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Dr. James Dobson Sets Record Straight

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight on day number 85 of the new administration, on the eve of Tax Day and the tea party protests, we bring you a special and important interview tonight. Now for the past few days there has been a story circulating around the Internet claiming that Dr. James Dobson has, quote, "admitted defeat in the culture wars."

And joining me live tonight in an exclusive interview to set the record straight is Dr. James Dobson.

Dr. Dobson, good to see you.

DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Good to see you, Sean. It's good to be back on your show.

Video: Watch part 1 of Sean's interview I Part 2

HANNITY: Well, we — first, before we set the table here, just to make sure everybody understands, you stepped aside in one capacity at Focus on the Family. So just to let everybody know what you were doing in that capacity.

DOBSON: Yes, that's actually what the media is trying to make something out of. I stepped down as chairman of the board. I've been chairman of the board for 32 years, and it was time to pass that along and let a younger generation take that over.

We've got a great board, and so I did that. It was the right time, it was a good thing to do, but I did not retire, and I did not leave Focus on the Family. I'm still heard on 1,500 radio stations across North America every day, about 220 million people a day in 150 countries.

I'm working as hard as I ever have.

HANNITY: Yes.

DOBSON: And that has not changed.

HANNITY: All right. Let's go to the quote that — it's clear to me as I read the different news articles and then I looked at the specific quote in question here there's a very different interpretation of what the real meaning is, but you were quoted as saying, "we are right now in the midst of the most discouraging period, " talking about the culture wars, in — of that long conflict.

"Humanly speaking, we can say that we have lost all of those battles." And then you go on to say "but God is in control, and we're not going to give up right now."

Explain specifically what you said, what you meant, and how it was interpreted.

DOBSON: Yes, the left-wing media is itching for members of the pro- family movement to put up a white flag and declare the culture war over and to just hand the country to them, and so they will take a statement like that, which was made to my staff, it was not — it wasn't a press release or anything like that, it was made to the staff in reference to the election.

And it is true that many of the battles that we have fought for many years were lost, at least the battles were lost, the war was not lost. And what the media, starting with the Telegraph, a British paper, had taken that and removed the last sentence that you read.

I mean they just flat out edited it, which said, and I think you can quote it better than I because you have it in front of you, but it said, "But we're not going to give up, we're not going to stop, we're going to continue to fight, right?"

And the staff cheered.

HANNITY: Well.

DOBSON: And that's what we're going to do. We're not going anywhere.

HANNITY: But you talk specifically or quoted as talking specifically about the battles in the '80s as it relates to conflicts in the culture, and then later on you did use the term that we are currently awash in evil, meaning the United States of America.

What specifically did you mean by that?

DOBSON: Well, again, you have to read the entire quote, but what I was saying was that in 1985 and 1986 I was a commissioner appointed by Ronald Reagan and the attorney general to be on the commission on pornography, the attorney general's commission on pornography.

And we had made a lot of progress in controlling that wretched, wretched stuff. People have no idea what pornography really means. It's — I won't even describe it now. But we were making progress.

Then we came to the Clinton administration, and he would not — the attorney general would not — you know, we had Reno — would not prosecute, and then the Internet came along, and we have lost it.

I mean we are awash in evil, and anyone who doesn't believe that ought to look at the Internet and just see it. You stumble across that horrible stuff. That's what I was referring to.

But it would not be accurate not to admit that, you know, we lost the White House and we lost the house and we lost the Senate, and we probably will lose the courts, and we lost almost every department of government.

HANNITY: Yes.

DOBSON: ... with this election, but the war is not over, pendulums swing, and we'll come back, we're going to hang in there, and — you know, it's not going to be a surrender.

HANNITY: You talk specifically about these were the cultural issues, and the definition of marriage, you talked about the unborn, and you said this is — and we are now right now in the midst of the most discouraging period of that long conflict.

Are you personally discouraged? Do you feel like the country is headed down a path that you maybe think that it can't come back from?

DOBSON: Well, I believe it will come back. You know, 58 million Americans did not vote for the Obama administration. Did not vote for him for president. 58 million. 66 million did. But there are an awful lot of people who don't agree with his policies and didn't want him to be president.

And they're watching. Those people are watching, and so are many others, and as you've said on your show, the disapproval level for President Obama has risen from 30 to 44. The approval level has dropped from 65 to 55. Those lines are coming together, and we will have our day.

I want to say to everybody out there who's concerned about the unborn child, about the meaning of marriage, about the conscience clause which they're just getting ready to jettison in the Congress, which would mean that physicians, psychiatrists, other people are not going to be able to follow the dictates of their heart.

Terrible things are going on right now, including using taxpayer money to support abortion around the world, and you all know — I'm sure you know better than I the other things that are happening, and this is a discouraging time.

But in tough times, good people hang in there, and wait for things to change, and we pray a lot.

HANNITY: When you say we lost these battles, you really feel that America lost battles on these moral fronts, on these moral issues? We lost, that the left won, and the conservatives lost, and you're not just talking, I assume by reading of your comments, my interpretation, you're not just talking about the election. You're talking about the hearts and minds of America has shifted? No?

DOBSON: No, I'm not sure that there's been that great a shift among the American people. Admittedly Obama won the election, and he has the right to set the policy, but in setting that policy, he has changed or destroyed many of the principles that we worked so hard for.

The Freedom of Choice Act is hanging out there some place. That would roll back every single piece of legislation ever passed in any of the states to limit abortion and maybe even partial birth abortion will come back.

Those things are very, very troubling. But we believe they're temporary, and whether they are or not, we as speaking of myself as a Christian, we're not called to be successful. We're called to be faithful, and that's what we plan to do.

HANNITY: All right. Now when we come back — Dr. Dobson stay right there. We're going to ask Dr. Dobson. Barack Obama says that America is not a Christian nation. We'll ask Dr. Dobson about that when we get back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And we continue now with Dr. James Dobson. He's the founder of Focus on the Family.

Dr. Dobson, the president said, as we all know, that America is not a Christian nation. Every other president had suggested we were. Our founders and framers suggested we were. What did you think when you heard that, and how would you answer him and tell him otherwise?

DOBSON: Well, Sean, it would — I would really like to hear the question asked and answered in a different way. Whether or not we're a Christian nation is not the issue. The issue is did we have Christian roots and has that influenced, the Judeo-Christian value system, influenced our law, our constitution, and our way of life.

And it has, and he implied that there was a kind of theological equivalence between Christianity and all the other religions of the world on that issue, and that's not true. The United States has been from the beginning greatly influenced and primarily influenced by the Judeo-Christian system of values. And that is still accurate.

HANNITY: The whole premise that we're endowed by our creator is predicated on Judeo-Christian ethics. Every single one of our founders and framers, they all knew that, and they wrote extensively about it including so-called deists like Jefferson and others.

They suggested it. Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, they all understood this. When he says this, though, does that scare you that he really doesn't understand, you know, the principles that every human soul is endowed by their creator and that living under freedom they will self-actualize and they will advance the human condition?

Does that bother you that he doesn't seem to get that?

DOBSON: It does bother me, and it also bothers me that he doesn't seem to understand those Judeo-Christian values and roots. You know we were talking before the break about the traditional family, for example.

I wish I — if you will permit me, 30 states have voted on whether to define marriage differently as being between a man and a woman exclusively or between two men and two women. 30 states have voted on that, including three states in the last election. Arizona, Florida, and California.

Every single one of those states has voted to put in the Constitution that marriage was exclusively between a man and a woman. That's a Judeo-Christian system of values. It influences who we are and how we think, and I'm not sure that the president understood that when he made that comment.

HANNITY: The Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Dobson, is warning law enforcement officials about the rise in right-wing extremist activity. Now some — for example, they would define it as people that maybe think we're not controlling our borders, people that have pro-life bumper stickers.

I'm not Ron Paul's biggest fan, but if you have a Ron Paul bumper sticker you might be viewed as a radical by the government, and I'm thinking, what do you think of that interpretation, especially coming from a guy that started his political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist who bombed the Pentagon and capital and sat in Reverend Wright's church for 20 years?

DOBSON: Isn't it interesting that the media has jumped all over this when there are many examples of it? There are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now. They're making a big deal out of something that hasn't happened and may not happen. They were also saying today that when the troops come back from Iraq or Afghanistan that they're going to be a big problem because they have military training.

Well, you know, the war didn't just start. It's been going on for eight years, and they're trying to create an issue out of what to this point is a non-issue, and I think for political purposes.

HANNITY: What did you think of Barack Obama's comments that America is arrogant, apologizing for America, and seemingly even apologizing for the Iraq war by saying well, we're not at war with Islam.

Well, no one ever said we were at war with Islam, but radical Islam. What does that mean to you if a president of the United States — it sounds to me like he shares Wright's views that America's chickens have come home to roost?

DOBSON: It almost sounds like Jeremiah Wright in that instance, and you know there's been an understanding by presidents down through history, from the very beginning, that that kind of criticism does not occur, does not go beyond the water's edge, and for him to be on foreign soil with people who have been very, very critical of this country and its president and its military and its people, for him to make that statement deeply offended me. And what bothers me more is there wasn't a greater outcry to it than I would have expected.

HANNITY: All right, Dr. Dobson, we really appreciate you being back on the program. Glad you're not in retirement by the way. And I...

DOBSON: I'm not retired.

HANNITY: I understand you're writing a new book.

DOBSON: I am, and I've been away from the office for four months on a sabbatical writing "Bringing Up Girls." I'm telling you, little girls are complicated creatures. And I'm really enjoying writing this book.

HANNITY: I've got one. I've got a 7-year-old, and it's a follow up, obviously, to "Bringing Up Boys," which was a mega bestseller so.

DOBSON: It is.

HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, good to see you. Thank you for being with us. Come on often. We appreciate it.

DOBSON: Thanks for having me back.

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