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James Dobson Calls for Assassination of Vladimir Putin

By Josh Shepherd
james dobson vladimir putin
Christian psychologist and cultural commentator James Dobson (left) is calling for the assassination of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photos: JDFI / PPIO / Creative commons)

Christian psychologist and cultural commentator James Dobson is calling for the assassination of Russian President Vladimir Putin, stating in a newsletter: “Some murderous tyrants need to be ‘taken out’ to save innocent lives. That, at least, is my view.”

Writing to supporters of Dr. James Dobson Family Institute based in Colorado Springs, Dobson addressed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and quoted Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who stated in a March 3 tweet referring to Putin: “The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.”

The White House and several foreign policy leaders, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have since denounced that statement.

In his monthly ministry newsletter, Dobson excerpted Graham’s statement and commented: “Sen. Graham has been criticized vigorously for his comment. I was shocked at first, but now believe he was right.”

For decades, Christian psychologist and author Dobson, 85, has been known for speaking out on public policy issues, and has been called by some journalists a “kingmaker” of Republican politicians.

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Dobson preceded his comments on Putin by writing he has a “heavy heart” about “multiple tragedies occurring to the gentle people of Ukraine.” He specifically noted the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol, shocking scenes of children dying, and millions of fleeing refugees.

In concluding his letter, Dobson wrote that Putin followed a strategy of “nuclear blackmail” that “could lead to WWIII.” He added, “It does appear to me that we are entering what has been referred to by biblical scholars as ‘end time events.’”

Dobson’s remarks were similar to those of televangelist Pat Robertson, who recently said biblical prophecy is “coming to pass” through the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Robertson, longtime host of The 700 Club, in 2005 called for U.S. forces to assassinate the leader of Venezuela.

Within the 920-word letter, Dobson notes that he consulted experts on the conflict but did not name them. He also states at one point: “What I have written here could prove to be entirely off base.” Neither the letter, nor the Dobson ministry website, mentions any humanitarian aid or missions initiatives related to Ukraine.

The Roys Report reached out to the PR firm for Dr. James Dobson Family Institute but did not hear back by publication time.  

mark tooley
Mark Tooley

Mark Tooley, who worked for eight years at the Central Intelligence Agency, today serves as president of The Institute on Religion and Democracy, which advocates for Christian orthodoxy and democratic values in church and society. In a statement to The Roys Report, he said religious leaders “often don’t speak to statecraft very well.”

Responding to Dobson’s remarks, Tooley said: “For a Christian leader to call directly for a foreign leader’s assassination without careful reflection is unwise. It’s better to pray that Russians reclaim their sovereignty from their tyrant, the details of which are likely outside the expertise of any Christian leader in the U.S.”

As editor of Providence Magazine, a journal on foreign policy that emphasizes religious freedom, Tooley and his team have published dozens of articles regarding the current Russia-Ukraine conflict. He further told The Roys Report: “Russians obviously would be correct to remove their tyrant from power, hopefully in a way that does not lead to chaos or replace one tyrant with another.”

Recently launched nonprofit group American Values Coalition (AVC) advocates for Americans and particularly people of faith to engage politics with nonpartisan civility. Commenting on Dobson’s remarks, Napp Nazworth of AVC lamented how “confidently stating your uninformed opinions in an engaging way can yield a large audience” in many Christian circles.

“Our political engagement too often looks like Cliff Clavin, sitting at the Cheers bar, spouting off opinions,” said Nazworth. “Just having an opinion doesn’t mean you know anything.”

He said AVC advocates for churches to engage difficult foreign policy issues in a “deliberate, thoughtful way,” with theologians and experts in conversation with one another.

For Tooley’s part, his group has chronicled the current needs of Ukrainian churches and how Christians can help. “Churches in the U.S. should pray for Ukraine’s survival and victory, for Russia’s defeat, (and) for decent government to prevail in Russia.”

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.



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43 Responses

  1. My human reaction to Putin’s actions is also to wish that someone would take him out, But the Holy Spirit then reminds me, “Thou shalt not kill,” and “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (and presumably pray for those who persecute others). As Christians we must remember that we are to be holy, different from the world–in thoughts, words, and actions. And we can only do that when we allow God’s Spirit and His Word to guide us.

    1. So Lisa I guess as a veteran I’m not a Christian? Or since I only loaded the bombs vs being the pilot who released them clears me? Phewwww. Lucky me. Those scriptures are either poorly written and naive to say or all veterans are in a lot of trouble.

  2. In short, Dobson is in his dotage. He must think his medical credentials give him an insight into history. Perhaps he even never really knew what happened a day or two before Kristallnacht.

    Yet, as we all recall from Sunday school, Jesus did call for the assassination of Pilate and Caesar. And Paul called for the assassination of Nero. And Saint John called for the assassination of Domitian. I hereby apologize for what I just said in the first paragraph. How myopic of me! Perhaps even Dobson will do the deal.

    James Lutzweiler
    Archivist (1999-2013)
    Southeastern Baptist theological seminary

    1. Assassination has no place coming out of a true Christians mouth. Only God should take life unless it’s self defense!!! And when in the Bible did Jesus call for an assasnation! Didn’t he defend the soldier who’s ear the disciple lopped off and restore him. Now Dobson is 85 I give him a pass since I’ve worked with older folks.

      1. you said ” unless its in self defence”, killing putin IS self defence and Gods justice as it would stop the war and bring Gods judgement to putin for the 3000+ murders he has committed. if someone is going through a mall killing people with a AK47 would God want me to kill that person to stop further killing OR should I let him continue to kill the innocent? murderers are guilty and God ordains the death penalty for them. do police have the right to arrest a crimilal? or kill someone who is murdering people in a mall?

        1. James B,

          “killing putin IS self defence and Gods justice as it would stop the war and bring Gods judgement to putin for the 3000+ murders he has committed.”

          How is it “self” defense? Are you in the Ukraine?

          Has God spoken to you personally about His justice/judgement for Putin? Please share how this was revealed to you. Jesus was pretty specific about what will happen in the world, see Matthew 24, it isn’t pretty and it is going to get a lot worse than what is happening in Ukraine.

          According to Jesus any of us that has hate/anger towards another has broken the “shall not murder” commandment, so how do you justify your comment about killing Putin.

          The mall shooting/police example is a false comparison/deflection/gaslighting nonsense.

      2. Wow again like with Lisa’s comments I guess as a veteran I’m in deep deep trouble. If those scriptures actually apply then since 1775 every veteran is a horrible sinner.

      3. So killing a dad bringing home water to his family and the daughters all excited that dads home was self defense vs murder? Americans have such a simplistic way of using scripture to make themselves feel all in tune with God.

  3. Ahhh nothing like good old right wing evangelicals to be so in touch with Jesus. Another evangelical who is on some senate committee and is a deacon at his god fearing Christian church said (google it) nothing is off the table including a nuke first strike. So I understand. We okay with assassinating Putin, we ok with first strike nukes. What if Putin takes it to heart and says let’s hit first!!!! Are these chick hawks with there false bravado ready to have one of our cities hit or Biden assassinated???? Wow I am so overwhelmed with the bravado of those who would go crazy with excuses if Putin did those two things first.

  4. James Dobson’s endorsement of assassinating Putin is unfortunate. Mark Tooley of The Institute on Religion and Democracy, quoted here, rightly states that religious leaders “often don’t speak to statecraft very well.” The fact that Dobson is restating a similar comment from Senator Graham and Dobson’s disclaimer that “I may be entirely off-base here” are unhelpful. His credibility is tainted and more broadly, Dobson undermines the credibility of clear-minded evangelicals who frequently find themselves frustrated by such misguided portrayals of the gospel.

  5. This reminds me of what Jesus didn’t say on the cross: “Assassinate them Father, for they know not what they do”.

  6. Of all the issues that the world faces, James thought he needed to speak to this one? The death of Putin? We already have politicians and others who have given their opinion on this topic.
    I know there are some who dream of the government being run by evangelicals but sometimes I truly believe that dream would turn into a big honking nightmare. Now I will quote Dobson, “I may be entirely off base here.” Yep, I feel better having this disclaimer so I really don’t have to own my opinion.

  7. Thousands of people have prayed intensely for Putin to reconsider his efforts. God has not answered those prayers in that manner. Is HE saying NO, or is HE saying Wait, or is HE saying, “You ask amiss.” Dear LORD, show us Your plans here. Are you punishing countries and people who don’t honor You any more? And please, direct our paths!

  8. It would probably be best if religious leaders would stick to religion, and stay away from international politics.

    Dobson here reminds me of Billy Graham, who attempted in 1972 to get Nixon to bomb the dikes in North Vietnam to flood cities, killing a million civilians. This would have been a war crime, probably the worst one ever.

  9. It’s one thing to acknowledge that the world would be a better place if Putin were no longer among the living. It’s another thing entirely, though, to advocate for his murder.

    1. Kathleen based on American non stop wars and interference in the ME and Latin America and Africa maybe some people feel the same about our leaders. We have been at war since 1953 and other than WW2 we haven’t won a war and every country we touch is worse off then before we allegedly was bringing freedom and democracy to them. Not one country is better off. Maybe it’s time to stay home and worry about our own freedoms and democracy.

  10. on this rare occasion I AGREE 100% with james dobson. if someone was going through a mall with a AK47 and killing people would Jesus support the killing of that shooter to stop him from killing more people? YES he would. Does Jesus support the death penalty for murderers? YES he does. putin is murdering thousands in ukraine right now, I support someone killing putin, its Gods justice. if you disagree then WHY do we even have prisons? or a military?

    1. James Buckley, you make a good point/observation. I am just wondering why Dobson felt the need to make his thoughts known on the matter.

      1. Billy it’s called virtue signaling and keeping the evangelical industrial complex line of false bravado and show of strength while knowing there kids ain’t going to war

    2. James B,

      “Does Jesus support the death penalty for murderers? YES he does.”

      Do you have a scripture reference?

  11. Perhaps we should all meditate on the parable of the wheat and the tares and remember that we were told they must just be allowed to grow together until that Last Trumpet blows…

  12. I’m Shocked! Shocked I tell you! I mean, I would expect Dobson – a proponent of beating your children with a wooden spoon so as not to “spare the rod” would be much more gracious and simply encourage a sound beating for Putin – after all – if it worked for your kids…

  13. I’m sure that many are advocating for the assassination of Putin but such thoughts are best kept private and not made public.

  14. We removed Saddam Hussein from power, and the results have been incalculably awful. These things can sound good in theory, but you can’t have a lot of confidence in how well they’ll actually play out.

    I pray that responsible, high-ranking officials and generals in Russia have already decided among themselves that there’s a limit to what they will do for Vladimir Putin, and that this limit has just about been reached.

  15. I read some of Dobson’s books and followed some of his advice way back when he was just a psychologist. Some of it was good. But then he pretty much gave himself over to the culture wars and politics (and became more well known and wealthy as a result), and I haven’t really seen anything good come of it.

    Calling for anyone’s assassination is far from what Christians are called to do and how we are called to live.

  16. Remember during the Clinton-Lewinsky era, Dobson emphasized the importance of character when voting for POTUS candidates?

  17. Wow! Suddenly those who deem any Christian leader who sin, or are merely wrong, as unqualified and irredeemable, suddenly become apologists of the mantle of God’s authority for despots. Seems we’re to be pacifist evangelists, rather than fighting against on-going terror? It rather seems that this article accomplished its goal: to generate outrage and judgment against Bible believing, conservative Christians

  18. Dobson says it’s just his view. And an assassination in the midst of a war is not murder. If people get outraged about Dobson’s view, so be it. People will rage about anything; there’s no satisfying the crowd. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor himself, plotted to assassinate Hitler. It’s not like Dobson has connections with Russian higher-ups who are listening to him. Let Dobson give his view. I like to hear different views. They don’t scare or outrage me.

  19. A lot of politically correct hand-wringing here. Your site (rightly) criticizes “conservative” Christians who toe the line for Putin, and yet you are slamming this elder brother and statesman of the faith for (rightly) calling for a very just fate for a mass-murdering reincarnation of his idol, Joseph Stalin. This is getting nuts.

    1. Brian are you serious? How about the war loving bush administration who started the slaughtering of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan over twenty years. On a lie of WMDs. Why are they not called out? Bidens drones dropped bombs on an innocent family of a dad and kids excited that dad was home with water and some called it an error. If I killed a family by discharging a weapon in the air it’s called manslaughter. And whose idol? The evangelicals have had there hand in encouraging war going back to 1969 when billy graham (google it) encouraged Nixon the bomb the dikes in north Vietnam to causes the destruction of the farmlands.

      1. Gary, Thank you for pointing out regarding WMD’s and our most recent murder of innocent children, a father, in Afghanistan . USA has murdered 100’s of thousands if not millions of humans overseas not one regret or admission from any Christan Protestant church that I know of. American “christians”run around in their C501C-3 suburban churches more concerned with membership, parking lot size, programs, entertainment during services. Judgement begins in the house of The Lord, God knows our grievous sins of abortion, corrupt ministers, using the pulpit to promote themselves. Never ever is there an outcry from any famous minister for the wanton sins permeating the industrial, commercial, church business. God is waking up many inside the organized church institutions, calling them out to Himself. As God exposes the absolute corruption of our entire government, He is exposing the corruption within the church. We must return to first century Christian faith, enduring hardships for Jesus names sake. Jesus promised persecution if we are doing His will. Speak out about the sins of abortion, lgbqtq+=/- , promiscuity, worshipping false gods, ignoring the rampant sins of our nation and people. Stand up for Jesus when called upon, Dobson calling for assasination of Putin ??!! This exposes his actual internal christian state. That comment is reckless, childish, shows complete lack of understanding what is really happening. WOKE, PC, liberal theology, social justice, is his true convictions.

        1. “As God exposes the absolute corruption of our entire government, He is exposing the corruption within the church.”

          Good comment, Andrius – tis true!

        2. Andrius. Thank you for being brave. I can’t believe how quiet our churches are about the evil within our war mongering govt and the church. Read a great book called THE FAMILY. Scary how godless our evangelicals are. They run the annual president prayer breakfast. Outside of that, they ain’t no Christian I’d want to follow.

        3. Gary Weigel,

          Among other things you’re known for making unhinged, conspiratorial rants against “the Zionists”… i.e. the chosen people of the First Covenant of God and those who support them. But, anyway…

          If you truly can’t see a difference between a flawed, misguided war with good intentions and one explicitly launched to murder as many civilians as possible… I’ve got nothing.

          1. Then Brian unfortunately you have nothing. America slaughters millions. Per you that’s called mis guided with good intentions. Putin attacks Ukraine. All bad. Go visit a VA hospital and see what our good intentions have done to our fellow citizens.

  20. Does anyone in biblical christianity study what the Ukraine/ Putin are actually engaged in ? Our USA president Joe Bidens son Hunter, working for Burisma oil at $83,333.00/ mo. his father Joe as VP Obama extorted UKR Gov to fire a supeme court judge there from investigating his son. [Laptops now in possesion of US Justice sysyem now]John Kerrys son, Nancy Pelosis son, Mitt Romneys son, The Clintons, Bushes, even Obama, have been working and/or laundering dirty money there. 14 Bioweapons labs fundeded by USA DOD, active since early 2000’s , Obama as a junior senator was there on site in 2004-5 to see a USA bioweapons lab being built.USA overthrough a democratically electred president in 2013-15 yrs, intstalling Zelensky who is an actor, NAzi AZOV battalion leader. Child sex trafficing, organ harvesting, human trafficing, all things squalid are UKR. Putin had no choice and has gone in removed all bioweapons labs evidence/ drugs/ eqpt, for evidence then destroyed these sites. US lying government denied existence of labs now are forced to admit. Putin is actually destroying the very cabal that is behind cv19/ mandates, passports based on false planned agendas. Dobson is a 501-C3 corrupted individual. Christians need to stop believing lying MSM news. I feel sorry for UKR civilians caught in between. How about our southern border flooding millions of undocumented children, criminals, drugs, wheres Dobson on this ?

    1. Andrius your my hero. And where is Dobson on our border? The same place all the American evangelical industrial complex is!!!!! No where.

      1. Gary ! Thanks for the support, I am a 40 yr Born again Christian man. Been thru the evangelical circus called churchs out there currently. I truly believe God is exposing the absolutely corrupted church business complex in these days. Attended the finest out there for decades, was a real devout “churchman”. Then.. begain to experience pushback from “woke-PC” fellow church members as I began to call out rebellion in homo/ lesbian agenda as it creeped into our congregation. Elders, Deacons, older spiritual mature women openly supporting Hillary in 2016. I asked them ” don’t you know who she is ? ” How can you as a Christian knowingly support an abortionist, LGBQ radical feminist, a satanist, Lying, extorting, selling USSR 20% of USA uranium. She is implicated in child sex trafficing, Epstein island regular visitor with her husband bubba. Suburban church homies don’t want to rock any boats, Jesus wants us to welcome and accept all these lifestyles to show love. Not one christian pastor I know of has spoken out against any of the massive deceptions of the past 3 years hoisted upon the world. We just want to get back to normal… What NORMAL ? God is gathering his remnant to prepare them for the massive spiritual battle the world is decending into. God will not be mocked, He always keeps a remnant to carruy out His will. Gary you sound like a spiritually awake brother. God bless you, and thank you for your service.

  21. Would really appreciate it if when people attempt to quote Scripture that they actually use the the words that God used rather than just kinda make stuff up.

    there is not a place in the Bible where it says, “thou shalt not kill”

    Just like there is not a place in the Bible where it says that God helps those who help themselves, or any other nonsensical drivel that so often the Bible is credited with saying.

    the Bible specifically says, “thou shalt not murder.”

    Big difference and as an American Veteran, and a follower of Christ, it is a difference that I take very seriously.

    The irony to some of the statement made either out of ignorance or a misplaced understanding of Scripture is that the Bible is full of the commands of God declaring that the people of God should “kill” those who stand opposed to the glory of God.

    Second, the quote, “the details of which are likely outside the expertise of any Christian leader in the U.S.” is incredibly dangerous on several levels. Just take a moment and think through the consequences of that statement when we have a President who has openly called for the assassination of Putin as well.

    Ill advised? Of course! But to say that a “Christian leader” does not have the expertise to handle it better…. wow… serious consequences to a statement like that.

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