Appearing on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson defended anti-Catholic statements by a close associate, even as one of Dobson's top deputies accused Democratic senators of anti-Catholic bias in opposing President Bush's judicial nominees. But when co-host Alan Colmes questioned him about the deputy's accusations against Democratic senators, Dobson dismissed the question as "an effort to change the subject."
Colmes asked Dobson to repudiate an anti-Catholic statement by the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mohler is scheduled to appear alongside Dobson during an April 24 national telecast designed to portray Democratic opponents of Bush's judicial picks as anti-Christian.
From the April 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: You are participating in an event this Sunday, "Justice Sunday." And among those there will be Dr. Alan [sic] Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who said a few years ago, "As an evangelical, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a false church. It teaches a false gospel. And the Pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."
Are you concerned about the anti-Catholicism of some of the people you are participating with to fight the filibuster?
DOBSON: Well, first of all, he [Mohler] did not make a vehement anti-Catholic statement. He's a Southern Baptist, for Pete's sake.
You expect a Southern Baptist to say that he does not honor the pope in the same way the Catholics do. It's a different theology. Is that not right? That's not an attack on the Catholic Church.
On the same day that Dobson defended Mohler's statement, it was reported that Focus on the Family vice president of public policy Tom Minnery accused Democratic senators of anti-Catholic bigotry for opposing some of President Bush's nominees. Referring to Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) -- who had called Focus on the Family's political tactics "un-Christian" and accused the group of "hijacking Christianity" and becoming "a wing of the Republican Party" -- Minnery said: "As a Catholic, I would think the senator would be especially alarmed about the anti-Catholicism of some of his colleagues."
When Colmes asked Dobson to address Minnery's comment, Dobson ducked the question: "Well, Alan, the way you set that up really represents an effort to change the subject. This is not about Catholicism."