Six years ago he stepped down as President of Focus on the Family, CEO of Focus on the Family, and finally James Dobson is stepping down as Chairman of Focus on the Family. Since the 1970′s it’s been his company, his show, his agenda, his product.Â Dobson informed employees during chapel he was not ‘limping away.’
The 72 year old has no intentions of giving up his radio show, his dominionist/theocratic beliefsÂ or his political involvement. Spongebob Squarepants to minorities, GLBT, and Girl Scouts will remain on his hate list. Focus on the Family and it’s spinoff groups have taken economic hits and ire of researchers who have been used, abused and misquoted to further his opinions.
Dan Gilgoff, author of The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America are Winning the Culture War says most supporters don’t separate the organization from the man and Focus may not survive the slow transition to post-Dobson. The average listener of the radio show (which has not found a replacement) is 38, the average supporter in their 50′s, and his audience has remained flat since 2000. The main organization laid off over 200 employees recently. Page 66:
While the daily Focus on the Family radio program continues to be Dobson’s and Focus’s main pipeline to the evangelical masses, Dobson’s listener numbers have remained flat since around 2000. As of late 2005, the age of the typical listeners had risen to 38, and the average age of constituents on Focus’s mailing list was 52. For an organization whose primary mission is helping parents raise their children, the number are unsettling. “The people that have connected with [Dobson], they’ve aged right along with him,” said Focus President Jim Daly. “We’ve got to reach a very different 20-something parent, and to the degree we need to communicate with them differently, that will be the stretch for us.”
Dobson was not the sole founder of Focus on the Family, a co-founder was forced out some time ago.
But Dobson, now 72, did hold the reins of leadership too long. His authoritarian management style and his personal animus against women and ethnic minorities drove away at least one organization co-founder, Gil Alexander Moegerle, and ensured that the organization would drift from its original pro-family mission into political trench warfare for the preservation of white male evangelical privilege in a nation of numerous and increasing faiths, denominations, and cultures.
He has filled his organizations with hand pickedÂ partisan management who will continue his obsessive, authoritarian policies. Gil Alexander Moegerle has said: â€œI believe Dobson-style politics have been inept, simplistic, exclusionary, divisive and alarmingly sectarianâ€¦James Dobsonâ€™s political style has been one of relentlessly demonizing his adversaries.â€Â
Shirley Dobson is also finallyÂ stepping down from the Focus board. There is no word if she’ll keep up her political organizing.Â AP reportsÂ the new board chairman is retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Patrick P. Caruana, a longtime board member and a former executive with defense contractor Northrup Grumman.