... no one helped Bush win more than Dr. James Dobson. Forget Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson ... Forget Ralph Reed, now enriching himself as a lobbyist-operative, leaving the Christian Coalition a shell of its former self. Forget Gary Bauer ... Dobson is now America's most influential evangelical leader, with a following reportedly greater than that of either Falwell or Robertson at his peak.
Dobson earned the title. He proselytized hard for Bush this last year, organizing huge stadium rallies and using his radio program to warn his 7 million American listeners that not to vote would be a sin. Dobson may have delivered Bush his victories in Ohio and Florida...
... An absolutist disgusted by the compromises of politics, he sneers at those who place "self-preservation and power ahead of moral principle." ... as the gay-marriage movement surged this year, Dobson's moral outrage over the direction of American culture went supernova, asserting in his recent book Marriage Under Fire that Western civilization hangs in the balance....
Dobson's clout emanates from Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs-based ministry he founded that is awesome in scope: publishing books and magazines, disseminating Dobson's weekly newspaper column to more than 500 papers, and airing radio shows—including Dobson's own—that reach people in 115 countries every week, from Japan to Botswana and in languages from Spanish to Zulu. The ministry receives so much mail it has its own ZIP code.
His rise began in 1977, when as an unknown pediatric psychologist in California he published Dare to Discipline, a denunciation of permissive parenting that tried to rehabilitate the practice of spanking. The book sold 2 million copies. Dobson then cranked out a string of follow-up Christian self-help books, with titles like Straight Talk to Men and What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women.
... In 1983 he established the Family Research Council as his political arm in Washington, although he had his friend Gary Bauer enter the Gomorrah of Washington so Dobson could concentrate on his ministry in Colorado. Then, in the late 1990s Dobson began to grow disenchanted with Republican leaders in Congress for not pushing the Christian social agenda harder. In the 2000 campaign his tepid support of Bush may have helped dampen turnout among evangelical voters, a disappointment Karl Rove dwelled on for four years.
It was the gay-marriage debate that finally hurled Dobson into politics wholeheartedly. The subject of homosexuality seems to exert a special power over him, and he has devoted much idiosyncratic thought to it. When discussing gays he spares no detail, no matter how prurient...Dobson further contends that homosexuality, especially in such an early stage, can be "cured." His ministry runs a program called Love Won Out that seeks to convert "ex-gays" to heterosexuality....
To Dobson, gay marriage is a looming catastrophe of epic proportions. He has compared the recent steps toward gay marriage to Pearl Harbor and likens the battle against it to D-Day.
Is reaction-formation the dominant pychopathology of the religious right? One wonders if Dobson fears that he might be gay -- or could at least lean that way.
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