Focus on the Family

Where Does Focus On The Family Stand On The "Ground Zero Mosque"?

While some Religious Right groups have made it very clear that they oppose the construction of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero in New York City despite their so-called commitments to religious freedom, other groups have remained rather silent. 

As far as I can tell, the only comment the Family Research Council has made on this issue came in the form of this radio commentary back in June:

Muslims are gaining ground all right--Ground Zero. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Nine years after terrorists forever altered the New York City skyline, an Islamic leader is threatening to do it again--this time, by building a mosque three blocks from where the twin towers collapsed. To the families of 9-11, this 13-story project is the ultimate insult. "This is a burial ground," said a dad who lost his son in the attack. The man who bought the land said his people's only goal was peace. But that'll be a tough sell in a city that lost 3,000 to his religion's extremists. Besides, if he really cared about harmony, he'd have picked a less offensive location. Instead, he's building a monument to Islam on a site where terrorists committed mass-murder in Allah's name. For years, Muslims have said we need to be sensitive to their needs, their customs, their rights. But is there anything more insensitive than creating a foundation for shar'iah law on the graves that its fanatics killed?

Other Religious Right groups don't appear particularly eager to take a position on the issue either:

The Becket Fund, which describes itself as a "public interest law firm protecting the free expression of all religious traditions," has been notably silent considering how outspoken it has been in the past. In addition to helping the Third Church of Christ, Scientist in Washington, DC sue the city using RLUIPA in 2008, the fund represented a New Jersey mosque in 2006 in a RLIUPA case claiming that the city of Wayne, N.J., was "improperly and arbitrarily delaying the mosque's land development application" due to "community anti-Moslem hostility." The group is normally not shy about wading into public debates, and recently caused a minor furor by reading nefarious intent into President Obama's use of the phrase "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion." Its silence may be related to its conservative political backers. For instance, Newt Gingrich, who has loudly opposed Cordoba House, served as honorary vice chair of one of its annual black-tie dinners.

The Alliance Defense Fund, another conservative religious rights group that has made frequent use of RLUIPA cases, has also stayed out of the debate. "We've been asked by a few outlets," a spokesperson told The Upshot. "We're not commenting."

The Upshot spoke with just one person within this ecosystem of religious rights organizations who was neither silent nor contradicting past actions: Matthew Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a religious rights law firm associated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

"The Constitution cuts both ways," Staver said. "I think you have to be principled from a legal perspective, because the First Amendment is a double-edged sword."

Which brings us to this new report from Stuart Shepard and Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family's Citizenlink voicing their outrage over a church being shut down in Georgia for violating zoning regulations:

Hausknecht: Well here's the problem: for some reason, around the country cities and counties and other municipalities are hostile to churches, they don't want them for some reason or another. Usually its taxes ...

Shepard: The fact that they don't pay property taxes.

Hausknecht: They're usually exempt and so they try to zone them away or discourage them away. And by creating zoning laws the discriminate against churches, they're violating federal law and the First Amendment.

Shepard: What does this tell us about the state of religious freedom in the United States?

Hausknecht: Well, we're seeing first a hostility toward religion. You would think in this day and age of tolerance that there would be tolerance for religious views, religious people. There is not. We're seeing it in the zoning cases, we're seeing it in the schools. That is a definite wake-up call for people of all faiths to stand up and protect their rights.

So, does that mean that Focus on the Family supports the right to build this Islamic Center or does the organization, like seemingly so many others on the Right, really only believe in protecting and defending "religious freedom" when it involves Christians? 

Another 100+ Focus Employees Let Go

Last Friday we noted that Focus on the Family was facing another round of lay-offs, though it was unknown at the time just how many employees would lose their jobs

Today, it is being reported that another 110 employees have been let go, reducing the organization's size almost by half from it's peak in 2002:

Focus on the Family laid off 110 workers Friday, a 13 percent reduction in workforce.

While most of the positions eliminated were in service departments, more than 15 managerial jobs, including two senior executive positions, were also axed, Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said today.

With Friday's layoffs, Focus has let go 385 employees over the past two years. Since 2002, Focus' workforce has been trimmed almost in half, from 1,400 to 750.

"The economy continues to be in recession," said Schneeberger, explaining a reason for the layoffs. "And people who have given in the past are having financial difficulties of their own."

The ministry's fiscal 2010-11 budget is $105 million, a $27 million cut from last year's fiscal budget, Schneeberger said.

Focus' budget for fiscal 2008-09 was $160 million.

More Layoffs Looming At Focus?

Via Joe.My.God it looks like we can expect yet another round of layoffs at Focus on the Family:

I’ve gotten a few calls from people saying Focus on the Family is planning to announce layoffs, more than 100, on Friday.

I called Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger on Monday. He did not confirm or deny the rumors. Later he sent me a statement, which you can read below.

“We are still working out the details of fitting our FY ‘11 budget to the figure our board of directors established,” Schneeberger wrote. “As soon as those decisions are final — we’re aiming for next week — we’ll share them with our ministry family first and then with our constituents and friends in the media.”

Focus has laid off hundreds of employees since 2002, when its workforce was about 1,400. Currently Focus has 860 employees. It’s latest round of layoffs was in September 2009, when 75 employees were let go.

Let's all hope that Adam Holz of Plugged In survives the cut so that he can continue his important work exposing how the new movie "The Kids Are Alight" is "even more subversive than Brokeback Mountain":

Focus on the Family's Plugged In is raising a warning flag about a movie called The Kids Are All Right, which is making its way into American theaters ... Plugged In spokesman Adam Holz tells OneNewsNow the comedy paints the idea of a "modern family" -- one stemmed from a same-sex couple -- in a positive light.

"The upshot of it all is not only does that cause some conflict in the family, but the man that they discover is their father, a man named Paul, ends up having an affair with one of the women in the couple," Holz reports.

Holz explains the film is a story about how infidelity can devastate a family -- but certainly not a family that viewers are used to seeing on screen by any way, shape, or form. So the conservative spokesman feels those are among several reasons why Christians should object.

"Not the least of which are several really explicit sex scenes -- one between two women and several between a man and a woman," the Plugged In spokesman gives as an example. "And so there's all kind of content here on top of the philosophical problems."

Holz rates the movie as a "hard R" and adds that the film is even more subversive than Brokeback Mountain.

Dobson Memo Announces Plans to Launch Political Arm For His New Organization

You know who we haven't mentioned here in a while?  James Dobson. 

Ever since he left Focus on the Family, he has sort of fallen off the radar, but rest assured that he is still hard at work advancing his Religious Right agenda, only on a much smaller scale with his new effort "Family Talk With James Dobson."

For instance, earlier this month he hosted a two-day discussion with Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer about how President Obama is on a mission to systematically destroy the Christian faith and another two-day discussion with Chuck Colson and Robert George about the same thing.

And he has also penned a new memo explaining that God told him he was not allowed to retire because "there is still too much work to be done" and to that end Family Talk will soon be launching a 501c4 political organization so that they can take a more active role in the fight: 

I have never been more concerned about this great nation and its families than I am right now. Every day, it seems, another tenant of traditional morality goes down in flames. When I left Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and USC School of Medicine, the institution of the family was already showing signs of cracking. I’m not claiming to be a prophet, but I foresaw three decades ago what we are experiencing as a nation today. The Judeo-Christian system of values was despised even then in some circles. The only thing that has changed is that the assault on the family and cultural morality has become much more vicious.

The institution of marriage is undergoing a complete overhaul. For example, despite the fact that 30 out of 30 states have voted to define marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman, various courts have begun chipping away at that foundation. One of them, a district court in Massachusetts, struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, on July 8th, which was passed by the votes of 427 members in Congress, and signed by President Bill Clinton. It has been the law of the land since 1996. A single, arrogant, imperious judge has decided to declare the law null and void. The Obama Administration might not choose to appeal the ruling, which causes me anguish.

On another front, the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court is considering the constitutionality of Proposition 8, by which the exclusivity of traditional marriage between one man and one woman was affirmed by the people of California. The Ninth Court is the most liberal appellate court in the land, yet the future of marriage rests in its hands, at least for now. A decision is expected any day.

The attack on America’s institutions continues in full swing. The National Day of Prayer has been declared unconstitutional, and Congress is about to end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for the military, which will make open homosexuality legal in all branches of our Armed Forces.

The country is being systematically bankrupt, and beginning January 1, 2011, every family is going to be hit with draconian new taxes. Even the marriage penalty tax is scheduled to be reinstated. We MUST fight this attempt to undermine the financial integrity of the family!

Judge Elena Kagan, President Obama’s selection for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, may be confirmed by the time you get this letter. She has encountered little opposition from Republicans to this point. Kagan is a supporter of partial birth abortion and holds numerous other leftist positions.

And on it goes. This is a time for Christian people to be in fervent prayer for our country.

Family Talk will fight with all its resources to defend the family against those who would destroy it. We will wage war on those who would manipulate children for political purposes, or try to weaken the military. These and other institutions of our democracy need all the help they can get. We want to be counted among those who will stand firm against the forces that are trying to bring Western Civilization down.

In order to do that job more effectively, we hope to start a 501(c)(4) organization just as soon as we are able to accomplish it financially. This will be a vitally important addition to the Family Talk tool chest, helping us do even more to address the moral and cultural issues confronting the family. Our day will come, but it is not here yet.

Of course, that might have to wait a bit because elsewhere in the memo, Dobson reports that "only 25% of the required funds are coming in to support Family Talk even at current levels."

But perhaps the most interesting revelation is that Dobson admits that though he intended to eventually step away from Focus on the Family, the Board basically forced him out this year:  

There is another reason for my departure. There is wisdom in the old adage that two captains can sink a ship. Jim Daly was my choice to succeed me, and we saw many things similarly. It gradually became clear, however, that we had significant philosophical differences. Jim has expressed his views on these matters in numerous articles and interviews. I have not spoken about them until now, but my perspectives are quite different, especially when it comes to confronting those who would weaken the family and undermine our faith. When I recognized these divergent views, therefore, I knew that I would be leaving, probably on June 1st or August 27th of this year. Our board of directors agreed but asked us to complete the transition on February 26th. Thus, my tenure at Focus on the Family suddenly came to an end.

Right Wing Leftovers

Religious Right Working to Limit Reproductive Choice At Home and Abroad

It is important to remind ourselves occasionally that right-wing anti-choice groups don't just want to control the rights of women in America, they want to control the rights of women everywhere.

Case in point: Pat Robertson's ACLJ has been deeply involved and spent tens of thousands of dollars in trying to keep abortion out of the constitution being drafted in Kenya ... and now it looks like dozens of other Religious Right leaders are backing the effort:

With just two weeks to go until Kenyans vote on a new Constitution, World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs announced the conclusion of a successful petition drive "In Support Of The 'No' Campaign -- Kenyans Opposed To The Pro-Abortion Constitution."

In less than a week, the Congress gathered signatures from more than 170 pro-life and pro-family leaders in 21 countries. Signers include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Former Boston Mayor and Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn and Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay ...

Organizations whose leaders are represented include:

-- Priests for Life
-- Tradition, Family and Property
-- Concerned Women for America
-- Alliance Defense Fund
-- Human Life International
-- Liberty Counsel
-- Americans United for Life
-- National Right to Life Committee
-- LifeSiteNews.com
-- Eagle Forum
-- Vision America Action
-- Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
-- The Beverly LaHaye Institute
-- Focus on The Family
-- Family Talk [w/James Dobson]
-- Traditional Values Coalition

While the Religious Right is working to outlaw abortion overseas, they are also working to limit access to legal abortions here in the US in increasingly imaginative ways, which is why the ACLJ is representing a Texas bus driver who lost his job after refusing to take a passenger to a Planned Parenthood facility because it performed abortions:

[Edwin] Graning had asked his wife to call the facility; she heard a recording directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications. "I said, dear God in heaven, this woman's gonna have an abortion," he said.

Graning said that no protocol for orders to drive people to abortion clinics had ever been discussed. "I'm a Christian ... I love the Lord and I'm not going to be a part of something like this," said Graning, a former pastor. He pointed out that the woman quickly received a ride from another bus.

When he told his supervisor that he would not make the drive, Graning says the supervisor replied, "Then you are resigning." He objected, but was later directed to bring his vehicle and belongings back to CARTS, and received a letter of termination on grounds of insubordination.

Graning, 63, who celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary last month, is a father of two and grandfather of three.

He is being represented by lawyers from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

The Religious Right's Bizarre Understanding of the Establishment Clause

Every once in a while we get an insight into the rather unique views that drive the Religious Right agenda and realize that they tend to inhabit a world of their own.

Take, for instance, this brief filed by the Liberty Institute on behalf to James Dobson, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family Action, Liberty Counsel and nearly thirty other Religious Right groups in support of the National Day of Prayer in the case of Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Obama.

The Religious Right has been up-in-arms for months ever since a judge ruled that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional and so these groups have decided to lay out their arguments as to why that ruling was wrong. 

Most of the brief [PDF] focuses on the question of standing and claims that the "history and tradition" of events like the National Day of Prayer prove that it is constitutional. 

But it is this final line of argument that really demonstrates the Religious Right's fundamentally skewed view, which is that not having a National Day of Prayer is an act of hostility toward religion:

The National Day of Prayer is a benign acknowledgement of the religious nature of the American people. Moreover, participation in this acknowledgement is entirely voluntary, and does not entail any person’s being subjected to unwelcome assertions of religious faith.

Congress amended the National Day of Prayer statute in 1988 to specify the calendar day upon which the observance is proclaimed. This amendment, too, was an accommodation of religion consistent with Supreme Court precedent, as well as the precedent of this Court.

Invalidating the National Day of Prayer would be an act of hostility to religion, not the accommodating neutrality required by the Establishment Clause.

Apparently, the First Amendment means that the US government is obligated to declare a National Day of Prayer because failure to do so would be "an act of hostility to religion" and therefore a violation of the Establishment Clause.

That's right - to the Religious Right, the "neutrality" required by the Establishment Clause actually requires Congress to promote religion. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Burt Prelutsky used to really love America, but now he doesn't love it quite so much.
  • The Pro-Life Action League is launching its "2010 Face the Truth Tour" where they will travel around the Chicago area displaying "graphic pictures of aborted and unborn babies." Sounds like a fun way to spend the summer.
  • Nobody has really been able to get a good explanation of why Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell went to Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado and also met with James Dobson and why taxpayers had to foot the bill.
  • Regent University fights back against reports that it is struggling financially.
  • You know, hiring a consultant to round-up volunteers for your campaign and then having that consultant use participants from his c3 nonprofit organization to do volunteer work on said campaign does seem a little fishy.
  • Will Michael Steele still be head of the RNC next week? 
  • Randall Terry is not happy with the tepid opposition to Elena Kagan:

The Hypocrisy At The Heart Of The Right's Complaints About "Judicial Activism"

Given that we are in the middle of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearing and keep hearing all sorts of complaints from the Right about "judicial activism" and "legislating from the bench" and whatever, I just wanted to highlight this article from Focus on the Family because it  perfectly demonstrates just how bogus this entire talking point really is: 

A new front just opened Monday in the political tug-of-war over "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" – a Clinton-era policy prohibiting people who are openly gay or lesbian from serving in the military.

U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips in Riverside, Calif., agreed to hear a case that challenges the military policy. The lawsuit was filed by the Log Cabin Republicans, a fiscally conservative, gay-activist group within the Republican Party.

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for CitizenLink, is concerned the proceedings could become a show trial – with the underlying intent to solidifying the concept that gay members of the military are a victimized class and in need of special protections.

"Once again, gay activists want to use the courts to impose social change rather than leaving this issue to the democratic process," said Hausknecht. "There never seems a lack of judges who will jump at the chance to legislate from the bench."

Hausknecht is angry that the Log Cabin Republicans are trying to use to the courts to impose this change instead of allowing the democratic process to take care of it.  At the same time, Focus on the Family is vehemently opposing efforts in Congress to repeal DADT, which is the very "democratic process" they say should be used. 

So what happens if Congress does manage to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Robert Maginnis, senior fellow for national security with the Family Research Council, doesn't make much out of this case, as he believes Congress will succeed in repealing the policy well before the November election – and before the court can rule.

"The real decision's going to be made by the Congress," said Maginnis, "and then we have a fight after that – if, in fact, they do repeal."

Hmmm .... is FRC suggesting that they will go to court to fight the repeal of DADT?  

But what about the sanctity of the "democratic process"?  What about using judges to impose decisions contrary to the will of the people?  What about legislating from the bench? 

So apparently the Religious Right is opposed to using the courts to try and repeal DADT ... but entirely willing to use the courts to try and repeal any repeal of DADT. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Lame.
  • Focus on the Family President Jim Daly reportedly broke his ankle in a motorcycle accident today.
  • If you thought Joseph Farah's "Taking Back America Conference" couldn't get any worse, you were wrong.
  • Janet Porter is still hard at work on her movie script.  How sad.
  • Star Parker explains why she should be elected to Congress with typical humility.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Burt Prelutsky:"With the 24/7 media attention that's been devoted to the ecological disaster, it is easy to regard the leak as the worst thing that's ever happened to the environment. But even now it only ranks as about the 35th worst oil spill in the past hundred years. Something else that we should not lose sight of is that the Gulf is a magnet for hurricanes, just as California is one for earthquakes and New York City is one for Islamic terrorists. That means that bad stuff is always going to be happening – and if people are going to live in such places, they have to accept the risks."

Jim Daly Blasts Obama For Recognizing Families With "Two Fathers"

Back in April, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly was saying that he did not see much value in continuing to fight the culture war on gay issues because he more or less expected to eventually lose the battle over marriage: 

"I'm not fearful that change will happen in America. It will happen. ... I don't know what will happen with same-sex marriage, but I'm not going to be discouraged if we lose some of those battles," he said, noting that for "98 percent" of people, traditional marriage will remain relevant.

"It's going to be difficult in this culture and the way the demographics are going right now," he went on. "You look at the under-35 age group. I think it's splitting 60-40 support for same-sex marriage. There's a lot of people in the U.S. [who] basically come to the conclusion that this is something between two adults. I will continue to defend traditional marriage, but I'm not going to demean human beings for the process."

But, since Focus has become entirely schizophrenic since Daly took over, it doesn't come as a surprise that Daly has now penned a piece criticizing President Obama for daring to recognize families with "two fathers" on Father's Day:

President Obama is very carefully and quietly transforming homosexual politics and policy on the federal level. With the use of his executive authority he is actively engaged in an attempt to normalize the public's perception of homosexuality, from supporting the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy to extending and expanding health care coverage for homosexual partners of federal employees.

...

In elevating and equating the influence of a two-father family to that of all other traditional forms, the administration is, perhaps unknowingly, depriving children of the opportunity to have the very thing the president has so strongly and eloquently suggested they need most: A mom and a dad.

As the product of a fatherless home myself, I am keenly aware and extremely sensitive to the harsh realities of a life that is less than ideal. In fact, the president and I share this common background, and so I immediately identify with his compassion and his desire to use the bully pulpit to ease suffering and meet the needs of the neediest among us.

But the fatherhood "effect" is not cumulative - two daddies are not better than one -- nor is a mother dispensable or replaceable. Instead of expending precious (and finite) energy and resources on selling the merits of two- father or two-mother families, the administration would be wise to invest and encourage the loving presence of both a mom and a dad.

It really is amazing how the mere admission and recognition that some families do in fact have two mothers or fathers drives the Religious Right absolutely insane.

Norquist Unfazed By Religious Right Outrage

Last week we noted that Grover Norquist had joined the advisory council of GOProud, a gay conservative organization, and that Religious Right groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council were outraged.

I have to say that Norquist doesn't seem overly concerned, telling Focus on the Family's CitizenLink that he is willing to work with anyone who shares his agenda: 

Norquist says he agrees with GOProud on some issues that are important to him.

"When people are willing to fight for limited government and lower taxes," he said, "I'm willing to work with them."

Norquist said he's not worried that his appointment will hurt the conservative cause in November.

"One fish, one hook," he said. "Every voter only needs one reason to vote for a congressman and a senator who will stop the Obama nonsense in Washington, DC."

Of course, that is just upsetting Focus even more:

Tom Minnery, senior vice president for CitizenLink, disagreed the Norquist's summation.

Minnery said that by lending his name and prestige to the minuscule number of homosexuals who are conservative, he is more likely to earn the distrust of the far larger numbers of grassroots social conservatives with whom he should be in coalition.

Norquist Assailed For Supporting Gay Conservative Group

Every Wednesday, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist hosts a meeting where a hundred or more right-wing activists gather for an off-the-record strategy session

There is no official list of who is in attendance, but it is probably safe to assume that representatives of groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council regularly participate. 

Earlier this week Norquist has signed on with GOProud, the conservative gay group, which has been met with much dismay from Focus on the Family:

I was so disappointed to learn that Grover Norquist, the president of the conservative and influential Americans for Tax Reform, had joined the board of GOProud, a political advocacy group of “gay conservatives and their allies.”

Grover’s move to join the ranks of those who perpetuate the gay agenda, which has in its crosshairs the destruction of marriage, is as dishonoring to the movement he claims, as it is disheartening.

Historically, conservatism has been built on a 3-legged stool of traditional social values, economic conservatism, and a strong national defense. So when Grover said that he “shares GOProud’s commitment to ‘core’ conservative values,” he’s obviously leaving out a key component that many in his cause hold dear ... Grover’s decision to uphold one leg of the conservative stool while simultaneously working to destroy another is not doing his fellow conservatives any favors, and in the end may leave the movement he loves with one less leg to stand on. What’s that saying about a house divided against itself?

And the Family Research Council is equally outraged at the betrayal

I was somewhat surprised to see that Americans for Tax Reform's president, Grover Norquist, has decided to join the Advisory Council of the homosexual group GOProud. Grover is usually a masterful Republican strategist and coalition builder -- but in this case, he seems prepared to compromise a unified conservative movement in order to appease a tiny minority of the overall population. GOProud is not a conservative organization that happens to be gay. It's a homosexual organization that's marginally conservative. GOProud's own website explains just how radical its priorities are. This is a group that opposes the death tax and ObamaCare -- not because they aren't sound economic policies -- but because they "discriminate" against "gay families."

And the platform doesn't end there. One of the group's top 10 "principles" is to create "enterprise zones" for homosexuals, despite the fact that the average income for gays and lesbians is higher than most everyone else. At least two other of its "principles" call for the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. Among their other priorities: allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military and defeating any attempt to protect one-man, one-woman marriage. They even ran ads criticizing President Obama for not doing enough for the homosexual community!

Grover is famous for saying he'll work with anyone who agrees with him "80 percent of the time." But it's been the social issues that he seems willing to sacrifice. His belief that we can have fiscal stability without moral decency is doomed to failure and only drives a deep wedge in a movement that was unified to bring change to Washington this fall.

It is probably safe to assume that next week's Wednesday meeting is going to be a little more tense than normal. 

Focus Rep Attended 2009 "7 Mountains" Conference With Uganda's Oyet

While searching for something else, I stumbled upon this page for conference held in February of 2009 called "Reclaim 7 Mountains of Culture." 

I took a quick look at the list of breakout sessions during the conference and saw that they consisted of 7 Mountains/Dominionist activists like Os Hillmam, Lance Wallnau, and Johnny Enlow ... as well as others like Julius Oyet, one of the key backers of Uganda's "kill the gays" legislation:

In addition to Oyet, the conference also featured a session lead by Marc Fey of Focus on the Family:

I don't really have anything specific to say about this - I just thought it was interesting and worth highlighting.

Dobson Gets Back In The Game

James Dobson officially left Focus on the Family in February and started his new radio program, "Family Talk With Dr. James Dobson" in March ... and it took him just about a month to use his new program to do what he does best

On today’s program, Dr. Dobson sits down with Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes for a revealing interview about how forces in American society are sometimes surreptitiously removing all references to Christianity. Congressman Forbes describes the formation of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and the successes this group has had on the cultural battlefront.

The Christian Post reports that Dobson reiterated his standard concern that Christians are under constant attack while Forbes used the program as opportunity to call for the creation of state-level prayer caucuses that will monitoring legislation, court rulings, and elected officials:

Before Forbes was featured on Friday's broadcast, Dobson noted to listeners that the newly launched Family Talk is not being turned into a ministry that has "a political or public policy bent." But he stressed the significance of still addressing such issues and was unapologetic about doing so with passion.

"That's who we are and might as well state that up front," said Dobson, who started Family Talk with his son after leaving the prominent Focus on the Family ministry in February.

"This is the one reason that I didn't want to retire when I left Focus on the Family," the 74-year-old conservative evangelical leader stated. "The country is in a great deal of trouble and I just felt like we needed to do something about it."

Like many like-minded Christians, Dobson feels there is a growing attack against Christianity and efforts to eliminate all references to the Christian faith.

Expressing the same level of concern, Forbes said "anti-faith" groups around the country are amassing huge sums of money and focusing their resources on one particular situation or lawsuit so that they can get a precedent ... A number of states have begun to form prayer caucuses, including Mississippi and Virginia. Part of the purpose of prayer caucuses is to monitor legislation, agency rulings and court opinions that deny religious freedoms and access to the marketplace of ideas for people of faith, he said.

Forbes hopes to see prayer caucuses in every state "because it would be the first time that we have been able to integrate all of these policymakers across the country so that they can know what's going on and we can have policies that effectively deal with some of these attacks before it's too late."

Dobson also used the opportunity to post a commentary on the Family Talk website, blasting various legislative efforts - including efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell - and vowing to place Family Talk on the "front lines" in fighting them: 

Time and space limitations permit me only to mention another regrettable piece of legislation that passed in the House of Representatives on May 27, 2010. It would eliminate the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for all branches of the military. The four senior officers of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, have said “Don’t do this.” It threatens to affect morale, recruitment, retention, and the effectiveness of those who are risking their lives to protect this great nation. Yet, the attitude by liberals in Congress appears to be, “This is our window of opportunity,” and they are plunging ahead at breakneck speed. President Obama has promised to sign the legislation. Why does that surprise us?

On these issues and many others, Family Talk will be on the front lines of the battle to preserve the family. It is difficult now for us to engage fully because of the limitations of a 501(c)(3) organization. Nevertheless, we will do everything permitted by the IRS. We hope soon to have more freedom to defend families and help preserve the Judeo-Christian system of values. Your assistance in making Family Talk a strong and effective ministry will pay dividends in days to come. That is our passionate commitment.

Right Wing Leftovers

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Apparently Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell got "'many good ideas" from his official state visit to Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado.
  • Someone should ask Gov. Bob McDonnell if Pat Robertson will be attending his "thank you retreat".
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee voted out Robert Chatigny’s nomination today - Concerned Women for America responded by saying "Senators Should Reject Obama's 'Empathy for Sadists' Judge".
  • Speaking of CWA, they are very upset about President Obama's salty language.
  • For all their screaming and yelling, Religious Right groups don't appear to have generated much opposition to repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
  • Bryan Fischer bravely attacks the National Association of Evangelicals for supporting immigration reform while conveniently failing to attack right-wing leaders like Mat Staver, Richard Land, and Ken Blackwell, who also support it.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Michael Pakaluk explaining why he doesn't want the children of gay couples attending Catholic school with his children: "The third reason is that it seemed a real danger that the boy being raised by the same-sex couple would bring to school something obscene or pornographic, or refer to such things in conversation, as they go along with the same-sex lifestyle, which--as not being related to procreation-- is inherently eroticized and pornographic. He might expose other children to such things, as he might easily have encountered them in his household."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Inquiring minds want to know what official "state business" Alaska Governor Sean Parnell had that required him to travel to Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado.
  • Robert Chatigny has become the latest Obama judicial nominee to find himself the target of right-wing opposition.
  • The Susan B. Anthony list says last night's election results is "proof that Americans are responding to authentic, pro-life feminism."
  • If I could go the rest of my life without having to read another word of inane political analysis from Ralph Reed, I would be exceedingly happy.
  • Albert Pujols and his wife were guests on James Dobson's radio program today.  That is just kind of weird.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Cliff Kincaid, commenting on discussions about lifting the ban on gay men donating blood: "Do you or your loved ones want to die in order to advance the gay rights agenda?"

The Cycle Continues: Religious Right's Resurrection Begins

Whenever Republicans win elections, the media is fond of attributing the victories to the influence of "values voters" - the Religious Right activists who make up a significant portion of the party's political base.  On the flip side, whenever the GOP loses elections, we start seeing all sorts of articles about the decline in the Religious Right's influence and predictions of their forthcoming extinction.

And inevitably, those sorts of articles are followed some time later by new articles discovering that the Religious Right has not, in fact, disappeared and are extremely motivated heading into the next election. 

Articles just like this:

Angry over health care reform and the abortion fight it reinvigorated, worried about the expansion of gay rights and frustrated by President Obama's criticisms of Israel, religious conservatives are eager to play a key role in the outcome of the 2010 midterm elections.

But many are also not sold on the Republican Party, and analysts are wondering whether some of them will sit out November's elections - something religious conservatives have done in the past when neither party appealed to their interests.

"There certainly seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence that the Christian right is more energized this year," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington. "But I don't think that's necessarily a windfall for the Republicans."

Mr. Perkins said conservative Christians - as well as Orthodox Jews and abortion opponents - are unhappy with Mr. Obama and looking for change; yet sizing up candidates who can deliver is another matter.

"The Republicans could be that change," Mr. Perkins said. "But in a lot of ways, they are not there yet."

...

Gary L. Bauer, president of the pro-life group American Values, predicts a simmering intensity among values voters. He said "hyphenated conservatives" who accepted Mr. Obama in the last election cycle are dumbfounded by the president's hard tack left and repulsed by runaway spending.

"It's almost like we're witnessing a complete mirror image of 2008, when all the passion was among young voters, minorities and first-time voters," said Mr. Bauer. "Now that energy is with conservatives and older voters. ... There's tremendous intensity out there."

Mr. Bauer, a former presidential candidate who served in the Reagan administration, said values voters consider Mr. Obama an apologist and not a defender of the United States, and dislike "his questioning whether we're even a Judeo-Christian nation" ... "That same week he issued the order to close Guantanamo [Bay prison]. We learned then that he cared more about the rights of jihadists than he did about the rights of unborn babies," Mr. Bauer said.

Abortion is also at the forefront of concerns for the Colorado-based Focus on the Family.

Tom Minnery, senior vice president for Focus' Citizen Link, said his group hasn't endorsed candidates for the fall but plans to be involved.

"We're very, very concerned about the largest expansion in abortion since Roe v. Wade," Mr. Minnery said. "And we are going to let our members know who voted for what."

Wow.  You mean major right-wing groups like FRC, Gary Bauer, and Focus on the Family don't like President Obama or the Democrats and are dedicated to doing all they can to vote them out of office?  Who ever would have guessed that? 

But you really have to wonder about this assessment that the Religious Right is going to throw in with "outsider" candidates like Rand Paul: 

With both parties stumbling, many values voters are supporting "outsider" candidates, such as "tea party" favorite Rand Paul, who won the May 18 GOP primary in Kentucky to run for the U.S. Senate this fall.

Mr. Paul won the primary over a candidate who had been backed by the Republican Party establishment in Kentucky and Washington - and he did it with the help of outsiders such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and conservative religious broadcaster James Dobson.

First of all, how many Rand Paul-like candidates are there?  And secondly, Sarah Palin and James Dobson are considered "outsiders"?  Really? Dobson has been among the most influential Religious Right leaders for decades and Sarah Palin was, the last time I checked, the GOP's vice-presidential candidate in the most recent election.

Right Wing Leftovers

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Focus on the Family founder and chairman James Dobson is perhaps the most influential right-wing Christian leader in the country, with a huge and loyal following that he can reach easily through an impressive media empire. MORE >

Focus on the Family Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Saturday 02/11/2012, 1:00pm
Focus on the Family's Tim Goeglein, a former Bush Administration official who resigned in disgrace after admitting to plagiarism, told CPAC today that more than any other president "in the history of the United States," President Obama has "savaged and attacked" marriage, life and religious liberty. Watch:   MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/07/2012, 2:10pm
The Ninth Circuit Court today upheld a lower court ruling which found Proposition 8, which overturned marriage equality in California, unconstitutional. Religious Right activists immediately denounced the ruling and used the decision to attack gays and lesbians, judges, Hollywood and San Francisco. The National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown emailed members with a warning that the case will end up with an “all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court” and told members that donations are needed to deny “same-sex marriage radicals” a legal... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/07/2012, 2:10pm
The Ninth Circuit Court today upheld a lower court ruling which found Proposition 8, which overturned marriage equality in California, unconstitutional. Religious Right activists immediately denounced the ruling and used the decision to attack gays and lesbians, judges, Hollywood and San Francisco. The National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown emailed members with a warning that the case will end up with an “all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court” and told members that donations are needed to deny “same-sex marriage radicals” a legal... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/02/2012, 11:45am
Focus on the Family founder and Family Talk host James Dobson appeared with Rick Santorum at a campaign rally in Colorado, which has its caucus on February 7. Dobson joined other Religious Right leaders in endorsing Santorum and hailed him for fighting against same-sex marriage, and reportedly also backed Santorum because he disapproved of Newt Gingrich’s third wife Callista. Dobson said that neither Mitt Romney nor Gingrich are authentic conservatives, lauding Santorum for caring “about the moral integrity of this nation” and his consistent “fight for marriage and... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/19/2012, 1:35pm
Focus on the Family founder and Family Talk host James Dobson endorsed Rick Santorum today, which comes as no surprise as Dobson advocated for Santorum behind closed doors at a meeting with fellow Religious Right leaders in Texas. According to reports, Dobson feared the repercussions of electing Newt Gingrich and having “a woman who was a man’s mistress for eight years” as First Lady. In his endorsement, Dobson said that “the institution of the family” is “in serious jeopardy,” warning that the “very definition of marriage is threatened, which... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/12/2012, 4:03pm
Since 2007, Focus on the Family has undergone round after round of layoffs while watching its annual budget get cut almost in half as the organization has regularly struggled to make ends meet. So I guess it only makes sense that Focus has decided to expand its counseling services to helping families struggling with financial problems to "become debt free and live a life of financial freedom": Focus [On The Family] has banded together with two Christian organizations, Crown Financial Ministries and Finicity, to bring a message of freedom and hope to millions of families trapped in... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 12/16/2011, 5:00pm
Like David Barton, who has no academic training as a historian but is the Religious Right’s point person on American history, Calvin Beinser of the Cornwall Alliance has no scientific credentials but has become the go-to person for right-wing activists on questions of science, particularly climate change. While he lacks any credentials what Beisner does have is close ties to organizations financed by the energy industry and a history of attacking scientists, spreading misinformation, and fueling fears that the environmental movement is a pagan plot to destroy Christianity and kill... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Friday 11/18/2011, 12:59pm
The next Republican presidential debate – the Thanksgiving Family Forum – is tomorrow in the crucial early caucus state of Iowa. The elephant in the room will be the elephant not in the room – frontrunner Mitt Romney who is avoiding the event, presumably to prevent the “Mormon issue” from heating up again. The Thanksgiving Family Forum is being sponsored by three right-wing organizations: Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Family Leader, an Iowa-based Christian conservative organization. On the face of it,... MORE >