James Dobson

James Dobson is interviewed by LNP at the Eden Resort Thursday, June 21, 2018. He is in Lancaster to address a gathering at the Lancaster Alliance Church.

During an interview at Eden Resort & Suites on Thursday morning, Family Talk founder James Dobson said the partisan division in this country is comparable to what the nation faced the 1860s.

“The contentions between those holding differing views on political and social issues has never been this intense since the Civil War,” he said. “That has dangerous implications for the country, and I really hope we can find a way to find some middle ground or learn to agree with each other on that which we can agree on.”

(But finding middle ground is elusive, he said, because there are some issues that seem to preclude compromise.)

“I happen to be conservative, and so I come at things from that point of view, and there are just a lot of things that I’m not willing to compromise on —and neither are those on the other side, having to do with the sanctity of life and institution of marriage.”

Dobson, a psychologist who is perhaps best known as the founder of Focus on the Family, is in Lancaster for a meeting of the board of directors of Family Talk, the nonprofit ministry he established in 2010 that uses biblical principles to support marriage, family and child development. He also will take part in a question-and-answer session at Lancaster Alliance Church on Sunday.

Dobson addressed other issues during the interview. His comments were edited for length.

On President Donald Trump’s executive order ending the separation of undocumented immigrants’ children from their parents

I think what the president did (Wednesday) in seeking to reach an accommodation with the Democrats is a good thing. I don’t think anyone in the country is comfortable with children being separated from their parents. Essentially, it is the result of bad policy in regard to immigration.

On President Trump

He is a flawed vessel, but so am I. I’ve worked now with five presidents (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump), and they’ve all been less than perfect.

Trump has not lived a perfect life, but I feel like he has met every promise made to the evangelical community. That angers a lot of people; it pleases me. ... I think these are deeply felt convictions. I think he really does want America to be greater. I’m not among those harshest critics who can’t wait to throw him out of office.

On Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to quote the Bible to justify the administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy

At no time since the beginning of this country would it have been offensive for someone to quote the Bible. It just shows the changes that have occurred spiritually and morally in this country. Jeff Sessions is a friend of mine, and what he did I don’t think was all that offensive.

On parenting

It’s a two-person job. It doesn’t always work that way, but that’s the way it was designed. Both men and women, mothers and fathers, have a significant role to play in the lives of children, and in the absence of that, you have children raised without discipline, guidance. ... Single mothers, they do a wonderful job with what they have, but it’s an impossible assignment.

On marriage

This is where there’s such disagreement and contention. I believe marriage is designed to be between a man and woman. That’s the way it was intended. I am not an advocate of same-sex marriage.

On a same-sex couple raising a child

That’s an individual situation, and you have to look at the people and how committed they are to their children. I think boys and girls need the role models that are provided by a father and a mother. I believe that’s the way it works best.