updated 9/2/2009 7:01:25 PM ET 2009-09-02T23:01:25

Focus on the Family announced Wednesday it is laying off 8 percent of its work force, casualties of the latest budget shortfall at the influential conservative Christian group.

Seventy-five employees will lose their jobs and an additional 57 vacant positions will remain unfilled, said Gary Schneeberger, spokesman for the evangelical ministry founded by child psychologist James Dobson.

The cutbacks are necessary because projections show the group will fall 5 percent short of a $138 million budget for the fiscal year ending this month, Schneeberger said.

Focus on the Family president and CEO Jim Daly wrote to donors in July asking for help in addressing a "serious budget shortfall." Schneeberger said a decline in giving from large donors was the primary culprit.

The cutbacks include a staffer at "Love Won Out," a conference series about "overcoming" same-sex attractions that Focus on the Family announced last month would be ceded to another religious organization.

An in-house ad agency also will be closed, Schneeberger said. The layoffs will leave Focus on the Family with about 860 employees, down from a peak 1,400.

Last fall, budget problems prompted the group to eliminate more than 200 positions, the largest staff reduction in its history.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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