James Dobson Backs Convention of States Project to Amend U.S. Constitution

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson (Image from website of Dobson Digital Library)

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and a longtime Religious Right leader, has thrown his support behind the Convention of States project, a right-wing effort to amend the U.S. Constitution and dramatically limit the authority of the federal government.

Convention of States is one of several projects that are working simultaneously to get state legislatures to formally call for an Article V convention of states, a never-used mechanism by which a gathering of state legislatures would bypass Congress in proposing constitutional amendments. An older effort seeks to call an Article V convention to propose a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget for the federal government. But the Convention of States proposal endorsed by Dobson is a more recent and far more aggressive undertaking, envisioning a set of amendments that would dramatically reshape our constitutional order into one dominated by states’ rights.

A few weeks ago, Convention of States leader Mark Meckler told right-wing pundit Mark Levin that the goal of the project is “to reverse 115 years of progressivism.”

In a statement released today, Dobson and his Dr. James Dobson Family Institute colleagues Tim Clinton and Jenna Ellis urged Americans to “add your name to a growing list of citizens calling for a return of federal power back to the states.” More from the Dobson Institute’s statement:

Unfortunately, an insidious power grab has been underway in our nation’s capital for many years and it has inflicted great damage upon our constitutional republic. Unelected bureaucrats, activist judges, and the ever-expanding scope, reach and invasion of the federal government into the lives of all Americans has far surpassed what our Founders ever intended.

At WND, Bob Unruh celebrated the Institute’s call, paraphrasing Dobson’s support for a Convention of States as a call for Americans “to do their duty, rise up, and fix the ‘deep state’ in Washington.”

In 2010, Dobson left Focus on the Family, which he had founded in 1977, after some differences with his successor Jim Daly. Dobson immediately created a new radio ministry called “Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson.” And last year he launched the Dobson Family Institute, which lists Family Talk as one of its ministries. The Heavenly Father’s Foundation, funded by fracking billionaire Dan Wilks and his wife Staci, listed a $500,000 contribution to Family Talk on 2017 tax forms.

The Institute’s website notes among Dobson’s milestones that in 2016 he was appointed to Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board.

The Convention of States project is backed by an alliance of the corporate, Tea Party, and conservative religious factions of the Right. It is being promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch brothers’ networks. Right-wing leaders promoting the effort include former Sens. Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, Alliance Defending Freedom President Michael Farris, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, anti-marriage-equality strategist Robert George, and conservative attorney and culture warrior John Eastman.

The website of Citizens for Self-Governance, the parent organization to Convention of States, also links to The Bible& Politics, which promotes David Barton’s Wallbuilders.