James Dobson Admits Failure in the Culture War
"The battles that we fought in the 80's now. We were victorious in many of those conflicts with the culture trying to defend righteousness, trying to defend the unborn child, trying to preserve the dignity of the family, and the definition of marriage. We fought all those battles, and really it was a holding action." (Remarks made by Dr. Dobson to his staff <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Feb. 27th, 2009 on the day of his retirement as Chairman of the Board of Focus on the Family)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
These recent comments by Dr. Dobson created quite a stir among evangelicals and were picked up in the UK (see London daily Telegraph article Apr. 10th) prompting Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President to declare that Focus has not retreated from the culture wars, and will continue to fight. A podcast with Dobson's statements can be found here.) The story of the comments broke Mar. 26th with an interview by radio talk show host Steve Deace of WHO radio in Des Moines, Iowa interviewing Tom Minnery about Dobson's legacy.
Dobson said in his speech, "And now we are absolutely awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged, and we are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking we can say that we have lost all those battles."
Dobson's speech has since been removed from Focus' website. On Tues Apr. 14th , Dobson backpedaled on Fox's "Hannity" that the media had intentionally reported half of his statement.
Dobson said, "Humanly speaking, we can say that we have lost all those battles, but God is in control and we are not going to give up now, right?"
However, his voice, in my opinion, expressed the sadness of a defeated leader.
"It's hard to admit defeat, but this one was self-inflicted," said Chaplain E. Ray Moore of Exodus Mandate, "Yes, Dr. Dobson and the pro-family or Christian right political movement is a failure; it would have made me sad to say this in the past but they have done it to themselves." (Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, Apr 5th)
Moore believes Focus has been concentrating their efforts on treating symptoms. In February, Moore issued a Report Card at the National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville, Tennessee; on how effectively major Christian ministries and organizations support K-12 Christian education or home schooling. Nine organizations including Focus were rated, many of which have actively engaged in the cultural war in the US for the past several decades. (Christiannewswire, Feb. 11, 2009)
Moore says, "Even though these organizations have been valiantly fighting the culture war, they have suffered terrible defeats. They have not been able to arrest and reverse the moral and cultural slide by protests, lobbying, voting and legislative remedies. It's time for these ministries to revisit their methodology and ask themselves if there is a biblical model for spiritual and cultural renewal."
"Many of the larger pro-family and Christian ministries that were rated...did pretty well on the criteria such as promoting a Christian worldview; whether they promoted or had programming on Christian education and home schooling; and warning about the dangers of public schools."
"But they did not do so well when it came to the area of public school reform," he said, "We think it's futile to continue to try to fix public education -- and many of them got D's and some even F's in that." (2/18/09 One News Now.com) The entire report card can be viewed at ExodusMandate.org
Dr. Bruce Shortt, Houston attorney and author of The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, commented, "The Report Card is a good idea to serve as a wake up call for ministries, churches and pastors. Exodus Mandate should rate the major Christian denominations next and then rate the seminaries and large Christian radio or TV teaching ministries, too. Any organization or church can use the Report Card as a self-grading exercise."
Moore has a simple plan for Focus on the Family, and others to get back on track.
Moore is calling on "all families, churches, pastors, major Christian ministries and organizations, to concentrate for one year on extracting Christian children from the pagan, godless public schools." (WND Dec 28, 2008)
See YouTube video on their plan A Call to Dunkirk,
While the culture war is not over, the window of opportunity is closing.
A full commitment to rescuing children from government schools by these pro-Christian and pro-family ministries could alter the outcome of the culture war.
Nicholas A. Jackson
Nick is Executive Director of Reform America, and Ohio Coordinator for Exodus Mandate. He graduated in 1997 from Ohio University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He spends time as a free-lance writer on Christian worldview issues.
Worldview Weekend Foundation
PO BOX 1690
Collierville, TN, 38027 USA