Focus on the Family's James C. Dobson accused Harper's Magazine of "say[ing] the most crazy things" for reporting that he is "in favor of people who want to execute abortionists." In fact, Dobson has endorsed at least two political candidates, Randall Terry and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who have expressed support for executing "abortionists."
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During an interview on the March 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Focus on Family founder James C. Dobson accused Harper's Magazine of "say[ing] the most crazy things" for reporting that Dobson is "in favor of people who want to execute abortionists." The May 30, 2005, Harper's article, to which Dobson is apparently referring, reported that Dobson "has backed political candidates who called for the execution of abortion providers." But Dobson's suggestion that the Harper's assertion is false is itself false: Dobson has in fact endorsed at least two political candidates, Randall Terry and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who have expressed support for the execution of "abortionists."
The Harper's article, written by Chris Hedges and titled "Soldiers of Christ II: Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters," featured a brief biography of Dobson, whom Hedges describes as "perhaps the most powerful figure in the Dominionist movement." While profiling Dobson, Hedges wrote:
He calls for a constitutional amendment to permit prayer in the public schools. He sponsors a group called "Love Won Out," which holds monthly conferences around the country for those "suffering" from same-sex attraction. He likens the proponents of gay marriage to the Nazis, has backed political candidates who called for the execution of abortion providers, defines embryonic stem-cell research as "state-funded cannibalism," and urges Christian parents to pull their children out of public-school systems.
In response, Dobson pointed to Hedges's article as evidence that "secular progressives" are becoming "more and more angry," and "are determined to lash out at those of us who are most visible in that area." Dobson continued, stating, "Harper's Magazine actually said that I am in favor of people who want to execute abortionists. I mean, they just say the most crazy things."
But in endorsing the political campaigns of Coburn and Terry, Dobson endorsed candidates who support the execution of "abortionists." In 2004, Dobson endorsed Coburn in his bid for Oklahoma's open Senate seat. Coburn told the Associated Press on July 10, 2004, "I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life." In announcing his endorsement, Dobson called Coburn the "single best leader I have ever worked with on the critical moral and family issues that have been at the heart of my own work." Coburn won the election.
In 1998, Dobson endorsed the failed candidacy of Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and the Society for Truth and Justice, for New York's 26th Congressional District seat. Terry has repeatedly called for the "salvation or the death" of Dr. Warren Hern, director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Colorado. A February 2, 1992, report on CBS' 60 Minutes showed Terry and his followers praying outside the clinic. On the video, Terry stated: "But pray that this family will either be converted to God or that calamity will strike him." The New York Times reported on August 14, 1993, that "[i]n his radio appearances, Mr. Terry said of Dr. Hern: 'I hope someday he is tried for crimes against humanity, and I hope he is executed.' " Another 60 Minutes segment, airing on August 7, 1994, showed Terry again entreating his followers "to pray for either the salvation or the death" of Hern.
According to a September 28, 1998, profile of Terry in The Nation by David Corn, during a campaign speech, Terry reportedly stated, "When I or people like me are running the country, [abortion providers] better flee because we will find you, we will try you, and we will execute you." Corn noted that Terry "has received the official blessing of James Dobson ... who does not usually endorse candidates." According to a May 14, 1998, Roll Call report by Norah O'Donnell, Dobson "endorsed half a dozen firebrand Republicans" in the 1998 elections, including Terry, and "provided Terry with a 30-second radio endorsement." Terry lost in the Republican primary. He is currently running for a seat in the Florida state Senate.
From the March 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: I have never seen the level of hatred coming at -- you know, basically, there is some from the traditionalists to the secular progressives. There is some; we have to be honest. But, overwhelmingly, the hatred coming from the SP's [secular progressives] to the -- to people like you and me, who they perceive to be enemies, I've never seen anything like it.
DOBSON: Well, my interpretation of that is that they are losing, generally, throughout the culture, and they're getting more and more angry all the time. I mean, they obviously have somebody different in the White House than they wanted, and leadership in the House, and leadership in the Senate. And now, the Supreme Court's changing. The culture is shifting, I believe, to the right. And -- and they are more and more angry, and they are determined to lash out at those of us who are most visible in that area. Harper's Magazine actually said that I am in favor of people who want to execute abortionists. I mean, they just say the most crazy things.