Dr. James Dobson Talks with Sean & Alan
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Jan. 21, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight: President Bush began his second term today with a prayer service at the National Cathedral (search) in Washington. Vice President and Mrs. Cheney were in attendance and the service was led by the Reverend Billy Graham (search ).
Also in attendance, our next guest, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family , Dr. James Dobson, also author of "The New Strong-Willed Child."
Dr. Dobson, I saw you last night at the Texas-Wyoming Ball. You were standing. There were throngs of people. We couldn't really chat because it was so loud in there. But it was good to see you there last night.
DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOUNDER/CHAIRMAN, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Alan, there were a million people trying to get to you. And I don't know really how I got up that close, but anyway, thanks for saying hello.
COLMES: What do you think about the president's address last -- yesterday, the inauguration?
DOBSON: I thought -- I thought it was outstanding. Not just his address but everything that was done. I thought the music was fantastic. And I was just sitting out there with my wife, Shirley, and friends just thankful that we live in a country like this, where you can talk about freedom and talk about God and talk about many of the other themes of the day. I thought it was a great day.
COLMES: Well, you know, we may have some disagreements. I think the theme of the speech is something we can agree with. The question is how he would implement some of the things we talked about.
He was very big and was short on specifics, and he talked about basically wanted to change the world and change every tyranny that exists, at what cost? How do we do it? Is it done militarily? How do we -- how does he do it between now and the time he's no longer president?
DOBSON: Well, this is my fifth inauguration, Alan, and I've never heard a president give the details of what he planned to do yet. I mean, what can you do in 20 minutes?
But I thought he laid out a broad agenda that's based on civil rights. I would have expected people like you, Alan, even coming from that liberal perspective, I would have thought -- I would have thought you would have applauded him...
COLMES: I applauded some of the things he said.
Let me move on here just briefly, because you have made some news in the last couple of days. And you came out and you made some statements about a video. You called it a pro-homosexual video featuring SpongeBob (search), put out by the guy who did -- with the song "We Are Family." He's got the We Are Family Foundation (search ).
I want to show you just a little piece of this video and then ask you about it. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): We are family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): We are family
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): My brothers and my sisters with me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): We are family get up everybody and sing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Clap your hands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Living life is fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: what's so pro-homosexual about that? Do you stand by your comments on that?
DOBSON: Well, it's -- it's an example of media spin, Alan. I mean, it's just incredible the way the media gets hold of a story like this and distorts it so that it's not even recognizable.
But this -- this really was an effort to explain what was going on here. There is an organization that has produced this video that includes about 100 of the best-loved children's characters.
My comments were not about SpongeBob at all, regardless of what you've heard from James Carville (search) and Keith Olbermann (search ) and everybody else. It was not about SpongeBob. It was about the purpose, the agenda of this video.
They're making it. It's going to be distributed to 61,000 elementary schools, along with a teacher's guide that talks the teachers through homosexual changes of attitude. And if you get the materials from the Web site and you see what it is they're trying to do, at the very least, Alan, parents ought to know about it. They ought to be told about it.
I was speaking to parents and grandparents and, yes, I stand by what I said. It's very important that they understand this.
HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, what a shock: the liberal media totally got a story wrong. You know, it like happens to me now every day. But I'm -- I'm not paying attention to it.
DOBSON: Why does it -- why does it usually happen to conservatives?
HANNITY: Usually? It always happens to conservatives, it seems.
Good to see you. How come I didn't see you last night? Alan is telling me, yes, Dr. Dobson was there. I'm like, "Where?" I didn't see you.
DOBSON: Well, I sent the message through Alan. He's the only one I could get to, and he didn't bother to tell you I was right there.
HANNITY: I didn't hear about it until tonight. Why didn't you give me the message?
COLMES: This is conservative media spin. This is the conservative spin.
HANNITY: You didn't tell me until tonight.
DOBSON: It was a very exciting night.
COLMES: Because I had to go through so many people to get to Hannity to speak to him.
HANNITY: That's absolutely true. I've got to protect myself.
Anyway, good to see you, Dr. Dobson.
DOBSON: Thank you, Sean.
HANNITY: You know, I watched the criticism, and it seems that the president is criticized on two levels on the speech. No. 1 it's too ambitious, but yet he's really standing on the shoulders of Ronald Reagan (search ) and that great tradition of talking about the need and the necessity for liberty and freedom around the world and how it is tied to our own security, especially in a 9/11 -- post-9/11 world.
But the other part is his faith is out there, and people don't like it.
DOBSON: Yes, that is the problem. I believe that's why a lot of people hate George W. Bush (search ), because he is open about what he believes. He's not embarrassed about that, and I thank God that he's able to make a statement like that.
As for a vision, why in the world are we criticizing that? I mean, his father was criticized for not understanding what he called this vision thing. Well, he, George W. Bush, has a vision and he articulates it well. He did yesterday. And I am grateful for him.
HANNITY: Yes, but you know, he even mentioned it specific times. I mean, if you look at the addresses of Lincoln and of Reagan in particular and every president, just about, in between, they mention it. Why is there such specific criticism towards this president? Why at this time, in this case?
DOBSON: Well, the people who criticize him for talking about God are on the wrong side of history. I mean, you just go back through the years, all the way to our Founding Fathers.
I just saw an inaugural address given by Harry Truman (search ), and when he had finished the oath of office he -- he bent down and kissed the Bible. I mean, this has been going on from the beginning. Now all of a sudden, the ACLU...
HANNITY: I was going to say, can you imagine -- Dr. Dobson, imagine the ACLU, if George Bush kissed the Bible, what would happen?
DOBSON: They'd go crazy. They'd be in court. That's what they would be.
HANNITY: Alan would be talking about it right now. He'd be questioning you on it.
COLMES: Again, conservative spin once again.
HANNITY: But I mean, but that's the point. And that's why -- going back to that question, why now? Why this president? Is it only because he's a Republican and a conservative?
DOBSON: Well, I think there has been a concerted effort in the last 20 years to stifle those who have a faith, regardless of what it is. If you have the temerity to express it openly you're going to be under attack.
And at the top of the list of those who have attacked religious freedom, it is the Supreme Court that started 43 years ago, in 1962 by striking down Bible reading, prayer, and all of that.
And from that time on...
DOBSON: ... right up through the Pledge of Allegiance (search ) and, you know, "under God" and those things.
HANNITY: A lot of people forget this. Up until '60 and '61, '62 decisions they -- those two -- they had prayer in public school. They had Bible reading at public schools. And we were going to have a theocracy then. We survived as a nation at that point.
DOBSON: Well, and it -- it was the Supreme Court that did this. This is why we feel, and I really would like to put this in neon.
COLMES: We'll get right to...
DOBSON: But I know you have to go to a break. Yes.
COLMES: We'll pick it up. We'll continue with Dr. Dobson after the break.
DOBSON: All right.
HANNITY: We continue with the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, our good friend Dr. James Dobson.
Dr. Dobson, I read this silly thing that Alan brought up about SpongeBob SquarePants, and I just instinctively knew that the story wasn't being told right. And I just explained that to you off the air.
And I get -- but when you're in the midst -- and I've had things written about me that are false, and I actually am good at compartmentalizing and just ignoring it.
But you know your supporters and your friends give you beyond the benefit of the doubt, because we've had years of watching you. We know your character and integrity, but it still kind of bothers you a little bit?
DOBSON: Well, I'd just like to straighten out the facts. Because it's -- there's such a distortion out there. I'd just like to say to your viewers, those of you who know me, who have read my books, who have heard me through the years -- I've been at this for 35 years, is this in character for me to get all excited and attack a cartoon character? That is absolutely ridiculous.
Let me tell -- let me just tell you. If I can take one second.
DOBSON: I have here a page from the Web site of the organization We Are Family that produced this video that's going to be sent to 61,000 schools, and the purpose is to drive them toward a pledge of tolerance.
Now I want to read you two lines from that. I know you don't like people to read. But here's -- children, now, elementary schoolchildren going to be asked to sign this: "I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, and sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."
Well, if there's going to be a campaign like this to change the attitudes of kids and get them to pledge something, parents ought to know about it. That's why I said something.
HANNITY: But that's why I would expect nothing else from you about that. I mean, these are the positions and the convictions you've had. But clearly it got distorted.
I mean, it's pretty obvious to me, and I've experienced a little bit of this on a smaller level, is what they try and do is marginalize conservatives, try and create this impression that it's a really extreme idea.
HANNITY: Because they want to minimize your effectiveness. And over the years you have been the effective No. 1 advocate for family values and family issues.
I mean, you literally see people that take great pride if conservatives have a fall from grace in some capacity or a moral failing that can be ridiculed. But of course, if you don't have standards, you can't fall from those standards, right?
DOBSON: That's really true. I would, just again, like your listeners when they hear this distortion, having now heard the truth, to either call or contact them.
Matt Lauer (search ) really beat me up yesterday and Olbermann, it was just over the top. I wish people would say, "Wait a minute. That's not fair. That's not right."
COLMES: Dr. Dobson, you certainly have no problem, though, with tolerance and diversity and teaching that as an ideal. Isn't that teaching morals and values, to have tolerance and have -- for people, regardless of...?
DOBSON: Sean, let's use...
COLMES: This is Alan, by the way. That's the other guy.
DOBSON: Oh, it's Alan. OK. I -- I would like to put it in different terms.
Of course, I support respect for every human being on the face of the earth. I mean, everyone: those that we disagree with, those that have ideas that are really considered ridiculous by us. They're still entitled to those ideas, and they're entitled to their dignity and respect.
But the word "tolerance" and "diversity," those words are buzzwords for an effort to change the way children think. And we're going to speak up when we see that take place, and this is an example of it.
COLMES: We might disagree about them being buzz words. But you know, it was interesting. You talk about conservatives being marginalized. And I feel as a liberal that there's an attempt on the part of conservatives to marginalize liberals.
We're going to talk about the protesters later and what went on. And they're called the loony left. And they're called people -- you used the phrase in the last segment "Bush hating."
We don't hate -- I don't hate President Bush. I happen to like him personally. I don't -- I disagree with his policies. We're not all Bush haters. We're not all lunatics.
DOBSON: Well, conservatives have no corner on kindness and respect for people. I mean, there are conservatives who do behave in ways that would embarrass us. And we do need to be kind to everybody.
And especially -- man -- especially, I've spent almost my adult life teaching children to be kind and respect -- respectful to each other, so that doesn't go two ways. I mean, it ought to go two ways. And it's not a one-way street. And I think your point is well taken.
COLMES: You also talk about the issue of feeling as if your religion is somehow being compromised. Is anybody really stopping you from practicing your faith, your belief in this country? Are Christians being stopped from going to church, from believing what they believe, from initiating prayer? The issue is when the government initiates it. But how are you being compromised religiously?
DOBSON: Well, you start to do it in the public square and see what Barry Lynn (search ) and the ACLU do. I mean, when you dare to enter the political arena, for example, people start screaming church and state.
Listen, I'm not a pastor. I'm not an evangelist. I'm not a minister, and Focus on Family is not a church. Why can't I not express my views about elected officials as long as I do it within the law?
DOBSON: There are people who don't think that I should have the right to do that.
HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, the only reason they want to go after you is because you are effective. Good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
DOBSON: Thank you, gentlemen. It's always good to be on.
HANNITY: We appreciate it.
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