COLORADO SPRINGS (Christian Examiner) – Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Family Talk, has officially endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump's candidacy for president of the United States, and not just because he fears another Clinton presidency.
In a press release July 22, Dobson said he decided to endorse the New York billionaire as "the most capable candidate to lead the United States of America in this complicated hour."
Dobson also said he was enthusiastic about Trump's choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate. Pence was raised Roman Catholic but is now a member of an evangelical Christian church.
Like many social conservatives, Dobson said a Trump presidency would be especially important because of the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices the next president will appoint – potentially four over the next eight years. Dobson also said Trump would help "preserve religious liberty, rebuild the military, and defend the sanctity of human life."
Trump for most of his adult life was pro-choice, until – he claims – a personal experience with a pro-life friend caused him to switch his position. Trump has not offered details on who the friend was or what the circumstances of the experience were.
"On the issue of abortion, I choose not to evaluate him based on his past position but rather on what he says are his current convictions. I believe God can change the hearts and minds of people and I celebrate when they support principles of righteousness," Dobson said.
Dobson said he based his decision largely on the way in which Trump's children talked about him. He said children cannot be made to talk about their parent in a certain way.
"That is one of a man's most significant affirmations," Dobson said.
Dobson said he was making his endorsement as an individual and not on behalf of any ministry or organization. But, he added, "I can tell you most evangelicals I know have decided for various reasons that they will really have only have one choice for president, and that is Donald J. Trump. I believe it's a good choice. America needs strong and competent leadership."
Dobson was part of a group of evangelical leaders that met with Trump immediately prior to the Republican National Convention. At the meeting, Trump reportedly fielded questions and at least convinced the leaders that he was sincere in his Christian faith, though he has still been unable to discuss it in terms familiar to evangelical Christians.
Dobson said earlier this month that Trump is a "baby Christian who doesn't have a clue about how believers think, talk and act."
Dobson also has agreed to serve along with 25 other ministry and political leaders – including Jerry Falwell Jr., Jack Graham, Robert Jeffress, Ben Carson and Michelle Bachmann – on a faith advisory committee for Trump.
"We've all agreed to serve. How will that play out if Trump becomes president? I don't know. It is a good start, I would think," Dobson said.
"Only the Lord knows the condition of a person's heart. I can only tell you what I've heard. First, Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit. I also hear that Paula White has known Trump for years and that she personally led him to Christ. Do I know that for sure? No. Do I know the details of that alleged conversion? I can't say that I do."
White is a prosperity preacher who most conservative evangelicals charge with spreading false teaching about the Gospel. She has also been accused of fleecing her congregants of millions of dollars.