Unreasonable Faith posted a great piece a few days ago, detailing the general homophobic message and lies of James Dobson.
It’s a great post. And it illustrates one of the most dangerous things about this guy: his penchant for telling untruths as facts. Thing is, Dobson isn’t an eccentric televangelist Pat Robertson type. He’s actually rather calm and quiet in his demeanor. He merely states a lie in an authoritative manner, and most of his listeners accept it as true because of his tone and his credentials as a psychologist.
His evidence is often based on the work of Paul Cameron, disbarred from the APA for making up research. Other sources have made it clear that Dobson has twisted their work or not even read it.
Dobson quoted in Time, Drs Carol Gilligan, of Harvard: Kyle Pruett, of Yale, and Angela Phillips, of Goldsmiths College. All 3 were irate that he lied about data, among a barrage of letters from experts he’d used in various works. Some asked him to post their letters on his Focus website with a public apology. He didn’t.
Dr. Robert Spitzer was among the outraged. He helped remove the disorder status from homosexuality in 1973. And so his 2001 research showing that “gays could change” was praised by Dobson for the “courage” to overturn the “myth.”
But Dr. Spitzer said Focus “once again reported findings of my study out of context to support their fight against gay rights.”
Calling Dobson on his lies doesn’t faze him. “Communities do not let prostitutes, pedophiles, voyeurs, adulterers, and those who sexually prefer animals to publicly celebrate their lifestyles, so why should homosexuals get such privileges?”
It’s difficult to encapsulate, though, just how influential his organization (Focus on the Family) is in American Christianity. Slate calls him “America’s most influential evangelical leader.” George W. Bush practically owes the 2004 election on Dobson’s ability to rally up the troops in support for him.
Among his erroneous beliefs are the idea that women with children should be housewives until their kids are 18, that pornography leads to serial murder, that Spongebob Squarepants is a tool for spreading a message of gayness, and that federal money should fund abstinence-only sex education despite study after study showing that it doesn’t work.
But what really seems to put him over the edge is gay marriage. For some as-yet-unexplained reason, James Dobson believes that if a same-sex couple is allowed to call their union “marriage,” that the marriages of heterosexuals everywhere will suffer. And he is willing to draw as many irrelevant parallels, false dichotomies, and invalid comparisons as he can to get everyone else to believe this as well.
Think about that for a second. This man, with a PhD in psychology, believes that there is literally an invisible, all-powerful man in space keeping people from getting divorced using special spaceman powers, but that he’ll stop doing so if two guys want to pledge eternal love to each other.
Unfortunately, most of his target market is stupid, and doesn’t understand concepts like statistics, science, research, or fact-checking. Some of these people are even fully aware of Dobson’s inaccurate portrayal of the facts and continue to lend him credibility.
Christians, don’t be stupid. Don’t accept a silly assertion just because this fool is telling you to.
And for Pete’s sake, focus on your own damn family.