Conservative evangelical leader James Dobson has resigned as chairman of Focus on the Family but will continue to play a prominent role at the organization he founded more than three decades ago. ... Dobson, 72, will continue to host Focus on the Family's flagship radio program, write a monthly newsletter and speak out on moral issues, Daly said.
Dobson's resignation as board chairman "lessens his administrative burden" and is the latest step in a succession plan, the group said. Dobson began relinquishing control six years ago by stepping down as president and CEO. ... [President and CEO Jim] Daly said there is no timetable for Dobson to leave the radio program, and the group will "look for the next voice for the next generation" while Dobson remains on the air.
My thoughts on the future of the evangelical movement after the jump.
The part that really sticks out to me from the Associated Press article is this paragraph (emphasis mine):
Dobson has a devoted following. His radio broadcast reaches an estimated 1.5 million U.S. listeners daily. Yet critics say his influence is waning, pointing to evangelicals pushing to broaden the movement's agenda beyond abortion, gay marriage and other issues Dobson views as most vital.
James Dobson's influence has been waning in recent years. Focus on the Family spent millions of dollars to help pass California's Proposition 8 only to turn around and layoff 200 staffers. President Obama doesn't take his marching orders from the religious right and the mood of the country's politics has swung left.
As the article points out, we've seen several evangelicals calling for more action on the environment, human rights abuses, poverty, world hunger, and medical services. These are positives. Many younger religious conservatives don't subscribe to the theory that God, guns and gays are the solution to achieve political power.
More than likely, most of the new leaders won't be in their 20's or even 30's. They won't be that much more liberal than their predecessors. Dobson, Kennedy and Falwell were all elderly and management will be given to other white men in their 50's or 60's. Still, that almost imperceptible shift will be just as lethal to the homophobic and sexist role model.
Civil rights legislation in the 60's drove mainstream racism deeper into the shadows. While racism obviously continued to exist, it quickly lost its luster in not just polite society, but amongst the middle and lower classes. As the LGBT community gains further social acceptance and legal protections homophobia and transphobia will also fade into a shade of its former self.
We can't expect the change to happen overnight; it'll take years if not decades. But we can rejoice as we watch the march of time and justice work in our favor.