Restoration of the American Family: The Road Ahead (Transcript)

Dr. Dobson: Hello everyone. You're listening to Family Talk, a radio broadcasting ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Dr. James Dobson and thank you for joining us for this program.

Roger Marsh: Welcome everyone to this edition of Family Talk, I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks so much for tuning in today across our growing radio network. The Lord has truly blessed us over the past few years and now we have over 1300 outlets and partners. We've also expanded into 130 new cities including Houston, San Francisco, Denver and Washington DC. Find out where Family Talk airs near you by using our station finder feature when you go to, and of course you can always listen to us online through our app and on Amazon Alexa. All of us here at the Dobson Family Institute are grateful for your support and for your continued prayers. With that, let's get to today's program. Last fall, Dr Dobson was interviewed by Dr Mike Chupp from Christian Medical & Dental Association. They discussed Dr Dobson's legacy and career and his concerns for our cultural slide away from God. Now this is a meaningful conversation that we really want you to hear. So let's listen now as Dr Mike Chupp introduces Dr. James Dobson.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Well, our motto at CMDA for many years has been "changing hearts in healthcare" and today it's my immense privilege to welcome to the program, a leader and a voice that's currently being heard on over 1300 radio outlets daily. And at one point in time, his ministry was being heard by 220 million people every day. I was one of those people, he possibly more than anyone else I've known in my lifetime, has been changing hearts and the family. And so I welcome today to the program, Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of the James Dobson Family Institute. Welcome Dr Dobson.

Dr. Dobson: Dr Chupp, it is a real honor for me to talk to you all. I have such great respect for CMDA and the work that you do. I really appreciated Dr. Stevens and his era. I understand that he's on sabbatical now.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Yes he is.

Dr. Dobson: Will you give him my regards and it's a pleasure to get better acquainted with you.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Thank you. Your influence today in the public square continues. Can you just talk to us about what your passion is these days in the public square?

Dr. Dobson: It has been my pleasure to serve, actually four presidents, the fifth one put me on an assignment and I received a commendation from Jimmy Carter, but the other four have been in office when I had the opportunity to advise them on the family. The first one was Ronald Reagan back in 1984, sitting at the table with nothing between us but jelly beans and the president asked me the first question and I loved it. The question is, "what can I do to help preserve the family?" And I gave him four answers to that of what he could do and he made executive decisions creating all four of those requests. I got back from that meeting and the white house called and asked to have what I said in writing and from that came changes in the law.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Wow. Amen. And praise God. Even with all of that, Dr Dobson, in the nineties you had looked ahead and you were concerned about what was going to happen to the family in America in terms of the way our public policy was going and where we might be headed. So what is your analysis today of where we are and what are the issues? What are the moral issues that are hanging in the balance in the US culture today?

Dr. Dobson: Well, I have written out the top 10 and I can just enumerate them for you. They're not in order of importance, these are the 10 that I'm most concerned about and you would not be surprised by any of them. The sanctity of human life, traditional biblical marriage, parental rights, which are under assault. People don't realize how much parental guidance is now being influenced by the government, by the far left. Righteousness in the culture is number four, the right, for example, to evangelize according to Jesus' great commission to us all. Number five, religious Liberty in all of its contexts. Number six the assault on children that's starting in kindergarten now, that really breaks my heart, we could talk about that. Number seven is the makeup of the Supreme court and the judiciary, because the courts increasingly are making decisions that affect the family. All of these are family related, I get frustrated when people talk about our being involved in politics. It's not politics I care about, it's the influence of government on family life.

Number eight is school choice. Number nine is the entire LGBTQ agenda, and that one I'm most concerned about. I'd probably put that number one because of the influence on children. And 10 fetal tissue research and other aspects of medical ethics. Now, I don't know if I sat and thought about it, I might have 20 more, but that's a place to start anyway.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Well, I've been reading a number of books recently with various authors, Christian authors, who are trying to be hopeful and to spur the church and followers of Christ in America today on toward prayer and restoration. What do you think is key for American restoration to return to any semblance of respect for biblical values?

Dr. Dobson: I would probably put the word courage at the top of the list. We have to have the courage to be vilified, called names, being treated disrespectfully and that's what is necessary if we're going to be able to overcome the power and influence of the media and political correctness. If you go with the flow there, they will pull us right out of the issues that we care about most and then primarily, almost essentially the biblical understandings of what God wants us to do. The culture has just drifted farther than anyone would have expected, in your field and mine too just think of how it has changed. Who would have believed even 15 years ago that parents would not be able to seek mental health guidance and correction and direction for their say teenagers or even younger who have sexually identity problems? They're telling us that I can't go to a licensed counselor and have them help me with that, the government now makes that illegal and that I could lose my license if I practice in that way.

There's so many of those kinds of things. I made reference to this earlier, I just cannot imagine how in California and Massachusetts and now Colorado to a degree, they began telling children as young as five that you as a little boy or a little girl don't have to be what you think you were born to be. That this can be changed, it's your choice, you're not really a boy or a girl, but that's the way the culture has taught you. And therefore if you don't like it, you can change and then go into the medical and hormonal changes that can be made for, and even surgery to become something else. And if your parents don't like it, that's too bad. You're not able to opt out of that kind of training here in Colorado, for example. That not only frustrates me, it makes me angry because children are so easily influenced, you can tell a five year old that Santa Claus can go down every chimney in the entire world in a single night and he'll believe it. So whatever is told by people in authority, they tend to believe.

You can manipulate those children to be anything you want them to be, which reminds me of Adolf Hitler in 1939 where he said, the adults who are out there don't really matter, we have their children, that's all it matters. And they did, they have the children, and I'll tell you, many of the public schools have our children already and they're taking them in godless directions. Where little kids can make decisions that will affect them physically 20, 30 and 40 years later if they are given access to some of the medical procedures that are now available. So I'm just very concerned about where the culture is going and the institution of the family is in the bullseye, they're going to take it down if they can.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Well, Dr Dobson, we certainly at CMDA very much agree with you. And in some respects, our members, especially our pediatricians or pediatric endocrinologists, many of our surgical specialists are in the crosshairs these days. We're pleased that just a couple of weeks ago that we did get a favorable ruling in a court in Texas that put a permanent injunction against what we called the transgender mandate back in the summer of 2016. Which was going to force doctors of faith and Christians in healthcare to have to provide a service if requested. I want to go back to your comment about courage because I guess in my lifetime I think the antithesis of courage would be abdication. And there has been a tendency for Christians in our culture over the last 30, 40 years, in spite of hearing your challenges to us on biblical values for the family, to when things got hot would be to abdicate and leave and move on somewhere else.

Dr. Mike Chupp: And what I'm seeing today in healthcare, Dr Dobson, is that something very similar in that the heat is being turned up in certain specialties. And I have heard from very strong followers of Christ, Christians in health care whose children are interested in medicine, who've told them, you can't go into OB GYN because it's too hot. There's too much antagonism, there'll be too much suffering. So what words of challenge would you have for our members in terms of battling for biblical values?

Dr. Dobson: Well, I don't want to wander into the political arena where people would be made uncomfortable, but we just have to fight that like crazy. I mean, how dare anyone tell me how I can serve my Lord and when it comes to those issues, if they don't like it, that's really too bad. Back in the 1980s I had a vice president on my staff who came to me and he said, "I have to give you some advice." I said, "Okay." He said, "If you continue to talk about abortion and homosexuality and these controversial things, people are not going to support you, this ministry called Focus on the Family will not survive." And I said to him on that day, I remember it as though it was yesterday. I said, "Let me remind you of something, I don't own this place, I don't own Focus on the Family, it is here because God put it here and He provides for it as long as I assume He wants it here.

"And if we ever get to the point that He doesn't want it to happen and continue, we'll go do something else, and if people don't want to support it, I assume that's because God is not talking to His people about it." So we pressed ahead and the ministry went through the roof and it's been that way. And then now it's that way here at James Dobson Family Institute, I am not under that kind of pressure because the world has changed and Christian people now know that they're under assault. So, they're not trying to get me to back off, if anything they're saying, "do it. You're representing what we believe," and so we're pleased to do so.

Dr. Mike Chupp: I just heard the other day, Dr Dobson, a quote that I'm going to remember for a while was, "Hey, you may not be interested in politics, but politics is sure interested in you." And that we can't get away from the fact that our lives are being impacted by what our government decides to do. And I would say for most healthcare professionals if they were like me, especially when I was clinically very busy surgeon keeping my head down and taking care of patients and I have had some queries from some of our members say, "Mike, why all of this talk about public policy? We need to be talking about more about evangelism and discipleship." And while I absolutely concur, I want to challenge any of my colleagues and friends in healthcare to ramp up evangelism and discipleship efforts of staff and patients and family. I guess I feel that it is time that we have to step up to the plate and be courageous and defend truth and respect for our patients and their dignity, but at the same time defending truth.

When you talked about standing up for life, I was reminded of someone, I'm sure we both have the greatest respect for: Billy Graham did the same thing in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. When he was told the Billy Graham evangelistic association is going to go down the tubes if you do not allow segregation in a place in the South where he was having a crusade and he, like you, refused to back down. And of course we know the history of that, that Billy Graham was blessed and was a fore runner, a leader in terms of bringing some racial reconciliation.

Dr. Dobson: I had such profound respect for him and I never had an opportunity to interview him. I regret that. But I knew him and was with him a number of times and spoke at his rallies and there will never be another man like him, I don't think.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Well, I do want to ask you one question. My own, maybe not my childhood or teenage time because you, I still remember the first VHS tape that my parents put in the tape player. And we watched a younger James Dobson giving a talk about parenting, I think at a conference in Southern California before you moved, and then later came along Adventures in Odyssey. Whose idea was that? Was that your idea? Was that somebody else?

Dr. Dobson: I'll tell you what, that was my idea. I was advised not to do it because people who know Christian Radio said there's no place for drama in children's programming on Christian Radio, and man that was not good advice. So, I had the idea, but I can't take the credit for the production of it because that was done by professionals that had skill I didn't have, and Hollywood actors and most of them are Christian. It had a great foundation and when I meet people on the street today, especially millennials and people who are younger, that's what they remember about me.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Oh, so 30 years ago, as you look someday that maybe Danae or Ryan would have children and you'd be a grandfather. Have there been any surprises once you put those shoes on, of a grandfather, now that you're there?

Dr. Dobson: Well, it's a lot more fun to raise grandkids, somebody said it's because you can send them home after they've been to see you. But I love my grandkids and it is different because you don't bear the final responsibility. And so, what you do primarily is you care for them and love them, and there's a little discipline involved, but that's up to the parents.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Dr Dobson, I would just really cherish you answering this question. How over all the years were you able to follow Solomon's admonition in Proverbs 4:23, "guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life."

Dr. Dobson: There is a scripture in 1 Chronicles 28:9 that I love and it's where David is now ill and as a matter of fact, he was dying and he knew it. And he called his advisers in and they were all standing around his bed and then he called for Solomon who was designated to be his successor as King over Israel. And he began talking to Solomon and you know when a man is dying and he's talking to his son or daughter, he doesn't mince words, he doesn't make it up as he goes along. He had been thinking about what he wanted to say to Solomon, obviously, and now I want to tell you what he said exactly from that reference. "As for you, my son Solomon, get to know the God of your father and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts." Here's the quote, "If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever."

Now what powerful words for a parent, and particularly in this instance a father to say to his son, this is what I care about most. Don't forget this, this is what matters most, get to know the God of your father. And I've tried to do that. Shirley and I fasted, she more than me and we just every day would come back to Him and say, "Lord, we care about a lot of things, we care about health, we care about our ministry, we care about this and that, but above all else, we ask you to be there in that moment when our kids grow up and they're beyond our reach. Put somebody," I'm sorry I get emotional about it today.

Dr. Mike Chupp: It's okay.

Dr. Dobson: "Put someone in that point, when they can go either way, they can go toward righteousness or into wickedness and evil. Put somebody there to influence when our influence is no longer quite as relevant." And the Lord answered those prayers in both cases with our children and I'm grateful to Him for that more than any other blessing.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Thank you for those words, I really identify with them right now and I'm sure many of our listeners can identify that right now and we don't have any control whatsoever. And so thank you for that challenge for all of us as parents of young adults to pray and ask God to bring others into their lives and trust Him that His love for them is so much greater than anything we can muster for our own kids

Dr. Dobson: In ministry that the Lord has put me in, He picked me up and put me in the wake or the pathway of a culture that was growing increasingly dark, and it came right through me, the late 60s and the 70s when things became so evil. And God has blessed what I've done, but I don't think it had much to do with me. When my dad was coming down to the end of his life, he was a prayer warrior and he'd sometimes pray three or four hours a day. And he was praying about his own ministry and he was saying, "Lord, give me a few more years to win people for Christ." He was a minister and he prayed three days and three nights, and I learned seven years later when he told my aunt something that he never had a chance to tell me.

About dawn that morning, the Lord spoke to him, and he said, "The Lord told me that he is going to hear," speaking to my daddy, "you're going to hear his prayer, but it's not going to be through you, it's going to be through your son and he's going to reach millions of people around the world." My dad had a major heart attack the next day from which he never recovered. And that prayer has been on my shoulder, I have felt it in these 42 years that I've been trying to serve the Lord because it was God's answer to my father's prayer that has followed me, and I'm very grateful for it.

Dr. Mike Chupp: Well, Dr Dobson I don't know if the number of listeners over the years has passed a billion, but probably, and so we're all quite delighted that you left the university of Southern California School of Medicine and decided to follow another path and that has had an incredible impact. And I think in heaven someday you'll be able to have a better understanding. But I know that having heard from your heart over the years that you're going to be casting your crown down before the Father. And as you've already done, not taking the credit, but giving it to a loving father and hearing those seven words that we all long to hear, "well done, my good and faithful servant." Thank you Dr Dobson.

Dr. Dobson: Listen if I can be a doorkeeper that'll satisfy me, just let me in.

Dr. Mike Chupp: A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else. All right. Well, from the Christian Medical & Dental Associations and our members, we wish God's riches blessings upon your James Dobson Family Institute and may He keep you around. God bless you, Dr Dobson.

Dr. Dobson: Thank you, Dr Chupp and I appreciate the interview and all the work that you're doing.

Roger Marsh: An insightful conversation which honored our Dr. James Dobson and highlighted various social issues Christians should care about. On today's edition of Family Talk, you've been listening to Dr Dobson's recent appearance on the Christian Medical & Dental Associations podcast. Visit our broadcast page at for more information about CMDA and their extensive work. That's and then tap onto today's broadcast page. Now today's program focused on many of the concerns that threaten Christian America, to stay up to date on these many issues facing your family, sign up for Dr. Dobson's monthly newsletter. It's a great resource that we want you to have. So call our offices here in Colorado Springs and a member of our staff will be happy to help you out. Our number is (877) 732-6825 that's (877) 732-6825. You can also visit to download a PDF copy of any of our past publications as well. That's

Thanks for listening today, be sure to tune in again tomorrow to hear Dr Tim Clinton's intriguing interview with Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Jeremy Camp. They'll be discussing Jeremy's heartbreaking testimony that has been made into a feature film called, I Still Believe. That's all coming up on the next edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks for listening.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

Dr. Dobson: This is James Dobson again, as we close today's program, I just want to thank so many of you out there who make this broadcast possible with your contributions, and I want to tell you how much your generosity is appreciated.
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