Leading family advocate James Dobson has urged California parents to leave the state’s government school system.

“In the state of California, if I had a child there, I wouldn’t put the youngster in a public school,” the president of Focus on the Family said in his daily radio broadcast Thursday.

“I think it’s time to get our kids out,” Dobson said. “And I’m going to get hit for (saying) that.”

A lobby group called the Alliance for the Separation of School & State said Dobson’s “comments on the state of public schooling may mark a key turning point in the critical education discussion.”

Dobson has more than 5 million listeners in the U.S. and is heard in another 100 countries.

“For years, James Dobson has supported three options for Christians: public schools, Christian schools and home schooling,” alliance president Marshall Fritz said in a statement. “With (Thursday’s) courageous and insightful statement, Dr. Dobson joins the millions of Americans who have concluded that many public schools are no place to train new generations of Americans.”

Fritz’s group has an online “Public Proclamation for the Separation of School and State” that has garnered more than 15,000 signatures. The petition calls for the end of government involvement in education.

He notes endorsement of the concept by religious leaders such as D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries in Florida; T.C. Pinckney, recently elected second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Tim LaHaye, author of the popular “Left Behind” series of novels; and Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Toward Tradition.

In a speech at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in February, Dobson noted that the California legislature has mandated the teaching of “homosexual propaganda” in the state’s public schools.

“They’re teaching them that bisexuality is normal and that homosexuality and heterosexuality are morally equivalent,” Dobson said.

On its website, however, Focus on the Family maintains there is still hope for public schools in general.

An article titled “Rebuilding Hope for Public Schools” states: “Schools still face formidable foes: postmodern secular teaching and liberal agendas, policies that need to change, overly large classes, problems with discipline and the need for higher academic standards. But if … we mix prayer with works, if parents are actively and prayerfully involved in their children’s education, the evidence shows that public schools can change.”

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