Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dobson "Speaks From Heart" At Values Voter Summit

The capstone of the Value Voters Summit held this weekend at the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel was a black-tie gala honoring Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. More than 1000 people attended the dinner, most of them were among the 2300 who were at the weekend-long Summit, which featured presentations from all of the Republican presidential candidates.

Prison Fellowship's Charles Colson began the evening by outlining what values voters should be looking for in a president -- adding that he knew no one who possessed these qualities so much as Dobson himself, a comment prompting cheers from the audience.

After a concert by country artist Lee Greenwood (he ended with his anthem "God Bless The U.S.A.") former Attorney General Edwin Meese honored Dobson for his work in the public policy area. Meese acknowledged that Dobson "sometimes comes under attack, but Jim has faced these attacks with courage and fortitude, and has persevered with dignity and great determination."

The current president of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, came next. He called Dobson "tender-hearted, compassionate" and "full of integrity." Elsa Prince, an FRC and Focus on the Family board member (and mother of Blackwater founder Erik Prince), called Dobson "warm" and "sincere" and recounted anecdotes of traveling around the world with the Dobsons, visiting Focus on the Family's international operations. He also called Dobson a man of prayer, both "human and humorous," who can't be interrupted when his beloved University of Southern California sports teams are on the televison.

Danae Dobson said the question she has been asked the most frequently is "What is it like to be the daughter of Dr. James Dobson?" She said it has been "wonderful." She said one of the qualities she admires most is that "he practices what he preaches."

When Shirley Dobson took the podium, she said, "Jim, are you sure you want me to be up here to tell the real truth about you?" The crowd responded with laughter and applause. Shirley Dobson said that even from their undergraduate college days, her husband was confident and determined. She closed her speech by looking directly at her husband of 47 years and saying, "Jim Dobson, I honor you not only as my husband, but as one of the finest men of our time."

A video tribute featured Jerry Regier, Gary Bauer, Joni Eareckson Tada, Donald Wildmon, Don Hodel, and Ryan Dobson.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, served as master of ceremonies of the event. After the video presentation, he took the stage to present the FRC's first Vision and Leadership Award to Dobson.

After accepting the award, Dobson honored those who honored him. It was 10:15 pm when Dobson took the stage. He apologized for the lateness of the hour, but he had something he wanted to say. First, he said the media had, for months, been saying that the pro-family movement was dying. Dobson turned to the press gallery and said, "To the media who are here: Welcome to the morgue." The remark got a standing ovation.

Then Dobson got serious. "There is an ominous feeling in the air," he said. "There is a possibility that the far, far left is going to capture the 'triple crown' in the fall of '08: the White House, the House, and the Senate. If that happens, the direction of the Supreme Court will change, and if that happens, that will change the direction of this country for the next 30 years." He added, though, that profamily forces wouldn't "let that happen."

Dobson said that we "can't set aside our morals and our principles" to support a presidential candidate who may be electable but who won't advance pro-family causes. "The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil," Dobson said. He said, "We cannot be so terrified of losing that we forget who we are and what we came here to do."

He then turned his remarks toward the institution of marriage. He called for passage of a marriage protection amendment, saying that without it marriage would be thrown "on the ash heap of history."

The crowd grew quiet when Dobson explained what happened at a meeting of conservative activists in Salt Lake City in early October. He said that the group "did not" vote to form a third party. But he also said he was "frustrated with the Republican Party. The Republican Party had the Triple Crown -- the White House, the Senate, and the House -- for six years, and they did absolutely nothing."

He closed by saying there were many causes for optimism. "We are winning the hearts and minds of the people," Dobson said. He cited polls saying Americans overwhelmingly believe abortion is wrong. So, he concluded, conservatives should "stay the course. The Democrats are not a shoo-in, no matter what you are hearing in the media."


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