Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson Leaves Pro-Life Group After 33 Years

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 25, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson Leaves Pro-Life Group After 33 Years

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 25
, 2010

Colorado Sprins, CO ( — After three decades of leading one of the premier pro-life organizations in the country, Dr. James Dobson is saying goodbye to Focus on the Family. The psychologist turned the organization into one of the largest in the nation by focusing on moral values and helping families born and unborn.

Focus on the Family CEO and President Jim Daly and Focus on the Family radio host John Fuller paid tribute to Dobson on the Tuesday program.

"As many people know," Daly said, "this week marks the completion of a transition period that probably started more than 10 years ago."

Dobson himself signaled the beginning of the end of his tenure last year as he moved towards retirement.

"I have felt since the turn of the century," he wrote on Facebook, "that I needed to begin passing along the leadership of the ministry to a younger generation."

Dobson stepped down as chairman of the board of directors early last year but continued hosting the popular radio show. Dobson will host his final radio program, which built up his popularity to hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide, on Friday.

Dozens of Focus followers recorded emotional messages – played during the broadcast — thanking Dobson for his work and how he touched their lives.

Tom Minnery, a senior vice president at Focus on the Family, told Citizen magazine that emotions are heavy at the pro-life group but the future is strong for the organization thanks to Dobson’s steady leadership.

"The pillars will remain the same," he said. "Our devotion to our cause of the family, our devotion to the notion that life is sacred, to the notion that marriage is one man and one woman, those will never change."

Daly has said the group will retain its mission opposing abortion and the immensely popular Tim Tebow ads are an indication that is the case. He emphasized in a recent Wall St. Journal interview that the pro-life group would tout positive stories like Tebow’s and do more to promote adoption efforts.

"The message we’re trying to go for is, Yes, there is a choice right now," he said, "and I think the better choice is life."

David Bass, a writer at the conservative American Spectator, says pro-life groups like Focus on the Family are needed, especially in light of fly-by-night organizations claiming to be Christian that have retreated from the pro-life message.

"The American political landscape already is littered with lightweight Christian groups pushing liberal ideas. Very few are willing to take tough stands on traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life," he says.

"Those stands make Focus, and Dobson, unpopular with a large segment of the population. But they’ve also made Focus unique and an important part of the social conservative movement — and, as a byproduct, the conservative movement in general," Bass continued.

Dobson is teaming up with his son to launch a new radio show called FamilyTalk on May 3.

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