Group Rooted in Morals Needs to Compromise

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Mabley

A full page ad advocating abstinence among unmarried young people was carried in Chicago papers eight years ago.

It was paid for by Focus on the Family, headed by James Dobson. I liked the idea, but had never heard of James Dobson.

I phoned the group's headquarters in Colorado. They were edgy about talking with a big city reporter and told me little. I still wrote an approving column about the ad.

James Dobson and his Focus on the Family have grown enormously in wealth and political influence.

Dobson is a major player today because he threatens to encourage his millions of followers to quit the Republican Party.

I am an accused liberal. I plead guilty on social issues. But I agree with James Dobson on matters beyond abstinence. He fights pornography, he decries the spread of gambling, he opposes the flood of sex and violence in TV and movies.

He interprets the Bible literally as the inspired, absolute truth.

He strongly opposes abortion. He believes life begins at conception. A case can be made in Genesis 2:7 that life begins with the first breath.

To accept that possibility would be compromise for Dobson.

If he hopes to influence politics, he should recognize that politics is the art of compromise. And accept that U.S. laws permit abortions.

And that Americans elected President Clinton twice knowing he was morally and ethically challenged.

Dobson doesn't like the media. He says, "The Constitution allows all of us free speech. That's not limited just to those who have no faith. That's sort of the notion the media has cooked up, but it has no basis in law and no basis in morality."

Doesn't Dobson know he is media, enjoying free speech? …