Dobson and Dobson
Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the last week.
Dobson Returns to Radio
James Dobson left Focus on the Family in February, bringing to an end three decades of hosting the popular radio program. This week, Dobson returned to discuss families, faith, and policy in a new show, "Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson." Dobson is joined by his son, Ryan Dobson, and former Focus on the Family producer LuAnne Crane for a 30-minute show unaffiliated with Focus.
Focus president Jim Daly said Dobson's new show is not in competition with the Focus on the Family broadcast. Indeed, Focus gave one million dollars to help Dobson start Family Talk.
"We've never been the only family-help ministry on the block," Daly said. "The needs of families worldwide are great—we will continue to dedicate ourselves to helping them, working together with like-minded groups to have the greatest impact possible."
The decision to ask Dobson to step down as host has raised speculation about the direction of Focus. Some conservatives worry that Focus is adopting a new tone that is less confrontational and less policy focused.
Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington, had earlier questioned where Focus was going.
"I am not very happy with the new, progressive, 'loving' leadership at Focus on the Family," Hutcherson said in March. "Dr. Dobson only wants to continue to speak the truth on the radio. Apparently, that truth has limited appeal to the new leadership at Focus."
Dobson said that while it was time to hand the baton to new leadership at Focus, he wanted to continue speaking out on cultural issues.
"Please don't expect me to take a 'softer, gentler' approach to the issues that burn within my soul. I have never spoken or written without passion for values in which I believe, and I don't intend to start now. Babies are dying, the very definition of marriage is under attack, the financial underpinnings of families are being destroyed by confiscatory taxation, and children of all ages are being taught wickedness and every form of godlessness. This is no time to grow timid!" said Dobson.
National Day of Prayer Events
This year's National Day of Prayer (NDOP) has taken on more political significance as a recent court decision ruled that the federal government cannot make such a proclamation. The day took on even more significance when Franklin Graham, honorary chair of the NDOP taskforce, was uninvited from a Pentagon prayer event because of his past comments on Islam.
On Tuesday, the Family Research Council (FRC) hosted a pre-NDOP event featuring Graham and James Dobson, whose wife, Shirley, is the current chair of the National Day of Prayer Taskforce. On Thursday, Graham and FRC president Tony Perkins joined James Dobson on his new radio program.
"Prayer and dependence on God has been our history," said Dobson. "How unfortunate it is now that an unaccountable and unelected and misguided judge from Wisconsin, Judge Barbara Crabb, has declared National Days of Prayer—established by the Congress—to be unconstitutional."
Doug Carlson of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) encouraged people to join in prayer events. "With hostility toward religion on display in many courts and corridors of Congress, now as ever is an altogether fitting time to direct our attention heavenward," said Carlson.
The American Family Association (AFA) president Tim Wildmon encouraged people to organize their own Meet at City Hall events, which are like See You at the Pole gatherings for grown-ups. People come together at their local city hall on the National Day of Prayer for a brief prayer meeting.