Through our interview, Jim Daly was nothing but deferential to Focus founder James Dobson, who left in 2010 and started a ministry and media outfit with his son Ryan. But Daly and Dobson certainly bring different approaches to Focus' work, and it's perhaps most obvious when you see their words side-by-side.
We're aware that the small series of comparisons below is hardly scientific: Until Daly has 15 years to make headlines himself, in talking with audiences of all stripes, there's not a truly fair comparison to be made. But it's striking, nonetheless, to see how different he can sound from his predecessor.
On same-sex marriage
Dobson: "Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth." — As quoted in The Daily Oklahoman, Oct. 23, 2004
Daly: "How can [a civil union] be done in such a way that it recognizes where the culture's at and the needs that are between same-sex couples? And I think if those laws can be written in such a way to strengthen their legal rights, but still protect marriage as a special union between a man and a woman, for the sake of the culture, the sake of rearing children, procreation, all those things, I think that is something that is being talked about."
Dobson: "I have to say that his win causes me enormous concern, because he will be the most committed pro-abortion president in our history, even supporting infanticide for babies who survive botched abortions." — From a radio broadcast, November 2008, included in an article on lifenews.com
Daly: "I think President Obama, I don't agree with much of the policy there, but at least he's married to his first wife raising his biological kids! And one of the few politicians in that regard. So I give — you got to, for intellectual honesty's sake — you've got to say, 'Well done!'"
Dobson: "We've been at the back of the bus for too long. It is time for us to either seek accommodation with conservative politicians — or else find new leaders to represent us." — From a letter to Newt Gingrich, quoted in the Independent in 1996
Daly: "Focus on the Family wants to continue to focus on the family, and CitizenLink would be more active in the area of public policy."
On abortion in the modern age
Dobson: "We tried to defend the unborn child, the dignity of the family, but it was a holding action. We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged." — From an April 2009 speech
Daly: "We know there's desperate situations for women when they have an unplanned pregnancy. [But] we would love to see abortion radically reduced."
— J. Adrian Stanley