Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson Retires as Head of Pro-Life Group

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 27, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson Retires as Head of Pro-Life Group

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 27
, 2009

Colorado Springs, CO ( — Dr. James Dobson publicly announced on Friday that he is retiring as the chairman of the board of directors of Focus on the Family, one of the nation’s biggest pro-life groups. Dobson will continue to play an integral role in the organization but will relinquish his administrative duties.

The 72-year-old psychologist has been seen for decades as the face of the pro-family group and the move is a first step in letting someone else replace him.

Dobson told fellow members of the board of directors of his decision on Wednesday and he informed the nearly 1,000 Focus employees on Friday morning at a staff worship service.

Though Dobson will not be as involved in an administrative role, he is not ending his relationship with Focus on the Family entirely. He will host the group’s long-running radio program, write a monthly newsletter distributed to millions of pro-life advocates, and speak out on key issues.

Dobson talked about the need for a leadership transition in a statement about his decision.

"One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority," Dobson said. "Though letting go is difficult after three decades of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do."

Gary Schneeberger, a Focus on the Family spokesman, told AP that Dobson "will continue to speak out as he always has — a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded."

Air Force Lt. Gen. Patrick P. Caruana, a longtime board member, replaces Dobson as the chairman of the Focus board of directors.

Dobson has been very involved in promoting pro-life candidates and endorsed John McCain over pro-abortion Barack Obama.

After the election, Dobson lamented Barack Obama’s victory and forecasted significant promotion of abortion. He says Obama’s election could set the pro-life movement back 35 years.

Dobson told his listeners he is "in the midst of a grieving process" over Obama’s election victory but only because of the impact it will have on the fight to protect human life.

"I’m not grieving over Barack Obama’s victory, but over the loss of things that I’ve fought for 35 years," he said.

Dobson said he wished he could have voted for the nation’s first black president but couldn’t bring himself to do so because of the million of unborn children who will be killed in an Obama administration.

"But to be honest, I have to say that his win causes me enormous concern, because he will be the most committed pro-abortion president in our history, even supporting infanticide for babies who survive botched abortions," Dobson said.

Dobson worries Obama is "going to appoint the most liberal justices to the Supreme Court, perhaps, that we’ve ever had."

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