NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Pointing to biblical truth, social science and intuition, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson asserts in the latest issue of Time magazine that children are better off with a mother and a father and that society should avoid the “untested” and “far-reaching social experiment” of homosexual parenting.
Dobson’s column, “Two Mommies Is One Too Many,” was published in the Dec. 18 edition in light of news that Vice President Richard Cheney’s lesbian daughter, Mary, is pregnant with her partner, Heather Poe.
“[T]he majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father,” Dobson wrote. “That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy — any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.”
Dobson’s column accompanied an opposing column, “Two Mommies or Two Daddies Will Do Fine, Thanks,” by Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Pride, a homosexual organization. Chrisler used most of her column responding to the social science research cited by Dobson, who she called a “religious and political extremist” and even said Dobson was “lying.”
“According to the 2000 census, the vast majority —- more than 75 percent — of American children, are being raised in families that differ in structure from two married, heterosexual parents and their biological children,” Chrisler wrote. “We are a nation of blended and multi-generational families, adoptive and foster families, and families headed by single parents, divorced parents, unmarried parents, same-sex couples and more. Despite Dobson’s assertions to the contrary, there is no single ‘traditional’ family structure in the United States.”
Dobson, though, said the debate over homosexual parenting has “nothing to do with politics” but instead concerns “what kind of family environment is best for the health and development of children, and, by extension, the nation at large.” The traditional family, he said, is “supported by more than 5,000 years of human experience.”
“Isn’t there something in our hearts that tells us, intuitively, that children need a mother and a father?” he asked in his column. “Admittedly, that ideal is not always possible. Divorce, death, abandonment and unwed pregnancy have resulted in an ever growing number of single-parent families in this culture. We admire the millions of men and women who have risen to the challenge of parenting alone and are meeting their difficult responsibilities with courage and determination. Still, most of them, if asked, would say that raising children is a two-person job best accomplished by a mother and father.”
Dobson cited three studies, including one from 1996 by Psychology Today, which he quoted as saying, “fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.” Dobson summed up research by educational psychologist Carol Gilligan thusly: “[M]others tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children, while fathers accent justice, fairness and duty. Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness; dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences.”
Other researchers, Dobson said, “have determined that boys are not born with an understanding of ‘maleness.’ They have to learn it, ideally from their fathers.”
“A father, as a male parent, makes unique contributions to the task of parenting that a mother cannot emulate, and vice versa,” he wrote.
America, Dobson asserted, should have learned something from “no-fault divorce,” which swept the country in the 1960s and has left a legacy of “countless shattered lives within three generations, adversely affecting children’s behavior, academic performance and mental and physical health.” Homosexual parenting, he said, would be “another untested and far-reaching social experiment.”
Focus on the Family, Dobson said, “does not desire to harm or insult women such as Cheney and Poe.”
“Rather, our conviction is that birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples,” he wrote. “Traditional marriage is God’s design for the family and is rooted in biblical truth. When that divine plan is implemented, children have the best opportunity to thrive. That’s why public policy as it relates to families must be based not solely on the desires of adults but rather on the needs of children and what is best for society at large.”
Focus on the Family sent an e-mail to supporters asking them to send a “brief, polite note” to Time editors thanking them for publishing the column. Homosexual activists, Focus said, are asking their supporters to write Time and tell the magazine Dobson’s column was inaccurate. Letters to the editor can be e-mailed to [email protected]
The full text of Dobson’s column is available online at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,1568485,00.html