New Focus on the Family Chief Wants 'More Families Like Obama's'

New CEO says he wants more families like Obama's and common ground on making abortion rare.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Imagine you're at Focus on the Family to watch founder James Dobson formally step down from the board after three decades. The newly powerful ministry president—the micro-managerial Dobson is now officially powerless—steps to the mic and says: "What we want to see are more families like Barack Obama's."

Would never happen, right?

Well, it already has. The Denver Post reports on Focus's newish CEO, Jim Daly, who wants to trade Focus's image as a Christian right group in for one of as a family-focused ministry. After all, apolitical, family-focused work still absorbs the vast majority of Focus's resources.

A few key graphs on how Daly plans to drastically change Focus's approach to politics and public policy:

Dobson rarely engaged directly and publicly with political opponents, although he sometimes met them behind the scenes. Daly expects to be more open.

"We're in a democracy. How do we express Christian ethos in a way that draws people into the discussion?" Daly asked. "We are the church. We have to be more understanding and not expect the world to act like the church. We also don't accept the church acting like the world...."

When Dobson stepped down, he said a few words on the occasion. And then Daly spoke.

"What we want to see are more families like Barack Obama's," Daly said.

"Everybody's jaw went clunk, including Dr. Dobson's," Daly recalled, laughing. "But we can respect what Obama does well. We can focus more on the positive. And I respect his family."

Daly says he is results-oriented, not an ideologue.

"When those who are right, left and center all say, 'Let's make abortion rare,' let's meet at that starting point," Daly said. "Let's shove off the rhetoric and get together on practical matters."