The Washington Times - September 12, 2008, 10:17AM

CNN anchor Lou Dobbs this morning told a few thousand Christian conservatives that he respects their values but that they need to move beyond the issues of gay marriage and abortion to be effective.

Mr. Dobbs, touting himself as an “independent populist” and as a “heathen,” said he admired ands supported religious conservatives but told the Values Voters Summit, hosted by the Family Research Council at the Washington Hilton, that their focus on a few hot-button issues is “not sufficient.”

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“I beseech you to understand that … there is an economic component,” he said. “I hope you will consider those stresses on the American family that go beyond those so-called traditional values.”

“Bring your boys to the public square, the public debate. Please do not be cloistered around two or three values, two or three issues,” he said. “Please, reach beyond what the idealogues expect of you.”

“I would hope you would be independent thinkers, not part of an orthodoxy of any kind.”

Mr. Dobbs said that the biggest problem in America is not the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or the economy, but rather the absence of majority rule.

“This town is dominated by special interests,” Mr. Dobbs said. “The voice of citizens all over this country cannot be heard in this town and won’t be heard … until we push back against the forces that are arrayed against everything this country stands for.”