Focus on the Family/Wikimedia Commons
Dr. James Dobson
, a book announced
this week by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy about "how different races, life experiences, and pathways can lead to a deep friendship," shares the same publisher as a controversial psychologist and Christian leader who has made a career rallying religious conservatives against LGBT and women's reproductive rights.
As one of the largest Christian publishing houses, Tyndale House Publishers' titles include various translations of the Bible, self-help books, and even ecclesiastical spy and romance novels.
Their author portfolio includes Christian celebrities like Chuck Norris, former NFL coach Tony Dungy, politicians like Scott and Gowdy, and Dr. James Dobson
, the founder of Focus on the Family.
Dobson has been described as the nation's pre-eminent Christian leader
whose following at his peak may have even rivaled
that of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. From the 1980s into the 2000s, Dobson built Focus on the Family
into one of the nation's most powerful special interest groups, using its immense influence to promote conservative Christian beliefs in the American legal and political systems. One of the group's particular targets has been slowing
the "movement to protect and promote homosexual rights."
"No one has spread the anti-gay gospel as widely, or with as much political impact, as James Dobson," the Southern Poverty Law Center said in 2005.
David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons
Focus on the Family is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Focus on the Family, its offshoot groups, and Dobson himself have consistently campaigned against gay rights, adoption by same-sex couples
, emergency contraceptives
, sex education
, stem cell research
, legalizing marijuana
, and more. Present-day efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, stall pro-choice judges, and slow the movement for LGBT equality can be traced through Dobson and the groups he founded.
Dobson stepped away from Focus on the Family in 2009, but its work today remains largely the same. A recent post
on its website counsels followers on how to react "When transgenderism enters your world."
The Southern Poverty Law Center named
the Dobson-founded spinoff Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group in 2010, a designation
it maintains today.
Last fall, Sen. Scott made his second appearance
at the Family Research Council's Value Voters Summit
in Washington, optimistic for young Americans who believe "the foundation of this nation is the word of God." ("God bless homeschooling," Scott noted.) Other speakers included then-candidate Donald Trump, Duck Dynasty
star Phil Robertson, former Rep. Michele Bachmann, and a slew of other conservative stars. Scott has also been a guest on current Focus on the Family President Jim Daly's radio show.
Sen. Tim Scott spoke at the 2016 Value Voters Summit hosted by the Dobson-founded Family Research Council.
Scott and Gowdy have both worked against LGBT rights and for initiatives like defunding Planned Parenthood in an effort to tighten abortion restrictions. Scott voted against
the Employment Nondiscrimination Act in 2013, a measure that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2011, Gowdy, an attorney and former state prosecutor, equated laws banning gay marriage to laws banning incest and polygamy while questioning
Attorney General Eric Holder on the enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act. Scott and Gowdy both have a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign [PDF
Tyndale House says the purpose
of its business is to "Minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles."
is available for pre-order now.
Tyndale says the book will show Scott and Gowdy's friendship as "a model for others seeking true reconciliation."