Evangelical Christian leader James Dobson, an author, psychologist, and founder of Focus on the Family, released a new video Wednesday restating his December endorsement of Texas Senator Ted Cruz and emphasizing the need to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antontin Scalia. His video also attacked Florida Senator Marco Rubio and real estate tycoon Donald Trump as unreliable on conservative issues.
I know Ted, and he’s a Christian family man of the utmost integrity. His wife Heidi will be the very first pro-life first lady. With Justice Scalia’s death, we need a president who will defend the Constitution and nominate conservatives to the high court. His name is Ted Cruz.
Dobson insisted that he was endorsing Cruz “as a private citizen,” not as a Christian leader. Nevertheless, he added that he was joining “thousands of conservative pastors and laymen in endorsing Senator Ted Cruz.”
On issues, however, he was much less guarded. He praised Cruz as a conservative stallwart, but attacked Rubio and Trump as unreliable on issues of life and traditional marriage.
For us, the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage are nonnegotiable.Ted as been relentless in defending the institution of the family. After Donald Trump and Marco Rubio announced that they would accept the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, we knew we could not support them. Our decision was confirmed when they opposed Senator Cruz’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
Rubio has denied the allegation that he did not fight to defund Planned Parenthood. Carol Tobias, president of the pro-life organization National Right to Life, insisted that Cruz and Rubio “have voted the same on every roll call that National Right to Life regards as pertinent to defunding Planned Parenthood.
On the gay marriage decision, however, Dobson’s attack hits the mark. After the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Rubio declared that “while I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law.” He did insist, however, that “it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.”
As for Trump, in August, he explained that while he opposes public funding for abortion, he accepts government funding to the organization Planned Parenthood. On the gay marriage decision, Trump blamed George W. Bush for appointing Justice John Roberts — and Jeb Bush for also backing the appointment — and he has recently promised to nominate justices who would reverse it.
Once again the Bush appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has let us down. Jeb pushed him hard! Remember!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2015
Dobson’s video comes on the day South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is set to endorse Rubio, as the primary turns ugly in the last days before the South Carolina primary on Saturday.
The evangelical split between Cruz and Rubio (and to some extent Trump) breaks down to age (older evangelical leaders back Cruz, younger ones Rubio), immigration stance, and differing approaches on the relationship of church and state. The Christian Post’s Napp Nazworth has an excellent breakdown here.