James Dobson

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James C. Dobson is the Founder, and now Chairman Emeritus, of Focus on the Family, a Christian Right religious organization. He is a licensed psychologist in the state of California and a licensed marriage, family and child counselor in both California and Colorado, [1] although not an ordained minister.

Changing role

In 2009, he left the chairmanship, although continuing his radio show. James D. Daly replaced him. U.S. News and World Report reporter Dan Gilgoff said that Dobson was both the organization's greatest asset, but also

a liability because the cult of personality around him has prevented the organization from connecting to a new generation of Christians. Dobson is so closely affiliated with Focus that most Focus supporters don't distinguish between the man and the organization he founded in 1977, even though he stepped down as president in 2003. That explains why Dobson is staying on as the ministry's voice on the radio and as a spokesman for Focus's sister political organization, Focus on the Family Action. Focus just doesn't have anyone else who could draw the 1.5 million daily radio listeners that Dobson pulls in.[2]

Fox News opinion broadcaster Sean Hannity interviewed Dobson in April 2009, asking him about an unspecified "story circulating around the Internet claiming that Dr. James Dobson has, quote, 'admitted defeat in the culture wars.'"[3] Dobson denied this, clarifying his position as

Yes, the left-wing media is itching for members of the pro- family movement to put up a white flag and declare the culture war over and to just hand the country to them, and so they will take a statement like that, which was made to my staff, it was not — it wasn't a press release or anything like that, it was made to the staff in reference to the election. And it is true that many of the battles that we have fought for many years were lost, at least the battles were lost, the war was not lost.

Dobson continued that "Admittedly Obama won the election, and he has the right to set the policy, but in setting that policy, he has changed or destroyed many of the principles that we worked so hard for." Hannity then asked, "Dr. Dobson, the president said, as we all know, that America is not a Christian nation. Every other president had suggested we were. Our founders and framers suggested we were. What did you think when you heard that, and how would you answer him and tell him otherwise?" HDobson replied,

Whether or not we're a Christian nation is not the issue. The issue is did we have Christian roots and has that influenced, the Judeo-Christian value system, influenced our law, our constitution, and our way of life. And it has, and he implied that there was a kind of theological equivalence between Christianity and all the other religions of the world on that issue, and that's not true.

He ended the Focus on the Family radio show in November 2009, as well as his operational ties with the organization. [4] Instead, he would, with his son Ryan, create a new Christian group and radio show, with his son Ryan, to be called James Dobson on the Family. Explaining his motivation, he said “the institution of the family continues to be in deplorable condition, and children are growing up in a culture that often twists and warps their young minds.”[5]


Dobson was for 14 years an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, and served for 17 years on the Attending Staff of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics.


He served on the task force which summarized the White House Conference on Families and received a special commendation from President Jimmy Carter in 1980. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Advisory Commission to the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1982-84. From 1984-87 he was regularly invited to the White House to consult with President Reagan and his staff on family matters. He served as co-chairman of the Citizens Advisory Panel for Tax Reform, in consultation with President Reagan, and served as a member and later chairman of the United States Army's Family Initiative, 1986-88.

He was appointed to Attorney General Edwin Meese's Commission on Pornography, 1985-86. Dr. Dobson was also appointed in the spring of 1987 to the Attorney General's Advisory Board on Missing and Exploited Children, and to Secretary Otis Bowen's Panel on Teen Pregnancy Prevention, within the Department of Health and Human Services.


Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan. Ryan and his wife, Laura, have a son, Lincoln Cash.[1] Ryan Dobson is an ordained minister, who has said "The man should be the overall leader of the household. We’ve raised a generation of little boys.” [6]