dob 211x300 The Distortions of James DobsonBy Wayne Besen

Left, James Dobson

It is remarkable that Focus on the Family’ James Dobson would accuse anyone of “distortions” considering his ignoble record. But, that is exactly what the right wing ideologue did this week when he said on his daily radio show that democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama distorted the Bible.

“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology,” Dobson said.” “… He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.”

Why do people still listen to what this serial liar has to say? In the past two years, at least seven researchers have accused Dobson of manipulating or cherry picking their results to back his anti-gay teachings. Letters and videos documenting the concerns of these respected professors can be viewed at RespectMyResearch.org.

The first researcher to step forward was New York University educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, PhD. On Sept. 14, 2006 Gilligan wrote a letter to Dobson that stated: “I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine…What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work.”

The most recent scientist to claim Double-Talk Dobson distorted his work was University of Minnesota’ Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H. In a letter to Dobson, dated April 28, 2008, he wrote, “I want to draw your attention to a gross misrepresentation of our research at the website of “Focus on the Family.’”

Other leading researchers who have taken issue with Dobson’ use of their work include: Dr. Kyle Pruett, Professor of child psychiatry, the Yale University School of Medicine; Dr. Robert Spitzer, Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University; Angela Phillips, Professor, Goldsmiths College in London; Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Associate Professor, school of nursing, University of British Columbia; and Dr. Judith Stacy, Professor of Sociology, New York University.

Never before has such an array of venerated professors courageously stood up and turned the ivory tower into a watchtower to protect scientific integrity. What each doctor has in common is that he or she was shocked and outraged when informed how his or her work was used and abused.

While the sheer number of professors who have already stepped forward is unprecedented, it is clearly the tip of the iceberg. James Dobson’ bastardization of the truth is so immense and complete that one would have to build and staff a laboratory and a library to fully investigate and document his legion of lies.

Yet, the wonderful “liberal media” continues to treat this man as if he is a God-fearing grandfather. What disturbs me, is that the one time Dobson was truly exposed as a kook was when he suggested Sponge Bob Square Pants might be gay. This was worthy of laughs, but when some of the brightest minds in the world take Dobson to task for manipulating years of hard work, the media is largely MIA. Isn’t it time the media paint a full and accurate portrait of a man who has had the ear of many presidents?

The reason Dobson is so facile with the facts and believes he can pick and choose who is a “real Christian” is because he has a God complex. The Associated Press’ Eric Gorski reports that, “A McCain campaign staffer offered Dobson a meeting with McCain recently in Denver. Dobson declined because he prefers that candidates visit the Focus on the Family campus to learn more about the organization.”

Can you believe this egomaniac? He tells John McCain, a possible leader of the free world, that he must take a detour from the campaign trail to Colorado Springs to bow at the feet of King James. What next, McCain has to agree to roll a red carpet and feed Dobson fresh grapes?

What is clear, is that the Democrat’ strategy of more God talk, following John Kerry’ defeat in 2004, is unnerving religious conservatives. Obama can speak the language of Scripture and is comfortable in the walls of a church. His genuine connection to people of faith will likely peel away a portion of churchgoers who are disillusioned by the broken promises and endemic corruption of the Republican party. Dobson’ latest tantrum highlights his fear that the religious right is losing its grip as the face of faith in America.

Dobson is not an ordained minister, nor is he a religious scholar. His is just a loud mouth, self-righteous manipulator who screams and hollers. Until King James can explain why the world’ top professors keep giving him F’ in religion, ethics and science, the media should stop quoting him. While, I appreciate the need for balance, accuracy is the higher journalistic value — even when it comes to the charlatan of family values.