Dobson on Haggard’s Restoration

Transcript of James Dobson interview on Larry King, 22 November 2006:

KING: Have you spoken to him?

DOBSON: I have talked to him. I was asked to serve on a three person restoration panel and I originally wanted to be of help and said that I would, but I just don’t have the time to do that. And I called my board of directors, we talked about it at length and they were unanimous in asking me not to do that, because this could take four or five years and I just have too many other things going on. KING: How’s he doing?DOBSON: I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him since it happened.KING: Oh you haven’t?

DOBSON: I talked to him the day that the news broke and I have not talked to him since then.

KING: Was he sad that day?

DOBSON: Oh, of course. I mean you can imagine he was shocked, he was numb, he even lied about it. There’s a video of him saying that none of these things are true, but they were true or a least some of them were

KING: When you say, Doctor, when you say “restoration” you mean restore him from being gay to not gayy or what do you mean?

DOBSON: Yeah, probably that, too.

Irritant the First:

“Either gay or not gay…” is about the same as “choice” when it comes to sexual orientation.  I do not believe that people were born gay, but I do believe that much of the damage that occurs to gay men or women occurs extremely early in childhood, and that nobody at that age has either the intellectual capacity or the self-awareness to make their sexual preferences a “choice.”  However, I do believe — STRONGLY — that once a gay man or woman understands that Jesus does care who they love, and cares very deeply that they become whole, they are given the information that allows them to make a choice.  I don’t know whether people are born with a genetic predisposition to being gay, but I do know that they were born with the same power to make a choice in life.  

I swear, and I add myself to this number, that if you ask just about any healthy, honest gay man who his “Prince Charming” is, he’ll tell you an image that is an idealized image of who he feels he his not.  His completed masculinity.  The man he wants to be.  Now whether or not he is self-aware enough and honest enough with that brokenness and whether or not he can identify with that unmet longing, that remains to be seen.  I do think that God is profoundly interested in bringing that man to a place of honesty and humility to realize that while he had no realistic choice of whether or not he had to deal with a different sexual orientation, he does have the choice whether or not to leave that sexual orientation for what he has never known before, questing for a chance to be the man he has always desired but never captured.  That all of this can happen in “five years or so” and that after the five years it’s “either/or” gay or straight makes me wonder just how much of an expert Dobson claims to be.   (But then again, my deep distrust of Dobson has never been a real secret.)

Irritant the Second:


This could have been the opportunity of a lifetime.  What Haggard undid with his pride and failure to confess, Dobson could have stood a reasonably successful chance to restore.  With all the laughter at the hypocrisy and strangeness that encircles the ex-gay ministries, this time he could have shown the world what real, God-breathed recovery and restoration looks like.  For him to claim that he doesn’t have the time, especially as part of a three-person team, speaks more strongly to the political aspirations of Mr. Dobson and his determination to eliminate the chance of gay marriage once and for all, rather than to point people in the most effective way possible to the love, power, grace, mercy and restoration of Jesus Christ.

I still haven’t codified a lot of what I’m feeling about the Haggard situation, but the anger I feel towards Dobson these days is much easier to express.


I recently came across additional relevant portions of the interview.  In fairness, a more full transcript:

KING: And is success the fact that he is no longer gay? Would that be your definition of success?

DOBSON: That would be part of it. It’s a spiritual restoration, too. It’s a personal and marital restoration. It involves every aspect of life.

KING: We discussed this before in the past, but not recently: Do you still believe that being gay is a choice rather than a given?

DOBSON: I never did believe that.

KING: Oh, you don’t believe it.

DOBSON: I don’t believe that. Neither do I believe it’s genetic. I said that…

KING: Then what is it?

DOBSON: I said that on your program one time and both of us got a lot of mail for it. I don’t blame homosexuals for being angry when people say they’ve made a choice to be gay because they don’t.

It usually comes out of very, very early childhood, and this is very controversial, but this is what I believe and many other people believe, that is has to do with an identity crisis that occurs to early to remember it, where a boy is born with an attachment to his mother and she is everything to him for about 18 months, and between 18 months and five years, he needs to detach from her and to reattach to his father.

It’s a very important developmental task and if his dad is gone or abusive or disinterested or maybe there’s just not a good fit there. What’s he going to do? He remains bonded to his mother and…

KING: Is that clinically true or is that theory?

DOBSON: No, it’s clinically true, but it’s controversial. What homosexual activists, especially, would like everybody to believe is that it is genetic, that they don’t have any choice. If it were genetic, Larry — and before we went on this show, you and I were talking about twin studies — if it were genetic, identical twins would all have it. Identical twins, if you have a homosexuality in one twin, it would be there in the other.

If anything, this makes me angrier. He had a chance to tell his people…and the rest of us…that it is possible with God’s help to make a full recovery from homosexual orientation. He could have had a positive effect on the whole ex-gay ministry. He has time for Larry King, but not for Haggard. What a waste. What a miserable waste.

~ by WriterRand on November 24, 2006.

One Response to “Dobson on Haggard’s Restoration”

  1. Lovingly caring for someone who has fallen is emotionally expensive and time consuming, but well worth it!

    I have had to encourage some of my wandering friends for years before God changed their hearts, but the joy of the transformation was immense!

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