What Did James Dobson Tell the National Association of Evangelicals When It Invited Bill Clinton to Its “Annual Event?”

Brantley Gasaway, an American religious historian at Bucknell University and author of the excellent Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justicetweeted this letter today in response to my Washington Post piece on the court evangelicals. It comes from the archives of the National Association of Evangelicals at Wheaton College.

The letter is written from James Dobson of Focus on the Family to Robert “Bob” Dugan Jr., the director of the NAE’s Office of Public Affairs.  Dobson is worried that if President Bill Clinton was invited to this NAE event it would “divide the evangelical community.”

Yes, times have changed.

Here is a transcription:

Feb[ruary 26, [19]94

Bob, My Friend

I think NAE has made a serious costly mistake by inviting the President to your annual event.  He wants to divide the evangelical community. NAE just helped him do it.  I’m disappointed!  Jim.


Does anyone know if Clinton came to this “annual event?”

6 thoughts on “What Did James Dobson Tell the National Association of Evangelicals When It Invited Bill Clinton to Its “Annual Event?”

  1. I think that inviting Clinton was a violation of the party line. Democrats can’t be true Christians. The invite could be seen as a rebuttal to all the horrible things Dobson and others were saying about him. How dare they!


  2. My sense is that Dobson wasn’t concerned about the NAE getting involved in politics, but was afraid that the charismatic-but-Democrat Clinton might win some support if he spoke at the meeting.


  3. I don’t get it. Evangelicals are often criticized for voting by litmus test, but when they tip the balance of their vote between principles and pragmatism a little (or a lot) more towards pragmatism to meet the demands of the times, they are ripping apart the gospel. Ludicrous. I’m not voting for the pope.


  4. I’m afraid Dr. Dobson’ response was correct- and is still so today. I feel evangelicals are very divided today.


  5. As I last recalled Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are still married and are doing extremely well now. So these backwoods evangelist like Jerry Falwell Jr., Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen and Franklin Graham really need to read the Parables of Jesus the messiah in the New Testament closely,because them reading out the Old Testament is really confusing the Jewish Rabbis,

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