This afternoon, Focus on the Family Action issued a strongly-worded press statement that Rev. James Dobson "cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain."
The cultural outreach arm of Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs-based evangelical religious center and publishing powerhouse, relayed Dobson's statement, which it stressed, was a personal opinion and not made on behalf of the tax-exempt nonprofit ministry.
"I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language.
I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has sounded at times more like a member of the other party. McCain actually considered leaving the GOP caucus in 2001, and approached John Kerry about being Kerry's running mate in 2004. McCain also said publicly that Hillary Clinton would make a good president. Given these and many other concerns, a spoonful of sugar does NOT make the medicine go down. I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.
But what a sad and melancholy decision this is for me and many other conservatives. Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can't vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life. These decisions are my personal views and do not represent the organization with which I am affiliated. They do reflect my deeply held convictions about the institution of the family, about moral and spiritual beliefs, and about the welfare of our country."
Much to the surprise of the conservative religious movement, Dobson also withheld an endorsement from fellow preacher Mike Huckabee's presidential bid at the Values Voter Summit last October, as reported by Colorado Confidential.
Mitt Romney's candidacy has not been well-received by religious leaders on the political left or right due to deep, long-standing theological differences between mainline Christians and the Church of Latter Day Saints, in which Romney is a prominent member.
While Dobson was not expected to throw his hat in the Romney camp, it has created a bit of a political pickle for him as Colorado's GOP establishment – long-time allies of Focus on the Family - are publicly supporting the former Massachusetts governor.