The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: (202) 466-3234,Joe Conn,Rob Boston,Sandhya Bathija

Americans United Issues Statement on Resignation of James Dobson as Focus on the Family Chairman

Watchdog Group Vows to Continue Opposing Narrow Vision of the Religious Right


Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, announced today that he is stepping down as chairman of that organization.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:

"James Dobson's decision to resign as chairman of Focus on the Family is unlikely to make much of a difference in the day-to-day operations of that organization. Dobson intends to continue his daily radio program and monthly mailings. He has also said he will keep handing out political endorsements. Many who listen to Dobson's daily radio broadcast may not even be aware of this change.

"Focus on the Family is merely rearranging the deck chairs on its big, intolerant ship.

"I do not expect this change to mean we will see any moderation in the rhetoric of Focus on the Family or its arm in Washington, the Family Research Council. For years, FOF has been the leading voice of religious extremism and intolerance in America. It has led the attack on the legal rights of gay and lesbian Americans, worked assiduously to undermine reproductive rights, assaulted the religious neutrality of public schools and labored to replace science with far-right, fundamentalist dogma.

"James Dobson's vision of America is of a divisive and narrow-minded nation, a country where an exceedingly limited version of Christianity - the type hewn to by Dobson and his followers - is welded to the raw power of the state. In his misguided quest for an officially 'Christian America,' Dobson would trample on the rights of millions. I am thankful that so many Americans reject Dobson's disturbing vision.

"Despite my differences with him, if Dobson were truly retiring, I would wish him well. But I know that Dobson and so many other leaders of the Religious Right intend to remain active, working to force their exclusionary worldview onto the rest of us.

"For that reason, I vow that Americans United will continue to strongly oppose the agenda of Dobson and Focus on the Family no matter what title he uses."

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.