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Dr. James Dobson reacts to the Romeny speech yesterday

Friday, December 7, 2007

HH: I’m now joined by perhaps the most influential voice among Evangelicals in the United States, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus On The Family. I want to remind everyone Dr. Dobson does not endorse candidates in the primary, but this speech is so important in terms of its impact on the atmosphere in which we are living that Dr. Dobson put out a press release yesterday that concluded, “Governor Romney’s speech served as a reminder that religion has always played a significant role in electoral politics. Candidates who disregard the spiritual heritage of this great nation and its viability today will do so at their peril.” Dr. Dobson, always a pleasure, welcome.

JD: Hugh, I’m really pleased that you invited me to come on, especially to clarify what I was trying to say yesterday, and I look forward to talking to you about it.

HH: Now I think putting aside all of the politics of the moment in Iowa, what Romney did yesterday was to defend a position of faith in the public square. Is that what you were reacting to yesterday?

JD: That’s exactly what I was reacting to. You know, it was not a speech about electoral politics, presidential or otherwise. And it was also certainly not about Mormon theology. And if it had been, I would have written a very different kind of response. It was a magnificent speech, Hugh, and I was personally moved by it. He was addressing, as you said, the issue of who we are as a people, and what the source of our strength has been. And it’s directly related to our spiritual commitment since the days of the founding fathers. He was passionate when he delivered it, and he looked into the camera, at one point, I think he choked up. And it was just a very well-delivered, well thought out speech about the American people. And I loved it.

HH: Now Dr. Dobson, I have been reporting for years on elite media’s effort to deny, divide and dispirit the value voter, people of faith who are in politics. And it’s been working. They’re trying to divide the value voter coalition in this election, using religion, using Romney’s faith, Huckabee’s faith, Giuliani’s personal life. But it’s not a fractured coalition, or do you disagree with me on that?

JD: Oh, I agree completely. In fact, I’ve really been irritated, if you don’t mind my saying so, about this effort by these self-appointed authorities on especially Evangelicalism, who are telling us that its influence is over, and it no longer cares about the unborn child, and it no longer cares about marriage and about family-related issues. David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times wrote a piece called The Evangelical Crack-Up, as though somehow, there’s been this splintering that’s occurred. I’m as in touch with that community as maybe anybody in the country, because we get up to 200,000 letters and phone calls a month. And it is simply not true, it’s not happening. You’ve got Tom Brokaw and his book, Boom! I heard him on Brian whatever-his-name is the other night, talking about the question who are these Evangelicals?

HH: Right.

JD: Like in the first place, he would know. And when you think about it, Gallup says there are 100 million Evangelicals, 100 million. And some other studies show it’s 40% of everybody who calls themselves Christian.

HH: Yup.

JD: And Brokaw is going to get his arms around 100 million people as though it’s only one personality and one thought out there? And he’s going to tell us who are these weird Evangelicals? You know, I’ve just been hearing that over and over again, and I’m telling you, it’s baloney.

HH: Dr. Dobson, let’s talk about those 100 million Evangelicals. Most of them that voted, voted for Bush in 2004. In your opinion, and I want to stress, you haven’t endorsed Romney, if Romney was the Republican nominee, would most of those Evangelicals vote for Romney?

JD: Hugh, I really don’t know that. There’s a lot of resistance to him because of his Mormon faith, and I think I told you a couple of years ago when we talked about that, that that would be a problem for some. And others, you know, are looking at alternatives that are out there, and coming down in a difference place. So I’m not sure how that’s going to break out. But I thought what he had to say yesterday went a long ways toward explaining how he thinks and who he is.

HH: And do you think that will have an impact on the Evangelical community, or will they not listen with that kind of an ear to it?

JD: I think they’re looking at him in a different way for the first time. Now let’s make it clear again that I don’t endorse…

HH: You don’t.

JD: …presidential candidates, certainly not in primaries. I’ve never done it in my life, and I’ve only endorsed one presidential candidate in my entire life, and that was George Bush after I’d had four years to watch him. So I’m very careful about that, and I’m not making an endorsement now. But I’m also honest enough to say the man gave a great speech. And he should be applauded for it.

HH: Now I went on CNN International immediately afterwards, Dr. Dobson, and got into kind of a verbal shoving match with the secular elites that I was dealing with. I think they were quite prickly about Mitt Romney’s comments on the empty cathedrals of Europe. And it was really, I think, one of the most interesting and now overlooked parts of the speech. What did you make of that?

JD: Well, it is true that Europe, in the UK and Australia and other parts of the English speaking world, have drifted away from their Christian roots, largely. But America is still very, very committed, and people do care about the same issues. What they’re trying to do to divide us is to say that there’s a whole new generation of Americans who care more about global warming and whatever the politically correct thing of the moment is, and that they don’t care about babies anymore, and they don’t care about the things that have driven us in the past. All I can say is if you believe that, and if you are a presidential candidate, you may be in for a shock when election time comes, because I don’t think that much has changed.

HH: I agree with you on that. And let me close, with a minute left, Dr. Dobson, do you expect the other Republican candidates to make statements similar to Romney’s about the place of faith in America?

JD: You know, I wish they would, and I would commend them if they did. Rush Limbaugh yesterday was lauding this speech to the sky. And he made the statement that you know, the stuff that we’re talking about out there is inconsequential. And this week, they’ve been talking about Obama’s statement when he was in kindergarten. Who gives a rip about that? And Hillary going to China with her husband? That doesn’t qualify her for anything. He was talking here about who we are as a people, and what made us that way.

HH: And it was great to hear it. Dr. Dobson, thanks for spending time with me today. I deeply appreciate it.

End of interview.

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