Son Of Former Moral Majority Executive Comes Out

Daneil DobsonWhat’s it like to grow up gay when you’re the son of the former Vice President of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority? Daniel Dobson knows. His father Ed is a leading figure in the national evangelical movement. Now Daniel, 28, has decided to come out and is speaking about his experience as a gay Christian.

“It’s morally right for me to do it,” Daniel Dobson told The Grand Rapids Press. “I feel I have something good to contribute to the conversation, something positive.”

Dobson says he knew when he was 13 that he was gay, but was afraid to tell his parents. At 18 he signed up with the Army and did two tours of duty in Iraq. During a firefight on his first tour, he turned to a notecard with a Biblical verse that his father gave to him: “The Lord has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” The verse gave him the courage to accept himself.

Two years ago, Daniel came out to his parents, telling them, “Mom, dad, I’m gay. And I still love Jesus. And nothing else changes.” His father’s response was a huge relief. Daniel recalls that his father said, “We still love you. And nothing else changes.”

Despite his pedigree, Ed Dobson has been far and away one of the most gay-friendly figures in the evangelical movement. After leaving Falwell to become pastor of a church in Michgan, Ed began to offer pastoral care to people with AIDS. When one parishioner worried that the church would be “overrun” with gays, Dobson responded, ““That will be terrific. They can take their place in the pews right next to the liars, gossips, and materialists.”

Ed, who is suffering from ALS, doesn’t think homosexuality is okay. But he says that his fellow evangelicals haven’t tried to live up to their “love the sinner” rhetoric.

“I have sat and listened to story after story after story from gay people of their journey and have cried with them and tried to listen to the awful pain they go through,” Dobson has said. “[It] hasn’t changed what I believe about the practice of homosexuality, but it has reminded me that ‘Whom you would change you must first love.’ Martin Luther King, Jr. said that. And in general, Christians have not been very good about loving gay people. Oh, they’ll tell you they hate the sin but they love the sinner, but I don’t see much love for the sinner.

Daniel believes that the antigay rhetoric from conservative Christians does real spiritual harm. “Because of what Christians say about gays and lesbians, they don’t get to share Jesus at all. They hurt the kingdom and they hurt Jesus. What they’re saying cannot possibly be led by the (Holy) Spirit.”

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  • Ron Jackson

    Still believing in the fairy tale Daniel? So now you just have to come out of that christian closet and maybe you’ll be OK.

  • MikeE

    I’ sorry, no matter how “positive” these people may sound, it remains a sad truth that they still think of homosexuality as a “sin” despite the simple fact that nothing in the Bible actually supports that statement.

    And saying that you “accept” someone, but still believe that their life is a “sin”, is not accepting someone. It’s barely tolerating.

    You know, there are Christian denominations out there that don’t preach that homosexuality is a sin, or that it needs to be cured, or prayed away, or that there is anything to “hate” about gay people. They teach that we are all worthy of love. That there is nothing intrinsically “wrong” with homosexuality, that it is the same as being heterosexual.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    We were born this way. To live a lie would be dishonest.

  • Ken

    Dobson said, “Oh, they’ll tell you they hate the sin but they love the sinner, but I don’t see much love for the sinner.”

    He should know that “love the sinner but hate the sin,” or “hate the sin but love the sinner,” whichever way you say it, is not in the Bible.

  • Polaro

    This is a positive story. It may not be your ideal, but it is real. And you can always count on a snide comment here…unfortunately.

  • ChiChi Man

    I’m trying to be charitable, but I have no tolerance for being tolerated. I’m not going to waste my time on anyone — even family members — who love me, in spite of my “lifestyle”. Being gay is awesome. I’d rather spend time with people who agree.

  • sfbeast

    I respect him for his service to our country, although I don’t think we should be there in the first place. But lost him with his ‘they hurt the kingdom’ nonsense. Clinging on to superstitious ignorance is not going to help.

  • Merv

    It’s progress. Hopefully, eventually Daniel will be able to more objectively evaluate Christianity and truth or falsity of its claims.

  • Badger88

    @ ChiChi Man: It’s a lot tougher for family to evolve and accept you if you simply stop spending time with them. That’s how we’ve changed so many hearts and minds on this issue. Not by disassociating ourselves from anti-equality folks, but by maintaining an open dialogue with them until they see the light.

  • Bob LaBlah

    This is amazing. After Falwell’s main speech writer was featured on 60 Minutes after admitting that he could no longer write those garbage filled speeches for the leader of the Moral Majority (and they are neither, by the way) maybe this will get ol’ brother Ralph Reed (now forty-something and still clinging to the celibate lie…….er, um, reason)to admit he to watches gay TWINK bareback, creampie filled porn. Alone, in the closet in the basement of course. He (Ralph Reed) lives alone too. I’ll be he DOES just that.

  • Nikkidane

    “Love the sinner but hate the sin” is just as cruel as hating the person. You are saying that who that person is, their very essence, is evil. It’s a horrible statement.

  • Cam

    That is the problem groups like the Mormons, Evangelicals, the Catholic church etc… have with their anti-gay bigotry….

    Their members keep having gay kids.

  • JAW

    WOW… I read the dozen comments above mine and it is easy to see why so many GLBT people are afraid to come out. You guys are as bad as those that you commented about.

    As his Dad said… you will fit right in sitting right next to the Gays… you all would be sitting with the “liars, gossips, and materialists”

    Stop The HATE!!

  • tdx3fan

    I talk to my dad about twice a year (his birthday and Father’s Day). Even if he were to suddenly donate all he has to a pro-LGBT cause, it would not undo the harm that he has done to our relationship due to his hatred of homosexuality. I am damn proud to be who I am, and anyone that thinks I should have to change or be ashamed simply to be loved is not worth my time.

  • tdx3fan

    @Badger: It is not his responsibility (or my responsibility) to make our family members “evolve.” They should do that because they love us and want to see us happy and for no other reason. It is his responsibility to live his life in a way that benefits him, and if that means he needs to cut the dead waste out of his life then all the power to him.

  • Badger88

    @ tdx3fan: Well, if that’s the prideful attitude you want to take, fine, but then you don’t have a right to bitch about America not accepting equality faster. Sure, it’s not our “duty” to justify our rights, but in reality, that’s the only way to achieve progress.
    Look, people make mistakes. We all do, even if some of our mistakes are more hurtful to others. If your dad ever tries to make amends for the pain he caused you, it’s time to let go of the past. “Forgive and forget” isn’t just a Christian philosophy.

  • LubbockGayMale

    Dr Dobson and Pat Robertson are both unbearable jerks. Their families sins are forgiven, but the rest of us will burn in hell?!?!?!?! Guess they’ll do anything to keep their conservative audience, esp. when it comes to hauling in donations!

  • Deepdow

    It’ll be interesting to see the day when homosexuality is not discussed within the praxis of conservative judeo-christianity, which is wholly arbitrary it seems. It’s nice that this guy’s dad is very, I dunno, loyal, but he still says it’s wrong. It’s not. It has evolutionary relevance as far as I’m concerned. All in all, though, a touching story in some measure.

  • Derek Williams

    If you hate what someone is, it’s a short trip to hating all of the person, and that’s all I see from the likes of the Westboro Baptist Church with their mantra of “God hates fags”.

    The “Heaven” they promise, if it even exists should be anathema to all homosexuals. Why would I want to share Eternity with people how hate homosexuality, when I could have it with the 350 million homosexuals alive today, who are almost all apparently, destined for “the other place”?

    I just think they mixed the names up that’s all. Eternity with 350 million homosexuals, plus the billions gone before, and the trillions more to come, sure sounds far more like “Heaven” to me.

  • CMObrero

    Seems like he needs to meet John Shore.
    As an atheist, I think the answer is not hating Christians back. There are Christians (like John) that don’t hate gays.

  • DarkZephyr

    @CMObrero: Exactly. Nothing good comes from perpetuating hate.

  • Billysees

    @MikeE: No. 2

    I’d like to say something original, but after reading all of the above “excellent” commentary, I can’t think of anything to say that hasn’t been said already.

    But the most positive and futuristic comments are from MikeE’s third paragraph —

    ” You know, there are Christian denominations out there that don’t preach that homosexuality is a sin, or that it needs to be cured, or prayed away, or that there is anything to “hate” about gay people. They teach that we are all worthy of love. That there is nothing intrinsically “wrong” with homosexuality, that it is the same as being heterosexual. “

  • Polaro

    Ironically, there are 24 comments here, a lot from bitchy queens hating on progress they don’t think goes far enough, while only 3 people comment on Nigeria. Seriously…priorities, ladies.

  • Deepdow


    “bitchy” “queens” “ladies”

    How old are you ?

  • J W G

    As 61 year old gay man I guess I have the right to say that I’ve see and heard a lot of shite from the Christians. Now I don’t consider myself a Christian even though I was baptized one. I have nothing against Christians I have plenty against the American evangelical Christian right! In the bible being gay is clearly condemned.

    I’m not real brushed up on biblical stuff but it is mentioned in the old testament several times but so is eating animals with a cloven hoof and St Paul clearly condemns it (along with a lot of other stuff that we all seem to do nowadays, gay or straight) but I believe St Paul was more condemning Roman decadence, and prostitution than the actual love between two of the same sex. The religious right in this country are a vocal minority with a lot of money and influence. They also believe that the Temple of Jerusalem should be rebuilt to fill the prophesies of revelations and bring on ‘The Rapture’ preceding the apocalypse and that’s just plain nuts! But who said anything about sanity prevailing?

    Just last month the GOP voted to oppose same sex marriage in it’s platform once again. That means that any serious GOP politician has to oppose it if they expect to gain any kind of backing. Since 1980 the religious right have had the GOP in their back pocket. And it was the Mormon church that sent massive funds to California’s prop 8 and were instrumental in it’s passing.

    This young man who came out is good for our cause. Whether you are Christian or not, the message that we are everywhere, even the sons and daughters of the religious right kicks them hard right in their pious groins. And may I say that other religions are equally homophobic. Islam is extremely homophobic even though many within that religion regularly practice it. In Afghanistan many of the warlords there have male concubines (Google ‘Bacha bazi’). The Koran clearly states that a man is not to love another man as he would a woman. But these warlords justify their buggering boys by saying that they are not loving these ‘boys’ as women. (go figure). The Hindu’s are pretty bad too.

    But in this nation The American Evangelical religious right are the greatest detriment to any gay rights at all and must be combated and if it takes the son of one of them to come out I say Yeah!

  • Polaro

    @Deepdow: Apparently old enough to get under your thin skin.

  • Hansolo

    Christians can have him…..his a MAN U fan.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Polaro: And this story warms my Christian heart that Mr. Dobson has at least venture this far into the truth. Peoples’ hearts are being changed to accept the normal nature of being gay… THAT is a big turning point. Let’s be grateful!
    Dakotahgeo, Pastor/Chaplain

  • kittypryde

    @ LubbockGayMale Dr. James Dobson is a completely different person from the father of the man featured above, and one I don’t really have anything nice to say about. Ed Dobson, Daniel’s dad, actually has another son that pastors a pretty liberal church in Grand Rapids, MI, and I appreciate the step he’s taken within his own faith. Jesus seems, to me, to have spent a lot of time making “outsiders” his best friends, and he never said a thing about queer folks. Some Christians live their whole lives spreading hate and rejection in his name and never soften up and reconsider their positions. At least this older man has tried. (Also, he voted for Obama. I’m giving him some love for that.)

  • Billysees

    @Dakotahgeo: No. 30

    ” And this story warms my Christian heart that Mr. Dobson [Daniel] has at least ventured this far into the truth.

    Peoples’ hearts are being changed to accept the normal nature of being gay… THAT is a big turning point.

    Let’s be grateful! ”

    Important comment, especially “Let’s be grateful”.

  • beading_man

    In all the articles i read about the church & religion, I never see anything about the Metropolitan Community Church! I am christian & and proud to be a member of this church. It was founded for us back in the early 1970’s.
    I know that many churches out there say they believe in including everyone but this is the reason that MCC exists.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @beading_man: Right you are! The MCC was the first Open GLBT church in the 1970’s, founded by Troy Perry. There is a fine MCC church in Omaha, Kansas City, MO and many other states and world-wide! You are a member of one very fine church denomination!
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain (Ret.)

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Billysees: Thank you, Billysees!!! It is important to stress the CORRECT Dobson, as in Daniel. Kudos for catching that! Dak!

  • Billysees

    @beading_man: No. 34

    I went to the Metropolitan Community Church here in my hometown.

    It was during the Christmas season.

    The sermon was EXCELLENT.

    It was a beautiful testimony to the “power” that the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon this Church.

    You say, ” I never see anything about the Metropolitan Community Church! ”

    There are many “great” things the Spirit of God is doing that we seldom see or hear about, because they quietly do the work they’re supposed to.

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