Magazine article Church & State

Dobson Announces Plans to Get More Involved in Partisan Politics

Magazine article Church & State

Dobson Announces Plans to Get More Involved in Partisan Politics

Article excerpt

Radio counselor and Religious Right activist James C. Dobson is increasingly dropping his facade of non-partisanship.

Dobson announced in October that he is considering taking a leave of absence from Focus on the Family, the large, Colorado-based evangelical ministry that he runs, to jump headfirst into campaigning on behalf of favored candidates.

Fears that same-sex marriage may soon become legal in the United States apparently motivated Dobson's latest move. During a Washington press conference, Dobson outlined his new direction.

"For 26 years, I have been the head of a non-profit organization, Focus on the Family, which is, of course, limited in its ability to speak to political issues," he said in a statement. "That, for me, is changing. I have resigned as president of Focus on the Family. I am chairman of the board, but I'm prepared to take a leave of absence and be involved in those races where there is an obvious lack of understanding of the importance of the [gay marriage] issue, wherever that takes me."

Dobson added that the gay marriage issue "may have to be fought out on the political level, and if so, let's go for it."

Dobson has endorsed candidates for public office before as an individual, but he apparently is considering ratcheting up his political activity. His first effort, however, was a dud. Dobson endorsed California Sen. Tom McClintock in that state's Oct. 7 recall election, but the right-wing Republican was soundly defeated, coming in third place.

The winner was actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ran openly as a pro-choice candidate who also favors some gay rights and forms of gun control positions normally anathema to the Religious Right.

A bevy of other Religious Right heavy hitters backed McClintock, among them Phyllis Schlafly, Randall Terry and Alan Keyes. McClintock also accepted funding from Howard Ahmanson Jr. …

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