • Charles Cosimano

    There is no polite way to say this. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • nnmns

    Young homosexuals in particular, but young people in general need to be made aware that an immense amount of pernicious nonsense is put out there in the name of Christianity.

  • JohnQ

    I was going to post that I look forward to the time when we will look back at Dr. Dobson and FOF and chalk their messages up to ignorance.
    However, as I was doing so….I realize I already chalk their messages up to ignorance.
    nnmns, while I agree, I see no need to limit your point to Christianity…certainly it applies to most if not all religions.
    In the interest of full disclosure….I am Christian and whole-heartedly embrace the teachings of Christ. It is the teachings of some humans that I find offensive and harmful.

  • Mordred08

    Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Dr. Doom-I mean Dr. Dobson yet. And for all we know, the guy who replaces him could be worse.
    cknuck: “James Dobson is very important to many Christians I know I enjoyed him very much especially early on in my Christian walk.”
    Why am I not surprised?

  • Mary Blue

    Well we get to read all the negative crap and coming from the “oddest” people at that. But what else did we expect ? Dobson spoke it like it is and if you can’t control the lust of the flesh you are the only one who will answer for it.

  • JohnQ

    Mary Blue-
    Dobson told it and tells it like he thinks it should be. If he wishes to live that way….great! If you and/or other of his followers wish to follow Dobson’s way….fine!
    However, his condemning and ruining the lives of thousands upon thousands of gay/lesbian youth is not fine. Rather, it is horrendous!

  • Cliff Snoates

    In the spirit of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, I would like to wish for Mr. Dobson’s retirement the exact same hell he put so many American citizens through with his lies .. except I don’t have to tell any lies about Mr. Dobson in order for people to see & hear his hate-filled, false messages.
    “The way it is”??? Wrong – the way Mr. Dobson – and other radical ‘religious’ rightwing extremists – wish(es) we would conform to, is more like it.

  • cknuck

    Mordred quote: “Why am I not surprised?”
    Who cares?
    The truth is often hell for some, but most of what Dobson had to say has merit and he not only has freedom of speech but he has quite an audience as a matter of fact I am searching for one of his resources to use in a conference now. It’s too bad for the people who see no value in this man’s accomplishments he is a great American with a genuine love for this country and it’s values.

  • Henrietta22

    Ck you may be right about Mr. Dobsons virtues, but when you hear what he says about a large part of our society because of a few verses in the Bible and doesn’t take our Science findings into consideration in the year 2009 I wouldn’t waste my time listening to anything he has to say. There is a world of wisdom by other Ministers of God to read and listen to, and they are spreading the love of God for all man.

  • http://lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com LutheranChik

    It will be interesting to see if FOTF tries to remake itself using younger, edgier talent — someone with tats and a leather jacket recycling the same misogynist, homophobic, fundamentalist party line.

  • Mordred08

    cknuck:
    “Mordred quote: “Why am I not surprised?”
    Who cares?”
    I’m very sorry if I somehow gave you the impression that I make comments because you or anyone else might care what I think. I mostly do it because I hear a lot of conservative garbage day in and day out, and if I had no safe outlet for my opinion, I’d probably explode.
    “he not only has freedom of speech but he has quite an audience”
    I’m not denying either of those. For the record, having freedom of speech doesn’t necessarily make you right. The Westboro cult has the freedom to say all the things they have, because as long as even they are free to speak, we’re free to speak back.
    “he is a great American with a genuine love for this country and it’s values.”
    So was Joseph McCarthy. Your point?

  • nnmns

    I would not call either Dobson or McCarthy a great American. I’d call them debased opportunists.

  • jestrfyl

    I cannot condemn Dobson completely. When he started (many years ago)and was truly focused on families with children, some of what he said maide sense. But as soon as he got famous he got full of himself and began to believe his own publicity. His arrogance and attitude undermined what was once and interesting perspective on family life. His last several years were wasted on his political posing and attempts at being a national pundit.

  • Mordred08

    cknuck: “he is a great American with a genuine love for this country and it’s values.”
    Mordred08: “So was Joseph McCarthy. Your point?”
    nnmns: “I would not call either Dobson or McCarthy a great American. I’d call them debased opportunists.”
    I’m suddenly feeling the need to defend my liberal credentials. No, I don’t believe McCarthy was “a great American”. However, I am sure there are those who perceive him that way. He himself was probably convinced he was doing what was best for his country, like Dobson. My point is loving your country doesn’t necessarily make you right.
    Also, I love how some Christians justify their words by saying it’s “the truth”, and act as if we’re just too stupid to understand if their “truth” makes no sense to us.

  • nnmns

    I thought you might be too young to know what a jerk McCarthy was. Glad to see you do know.

  • Your Name

    I am still looking for some of Dobson’s awesome teaching resources. I think the man has a real concern for the family and he has compiled a lot of good and valuable research to help build healthy families. I happen to mostly agree with him in his most controversial findings about homosexuality. I know that is the issues that put him in an unfavorable light for many modern thinkers but I agree with him when it comes to homosexuality being a unhealthy behavior.

  • cknuck

    sorry that is my post above

  • JohnQ

    Your Name (cknuck, I think)-
    Prejudice, discrimination, and in the family….alienation are unhealthy behaviours. Homosexuality is a natural sexuality on par with heterosexuality and bisexuality.
    I find myself agree jestrfyl that in the early days Dobson seemed to focus on families and children. Much of what he said wrote at the time makes sense. However, his views on sexuality and family dynamics have screwed up countless families and youth that do not fit in with his 1950’s view of ideal society.
    Peace!

  • Mordred08

    cknuck:
    “I happen to mostly agree with him in his most controversial findings about homosexuality.”
    Again, no surprise here.
    “I agree with him when it comes to homosexuality being a unhealthy behavior.”
    This comes as a shock, I know, but I think we may actually agree that homosexuality is an unhealthy behavior.
    I believe that when a homosexual person engages in unprotected sex with multiple partners, they’re taking their life into their own hands. I also believe that when a gay person jumps off a building, they’re taking their life into their own hands. I believe that when a gay person stops breathing, they are taking their life into their own hands.
    However, last I checked, straight people were not immune to these things, either. I wonder if that makes heterosexuality an unhealthy behavior.
    I would have asked you to specify why you and Mr. Dobson think non-heterosexuality is unhealthy, but you’ve shown a tendency not to back up the things you say (like your claims that Darwin was a Nazi because…just because), so I didn’t bother.

  • cknuck

    No straight people are not immune to some of these things. My concerns are from certain truths I have experienced and know. That’s how I come to the conclusions I come to, yours are different than mine. I think that homosexuality is partially a learned behavior from what I have observed. Not that homosexuals all are soldiers or have been in jail but from what I know about both of these scenarios homosexuality is a learned behavior. Also I know all homosexuals are not from depressed gang areas but I know that in this setting homosexuality is a learned and suggested behavior. I don’t claim to know absolutely the cause of homosexuality but I am confident that those who justify the behavior do not know all of the causes either. It is not a identifiable gene, no section of the brain indicates a homosexual tendency. But I know though observation people have made statements that define impressionable young people into homosexuality from childhood. Say if a young boy is a little timid or effeminate (sorry about the spelling) older males and females and sometimes peers suggest the sexual identity of this young person and there is nothing more powerful than the spoken word. I know a little more but I’ll stop here and only hope I am making myself clear enough so that some folk can see I am not hateful, homophobic, or judgmental.

  • Mordred08

    Well, my personal experience has been the opposite. I remember learning that gay people exist, and I wasn’t able to have as much contempt for them as other people seemed to when they said “homosexual” with a tone of disgust. But I don’t remember ever “learning” my sexuality. My background suggests that if anything, I should be as opposed to homosexuality as most people I know. In high school I was frequently called what I like to refer to as “the other f-word”, presumably because I didn’t have a girlfriend and wasn’t dating. I wasn’t dating because I didn’t get along with any of the girls, and boys at the time were even more repulsive to me. In college I was able to get out of the small town environment. I could question the things I was taught to an extent. I met actual people from the LGBT community, and more often than not found there was little to no difference between them and the straight people I knew except for their orientation. These were not the child-molesting, Jesus-hating fairy tale bogeymen I grew up hearing about. And no one I spoke to seemed to see their orientation as something they chose about themselves or that they learned from another person.
    I got out of my comfort zone and actually got to know a few girls (still, no one was interested). But my first real relationship was with a girl I met who was born male (yes, a transsexual, try not to laugh). We dated for about two years, in spite of our parents’ disapproval (my mother actually called her a sexual predator at one point; talk about delusional). We broke up about two years ago, but it wasn’t over gender issues. To be honest, I think it was partly because she wanted to continue her personal relationship with Christ from when she lived as a man, and I was growing increasingly less interested in teachings I couldn’t reconcile with my own personal feelings and experiences (eternal damnation was a major issue, seeing as it seems to be a big part of most interpretations of Christianity).
    This is not an attempt to convert anyone to my line of thinking or to achieve sympathy. I figure if we’re gonna be honest, I might as well try to make it clear where I’m coming from on this issue.

  • cknuck

    Thanks for the honesty. I appreciate and respect your experience. Life, what can I say, it’s still better than the alternatives.

  • Your Name

    “as a matter of fact I am searching for one of his resources to use in a conference now.”
    I hope for your sake, ck, that it’s a Christianist conference. Otherwise, you’ll either be laffed off the stage or discredited for using hollow, empty, misleading “research” – the kind of “research” the “Family” “Research” Council makes up, er, I mean uses.

  • Husband

    ck,
    “I agree with him when it comes to homosexuality being a unhealthy behavior”
    Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is not a “behavior” – healthy or unhealthy. It is an innate trait, a human characteristic.
    Mordred08,
    “This comes as a shock, I know, but I think we may actually agree that homosexuality is an unhealthy behavior.”
    Yes, I am shocked. Because, as stated above, human sexuality – the state of being sexually attracted to others – is not a “behavior”. It is a state of being. Sorry, but your follow-up didn’t help either …
    “I believe that when a homosexual person engages in unprotected sex with multiple partners, they’re taking their life into their own hands.”
    This merely describes one unhealthy behavior which is by no means limited to homosexual persons.
    In order for arguments (on either side) to succeed, you will both need to separate characteristics (like sexuality, eye-color, handedness, etc.) from acts/behaviors. ck never does; I’m surprised you, Mordred08, stooped to it. (Yes, I know, you went on to say, “last I checked, straight people were not immune to these things, either. I wonder if that makes heterosexuality an unhealthy behavior.”, but it still – wrongly – conflates the two.)
    Stop it, the both of you. You should both know better.

  • Husband

    “I don’t claim to know absolutely the cause of homosexuality but I am confident that those who justify the behavior do not know all of the causes either.”
    There you go again, ck, conflating characteristics with behaviors.
    “It is not a identifiable gene, no section of the brain indicates a homosexual tendency.”
    Likewise, there is not “identifiable gene” or “section of the brain that indicates a heterosexual tendency”. Why do you anti-gay people never spend one millisecond attempting to find the “cause” of heterosexuality? You simply accept that it is, that it exists. Why can you not do the same with homosexuality?
    Sexuality is, in and of itself, morally neutral. It is what one does with one’s sexuality that carries moral values.
    “But I know though observation people have made statements that define impressionable young people into homosexuality from childhood. Say if a young boy is a little timid or effeminate (sorry about the spelling) older males and females and sometimes peers suggest the sexual identity of this young person and there is nothing more powerful than the spoken word.”
    This is just pure and utter bullsh!t. Since I was 5 (and I’m more than 5 decades older than that now), people have been ‘making statements’, and ‘telling’ me that I ‘should’ be heterosexual, and gues what? I yam what I yam. Sorry, ck, but “the spoken word” has nothing to do with one’s sexuality. Nor does “peer pressure”. (Ain’t bearing false witness a sin in your church?) One either is or is not attracted to people of the same or of the opposite sex.
    “I know a little more”
    And yet you seem to “know” so little.
    “but I’ll stop here”
    Thank god for small mercies.
    “and only hope I am making myself clear enough so that some folk can see I am not hateful, homophobic, or judgmental.”
    You dertainly do make yourself clear – it’s completely clear to me that you know nothing of which you purport to be an expert in. But, sorry, you fail miserably in trying to convince us that you are not hateful, homophobic or judgemental. All three traits permeate everything you post.

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