Besen: Dobson not ready to retire anti-gay rhetoric

Tue. January 5, 2010 12:00 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

james dobson

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is leaving the organization, but he's got no plans to retire his anti-gay rhetoric, gay rights activist Wayne Besen says.

Last February, Dobson stepped down as chairman of the anti-gay group he founded in 1977 but remained the group's primary radio voice. A post he'll retire next month.

During the last eight transition years when Dobson slowly ceded power, the 73-year-old has often said he was looking forward to retirement and becoming a full-time grandparent with his wife, Shirley. Instead, he announced last week that he'll head up a new group and co-host a new radio program with his son, Ryan, who runs KOR World Ministries.

"He has the chance to share his life's work and passion with his only son," Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus, said in a statement congratulating Dobson on his new venture. "What man wouldn't choose to do that?"

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.

Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins 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 this week that 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."

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine