Focus on the Family founder James
Dobson has retired as host of the organization's radio show, but he's
got no plans to end his anti-gay rhetoric after 33 years.
Dobson ascended to prominence with a
socially conservative anti-gay message. With publications such as
Citizen Link and radio broadcasts the group continues to voice
its opposition to any pro-gay legislation, including the recent
decision to broaden the federal definition of hate crimes to include
sexual orientation and gender identity. Dobson also leads the
movement to have openly gay safe schools czar Kevin Jennings axed by
the Obama administration.
Last February, Dobson stepped down as
chairman of the Colorado-based group he founded in 1977 but remained
the group's primary radio voice. Surrender of the radio booth
completes an 8-year transfer of power.
“Doctor [Dobson] wanted to hand the
reins over so Focus could do its core mission – continue to do its
core mission – yet he still feels he has things to say to the
culture,” Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus, said Monday during
the broadcast. “And that's why he will start just a radio effort,
so he can continue to speak to the culture.”
Focus will devote a week's worth of
radio time to Dobson's final farewell.
But the 73-year-old won't be straying
too far. With the financial support of Focus, Dobson will head up a
new group and co-cost a new radio program with his son, Ryan, who
Wayne Besen, executive director of
Out, a group he founded to combat anti-gay social conservatives,
told On Top Magazine in November that a cooling off of the
culture wars wouldn't follow Dobson's announced retirement. After
naming several potential successors – including Rick Warren, Sarah
Palin and NOM's Maggie Gallagher – he said: “So, there is hardly
time to throw a victory parade.”
And Besen said he believes Dobson is
likely to escalate his anti-gay message.
“I predict that Dobson's new venture
will be more hard core than Focus on the Family,” he said in an
email. “He will have fewer constraints and will use it as a
platform to spew anti-gay views and promote anachronistic ideas.”