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Interview With Dr. James Dobson

Aired November 22, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, sexual immorality in the church. Dr. James Dobson's first face-to-face TV interview on the gay sex and drug allegations that brought down his close friend, Evangelical leader Ted Haggard.
Have they met since the scandal broke and what has Haggard told one of America's top Christian conservatives? And, what did the Haggard and Mark Foley scandals have to do with the Democrats taking Congress? That and much more with Dr. James Dobson next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. On this Thanksgiving eve, an appropriate guest, Dr. James Dobson, PhD, founder and president of Focus on the Family, a leading Christian conservative voice on social and political issues, syndicated radio commentator, best-selling author. Last year, a couple of years ago and it's always great to welcome -- used to be a regular on my radio show.

First, congratulations, you're a new grandparent.

DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: I am, at that, Larry. We have a lot of reasons to be thankful this year, particularly.

KING: And his name is Lincoln.

DOBSON: His name is Lincoln Cash Dobson, and he is brilliant. I mean, he's five-weeks-old, and I know that already. (Laughs)

KING: Is he going to be a country star?

We're going to discuss a lot of things tonight. First, some things in the news. What do you make of this whole O.J. Simpson thing, and then finally the cancellation?

DOBSON: Well, I'm glad that it was canceled, because what they were planning to do is obscene. That's pornography. That's voyeurism to have a man that most people in this country and around the world think murdered two people in cold blood and then to kind of taunt the readers with the idea that he may have done it. I just think that's done for money, it's crass and I'm glad that it's not going to occur.

KING: So you think it was a smart decision by Rupert Murdoch?

DOBSON: Well, I think it was a bad decision to even consider it, yeah. I mean, think of the family that's involved here, those that remain. That was just bad news.

KING: What do you make of Michael Richards, the "Seinfeld" star and that racist rant, I'm sure you've seen it at that comedy club?

DOBSON: We'll he obviously just lost it. You know, there is within all of us a war between good and evil, at least that's what we believe and that's what the Bible teaches. The apostle Paul said that "the good that I would do, I don't do and that that I want to do, I don't do." You know, we are struggling within ourselves.

KING: Daily?

DOBSON: Yeah. Someone said that "there are two German Shepherds in my chest," fighting and somebody asked, "which one wins and he says," "The one I feed." And that's really what it comes down to. There's this struggle, so when you get under the influence of alcohol or there is, you know, some stimulus to do things differently, that often comes out.

KING: So, let's say like -- by the way, you're a -- trained child development, right? People don't know that you're not a minister.

DOBSON: I am not a minister.

KING: You taught at the University of Southern California for 14 years.

DOBSON: In the medical school, yes.

KING: In the pediatric department.

DOBSON: That's correct.

KING: So, when we see something like a Mel Gibson, saying some things drunk. Will people say things drunk, do you think, they don't believe?

DOBSON: Well, people do that all the time. My father-in-law, before Shirley and I were met, would come home and just terrorize the family when he was drunk, but he was the nicest guy otherwise. Alcohol has that effect on many...

KING: So, was he the real person --which one?

DOBSON: I think they both are. I think they both are. You know...


You know, yeah, the notion that we've now seen from Mel Gibson, something that he isn't -- well obviously that's down there, but he's also a nice guy. I know him. And so it depends on what the stimulus is and that's really why we, pardon me, but it's why we need a savior because we can't protect ourselves from our own impulses.

KING: Do you change or are you -- would you call yourself very set in your ways?

DOBSON: I'm pretty set and the longer I live, the more set I am, I think.

KING: What's your reaction -- we'll have to discuss this a while -- on the fall of Ted Haggard? You've described him as a close friend, colleague of many years. We now know he's been openly been leading a double life.

DOBSON: He sure has. Larry, that's a very sad circumstance. I feel terrible for him. I feel bad, especially for his wife, Gail, she's a wonderful lady and their five children. We had no idea that this was the case. I've known him for many years and this was a very private kind of thing that -- that he -- you know, this double life that you call it. And it is now resulted in the loss of just about everything -- his dignity, his work, his influence. He was a powerful influence in the Christian community. So, we're all very, very sad about that.

KING: And like yourself in Colorado, right?

DOBSON: Yeah, he was in Colorado, the largest church in Colorado Springs, growing I think 14,000 members. It just is a tragedy of the first order.

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 gay or what do you mean?

DOBSON: Yeah, probably that, too. But in Galatians 6.1, there is a scripture that says when -- "Brothers when one of you falls into sin, those who are spiritual should work to restore him gently." That is the scripture behind the restoration process and that word, and three men, now will oversee discipline punishment -- if there is any, therapy, his behavior, his money, his future and will lead him if he is willing to cooperate, and apparently he is -- through a restoration process. We don't want to just kick him out, I mean, he's lost his church, obviously, but there's still concern for him as an individual.

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.

KING: Right.

DOBSON: So, it can't be simply genetic. I do believe that there are temperaments that individuals are born with that make them more vulnerable and maybe more likely to move in that direction, but it usually is related to a sexual identity crisis.

KING: My guest, Dr. James Dobson, always great to have him with us. By the way, his book came out last year, "Family Man: The Biography of Dr. James Dobson," still available anywhere books are sold.

When we come back, more on the Haggard case. Stick around.


TED HAGGARD, DISGRACED EVANGELICAL: We say, marriage is better than no marriage. We say moral purity is better than immorality. We say telling the truth is better than telling a lie. You know all the surveys say that evangelicals ave the best sex life of any other group.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Disgraced Evangelical Ted Haggard talking to HBO for a documentary, "Friends of God," set to air in January. Now listen to Haggard's words red by the Reverend Larry Stockstill as Haggard falls on his sword, telling the congregation he's guilty of betrayal and more.

HAGGARD: The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar.




GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the recently- released motion picture, "Jesus Camp," a documentary about children in the fundamentalist movement, Haggard is unequivocal:

HAGGARD: We don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity -- it's written in the Bible.

TUCHMAN: He then playfully chides the cameraman.

HAGGARD: I think I know what you did last night.


HAGGARD: If you send me $1,000, I won't tell your wife.


TUCHMAN: Funny then, not so funny now.


KING: He was awfully good at it, wasn't he?

DOBSON: He is very gifted, he is. And you know what? He believes what he said there.

KING: Well, how could a gay person preach against gays? How could you do that?

DOBSON: Well, a lot of people wonder that. He, obviously, was, again, at war with himself. He was involved in activities that I think horrified him. He said that he fought against it, but he also knew what he believed.

It was not hypocrisy. It was a struggle between behavior and the belief system.

KING: How long does counseling last in this kind of case?

DOBSON: It could be a long time. I would think that the restoration process here, if Reverend Haggard chooses to go through with it, would be three to five years.

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.

I mean, Ted himself wrote, in his letter to his church the day this was disclosed, "I am a liar and I'm a deceiver," and that has to be dealt with.

KING: Does his wife stick it out?

DOBSON: She says she will and, knowing her, she probably will. She is a very, very good lady and she's very committed to her husband.

I just cannot imagine what she is going through right now.

KING: In that regard, do you also praise Hillary Clinton for sticking with Bill, a betrayal of a different sort?

DOBSON: Yes, there was not a commitment to change that Ted Haggard has apparently entered into and, also, Bill Clinton did not have, to my knowledge, a group of what we call elders or people who were mature, who have led in that...

KING: He did seek counseling, though.

DOBSON: He did and I have no information on what that process was like.

KING: How do you compare how evangelicals handle their difficulties with hypocrisy or whatever you call it and the Roman Church's handling of its extraordinarily difficult pedophilia problem?

DOBSON: Well, the Catholic Church has tried to deal with that, as well, but they were very late in doing it and a lot of damage was done in the meantime.

You know, Larry, everybody gets exercised when something like this happens and for good reason.

KING: Sure.

DOBSON: It's deceit, it's betrayal, and it seems that those that are on the left approach this with glee. But I would say what else is new? I mean, if you just look at humankind, we're flawed.

And go back to the greatest men in the Bible, look at King David. He killed a man to get his wife for sexual purposes.

KING: But he's worshiped.

DOBSON: Beg your pardon?

KING: But he's worshiped.

DOBSON: Yes, because there was a restoration that occurred. He repented. He said, "I have sinned before God."

KING: If the left gets glee, Doctor, does the right get glee over sexual peccadilloes on the left?

DOBSON: That's very possible. We're all inclined to look at other people. But it's interesting to me that those, again, on the more liberal end of the spectrum are often those who have no value system or at least they say there is no moral and immoral, there is no right or wrong. It's moral relativism.

KING: To you...

DOBSON: Let me finish the point. That's moral relativism. So they say there is no right and wrong. But when a religious leader, especially an evangelical falls, guess who is the most judgmental of him and calling him a hypocrite and those things? Those that said there is no right and wrong in the first place.

The truth of the matter is there is right and wrong and we all, within our midst, have failures and they do occur.

KING: So you're saying the critics can't have it both ways.

DOBSON: I think that's true, yes.

KING: Under your concept, we know about Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker and that was peccadilloes of a heterosexual kind.


KING: Is that different to you morally than the homosexual?

DOBSON: No, not in any way.

KING: So they're no different than Haggard.

DOBSON: Certainly, not in my view. I mean, sin is sin, heterosexual or homosexual. But, you know, there is a story there with regard to Jimmy Baker that has not been given a lot of play.

He was absolutely disgraced, as you know, and he wound up in prison. So there he is sitting in jail one day, lost his wife, he had lost essentially his family, he had lost his reputation, his ministry, everything, and wanting to die.

And there standing at the door of the cell was a big man, who asked to be let in, and they opened the door and let him in. It was Billy Graham, who went over to him and put his big arms around him and told him that he loved him.

That is the way Christians should act to one another when they fall.

KING: We'll be right back with Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Focus on the Family. Don't go away.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of every four voters was a white evangelical, and exit polls showed two-thirds of them still believe in the Iraq war. But in too many other areas, religious leaders say Republicans let down their faithful followers.

RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: I think that they felt that particularly the Republican leadership in the Congress had not kept their promises.


KING: Do you share that view, Dr. Dobson?

DOBSON: I do share that view. You can't wait until October 1 of an election year in order to pay attention to your base and, you know, the Republicans were given a marvelous opportunity. They had a 10- vote margin in the Senate. That's about as good as it gets. And a 29-vote margin in the House, and they essentially sat on it and did very little that so-called values voters care about, and I think people remember it.

Now, that's not the only reason that the Republicans lost. There's a lot of other reasons.

KING: Does the Iraq war bother you?

DOBSON: It does not -- well, of course, it's a horrible experience. People are dying.

KING: I mean, is it a mistake?

DOBSON: I don't believe it was a mistake. You know, if you go back to World War II, people have been very critical of Roosevelt for not responding earlier to the holocaust that was going on. In fact, he was tone deaf to that misery.

Well, that was happening in Iraq. Saddam Hussein killed, as far as we know, at least a million people, murdered them in cold blood, and that required some kind of response.

I think what the president did was right and correct to do that, but now we're in a mess and I admit that and I'm very concerned about that.

KING: There looks like no way out of it. DOBSON: What are the words now? You can go long and be there forever, you can go home, or, what's the third one? You can go big. One of the three. Democrats act like they've got an answer to this. There is no quick answer.

KING: I know you've been critical of David Kuo's book, author of "Tempting Faith," who wrote, of the Haggard scandal, "It's tragedy enough if a pastor falls, but this is not a pastor," it's about a politician falling and the politician is bringing Jesus down with him, and he said that the White House pretty much brushed aside you and your fellow faith-based conservatives and laughed at you.

Didn't that book wake you up?

DOBSON: It didn't wake me up at all, because I don't think David Kuo knows what he's talking about. I mean, he was out there in the office of faith-based initiative over in the -- it wasn't evening the West Wing of the White House.

How does he know what my relationship or the relationships of others to senior people in the White House was? I met that man one time for 15 minutes, or 10, I would say. And you know, now he's saying that we were taken for granted and so on. Now he's saying that we've only been given trinkets. What are those trinkets?

The president has vetoed stem cell research. He has passed or signed a ban on partial-birth abortion. He has been the most consistent pro-life president in our history. Twice he supported the Marriage Protection Amendment. He's given us two absolutely wonderful judges, or so it looks that way -- justices on the Supreme Court. He's done an awful lot that we care about, and Kuo calls that `trinkets.' The man doesn't know what he's talking about.

Then finally -- finally -- what's he do? He says that values voters should take two years off. To whom would you say that, other than evangelicals? Would you say that to homosexuals? Would you say that to feminists? Would you say that to Jews? Would you say that to African-Americans? Just don't care about your issues for the next two years. That is nonsense, and I can't figure out why the guy wrote the book except maybe to make some quick bucks.

KING: So you don't feel people have talked behind your back, when you leave the room?

DOBSON: I wouldn't doubt that that has occurred. It's occurred to everybody else; why wouldn't it occur to me? I'm not offended by that, if it occurred. But I don't think he knows. I don't think he knows.

KING: By the way, we've been calling him president -- he retired from -- he doesn't feel that's too small a title. He's chairman now of Focus on the Family -- founder and chairman, Dr. Dobson. When we come back, we'll ask him about some prominent conservatives who seem to have turned their backs on him. Stick around.


DICK ARMEY (R), FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: I think Dr. Dobson is -- who happens to be a very good family therapist, apparently, and so forth, has been one of the more aggressive voices pushing Congress into such decisions as the Schiavo case. My own view was, it was a misjudgment, in terms of what is the legitimate role of a legislative body, role of the federal government, relative to the judiciary.


KING: Dick Armey, former very powerful Republican. What do you make of that?

DOBSON: Well, here again, Larry, there's a story here, there's a background to what Dick Armey is saying, and it goes back to 1994, because, at that time, nine million new conservative voters came out and put the Republicans in power, and Dick Armey was one of them. And then, as they have done in this term, they essentially sat on it. They did very little and by 1996, 1997, a lot of us were frustrated by that.

Dick Armey is an economic conservative. He is not a social conservative. He doesn't like to talk about marriage and about the unborn child, the sanctity of life and things like that. He wants to talk about smaller government. We believe in smaller government too, and we're economic conservatives too, but we're also social conservatives and he's not.

And so by 1998, I gave a speech that got a tremendous amount of play. It was covered by the "New York Times" before that day was over. It was given at the Council for National Policy. I paid my own way there. At the beginning of that speech I said, I want you to know I'm talking for myself, and not for Focus on the Family, which is a non-profit organization.

And in that speech, I criticized Republicans for not keeping their word, for not doing what they said they were going to do. And that -- I also said that if this would continue, I would not vote for Republicans. And so that's what happened, and that offended Dick Armey and since then, he's called me a thug, you know, and a bully.

KING: On reflection though, were you politically wrong on Schiavo?

DOBSON: Absolutely not.

KING: Not politically?

DOBSON: Not politically or morally wrong. I believe that the position that many, many people took -- and there were a lot of them -- who felt that Terri Schiavo was being deprived of life and liberty -- she was handicapped, she was damaged, but since when do we kill people who have a handicap? Where do you start...

KING: Do you believe it was OK for Congress to get involved? DOBSON: I think they should have done that. They took a moral stance. They took a courageous stance.

KING: How do you deal with -- as a conservative, one of your favorites has to be Scalia, who is just a rock-bottom conservative, who, nevertheless, voted that flag-burning is protected by the First Amendment. How do you deal with that?

DOBSON: Well, you just keep going. I mean, there are a lot of decisions that are made by conservatives on the court that we're frustrated with. It's still hard for me to understand why twice the Congress tried to pass legislation that would protect children from freebie pornography on the Internet that would lead them into more and more gross and dangerous stuff.

And twice they passed that legislation, and twice the president signed it, and even the conservatives, including Clarence Thomas, said that it was not constitutional. You know, good people do disagree and there are examples of it like that.

KING: Why did 25 percent of evangelicals vote Democratic?

DOBSON: Well, I think we've already started talking about some of it. By the way, that election was not nearly the landslide that it looks like it was because there were 30 Republicans who lost, and 30 Democrats -- Democrats picked up 30 seats.

Now, do you know that 22 of those were for less than two percent difference? It was razor thin.

KING: Yes, but the other side can say Bush wasn't elected president in 2000.

DOBSON: That's absolutely true, but nobody called that a landslide. They're calling this one a landslide and it was not. In fact, this election result was less than is usually lost in the second term of a president's time in office.

KING: But the president said we were thumped.

DOBSON: Well, when you no longer control both houses, then we are thumped. But I think it's interesting that there are some moderate Democrats that are coming in and I think there very well may be a working majority for some of the things that we believe.

KING: You mentioned stem cell. Do you believe that Mr. Limbaugh hurt your cause greatly with that ridiculous tirade about stem cells, which might have affected the Missouri election?

DOBSON: Well, you call it ridiculous. I don't think it was. I was listening the day that he made those...

KING: Did you see it?

DOBSON: Beg your pardon?

KING: Did you see it?

DOBSON: Did I see Limbaugh?

KING: Yes.


KING: And the waving and the -- what's a better word?

DOBSON: I didn't and so maybe that would have been more offensive than what I heard. But the essence of it was that...

KING: There it is.

DOBSON: ... that the people of -- I see him there -- the people...

KING: There he goes.


KING: What would you call that?

DOBSON: Well, you know, the ad was also pretty upsetting, when you saw what Michael J. Fox did.

KING: But he's sick.

DOBSON: He is, but the point that Larry King was making is that...

KING: Rush Limbaugh, you mean.

DOBSON: I'm sorry, Rush Limbaugh was making is that in Michael J. Fox's book, he admitted that when he is going to testify or he's going to be in some kind of influential situation, he either doesn't take his medication or he adjusts his medication.

That was the point that Rush Limbaugh was making.

KING: But do you think it affected the election in Missouri?

DOBSON: I think that it helped close the gap, because we were behind a whole lot more. We wound up just losing that by I think it was one percent.

KING: You think it helped.

DOBSON: I think it helped, because people began to understand. Cloning was involved. Rush said day after day after day it was not just stem cells, it's cloning, and that's what the point was.

KING: Well, then, I apologize if I called it ridiculous. It looked weird. It just may be a bad word.

DOBSON: Well, what you just showed is. KING: It was like you're making fun of someone.

DOBSON: It did and I don't believe that...

KING: And he apologized.

DOBSON: ... Rush intended that. He did apologize.

KING: We'll be right back with Dr. James Dobson. Don't go away.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are here because you strongly support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman. And I am proud to stand with you.

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: In the constitution of the United States, along with the Bill of Rights, we have not ever written prejudice and we have never written bigotry into the constitution and we should not do it now in the United States Senate.


KING: We're back with Dr. James Dobson. If a gay person, back to this in a different venue, says, "You talk about marriage and the family, you praise marriage and the family. I'd like that. I'd like to be married. I'd like to adopt children. I'm gay, but I want to perceive myself as part of the total living picture you paint. That's wonderful. And you won't let me have what you have."

Now, what would you say?

DOBSON: You're entitled to be married. You're entitled to continue to see yourself that way, but it's important to protect the institution of marriage.

KING: Why?

DOBSON: Which has been going on for 5,000 years in every continent on earth, Larry.

KING: Well, war's been going on for 5,000 years, prejudice has been going for 5,000 years. Don't make it right.

DOBSON: Right. What makes it right is it's a good thing. I mean, it came from the creator himself, who...

KING: Then why not give it to gay people?

DOBSON: Because that undermines the meaning of marriage and the reason that it's dangerous is because of the next generation. Children need a mother and a father, pure and simple. They need both. They don't always have it, but that's the ideal and it ought to be protected, and there have been more than 10,000 studies that have showed that children do best when they have a mom and a dad, providing the two role models for the child, masculine and feminine, and as long as they're committed to each other in that way.

I mean, you're talking about the next generation. You don't mess with that.

KING: Are you saying gay people can't be good parents?

DOBSON: I'm saying that to undermine the meaning of marriage, and that's been going on for a long time, too, I mean, going all the way back to 1969, when the no fault divorce came along.

The Congress and the people in Washington have worked to undermine the family. This would be devastating to the family.

KING: Why can't marriage be somewhere in the middle, a religious institution? You want to be married, you go to a church, you go to a synagogue, but anything to do with the state should be a union?

DOBSON: I think it ought to be exactly the way it has been and exactly the way it is, Larry. It's a shame that people are just determined to mess with this wonderful institution called the family.

And, again, when you're talking about children, it's very important that you preserve it.

KING: So what you say to the gay is, "If you want to live the way you live, live, but marriage isn't part of the scenario."

DOBSON: That's exactly it. And guess what, Larry? Guess what? That's the way the American people feel.

KING: I know.

DOBSON: Twenty-eight states have now voted, had an opportunity themselves, not some judge someplace, 28 states have had an opportunity to put the definition of marriage into their constitutions, 27 of them have said marriage should be preserved between a man and a woman.

KING: How, Doctor, does it hurt traditional marriage if John and Jim are married? How does that hurt your marriage?

DOBSON: If you're making it personal, you don't establish national policy on the basis of an individual. You look at what the impact is, what the greater good is for the culture, and the best thing for a culture is to have a rock solid foundation on which everything else is dependent.

Everything rests on the institution of the family. When you start to mess with it, things happen.

I've shared with you before that in the Netherlands and places where they have tried to define marriage, what happens is that people just don't get married. It's not that the homosexuals are marrying in greater numbers. It's that when you confuse what marriage is, young people just don't get married.

So you have 60 percent of the children being born in Norway and in other Scandinavian countries, you wind up there having people living together without the stability of marriage.

KING: Why is it a state institution rather than a religious institution? Why is the state involved? I'm not being...


DOBSON: Well, it's both. It is both. I mean, you can go...

KING: But we have a separation of church and state.

DOBSON: Beg your pardon?

KING: We have a separation of church and state.

DOBSON: Who says?

KING: You don't believe in separation of church and state?

DOBSON: Not the way you mean it. The separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. No, it's not. That is not in the Constitution. That was...

KING: It's in the Bill of Rights.

DOBSON: It's not in the Bill of Rights. It's not anywhere in a foundational document. The only place where the so-called "wall of separation" was mentioned was in a letter written by Jefferson to a friend. That's the only place. It has been picked up and made to be something it was never intended to be.

What it has become is that the government is protected from the church, instead of the other way around, which is that church was designed to be protected from the government.

KING: I'm going to check my history.


KING: We'll be right back with Dr. James Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family. Don't go away.


KING: We're back, one of my favorite guests, Dr. James Dobson. You always know where he stands. That's what makes a great guest.

E-mail question from Craig in Ashburn, Virginia: "Radical Islam or radical liberalism: Which do you believe is the greater threat to our nation and why?" And then overall your thoughts on this clash... DOBSON: Yes.

KING: ... between the evangelical American and Muslims.

DOBSON: Well, I don't know if we have to choose between things that worry us. I'm concerned about both the radical liberal point of view, but I have to tell you, I'm increasingly concerned about radical Islam. It just is very difficult to look at what is being said by those who have no reason to hide what they believe and not understand that our national sovereignty is at stake. I fully believe that.

That Ahmadinejad or however he pronounces his name, has said recently, "Imagine a world with no United States. It could happen in your lifetime." He's already indicated that he wants to destroy Israel and to wipe it off the map. The Al Qaeda people say that they want to slit our throats, and now they're working on atomic bombs, and nuclear weapons, and the missiles to deliver them. I believe they say what they mean, and we should take them seriously.

KING: You have to be careful, though, that you don't put all Muslims with one brush.

DOBSON: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. But there are 1.2 billion Muslims on the face of the Earth. Suppose the number is 10 percent. That's 120 million who read the Koran in such a way that it tells them to kill infidels. And guess who that is? That's us.


DOBSON: I mean, let's suppose it's four percent. That's 48 million.

KING: What do you think of the premise put forth by Jimmy Carter, who will be our guest here Monday night, and written a new book on the Mideast? Carter says that fundamentalism in any form, including Christian, poses a danger to core American values of liberty and equality, all fundamentalism.

DOBSON: Yes. So he's going to a place...

KING: He's a devout Christian.

DOBSON: Yes, he is. He's one I disagree with strongly and have for about 20 years. You know, what he's doing there is equating, saying there's a moral equivalency between those who are trying to follow the dictates of Christ, which is based on love -- not perfectly, but trying, and often succeeding -- you're going to equate that with those that want to kill, and destroy, and who believe they're going to get 72 virgins in the life to come for murdering people? I mean, he's trying to say those are in the same camp?

KING: No, I think -- I don't want to defend him. Would you agree that, among many fundamentalists, it don't sound like love? It may be love, but it don't sound like love. It sounds like judgment and condemnation...


KING: ... doesn't it?

DOBSON: Well, there are things that should be condemned and things that should be judged. In fact, you don't take judgment out of the scriptures. But it's said in the context of love. And when it gets away from that as its base, it's wrong, because that's not what Jesus taught.

KING: What's your concept of -- forgiveness is the highest goal of the Christian, isn't it? Christ was the champion of forgiveness.

DOBSON: Yes, and to be a follower of him, yes, that's the goal.

KING: What is forgiveness to you? Like, you forgive Haggard, don't you, Mr. Haggard?

DOBSON: I don't forgive Haggard because his sin was not against me. God has to do the forgiving. I continue to love him. He is a friend. He will always be my friend. And I'm sorry for what's happened...

KING: But you don't forgive him?

DOBSON: ... but God has to forgive him. And, I mean, his relationship with his wife has to be one of forgiveness.

KING: She has to forgive him?

DOBSON: Yes. And...

KING: Not in your purview, though?

DOBSON: It's not my job to do that.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Dr. James Dobson. The book, "Family Man," came out last year, still available. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Dr. James Dobson.

You said that the support of Israel is God's foreign policy. You buy that?

DOBSON: No, well, I didn't say that. I think that was a headline somewhere, but...

KING: A "New York Times" headline, I'm sorry. I thought they were quoting you.

DOBSON: "New York Times" often gets me -- interprets me wrongly.

KING: But you agree with the quote? DOBSON: I do believe that Israel is covenant land. That's very controversial, but I read the Bible literally, and I believe that God gave them that land, all the way back to Deuteronomy. That's what we're reading right now; there it is.

KING: Do you have a favorite early candidate for president?

DOBSON: No, I don't. I think it's far too early to be considering that. But when I do -- and I very well may not do it at all, because I've only endorsed one presidential candidate in my life...

KING: Who was that, Reagan?

DOBSON: No, I stayed completely out of that.

KING: Who was it?

DOBSON: It was George Bush.

KING: The first?

DOBSON: Second. The second. But when I do, and if I do, it will be somebody who is strongly pro-life, and in favor of marriage, and religious liberty, and a strong military, and fiscal conservative.

KING: So it ain't Rudy Giuliani? But it could be John McCain, who fits all five of those?

DOBSON: He doesn't fit all five of those.

KING: Which one does he lack?

DOBSON: Well, he voted against the marriage amendment.

KING: Then it would be -- could you support a Mormon? Could you support Mitt Romney, who would agree with all five of those?

DOBSON: It is very early to make that judgment.

KING: Would it be...


DOBSON: I would have to look very carefully at Mitt Romney.

KING: Is there a detraction if he's a Mormon, I mean, in your mind?

DOBSON: I think there...

KING: Mormons are Christian.

DOBSON: I think there will be for many evangelicals, and so the question is: Could he get the nomination? I really don't know. And the question will be: Compared to what? KING: Any Democrat you could support?

DOBSON: Not on the scene now. No, I don't -- you're taking me into territory I'm not willing to go, you know?

KING: Do you like or not like politics?

DOBSON: Politics is dirty. Politics is exciting. Politics is often very, very difficult and disappointing. And I really would rather the world would be a little more like it was when my dad was young, where you knew pretty much where people stood on the great moral issues. And today you've got to get in and fight for them, and that is not easy. I would rather not be in that world.

KING: Ever question your faith?

DOBSON: Have I ever questioned -- no.

KING: Not at all?



KING: Katrina wasn't manmade. Doesn't that cause you to question?

DOBSON: Absolutely not. I mean, I wrote the book called, "When God Doesn't Make Sense," and that expresses my view, that he's God and I'm not. And I can no more understand what goes on in his mind than a dog can explain me.

And so I have a very, very strong faith. I was three-years-old when I gave my heart to Christ...

KING: One other thing, before we're out. Are you sad about Mark Foley?

DOBSON: Very. That was most unfortunate. I thought the media did everything they could to discourage values voters from voting, and I don't think Mark Foley had anything to do with that.

KING: Except his district was lost.

DOBSON: His district was lost, yes.

KING: Always great to see you. And Happy Thanksgiving.

DOBSON: And the same to you, my friend.

KING: And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, too. And there's a special report on CNN tomorrow night. We're back Friday night with the cast of "Bobby."

And stay tuned now for "ANDERSON COOPER 360," hosted by my friend, John Roberts. That's next. Don't go away. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT

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