James Dobson

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James Dobson
Dobson c. 2007
James Clayton Dobson Jr.

(1936-04-21) April 21, 1936 (age 88)
ReligionEvangelical Christian
Shirley Deere
(m. 1960)
Notable work(s)Marriage Under Fire
Dare to Discipline
The Strong-Willed Child
EducationPoint Loma Nazarene University
University of Southern California
Radio Broadcaster
Founder ofFamily Research Council
Focus on the Family
Family Policy Alliance

James Clayton Dobson Jr.[a] (born April 21, 1936) is an American evangelical Christian author, psychologist, and founder of Focus on the Family (FotF), which he led from 1977 until 2010. In the 1980s, he was ranked as one of the most influential spokesmen for conservative social positions in American public life.[1] Although never an ordained minister, he was called "the nation's most influential evangelical leader" by The New York Times while Slate portrayed him as a successor to evangelical leaders Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.[2][3][4]

As part of his former role in the organization he produced the daily radio program Focus on the Family, which the organization has said was broadcast in more than a dozen languages and on over 7,000 stations worldwide, and reportedly heard daily by more than 220 million people in 164 countries. Focus on the Family was also carried by about 60 U.S. television stations daily.[5] In 2010, he launched the radio broadcast Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson.[6][7]

Dobson advocates for "family values" — the instruction of children in heterosexuality and traditional gender roles, which he believes are mandated by the Christian Bible. The goal of this is to promote heterosexual marriage, which he views as a cornerstone of civilization that must be protected from the dangers of feminism and the LGBT rights movement. Dobson seeks to equip his audience to fight in the American culture war, which he calls the "Civil War of Values".

His writing career started as an assistant to Paul Popenoe. After Dobson's rise to prominence through promoting corporal punishment of disobedient children in the 1970s, he became a founder of purity culture in the 1990s. He has promoted his ideas via his various Focus on the Family affiliated organizations, the Family Research Council which he founded in 1981, Family Policy Alliance which he founded in 2004, the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute which he founded in 2010, and a network of US state-based lobbying organizations called Family Policy Councils.

Early life and education

James Dobson was born to Myrtle Georgia (née Dillingham) and James C. Dobson Sr. on April 21, 1936, in Shreveport, Louisiana.[8][9] From his earliest childhood, religion played a central part in his life. He once told a reporter that he learned to pray before he learned to talk, and says he gave his life to Jesus at the age of three, in response to an altar call by his father.[10] He is the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Church of the Nazarene ministers.[11]

Dobson's mother was intolerant of "sassiness" and would strike her child with whatever object came to hand, including a shoe or belt; she once gave Dobson a "massive blow" with a girdle outfitted with straps and buckles.[12][13]

The parents took their young son along to watch his father preach. Like most Nazarenes, they forbade dancing and going to movies. Young "Jimmie Lee" (as he was called) concentrated on his studies.[14]

Dobson studied academic psychology and came to believe that he was being called to become a Christian counselor or perhaps a Christian psychologist.[10] He attended Pasadena College (now Point Loma Nazarene University) as an undergraduate and served as captain of the school's tennis team.[15][16] In 1967, Dobson received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Southern California.[17]



In 1967, he became an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years.[17] At USC he was exposed to troubled youth and the counterculture of the 1960s. He found it "a distressing time to be so young" because society offered him no moral absolutes he felt he could rely upon. Opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War was blossoming into a widespread rejection of authority, which Dobson viewed as "a sudden disintegration of moral and ethical principles" among Americans his age and the younger people he saw in clinical practice. This convinced him that "the institution of the family was disintegrating."[18]

He spent 17 years on the staff of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics. For a time, Dobson worked as an assistant to Paul Popenoe at the Institute of Family Relations, a marriage-counseling center, in Los Angeles.[19] Popenoe counseled couples on the importance of same-race marriage and adherence to gender norms for the purpose of eugenics. Under Popenoe, Dobson published about male-female differences and the dangers of feminism.[20]

Dare to Discipline

Dobson became well known because of Dare to Discipline, his 1970 book about corporal punishment. In it, he encourages parents to strike children with switches or belts, which are to be kept on the child's dresser as a reminder of authority.[21] Popenoe wrote the book's introduction.[20] Dobson's book was a rebuttal to Benjamin Spock, whose parenting ideas were more permissive.[21][22] Though the book was not overtly political, Dobson considered his parenting techniques to be the solution to the social unrest of the 1960s. By returning to the authoritarian parenting style popular in prior eras, Dobson hoped to preserve order, obedience, and social hierarchy. The book quickly sold over two million copies, establishing Dobson as a trusted authority among parents bewildered by the rapid changes of the era.[23]

Christian Broadcasting

When the American Psychological Association de-pathologized homosexuality by removing it from their list of mental disorders in 1973, Dobson resigned from the organization in protest.[24] In 1976, he took a sabbatical from USC and Children's Hospital; he never returned. With funding from a Christian publisher he began to broadcast his ideas on the radio and in public lectures. Saying that he feared to repeat the mistakes of his own absentee father by being away on the lecture circuit, Dobson video recorded and distributed his lectures. He sent a representative around the country to solicit funding from Evangelical businessmen and distribute the videos. A video about absent fathers called Where's Dad? proved particularly successful; an estimated 100 million people viewed it by the early 1980s.[25]

Focus on the Family

In 1977, he founded Focus on the Family.[26] He grew the organization into a multimedia empire by the mid-1990s, including 10 radio programs, 11 magazines, numerous videos, and basketball camps, and program of faxing suggested sermon topics and bulletin fillers to thousands of churches every week.[27] In 1995, the organization's budget was more than $100 million annually.[28]

Jimmy Carter organized a White House Conference on Families in 1979–1980 that explicitly included a "diversity of families" with various structures.[29] Dobson objected to this, believing that only his preferred notion of the traditional family — one headed by a male breadwinner married to a female caregiver — should be endorsed by the conference. He also objected to the fact that he was not invited to the planning for the event. At Dobson's urging, his listeners wrote 80,000 letters to the White House asking for Dobson to be invited, which he eventually was. This demonstrated to Dobson his power to rally his followers for political ends.[30]

Beginning in 1980, Dobson built networks of political activists and founded lobbying organizations that advocated against LGBT rights and opposed legal abortion, among other socially conservative policy goals. He nurtured relationships with conservative politicians, such as Ronald Reagan. He was among the founders of Family Research Council in 1981, a federal lobbying organization classified as a hate group, and Family Policy Councils that lobby at the level of state government. When Focus on the Family moved to Colorado Springs in 1991, the city started to be called "the Vatican of the Religious Right" with Dobson imagined as an evangelical pope.[31]

Ted Bundy Interview

Dobson interviewed serial killer Ted Bundy on-camera the day before Bundy's execution on January 24, 1989. The interview became controversial because Bundy was given an opportunity to attempt to explain his actions (the rape and murder of 30 young women). Bundy claimed in the interview (in a reversal of his previous stance) that violent pornography played a significant role in molding and crystallizing his fantasies. In May 1989, during an interview with John Tanner, a Republican Florida prosecutor, Dobson called for Bundy to be forgiven. The Bundy tapes gave Focus on the Family revenues of over $1 million, $600,000 of which it donated to anti-pornography groups and to anti-abortion groups.[32][33]

Alliance Defending Freedom

Six conservative Christian men, one of whom was Dobson, founded Alliance Defending Freedom in 1994.[34] The group advocates for the criminalization of homosexuality in the US and abroad; it is among the most powerful opponents of LGBT legal rights.[35] Dobson is a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He is a supporter of the Promise Keepers and a contributor to their 1994 book The Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper.[36]

Support of Judge Roy Moore

Dobson was an ally of Judge Roy Moore starting in the early 1990s.[37] He rallied his audience in support of the judge in 1997[24] and again in 2003[38] because of the Moore's refusal to remove a Ten Commandments display from the Alabama Judicial Building. Viewing Moore as "a man of proven character and integrity" Dobson endorsed Moore's political campaigns until 2017,[37] when allegations came to light of Moore's sexual misconduct toward teen girls.

Purity Balls

Dobson encourages "daddy-daughter dating" in which fathers and daughters set aside time for special activities together. Because he believes heterosexuality must be cultivated, Dobson intended these romanticized attachments to model proper heterosexual partnership to girls age six or younger.[39] An employee of Dobson's created the first purity ball — a father-daughter dance event promoting female chastity — in 1998. Dobson promoted the purity balls on his radio show.[40] Along with other fundamentalist figures such as Billy Graham, Dobson is considered a founder of purity culture, a Christian subculture in which sexual immorality by women or LGBT people is considered a national threat.[41]

Gendered language in the Bible

In response to a 1997 article in World magazine claiming that the New International Version of the Bible was going to be printed with gender-neutral language, Dobson called a meeting at Focus on the Family headquarters of influential men in the religious publishing business.[42] The group drafted the "Colorado Springs Guidelines" which require Bible translations to use male-default language such as the word "man" to designate the human race.[43] As a result, plans for the gender-neutral Bible version were halted. When Dobson discovered his own Odyssey Bible used gender-neutral language, he discontinued it and offered refunds.[42] According to World, Dobson's 1997 meeting eventually led to the publication of the English Standard Version in 2001, which avoids gender-neutral language.[44] He opposed publication of Today's New International Version in 2002 because of the "political correctness" of the translation and the publisher's rejection of the Colorado Springs Guidelines.[45]

Ex-gay organization

Focus on the Family established an ex-gay program called Love Won Out in 1998. The program promoted conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to make gay people straight. Dobson increased his promotion of Love Won Out in 2000 upon discovering that opposition to gay marriage was helping the Christian Right gain members and voters.[46] State-level affiliates of FotF drafted gay marriage bans in several states, starting with Nebraska Initiative 416 in 2000.[47] Dobson broadcast that gay marriage was turning children from faithful Christian homes against God. His arguments caused large evangelical turnouts in support of the gay marriage prohibitions, resulting in defense of marriage amendments to thirty U.S. state constitutions.[48]

Shift to political activity

Around two thousand radio stations aired Dobson's program to an audience of six to ten million by the early 2000s. With over two million addresses on his mailing list, his organization launched a publishing house. He was an established power broker. Richard Land called him "the most influential evangelical leader in America" at that time, saying his influence was comparable to Billy Graham in the 1960s-70s.[49]

Dobson stepped down as president and CEO of Focus on the Family in 2003, and resigned from the position of chairman of the board in February 2009.[50] Dobson explained his departure as twofold: firstly, to allow a smooth transfer of leadership to the next generation, and in this case, to Jim Daly whom he directly appointed as his replacement. And secondly, because he and Daly had divergent views on policy, "especially when it comes to confronting those who would weaken the family and undermine our faith."[51] After he stepped down, Focus on the Family hired an orthodoxy expert to maintain Dobson's message.[52] Free to become more explicitly political without imperiling Focus on the Family's tax exemptions, Dobson rededicated himself primarily to lobbying instead of advice to families. While Daly attempted to appeal to a new generation of evangelicals with softened messages on abortion and homosexuality, Dobson remained hard-line. Focus on the Family removed archives of Dobson's writing from their headquarters and website.[53]

In 2004, Dobson founded Family Policy Alliance, a lobbying arm of his media empire. With a more permissive tax status than Focus on the Family, it is allowed to directly fundraise for political campaigns.[54] The Alliance also coordinates the action of Dobson's network of state-based Family Policy Councils. Together, these organizations seek to encode traditional gender roles into public policy and law.[55] They consider LGBT rights to be a threatening "LGBT agenda."[56]

Throughout its existence, Dobson has attacked the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a US government program to fight AIDS worldwide. In 2006, he claimed that "80 percent of this money is going toward terrible programs that are immoral as well as ineffective. For example, to promote condom distribution, people associated with these government programs have dressed up like condoms and created ceramic sculptures of male genitalia."[57] He renewed his attack in 2023, falsely claiming that PEPFAR funds abortions.[58] Focus on the Family received a grant of $49,505 through PEPFAR in 2017 to operate an abstinence-only purity pledge program.[59]

Dr. James Dobson Family Institute

In 2010, Dobson founded the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute,[60] a non-profit organization that produces his radio program, Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. On this program, he speaks about his views, such as attributing mass shootings to "the LGBTQ movement" destroying the family.[61] He stepped away from leadership of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute in 2022, naming Joe Waresak the new president. He continues to broadcast his radio show.[62]

Nashville Statement

In 2017, Dobson was among the first to sign the Nashville Statement, written by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The statement specifies conservative evangelical views on gender roles and sexuality, condemning LGBT-affirming Christians: "We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness."[63]

Dobson frequently appears as a guest on the Fox News Channel.[64]

Personal life

Dobson married Shirley Deere on August 26, 1960. The couple have two children, Danae and Ryan.[65]

Dobson turned control of some of Focus on the Family's youth-oriented magazine titles over to his son Ryan Dobson in 2009.[66] Danae Dobson received a golden key necklace as a gift from her father when she voiced her commitment to sexual purity at age ten. James Dobson encouraged other parents to give similar gifts.[67]


At the invitation of Presidents and Attorneys General,[68] Dobson has also served on government advisory panels and testified at several government hearings. He was given the "Layman of the Year" award by the National Association of Evangelicals in 1982, "The Children's Friend" honor by Childhelp USA (an advocate agency against child abuse) in 1987, and the Humanitarian Award by the California Psychological Association in 1988. In 2005, Dobson received an honorary doctorate (his 16th[69]) from Indiana Wesleyan University and was inducted into IWU's Society of World Changers, while speaking at the university's Academic Convocation.[5]

In 2008, Dobson's Focus on the Family program was nominated for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame.[70] Nominations were made by the 157 members of the Hall of Fame and voting on inductees was handed over to the public using online voting.[71] The nomination drew the ire of gay rights activists, who attempted to have the program removed from the nominee list and to vote for other nominees to prevent it from being approved.[72][73] However, the program garnered enough votes and was subsequently inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.[74]

Social views

Views on marriage

James Dobson is a strong proponent of marriage defined as "one where husband and wife are lawfully married, are committed to each other for life," and have a homemaker mother and breadwinner father.[75] According to his view, women are not deemed inferior to men because both are created in God's image, but each gender has biblically mandated roles.[76][non-primary source needed] He recommends that married women with children under the age of 18 focus on mothering, rather than work outside the home.[77]

Dobson views marriage as a transaction in which women exchange sex for protection:[36]

The natural sex appeal of girls serves as their primary source of bargaining power in the game of life. In exchange for feminine affection and love, a man accepts a girl as his lifetime responsibility-supplying her needs and caring for her welfare. This sexual aspect of the marital agreement can hardly be denied.[36]

— James Dobson, Dare to Discipline (1970)

He advises wives to use their social and sexual skills to coerce their husbands into becoming good partners. By doing this, according to Dobson, women will transform male lust into love, and male destructive impulses into useful accomplishments. Hence heterosexual marriage is the cornerstone of civilization, in Dobson's view, when women fulfill their role of civilizing their husbands.[36][78]

In his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire, Dobson suggests that heterosexual marriage rates in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have been falling, and that this is due to the recognition of same-sex relationships by those countries during the 1990s. He remarks that the "institution of marriage in those countries is rapidly dying" as a result, with most young people cohabiting or choosing to remain single (living alone) and illegitimacy rates rising in some Norwegian counties up to 80%.[79]

Dobson writes that "every civilization in the world" has been built upon marriage.[80] He also believes that homosexuality is neither a choice nor genetic, but is caused by external factors during early childhood.[81] He anecdotally cites as evidence the life of actress Anne Heche,[82][83] who was previously in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. Criticizing "the realities of judicial tyranny," Dobson has written that "[t]here is no issue today that is more significant to our culture than the defense of the family. Not even the war on terror eclipses it."[citation needed]

Critics have stated that Dobson's views on homosexuality do not represent the mainstream views of the mental health community, with Dan Gilgoff referring to the positions of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association on homosexuality.[84][85]

Views on schooling

Focus on the Family supports[86] private school vouchers and tax credits for religious schools. According to Focus on the Family website, Dobson believes that parents are ultimately responsible for their children's education, and encourages parents to visit their children's schools to ask questions and to join the PTA so that they may voice their opinions.[87] Dobson opposes sex education curricula that are not abstinence-only.[88]

According to People for the American Way, Focus on the Family material has been used to challenge a book or curriculum taught in public schools.[68] Critics, such as People for the American Way, allege that Focus on the Family encourages Christian teachers to establish prayer groups in public schools.[68][89] Dobson supports student-led prayer in public schools,[68] and believes that allowing student-led Christian prayer in schools does not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[90]

Views on discipline of children

In his book Dare to Discipline, Dobson advocates the spanking of children as young as fifteen months and up to eight years old when they misbehave. In Dobson's opinion, parents must uphold their authority and do so consistently: "When you are defiantly challenged, win decisively."[91] In The Strong-Willed Child, Dobson draws an analogy between the defiance of a family pet and that of a small child, and concludes that "just as surely as a dog will occasionally challenge the authority of his leaders, so will a little child—only more so."[92]

Dobson says corporal punishment should end with the child asking for forgiveness and receiving a hug.[93] After a spanking is a good time to have a "heart to heart" talk with a child, according to Dobson: "After the emotional ventilation, the child will often want to crumple at the breast of his parent" which provides an opportunity to re-bond and express love to the child.[94]

The Strong-Willed Child says that if authority is portrayed correctly to a child, the child will understand how to interact with other authority figures:

By learning to yield to the loving authority ... of his parents, a child learns to submit to other forms of authority which will confront him later in his life—his teachers, school principal, police, neighbors and employers.[95]

If allowed to challenge parental authority, Dobson says, children would challenge God's authority when they grew older. Hence, rebellion must be punished to protect the child's salvation. Believing that "pain is a marvelous purifier" Dobson recommended corporal punishment as the most effective way to keep the child subordinate to adults. The parent should model both divine mercy and wrath to prepare the inherently sinful child for a relationship with God.[96] Dobson warned of the dire consequences of failing to discipline one's children: "Eli, the priest, permitted his sons to desecrate the temple. All three were put to death."[97]

He warns against "harsh spanking" because "It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely."[91] In a 1997 book, he warns that "discipline must not be harsh and destructive to the child's spirit."[98] Dobson considers disciplining children to be a necessary but unpleasant part of raising children that should only be carried out by qualified parents:

Anyone who has ever abused a child—or has ever felt himself losing control during a spanking—should not expose the child to that tragedy. Anyone who has a violent temper that at times becomes unmanageable should not use that approach. Anyone who secretly 'enjoys' the administration of corporal punishment should not be the one to implement it.[99]

When asked "How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being punished? Is there a limit?" Dobson responded:

Yes, I believe there should be a limit. As long as the tears represent a genuine release of emotion, they should be permitted to fall. But crying quickly changes from inner sobbing to an expression of protest ... Real crying usually lasts two minutes or less but may continue for five. After that point, the child is merely complaining, and the change can be recognized in the tone and intensity of his voice. I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears. In younger children, crying can easily be stopped by getting them interested in something else.[100]

Sociologists John Bartkowski and Christopher Ellison have stated that Dobson's views "diverge sharply from those recommended by contemporary mainstream experts" and are not based on any sort of empirical testing, but rather are nothing more than expressions of his religious doctrines of "biblical literalism and 'authority-mindedness.'"[101] In the 1980s Penelope Leach wrote that Dobson's approach is ineffective because, rather than establishing parental authority, spanking only communicates parental frustration and weakness.[102]

Although childrearing experts have discredited corporal punishment, Dobson has not moderated his view. In 2015 he wrote that, when spanking fails to make a child obey, the problem may be that the parent is not hitting hard enough or frequently enough.[103]

Views on tolerance and diversity

In the winter of 2004-2005, the We Are Family Foundation sent American elementary schools approximately 60,000 copies of a free DVD using popular cartoon characters (especially SpongeBob SquarePants) to "promote tolerance and diversity."[104] Dobson contended that "tolerance" and "diversity" are "buzzwords" that the We Are Family Foundation misused as part of a "hidden agenda" to promote homosexuality.[105] Kate Zernik noted Dobson asserting: "tolerance and its first cousin, diversity, 'are almost always buzzwords for homosexual advocacy.'"[106] He stated on the Focus on the Family website that "childhood symbols are apparently being hijacked to promote an agenda that involves teaching homosexual propaganda to children."[107] He offered as evidence the association of many leading LGBT rights organizations, including GLAAD, GLSEN, HRC, and PFLAG, with the We Are Family Foundation as shown by links which he claims once existed on their website.[108][109]

The We Are Family Foundation countered that Dobson had mistaken their organization with "an unrelated Web site belonging to another group called 'We Are Family,' which supports gay youth."[110] Dobson countered:

I want to be clear: the We Are Family Foundation—the organization that sponsored the video featuring SpongeBob and the other characters was, until this flap occurred, making available a variety of explicitly pro-homosexual materials on its Web site. It has since endeavored to hide that fact, but my concerns are as legitimate today as they were when I first expressed them in January.[108]

In September 2005, Tolerance.org published a follow-up message advertising the DVD's continued availability, including We Are Family Foundation president Nancy Hunt's speculation that many of the DVDs may be "still sitting in boxes, unused, because of Dobson's vitriolic attack."[105]

Views on homosexuality

Dobson believes that God defines marriage as between one man and one woman only and describes this as the central stabilizing institution of society.[citation needed] Dobson believes that any sexual activity outside of such a union—including homosexuality—cannot be approved by God.[citation needed] In Dobson's view, homosexuality results from influences in a child's environment rather than an inborn trait. He states that homosexual behavior, specifically "unwanted same-sex attraction", has been and can be "overcome" through understanding developmental models for homosexuality and choosing to heal the complex developmental issues which led to same-sex attraction.[83]

Focus on the Family ministry sponsors[86] the monthly conference Love Won Out, where participants hear "powerful stories of ex-gay men and women."[81] Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) has protested against the conference in Orlando, questioning both its methodology and supposed success.[111] In regards to the conference, Dobson has stated that "Gay activists come with preconceived notions about who we are and what we believe and about the hate that boils from within, which is simply not true. Regardless of what the media might say, Focus on the Family has no interest in promoting hatred toward homosexuals or anyone else. We also don't wish to deprive them of their basic constitutional rights ... The Constitution applies to all of us."[112] Dobson strongly opposes the movement to legitimize same-sex relationships.[citation needed] In his book Bringing Up Boys, Dobson states, "[T]he disorder is not typically 'chosen.' Homosexuals deeply resent being told that they selected this same-sex inclination in pursuit of sexual excitement or some other motive. It is unfair, and I don't blame them for being irritated by that assumption. Who among us would knowingly choose a path that would result in alienation from family, rejection by friends, disdain from the heterosexual world, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, and even a shorter lifespan?"[113]

Sociologist Judith Stacey criticized Dobson for claiming that sociological studies show that gay couples do not make good parents. She stated that Dobson's claim "is a direct misrepresentation of my research."[114] In response to Dobson's claim that "there have been more than ten thousand studies that have showed that children do best when they are raised with a mother and a father who are committed to each other,"[citation needed] Stacey replied that "[a]ll of those studies that Dobson is referring to are studies that did not include gay or lesbian parents as part of the research base."[115]

Dobson objected to a bill expanding the prohibition of sexual orientation-based discrimination in the areas of "public accommodation, housing practices, family planning services and twenty other areas." He said that, were such a bill passed, public businesses could no longer separate locker rooms and bathrooms by gender, which he claimed would lead to a situation where, "every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence."[116][117]

Views on mass shootings

In 2012, in a broadcast titled "A Nation Shaken by the Sandy Hook Tragedy," Dobson said that the mass shooting was a judgement by God because of American acceptance of gay marriage and legal abortion.[118] Similarly, Dobson said the 2019 El Paso shooting and mass shootings in general happen because "the LGBTQ movement is closing in on the God-inspired and established institution of the family."[61]

Views on abortion

Early in his career, Dobson appeared to accept abortion. He wrote a forward for a 1973 book, Sex is a Parent Affair, that takes a nonjudgemental stance toward abortion because "the Bible is silent on the subject" except for some interpretations of Exodus 21:22–23 which "may indicate a developing embryo or fetus was not regarded as a full human being." In general, the evangelical movement did not speak much about abortion until the 1980s.[119]

Starting in the 1980s, Dobson became an implacable enemy of legal abortion, and a major force in the anti-abortion movement.[120] His message centered upon biblically moral mothers who sacrificed for their children; he chastised unmarried mothers or rebellious teenagers who selfishly treated unwanted pregnancy as an inconvenience rather than a sacred duty. He broadcast interviews with women who kept pregnancies because their trust in God overcame their own emotions and desires.[121] For example, he published a story celebrating Jane Stillson, who chose to finish a pregnancy even though it prevented her from completing her treatment for cancer, thus risking her life.[122]

Dobson contends that abortion invites women to reject God, diverts women from their natural role as mothers, and prevents more Christians from coming into the world. Ending abortion, in his view, would redeem society by binding women to their divine role.[123] Focus on the Family and its allied lobbying organizations are among the US's most powerful advocates for restrictions on abortion access.

Views on gender

Dobson views the gender binary as fundamental to humanity; he believes God created men and women to differ "in every cell of their bodies."[124] These complementary differences make them well-suited to traditional gender roles.[125] "Males and females differ biochemically, anatomically, and emotionally" according to Dobson. Men like to "hunt and fish and hike in the wilderness" while women prefer to "stay at home and wait for them." Because men have a fragile ego and women are emotionally vulnerable, "men derive self-esteem by being respected; women feel worthy when they are loved." Men and women are obligated to adhere to the "time-honored roles of protector and protected."[126]

Though created for traditional gender roles, people are not born following these roles. The roles must be taught, Dobson says, and must be defended from anyone who questions them. Dobson argues that confused gender relationships in a household result in homosexuality if a child displaces their sexual feelings onto the same-sex parent. Hence, parents should model a romance-like relationship with their opposite-sex child, according to Dobson, with the ultimate goal of steering the child toward heterosexual marriage as an adult.[125]

Dobson considers transgender people a threat, writing in 2016 that "a married man with any gumption" would defend his wife's privacy in the bathroom from "a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman." He seemed to romanticize a time in the past in when men were masculine enough to shoot trans women.[127] He also considers feminists a threat because they question the natural leadership of men. In his 1975 book What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women he denounces the "feminist propaganda" of strong female characters in movies, complaining when men are shown as inferior to a "confident superchick."[128][129] This is dangerous, he says, because the true role of women is to harness the superior energy of men.[130]

Political and social influence

Dobson's social and political opinions are widely read among many evangelical church congregations in the United States; he is also highly influential within the United States Republican Party.[131] Among other conservative causes, his lobbying contributed significantly to banning same-sex marriage across many US states.[132]

Social influence

Dobson's books on corporal punishment helped to legitimize the practice, providing it with theological grounding for Christian readers. When opposition to physical discipline became widespread in the 1980s and 1990s in American society, conservative Protestants emerged as perhaps the most ardent remaining supporters of corporal punishment. This support was bolstered by "authority-centered" parenting techniques advised in Dobson's books.[12]

Dobson frequently cautions parents to use corporal punishment only in a limited and empathetic way. Theologian Donald Eric Capps and psychologist Adah Maurer argued in the 1990s that, in practice, parents frequently use indiscriminate violence against children. They argue Dobson's work provides parents with self-serving theological rationalizations for their violent outbursts. Capps and Maurer conclude that the popularity of corporal punishment in this era damaged children in ways that may last into adulthood.[12]

Throughout his career at Focus on the Family, Dobson argued for gender role instruction. He believed that gender and sexuality were not fixed from birth, but required careful cultivation. He sought to provide boys with outlets for their natural aggression, and to teach girls how to develop romantic partnerships, which they use to channel and refine male destructive impulses into civilized behavior. Thus the feminist and LGBT rights movements, because they seek to disturb gender roles, are a threat not only to family harmony but to national strength.[133] To preserve pious gender roles, Dobson distributed Christian-targeted psychological advice. His daily radio program Focus on the Family was (according to his organization) broadcast in more than a dozen languages and on over 7,000 stations worldwide, and reportedly heard daily by more than 220 million people in 164 countries.[5][68]

During the 1960s and 70s effort to legalize abortion, journalism often reported the plight of women in need of abortion, such as Sherri Finkbine. Dobson, together with Francis Schaeffer and others, shifted the public conversation away from the suffering of women, toward the suffering of the fetus and the selfishness of women who seek abortion.[120]

Through his books and broadcasts, Dobson sought to prepare parents to fight in the American culture wars, which he called the "Civil War of Values".[134] He is a founder of purity culture, a nationwide chastity movement through which he significantly shaped American attitudes about sex and gender.[135]

Political influence

Dobson at the Values Voters conference in Washington, D.C., 2007

Dobson has chosen to exercise political influence behind the scenes, as "political fixer."[136] This helps him to maintain his credibility with his audience. He has never run for office or acted as the public head of a primarily political organization.[137]

Starting in 1980, Dobson began to build a network of conservative activists.[31] In 1981, he founded the Family Research Council as a political arm through which "social conservative causes" could achieve greater political influence.[138] Through the 1980s, he coordinated the creation of Family Policy Councils in most US states, lobbying organizations that act on the level of state politics. Beginning in the 1990s, Dobson and his vast activist organization helped pass state-level bans on gay marriage across the US.[139] His top legislative goal was prohibiting gay marriage at the federal level, with a constitutional amendment. In 2005, he told his biographer "my greatest concern is for the relentless attack by homosexual activists who are determined to destroy the institution of marriage."[140]

In late 2004, Dobson led a campaign to block the appointment of Arlen Specter to head of the Senate Judiciary Committee because of Specter's pro-abortion rights stance.[141] Responding to a question by Fox News personality Alan Colmes on whether he wanted the Republican Party to be known as a "big-tent party," he replied, "I don't want to be in the big tent ... I think the party ought to stand for something."[64] In 2006, Focus on the Family spent more than a half million dollars to promote a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in its home state of Colorado.[142]

Dobson founded a fundraising and lobbying arm of FotF called Focus on the Family Action, now called Family Policy Alliance. As a 501(c)(4) organization, it faces fewer IRS restrictions on political activity than FotF. In the organization's first six months of existence, it raised nearly nine million dollars in support of six Republican candidates for competitive US Senate seats. All six won their races.[54]

A May 2005 article by Chris Hedges in Harper's Magazine described Dobson as "perhaps the most powerful figure in the Dominionist movement" and "a crucial player in getting out the Christian vote for George W. Bush."[143] Discernment Ministries, a site that describes dominionism as a heresy, characterized Dobson as belonging to the "Patriotic American" brand of dominionism, calling him "One of its most powerful leaders."[144]

In November 2004, Dobson was described by the online magazine Slate as "America's most influential evangelical leader."[4] The article stated "Forget Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who in their dotage have marginalized themselves with gaffes ... Dobson is now America's most influential evangelical leader, with a following reportedly greater than that of either Falwell or Robertson at his peak ... Dobson may have delivered Bush his victories in Ohio and Florida."[4] Further, "He's already leveraging his new power. When a thank-you call came from the White House, Dobson issued the staffer a blunt warning that Bush "needs to be more aggressive" about pressing the religious right's anti-abortion, anti-gay rights agenda, or it would "pay a price in four years". Dobson has sometimes complained that the Republican Party may take the votes of social conservatives for granted, and has suggested that evangelicals may withhold support from the GOP if the party does not more strongly support conservative family issues.[68]

However, in 2006, Dobson said that, while "there is disillusionment out there with Republicans" and "that worries me greatly," he nonetheless suggested voters turn out and vote Republican in 2006.[145] "My first inclination was to sit this one out," but according to The New York Times, Dobson then added that "he had changed his mind when he looked at who would become the leaders of Congressional committees if the Democrats took over."[138]

Dobson garnered national media attention once again in February 2008 after releasing a statement in the wake of Senator John McCain's expected success in the so-called "Super Tuesday" Republican primary elections. In his statement, Dobson said: "I cannot, and will not, vote for Senator John McCain, as a matter of conscience," and indicated that he would refrain from voting altogether if McCain were to become the Republican candidate, echoing other conservative commentators' concerns about the Senator's conservatism.[146] He endorsed Mike Huckabee for president.[citation needed] After McCain selected an anti-abortion candidate, Sarah Palin, as his running mate, Dobson said that he was more enthusiastic in his support for the Republican ticket.[147] When Palin's 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy was revealed, Dobson issued a press release commending Palin's stance, saying,

We have always encouraged the parents to love and support their children and always advised the girls to see their pregnancies through, even though there will of course be challenges along the way. That is what the Palins are doing, and they should be commended once again for not just talking about their pro-life and pro-family values, but living them out even in the midst of trying circumstances.[148]

On June 24, 2008, Dobson criticized statements made by U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama in Obama's 2006 "Call to Renewal" address.[149] Dobson stated that Obama was "distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view."[150] On October 23, 2008, Dobson published a "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America" that proposed that an Obama presidency could lead to: mandated homosexual teachings across all schools; the banning of firearms in entire states; the end of the Boy Scouts, home schooling, Christian school groups, Christian adoption agencies, and talk radio; pornography on prime-time and daytime television; mandatory bonuses for gay soldiers; terrorist attacks across America; the nuclear bombing of Tel Aviv; the conquering of most of Eastern Europe by Russia; the end of health care for Americans over 80; out-of-control gasoline prices; and complete economic disaster in the United States, among other catastrophes.[151] In the days after the 2008 presidential election, Dobson stated on his radio program that he was mourning the Obama election, claiming that Obama supported infanticide, would be responsible for the deaths of millions of unborn children, and was "going to appoint the most liberal justices to the Supreme Court, perhaps, that we've ever had."[152][153]

Dobson supports intelligent design and has spoken at conferences on the subject, and frequently criticizes evolution.[154] In 2007, Dobson was one of 25 evangelicals who called for the ouster of Rev. Richard Cizik from his position at the National Association of Evangelicals because Cizik had taken a stance urging evangelicals to take global warming seriously.[155]

On June 13, 2007, the National Right to Life Committee ousted Colorado Right to Life after the latter ran a full-page ad criticizing Dobson.[156][157]

On May 30, 2010, Dobson delivered the pre-race invocation at the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 automobile race, raising criticism about his association with a sport associated with sponsors and activities which would not meet his definition of family-friendly.[158][159]

At a National Day of Prayer event in the U.S. Capitol, Dobson called Barack Obama "the abortion president." He said, "President Obama, before he was elected, made it very clear that he wanted to be the abortion president. He didn't make any bones about it. This is something that he really was going to promote and support, and he has done that, and in a sense he is the abortion president." Among others, Rep. Janice Hahn complained because Dobson used the National Day of Prayer for partisan purposes. She said, "Dobson just blew a hole into this idea of being a nonpartisan National Day of Prayer. It was very disturbing to me ... and really a shame. James Dobson hijacked the National Day of Prayer—this nonpartisan, nonpolitical National Day of Prayer—to promote his own distorted political agenda."[160]

Dobson endorsed Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primaries.[161] Dobson would later go on to endorse Trump in the general election against Hillary Clinton.[162] Dobson has been named by Christianity Today as one of the Trump Administration's top "Evangelical Faith Advisers".[163]

In 2020, Dobson worked alongside other conservative Evangelicals and Evangelical organizations, including Jim Daly and Focus on the Family, to support the reelection of President Donald Trump.[164] He echoed his support of the President throughout the impeachment proceedings earlier that year.[165]

Dobson praised the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, saying, "Praise God! We have just received the news for which we have been praying and working!"[166]

Ecumenical relations

Dobson and Charles Colson were two participants in a 2000 conference at the Vatican on the global economy's impact on families.[citation needed] During the conference, the two Protestants met with Pope John Paul II. Dobson later told Catholic News Service that though he has theological differences with Roman Catholicism, "when it comes to the family, there is far more agreement than disagreement, and with regard to moral issues from abortion to premarital sex, safe-sex ideology and homosexuality, I find more in common with Catholics than with some of my evangelical brothers and sisters."[167]

In November 2009, Dobson signed an ecumenical statement known as the Manhattan Declaration calling on evangelicals, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion, same-sex marriage and other matters that go against their religious consciences.[168]


U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, a fellow evangelical Christian who wanted Dobson as an ally in his battle against the AIDS crisis, was deeply disappointed when Dobson embraced pseudoscientific and homophobic claims about AIDS. "The Christian activity in reference to AIDS of both D. James Kennedy and Jim Dobson is reprehensible," Koop said in 1989. He viewed the AIDS crisis as "an opportunity for Christian service" that Dobson was squandering.[169]

In her 2020 book Jesus and John Wayne, Calvin University professor Kristin Kobes Du Mez criticizes the ideal of Christian masculinity created by Dobson, Mark Driscoll and others: "It was a vision that promised protection for women but left women without defense, one that worshiped power and turned a blind eye to justice, and one that transformed the Jesus of the Gospels into an image of their own making."[170]

Don Jacobson, who published books by Dobson and other conservative Christian authors at his Multnomah Press, later rejected the Christian nationalism his press had helped cultivate. After reading historical Christian justifications for murder and conquest of American Indians, he came to view American exceptionalism as incompatible with Christian love.[171]

Gil Alexander-Moegerle, a former Focus on the Family executive and radio show co-host, wrote the highly critical book James Dobson's War on America in 1997. In it, he says that Dobson's loving, caring public persona is a sham; the real Dobson is racist, sexist, homophobic, materialistic, power-hungry, and shameless. He says that the Nazarene religious concept of entire sanctification is key to understanding Dobson's views: "James Dobson believes that he has been entirely sanctified, morally perfected, that he does not and cannot sin. Now you know why he and moralists like him make a life of condemning what he believes to be the sins of others. He is perfect."[172]

Some fundamentalist Christians consider Dobson a heretic for presenting secular concepts from psychology and self-help literature as though they are justified by the Bible.[36]

Theologian Donald Eric Capps contends that Dobson's corporal punishment techniques exploit children by turning their natural need to be loved against them. Dobson's advice to "break the will" of the child is a recipe for child abuse, according to Capps, and is antithetical to loving one's child. He also argues that corporal punishment may sexualize children. For evidence of this, he points to Dobson's vivid childhood recollection of being beaten with his mother's girdle. Capps believed that using physical pain to heighten a child's relationship to God is "perverted."[36]


Dobson has authored or co-authored 36 books, including:

Books as sole author

Books with others

Notable articles and reports

See also



  1. ^ He is commonly referred to as "Jim Dobson".


  1. ^ Detwiler, Fritz (1999). Standing on the Premises of God The Christian Right's Fight to Redefine America's Public Schools. NYU Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-8147-1914-5. Archived from the original on January 19, 2023. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  2. ^ Kirkpatrick, David (January 1, 2005). "Evangelical Leader Threatens to Use His Political Muscle Against Some Democrats". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  3. ^ Olsen, Ted (February 21, 2005). "Who's Driving This Thing?". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Crowley, Michael (November 12, 2004). "James Dobson: The Religious Right's New Kingmaker". Slate. Archived from the original on November 17, 2004. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Press Biographies > Dr. James Dobson". Focus on the Family. Archived from the original on March 29, 2007. Retrieved May 9, 2007.
  6. ^ ""Family Talk" Is Largest Launch In Christian Radio History - Media Center - Ambassador Advertising Agency - We Connect Ministry and Media". Ambassadoradvertising.com. May 5, 2010. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
  7. ^ "James Dobson delivers final broadcast for Focus on Family". Usatoday.Com. February 26, 2010. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
  8. ^ Stammer, Larry B. (November 2, 1995). "A Man of Millions : Broadcaster James Dobson Has Become a Leading Name in Evangelical Circles--and the Politicians Have Noticed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  9. ^ "James C Dobson". San Benito History. Archived from the original on March 20, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Apostolidis, Paul (May 2000). Stations of the Cross Adorno and Christian Right Radio. Duke University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-8223-2541-1.
  11. ^ Gerson, Michael (May 4, 1998). "A Righteous Indignation". U.S. News & World Report. reprinted at SkepticTank.org Archived 2007-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b c Bartkowski, John P. (December 1995). "Spare the Rod..., or Spare the Child? Divergent Perspectives on Conservative Protestant Child Discipline". Review of Religious Research. 37 (2): 97–116. doi:10.2307/3512395. JSTOR 3512395.
  13. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 26.
  14. ^ Stepp, Laura (August 8, 1990). "The Empire Built on Family and Faith: Psychologist James C. Dobson, Bringing His Evangelical Focus to Politics". Washington Post. pp. C1–3. Archived from the original on January 3, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  15. ^ "Love to Serve News". TennisMinistry.org. 2000. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  16. ^ "Jim Dobson". Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, Wheaton College. Archived from the original on March 15, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Barry Hankins, American Evangelicals: A Contemporary History of a Mainstream Religious Movement, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, USA, 2009, p. 156
  18. ^ Gilgoff 2007, p. 21–22.
  19. ^ David Popenoe, War Over the Family, Transaction Publishers, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7658-0259-0. Chapter 14: "Remembering My Father: An Intellectual Portrait of 'The Man Who Saved Marriages.'"
  20. ^ a b Farley, Audrey Clare (May 12, 2021). "The Eugenics Roots of Evangelical Family Values". Religion and Politics.
  21. ^ a b Balmer, Randall (August 2007). "The Wizard of Colorado Springs". Sojourners Magazine. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 26, 2008. "his breakthrough book, Dare to Discipline, ... challenged the permissive child-rearing techniques of Benjamin Spock. The book, published in 1970, encouraged parents to spank their children with belts or switches and to leave such items on the child's dresser to remind her of the consequences of challenging authority"
  22. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 28.
  23. ^ Du Mez 2020, p. 78, 80.
  24. ^ a b Ridgely 2016, p. 29.
  25. ^ Du Mez 2020, p. 81.
  26. ^ Randall Herbert Balmer, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and expanded edition, Baylor University Press, USA, 2004, p. 222
  27. ^ Roberts, Steven V. (April 25, 1995). "The Heavy Hitter". U.S. News & World Report. 118 (16): 34. "Like a religious version of Walt Disney, Dobson started with a small idea and built it into a multimedia empire: 10 radio shows, 11 magazines (including specialty publications for doctors, teachers and single parents), bestselling books, film strips and videos of all kinds. Then there are the basketball camps and the curriculum guides, the church bulletin fillers and suggested sermon topics, faxed weekly to thousands of pastors."
  28. ^ Du Mez 2020, p. 85.
  29. ^ White House Conference on Families; Listening to America's Families (PDF) (Report). Baltimore/Minneapolis/Los Angeles: White House Conference on Families, Washington, D.C. June 1980. Diversity of Families: American families are pluralistic in nature. Our discussion of issues will reflect an understanding of and respect for cultural, ethnic and regional differences as well as differences in structure and lifestyle. Dobson is pictured in the Research Forum section.
  30. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 180.
  31. ^ a b Stephens 2019, p. 4–5.
  32. ^ Aynesworth, Hugh (January 24, 1999). "Bundy lore lives decade after killer was put to death". The Washington Times.
  33. ^ Blumenthal, Max (2009). Republican Gomorrah Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. Nation Books. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-56858-398-3.
  34. ^ O'Hara, Mary Emily (April 8, 2017). "This Law Firm Is Linked to Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills Across the Country". NBC. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017.
  35. ^ "Alliance Defending Freedom". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  36. ^ a b c d e f Johnson, Eithne (1998). "Dr. Dobson's Advice to Christian Women: The Story of Strategic Motherhood". Social Text (57): 55–82. doi:10.2307/466881. JSTOR 466881.
  37. ^ a b Gattis, Paul (August 12, 2017). "Evangelical leader James Dobson makes endorsement in Alabama Senate race". AL.com.
  38. ^ "Commandments In The Closet". CBS News. August 29, 2003.
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  40. ^ Moslener 2015, p. 184.
  41. ^ Moslener 2015, p. 167.
  42. ^ a b Olasky, Susan (July 2021). "Translation manipulation: In 1997 WORLD uncovered a plan to reshape the most popular English translation of the Bible". World.
  43. ^ "Colorado Springs Guidelines". Bible Research.
  44. ^ "English Standard Version". Bible Research.
  45. ^ Toalston, Art (February 6, 2002), "James Dobson joins critics of gender-neutral NIV revision", Baptist Press
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  47. ^ Baker, Tess N. (January 12, 2001). "Family Council celebrates". Lincoln Journal Star.
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  49. ^ Du Mez 2020, p. 86.
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  51. ^ "The Rest of the Story". October 7, 2013. Archived from the original on August 17, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
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  53. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 41–44.
  54. ^ a b Gilgoff 2007, p. 14–15.
  55. ^ Brenneman 2014, p. 135-136.
  56. ^ Hudgens, Nicole. "Who can you trust?". Family Policy Alliance.
  57. ^ Smart, Theo (June 23, 2006). "Casting the first stone: the US Christian right's war on the Global Fund".
  58. ^ Cullinan, Kerry (June 20, 2023). "Lives Are At Risk as Anti-Abortion Groups Attack HIV Programme PEPFAR". Health Policy Watch.
  59. ^ "Project Grant". USA Spending.
  60. ^ "Dr. Dobson's Ministry & History". Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. Dr. Dobson felt God directing him to start a new ministry, which he did in March 2010, to continue the important work of strengthening families, speaking into the culture, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. He called the new organization Family Talk.
  61. ^ a b Dobson, James C. (September 2019). "Dr. Dobson's September Newsletter". Dr. James Dobson.
  62. ^ Chamberlain, Dale (November 11, 2022). "Dr. James Dobson Family Institute Names New President To Succeed Dobson". Church Leaders.
  63. ^ "Nashville Statement". Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
  64. ^ a b "What Will a New Bush Term Mean for the American Family?". Fox News. November 15, 2004. Archived from the original on June 11, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
  65. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (January 16, 2010). "Radio Show for Focus on the Family Founder". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 11, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  66. ^ Draper, Electra (March 26, 2009). "Dobson's "rebel" son gets on board". The Denver Post.
  67. ^ Moslener 2015, p. 103.
  68. ^ a b c d e f "Focus on the Family". People For the American Way. 2006. Archived from the original on October 11, 2006. Retrieved October 10, 2006.
  69. ^ "Triangle; President's Report 2005" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 14, 2006. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
  70. ^ Williams, Devon (May 1, 2008). "Dr. Dobson's Broadcast Nominated to Radio Hall of Fame". Citizenlink.org. Archived from the original on May 3, 2008. Retrieved July 25, 2008.
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  72. ^ "Dr. Dobson Blasted by Gay Activist". Citizenlink.org. July 11, 2008. Archived from the original on August 17, 2008. Retrieved July 25, 2008.
  73. ^ Besen, Wayne (July 9, 2008). "TWO Launches Drive to Keep James Dobson Out of the Radio Hall of Fame". PR Newswire. Retrieved July 25, 2008.
  74. ^ "Focus On The Family". Radio Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  75. ^ Dobson, James C.; Bauer, Gary L. (1994). Children at Risk. pp. 119, 122.
  76. ^ Dobson, James (2001). "Why Boys Are So Different". Focus on the Family. Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  77. ^ Dobson, James. "Is it important for mothers to stay home during the teen years?". Focus on the Family. Retrieved June 20, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  78. ^ Moslener 2015, p. 98–99.
  79. ^ "Why We Must Win This Battle" (PDF). mnmarriage.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 14, 2011.
  80. ^ Dobson, James C. Marriage under fire: why we must win this war. Sisters, Or. : Multnomah Publishers, 2004. quoted in McManus, Mike and Harriet McManus. Living together: myths, risks, and answers Archived January 19, 2023, at the Wayback Machine. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008.
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  82. ^ Johnson, Alex (June 23, 2005). "'Healed' by God: Evangelical group sponsors conference on nature of gays". NBC News. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  83. ^ a b Schmader, David (June 30, 2005). "Jesus Hates You; Christians Rationalize Bigotry at "Love Won Out"". The Stranger. Vol. 14, no. 42. p. 16.
  84. ^ Gilgoff, Dan (2008). The Jesus Machine How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War. Macmillan Publishers. p. 56. ISBN 9780312378448. Archived from the original on January 19, 2023. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
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  87. ^ "What can parents do to improve public schools?". Focus on the Family. Retrieved June 21, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  88. ^ James Dobson, Bringing Up Girls, (Carol Stream, Ill. USA: Tyndale House Publishers) 2010 pp. 161-163; James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, (Carol Stream, Ill. USA: Tyndale House Publishers) 2001, pp. 76, 128.
  89. ^ Zirin, Dave (July 28, 2006). "You Can Keep the Faith". The Nation. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  90. ^ Stammer, Larry B.; Colvin, Richard Lee (August 31, 1995). "Foes Target Amendment on Prayer in Schools; Beliefs: Citing Federal Guidelines, Activists and Some Religious Leaders say a Change in Constitution is Unneeded". Los Angeles Times. p. 3. "We do not support teacher-led, state-mediated school prayer, but we do believe that students have the same religious rights as other people," said Alan Crippen of "Focus on the Family," a major evangelical Christian broadcast and publications ministry founded by psychologist James Dobson.
  91. ^ a b *Dobson, James C. (February 1977). Dare to Discipline. Bantam. p. 23. ISBN 0-553-22841-2.
  92. ^ Dobson 1978, p. 6.
  93. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 36.
  94. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 64.
  95. ^ Dobson 1978, p. 235.
  96. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 59,61.
  97. ^ Ridgely 2016, p. 58.
  98. ^ Dobson, James C. (1997). Solid Answers: America's foremost family counselor responds to tough questions facing today's families. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers. p. 130. ISBN 9780842306232.
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  116. ^ Ingold, John (May 30, 2008). "Anti-bias measure inked: Governor signs bill covering sexual orientation, religious beliefs". The Denver Post. Archived from the original on June 9, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
  117. ^ Welte, Rachel (May 22, 2008). "Controversial ad offends transgendered community". Colorado Connection. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  118. ^ Garcia, Elena (December 18, 2012). "James Dobson: Connecticut Shooting a Result of God Allowing Judgment to Fall on America". The Christian Post.
  119. ^ Claiborne, Shane (2023). Rethinking Life: Embracing the Sacredness of Every Person. Zondervan. pp. 193–202. ISBN 9780310363910.
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  126. ^ Du Mez 2020, p. 82–83.
  127. ^ Ring, Trudy (June 1, 2016). "James Dobson: Be a Man, Shoot a Trans Woman in the Bathroom". The Advocate.
  128. ^ Du Mez 2020, p. 83.
  129. ^ Dobson, James (1975). What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House. pp. 140–141.
  130. ^ Du Mez 2020, p. 84.
  131. ^ Gibbon, Jeani Hunt (September–October 2005). "Listening to Dr. Dobson". Tikkun. 20 (5): 11. "Dobson is one of the single most important religious intellectuals and political leaders in America today, and many people take his words very seriously. When Dobson makes such a statement, it is the Evangelical equivalent of a Vatican Decree that is meant to communicate a policy position not only to church goers, but to social conservatives as a whole-specifically, the Republican Party."
  132. ^ Soule, Sarah A. (November 2004). "Going to the Chapel? Same-Sex Marriage Bans in the United States, 1973–2000". Social Problems. 51 (4). Oxford University Press: 469. doi:10.1525/sp.2004.51.4.453.
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Further reading

  • Apostolidis, Paul. Stations of the Cross: Adorno and Christian Right Radio (2000). excerpt and text search, analysis of Dobson's radio programs
  • Alexander-Moegerle, Gil (1997). James Dobson's War on America. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-122-X.
  • Gilgoff, Dan (April 29, 2008). The Jesus Machine How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America are Winning the Culture War. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-37844-8.
  • Løvdal, Hilde, Family Matters: James Dobson and the Focus on the Family's Message to American Evangelicals, 1970–2010 (PhD dissertation, University of Oslo, Norway, 2012).

External links