Focus on the Family

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

Focus On The Family Tries To Distance Itself From Itself

As we noted yesterday, Focus on the Family announced that it was changing the name of its c4 lobbying arm from Focus on the Family Action to CitizenLink, apparently as part of an attempt to continue with its right-wing political agenda while separating the negative ramifications of said agenda from the parent organization.

This move doesn't really make a lot of sense, as everyone knows that CitizenLink is the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family .. but apparently the powers that be over a Focus think this is a wise move

Focus on the Family announced Wednesday that Focus Action, the lobbying arm of the family group, is now CitizenLink, the name of Focus’ online newsletter.

“We wanted to create clarity between the two organizations,” CitizenLink spokeswoman Sonja Swiatkiewicz said.

...

Swiatkiewicz said the re-branding of Focus Action is meant to end the confusion of people attributing Focus Action’s public-policy efforts to Focus on the Family. She said Focus spends its time not in the political arena but in “helping families thrive.”

...

Swiatkiewicz said the stances of Focus Action are identical to CitizenLink’s.

So the agendas of Focus on the Family Action and CitizenLink are exactly the same, but now all the negative attention they generate when they suddenly backtrack and announce that they would oppose a gay Supreme Court nominee simply because said nominee is gay will reflect badly upon CitizenLink instead of Focus on the Family? 

How is that supposed to work, considering that people like Tom Minnery, who has been the main spokesperson for Focus Action and will presumably retain that position with "CitizenLink," are also "senior vice presidents" for Focus on the Family.

The idea that by simply changing the name of its lobbying arm, Focus on the Family is going to be able to separate itself from the political agenda of "CitizenLink" is laughable, especially since every time anyone writes about the activities of CitizenLink from now on, they are simply going to write "Focus on the Family's CitizenLink" or "CitizenLink, the political arm of Focus on the Family."

I know that I will.

When You Hear The Name "CitizenLink," Think Focus on the Family

The Denver Post reports that Focus on the Family is changing the name of its c4 lobbying arm from Focus on the Family Action to "CitizenLink":

Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying organization created in 2004 by Focus on the Family ministry founder James Dobson, today changed its name and logo to CitizenLink.

...

From the beginning, some confusion about the exact identities and missions of the two similarly named organizations has existed in the general public and media, said Tom Minnery, Focus vice president of public policy.

"We want to create some clarity about the two organizations. It's better branding," Focus President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Daly said ... "We're not saying (Focus on the Family) is stepping out of the public policy realm," Daly said. "From my perspective, it means Focus on the Family can focus on the family, and CitizenLink can do its job of engaging the citizenry."

...

The change in name is not an attempt, Daly said, to distance Focus on the Family from the lobbying group's fierce opposition to abortion rights, same-sex marriages and embryonic stem cell research.

I don't buy this explanation for a minute as it seems like more evidence that Focus on the Family has become hyper-cautious and schizophrenic ever since Jim Daly took over as he tries to incorporate his talk of love, compassion and civility with the organization's hard-line, ultra-right wing social and political agenda. 

Daly seems to think that he can maintain the organization's militant opposition to gays while insisting that they do so out of love, as if that makes a bit of difference or changes the bottom line.

This name change seems like a similar attempt to allow the organization to continue to press its right-wing political agenda without dirtying the name of Focus on the Family. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Marco Rubio is reportedly set to pick up the endorsements of Frank Pavone and David Barton.
  • Pat Buchanan is now a fan of diversity ... by which he means the Supreme Court has too many Jews.
  • Elena Kagan might be getting support for lots of conservative legal experts, but the Judicial Crisis Network remains unimpressed.
  • Randy Thomasson says Harvey Milk Day is a "moral crime" and that "teachers, principals, and schools that push Harvey Milk's values are responsible for the degradation of children as human beings."
  • Neither Focus on the Family nor the Family Research Council are willing to comment on the evangelical push for immigration reform.
  • Quote of the day from Maggie Gallagher: "My own complaint about the religious right is not that it is too much in politics, but that it is not enough. In too many cases, religious conservatives talk like they are in politics, make demands like they are in politics, issue threats like they are in politics -- but they do not create the institutions that are at the heart of politics: organizations that raise money and spend it electing politicians who will vote for their cause."
  • Finally, Sir Reginald Bling (aka Randall Terry) has something to say:

The New, Hyper-Cautious, Schizophrenic Focus on the Family

I have to admit that I have been having a hard time understanding what is going on over at Focus on the Family.

New president Jim Daly keeps saying that he's all about civility and that Focus would have a much less confrontational tone while, at the same time, Focus representatives are giving in to pressure from militant anti-gay activists and announcing that they would oppose a Supreme Court nominee solely on the grounds that said nominee was gay. 

It all seems rather schizophrenic ... and that is exactly the impression I got after listening to this recent Focus on the Family broadcast examining Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court as well as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

In the past, a Focus on the Family program dedicated to these issue would almost surely have contained some over-the-top rhetoric from either the host or the guests ... but this broadcast, which featured Daly, Chuck Colson, Focus on the Family Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht, and Focus on the Family Vice President of Government and Public Policy Tom Minnery, was downright dull.

In fact, any time anyone said anything that might be considered even borderline controversial, Daly went to great lengths to explain that their views are not based on hate and that the ultimate goal is to bring people to Christ.

As such, during the discussion on Kagan, Daly ended up reading passages from the Bible about loving your enemies, explaining that those who don't share their political and cultural views are "gnarled in their sin" and can't see the world properly.

The discussion then turned to ENDA and as Tom Minnery explained that Christian were alarmed about it because it would make it illegal for them to discriminate against gays, Daly was again quck to say that they were not opposing this legislation out of hatred toward gays, but rather on the grounds that while all people are sinners, we shouldn't be passing laws that encourage such sins. 

Then Hausknecht began to explain that gays want ENDA to pass because it is a stepping stone to marriage equality and ultimately the marginalization of Christians, at which point Daly again stepped in say that their opposition to gay marriage was not about hate toward gays, but rather about what is best for our culture and our children, insisting there is no ill-will toward gays and no desire to offend them since the ultimate goal is to get them to know the love of Jesus.

I've edited the program down so you can listen for yourself:

If this is the new, more civil Focus on the Family, I have to say I almost prefer the older, more confontational one. 

At least you knew where they stood.

Focus on The Family Opposes Kagan Due To Her "Commitment to the LGBT Agenda"

Last month, Focus on the Family made news when it suddenly backtracked from its earlier stance that that a Supreme Court nominee's sexual orientation was "not even pertinent" to the question of the nominee's qualifications to sit on the court.

Under pressure from militantly anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, Focus did an about-face and declared that "someone who is a practicing homosexual is a non starter for the group," saying that "homosexual behavior is a sin" and a nominee's "character and moral rectitude should be key considerations" in opposing a nominee.

Today, President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and LaBarbera and others are already opposing her on the grounds that she might be a lesbian ... and now Focus on the Family has announced its opposition as well (Focus does not explicitly cite this issue, instead focusing on Kagan's "commitment to the LGBT agenda" as its justification): 

Focus on the Family Action Senior Vice President Tom Minnery released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“We are extremely disappointed by the President’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

“Kagan’s nomination is a triumph for liberal ideology and judicial activism. She has never been a judge, nor written a judicial opinion. In fact, she has very limited experience in the actual practice of law. Her resume reveals her to be an academic who has served liberal judges, liberal presidents, and liberal universities. Her entire career has been lived in a narrow slice of the judicial spectrum.

“Even with her sparse legal record, one thing stands out – her emotional and legal commitment to the LGBT agenda. Calling the federal prohibition against gays serving in the military ‘a profound wrong, a moral injustice of the first order,’ she argued to the Supreme Court that law schools should be allowed to exclude military recruiters from campus while still accepting hundreds of millions in federal dollars, a position which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected, including the very liberal justice she would be replacing, Justice Stevens.

“Sadly, we look for a Justice Kagan to work for the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act and the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage upon all 50 states. We expect a continuation on her part of the Leftist allegiance to abortion-on-demand as well as the standard hostility to religion in the public square that has come to epitomize the liberal wing of the court.

“Americans have time and time again voiced their desire for judges who will judge according to the text and original understanding of our laws and Constitution. It is that fidelity to our Founders’ intent for the proper role and responsibility of the judiciary that makes a good Supreme Court justice. Yet for the second time in two years, the president has nominated someone who is committed to molding the law and the Constitution into something more to their liking rather than demonstrating what should be the non-negotiable quality of judicial restraint.

“We oppose this nomination and call upon the Senate to reject it as well. America deserves better.”

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago when new Focus president Jim Daly was saying this

Yet it's clear Daly, who has met with gay activists, sees diminishing returns in continuing the culture wars.

"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."

While Daly keeps claiming that he not out to demean people and is seeking a more civil dialogue with his opponents, Minnery is running around saying that gays or anyone who supports them are morally unfit for the bench.

Maybe Focus ought to try to get its story straight.   

May Day on the Mall: Lifting The Curse That Obama's Election Has Brought Upon America

 
On Saturday, May 1, Religious Right leaders and public officials will gather at the steps below the Lincoln Memorial to beg God to forgive America for having elected wicked leaders like President Obama. If you can’t make it to the national mall on Saturday morning, you can watch live on God TV or via webcast thanks to the American Family Association.
 
The "May Day - A Cry to God for a Nation in Distress" event is the brainchild of Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist/conspiracy theory-promoting radio host, and member of presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s inner circle. Porter believes America is under a curse for having “made the choice of death” by electing President Obama (even though God TV warned us not to). She announced the May Day event at last fall’s How to Take Back America conference.  
 
Since then, Porter has lined up support from a significant number of Religious Right heavy-hitters like former Focus on the Family head James Dobson, who recorded an audio message recruiting pastors to get involved, and at least five members of Congress, including  Randy “Pray Against Health Care” Forbes (Virginia), Trent “Obama is an enemy of humanity” Franks (Arizona), Louie “Hate Crimes Act is a Pedophile Protection Act” Gohmert (Texas), and Steve “Know Your Enemies” King (Iowa).  
 

Peter LaBarbera's Sexual Orientation Test

We all know that the Constitution states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

But if Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth had his way, there certainly would be a sexual orientation test:

The president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) addresses whether a candidate for public office, including the Supreme Court, should declare their sexual preference or leanings.

LaBarbera has raised the question because of hints in the press that some of the possible picks for a Supreme Court vacancy are either homosexual or heavily favor special rights for homosexuals.

"I think it's time that the public be informed if a politician or a high court nominee has a special interest in homosexuality -- that is, they are practicing homosexuality or maybe they once practiced homosexuality," the AFTAH president contends. "I think the public has a right to know."

He explains that this information is important because the judges' decisions will impact all of society, not just one segment of it.

"They will affect Christians and people of faith who oppose homosexuality," he notes, pointing out that "we came within one vote on the Supreme Court of the Boy Scouts losing their freedom not to hire openly homosexual and atheist Scout masters."

LaBarbera is not only demanding that gay nominees openly "declare their sexual preference" so that he can oppose them because of it, but he also says any "heterosexual liberal" who holds "pro-homosexual" views must confess to that as well.

It was just a few weeks ago that Focus on the Family backed away from its previous stance that a nominee's sexual orientation would not matter under pressure from LaBarbera.  So perhaps next, Focus will adopt LaBarbera's "every SCOTUS nominee must declare their homosexuality" test.

Early Right Wing Leftovers

I'm going to be off until next Wednesday, starting this afternoon, so here is an early wrap-up of today's right-wing miscellany:

  • Jesse Lee Peterson declares Michael Steele to be a RINO for saying that Blacks do not have a reason to vote for the GOP.
  • Now Tom Tancredo going after the SPLC.
  • As is the Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Lafferty, who also claims that PFAW is a "leftist hate group".
  • The Institute on Religion and Democracy is calling on churches to "confront Islamic law" here in America.
  • Finally, Tim Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos, which will make his future collaborations with Focus on the Family that much easier.

Understanding the Focus on the Family Mindset

Last year I noted how is seemed that those who work at Focus on the Family just seem to be fundamentally incapable of realizing that there are millions of people in this nation who do not share their Christian views.

Here is some more evidence of Focus' myopia, as President Jim Daly wonders just how anyone could possibly oppose the National Day of Prayer:

But even an enthusiastic atheist would have a difficult time explaining how merely recognizing the first Thursday in May as a "Day of Prayer" (without any denominational attribution or financial support) is akin to establishing a national religion. By Judge Crabb's standards, if the federal recognition of the National Day of Prayer is illegal, so is Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.

As a Christian, I view the matter of prayer with an admitted bias, but one studied with both my head and heart. Clearly, prayer means different things to different people. Personally, I receive my understanding of prayer and its collective purpose and power from the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. I do not view prayer as merely a recitation of personal requests, though I do regularly pray for the health and well-being of my wife and two boys. Prayer is very personal; it helps me remember again and again that life is not about me and how utterly and wholly dependent I am on God.

I am not alone in my understanding and practice of this both mysterious and reflective practice; but we Christians support a National Day of Prayer for reasons well beyond selfish interest. A colleague of mine at Focus on the Family tells the story of a mentor back in Texas who used to say he always got down on his knees to pray because "it makes it real clear who's in charge."

Christians understand prayer to be powerful because it is the way in which we humbly and gratefully praise God. We don't believe prayer changes God's mind, but rather that prayer changes our hearts. And changed hearts lead to a more humble, grateful and healthy nation of Americans.

Who, may I ask, could possibly be opposed to that?

First of all, Easter is not a federal holiday.

And secondly, does Daly really not understand who could oppose a National Day of Prayer after he explicitly explains that prayer is important because it allows us to "humbly and gratefully praise God" and therefore reminds us God is always in charge?

I'll tell you who could opposes that: the millions of nonbelievers in this country and organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

I wonder if Daly would have a different reaction if we declared, say, a National Day of Blasphemy. 

Dobson Set To Return Next Month With "Family Talk"

After finally leaving Focus on the Family in February, James Dobson kind of dropped off that radar as he went out setting up his next venture with this son, Ryan.  Now it looks like that venture, called "Family Talk" is set to officially kick off next month:

It is with excitement that I tell you that the ministry of Family Talk is coming together rapidly and that our first broadcast is scheduled to be heard beginning May 3rd. The best estimate at this time is that approximately 200 radio stations will carry the program at least once daily throughout the United States. The format will feature my two associates, Ryan Dobson and LuAnne Crane, and me in a 30-minute discussion about family-related topics, cultural issues, and matters relevant to our Christian faith.

And as Dobson, Ryan, and LuAnne Crane prepare to launch their radio program, he wants it knows that anyone expected a "softer, gentler" James Dobson is going to be disappointed

Another reason we have started this new ministry is to continue our defense of righteousness within the culture. That commitment to moral and spiritual truths has not changed and will not be compromised one iota. Please don’t expect me to take a “softer, gentler” approach to the issues that burn within my soul. I have never spoken or written without passion for values in which I believe, and I don’t intend to start now. Babies are dying, the very definition of marriage is under attack, the financial underpinnings of families are being destroyed by confiscatory taxation, and children of all ages are being taught wickedness and every form of godlessness. This is no time to grow timid!

...

Let me assure you again that we have NOT, and will not, abandon our commitment to morality, liberty, the sanctity of human life, marriage and parenthood, and the essentials of our Christian faith! Those eternal verities will never change.

Way To Go, Focus: You've Made LaBarbera Proud

Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center placed Peter LaBarbera's Americans for Truth About Homosexuality on its list of anti-gay hate sites.

Yesterday, Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery personally assured AFT's LaBarbera that Focus would absolutely oppose any gay Supreme Court nominee, an abrupt about-face after Focus said last year that a nominee's orientation was "not even pertinent."

And for that, Focus on the Family is now being praised by LaBarbera for siding with all those good Christians who know that gays are "driven to justify their errant lifestyle" and therefore "have a mark against their character that absolutely should be considered as a potential source of bias, and even anti-religious animus":

Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), issued the following statement in response to Focus on the Family’s clarification that it would not support a homosexual nominee to the Supreme Court:

Focus on the Family has wisely corrected statements by two of its staffers who stated last year that the “sexual orientation” of judicial nominees – i.e., their homosexuality – would not disqualify them to sit on the nation’s highest court.

...

Americans For Truth, like other pro-family groups that honor the authority of Scripture, believes that homosexuality is best understood not as an “identity” but as a behavior – one that is wrong, destructive, and unnatural. Thankfully, homosexual conduct also is changeable (2 Corinthians 5:17), as evinced by the lives of countless former homosexual men and ex-lesbians living happy lives.

Supposed “gay” identity is a modern construct that undermines moral truth and people’s responsibility for their own conduct. Men and women (proudly) practicing homosexuality often are driven to justify their errant lifestyle. Even those practicing homosexuality in secret often work to promote its acceptance.

This is why people practicing homosexuality often make bad judges: even if they don’t admit it, due to their sexual self-interest, they will have a hard time fairly adjudicating cases involving homosexuality. If a judge personally views opponents of homosexuality as bigots, haters, or “homophobes” – the former terms falsely equate the outworking of faith with prejudice and malice; the latter cynically equates morality with irrational fear – will he or she be able to deal with them justly? Will homosexual judges be diligent in protecting Americans’ constitutional religious liberties – i.e., to disagree with homosexuality? Or will they – like lesbian law professor and newly-appointed EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum – decide that, in most cases, “gay rights” considerations should supersede the freedom of people to act based on their moral opposition to homosexuality?

Homosexuality is not special and it should be treated like any other sexual sin. Homosexuality (like gender confusion) does not deserve “civil rights” status. Judicial nominees who practice it – or worse, practice it proudly – have a mark against their character that absolutely should be considered as a potential source of bias, and even anti-religious animus, in their future rulings.

So congratulations to Focus on receiving the accolades from a SPLC-designated hate site. 

Remember not too long ago how we were being told that Focus under new president Jim Daly was going to have a different, more conciliatory tone? When is that supposed to start?

Focus On Gay Nominee: From "Not Even Pertinent" to "Non Starter"

As we noted in our earlier post, before President Obama named his nominee to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court, Religious Right groups were staking out the position that a gay nominee would not necessarily warrant their opposition:

In a move that will surprise gay activists and liberals, a spokesperson for Focus on the Family, a top religious right group, tells me that his organization has no problem with GOP Senator Jeff Sessions‘ claim today that he’s open to a Supreme Court nominee with “gay tendencies.”

The spokesperson confirms the group won’t oppose a gay SCOTUS nominee over sexual orientation.

“We agree with Senator Sessions,” Bruce Hausknecht, a spokesperson for Focus on the Family, which was founded by top religious right figure James Dobson, told me a few minutes ago. “The issue is not their sexual orientation. It’s whether they are a good judge or not.”

Their sexual orientation “should never come up,” he continued. “It’s not even pertinent to the equation.”

...

“Our concern at the Supreme Court is judicial philosophy,” FOF spokesperson Hausknecht continued. “Sexual orientation only becomes an issue if it effects their judging.” For example, he said, “If someone says, `I don’t care what the law says, on the next case involving sexual orientation, I’m going to decide the case in favor of the openly gay party,’ that would be a breach of judicial duty.”

Contrast that with the "clarification" Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery gave today to Peter LaBarbera:

“It has been reported that we would not oppose any U.S. Supreme Court nominee over their ’sexual orientation.’ Our Judicial Analyst [Bruce Hausknecht] made a statement to this effect in an interview with The Plum Line. To be honest, this is one of those conversations we’d like to ‘do over.’ We can assure you that we recognize that homosexual behavior is a sin and does not reflect God’s created intent and desire for humanity. Further, we at Focus do affirm that character and moral rectitude should be key considerations in appointing members of the judiciary, especially in the case of the highest court in the land. Sexual behavior–be it heterosexual or homosexual–certainly lies at the heart of personal morality.”

Greg Sargent, to whom Hausknecht gave the above statement last year, understandably wanted to find out why Focus was suddenly backtracking, but Minnery inists that the group is doing nothing of the sort - it's just that Hausknecht got it wrong last time

“I don’t think it’s correct to say we’re backtracking,” he told me. “We didn’t get it right the first time.”

Asked if the new statement meant that being homosexual is a deal-breaker, Minnery replied: “Someone who is a practicing homosexual is a non starter for the group.” Asked if this was the case no matter what the person’s views, he replied: “That’s correct.”

A year ago, Focus on the Family said that a SCOTUS nominee's sexual orientation was "not even pertinent" to the question of whether they were qualified for the court. 

Today, Focus on the Family says that gays are sinners and immoral and the idea of not opposing a "practicing homosexual is a non starter," based solely on their sexual orientation.

All the while insisting that the group is not "backtracking."

SCOTUS Round-Up: Right Ready To Spend Millions Fighting Gay Nominee Women Don't Like

Remember last time around when various Religious Right groups were saying that they would not oppose a Supreme Court nominee just because said nominee was gay

In fact, Focus on the Family's Bruce Hausknecht went on record saying "the issue is not their sexual orientation. It’s whether they are a good judge or not":

“Our concern at the Supreme Court is judicial philosophy,” FOF spokesperson Hausknecht continued. “Sexual orientation only becomes an issue if it effects their judging.” For example, he said, “If someone says, `I don’t care what the law says, on the next case involving sexual orientation, I’m going to decide the case in favor of the openly gay party,’ that would be a breach of judicial duty.”

Well, Focus received a lot of flack for that from professional anti-gay activists like Gary Glenn and Peter LaBarbera and now Focus' Tom Minnery has "clarified" their position to LaBarbera, stating that the organization would oppose a gay nominee because said nominee would be, by definition, sinful and immoral: 

“It has been reported that we would not oppose any U.S. Supreme Court nominee over their ’sexual orientation.’ Our Judicial Analyst [Bruce Hausknecht] made a statement to this effect in an interview with The Plum Line. To be honest, this is one of those conversations we’d like to ‘do over.’ We can assure you that we recognize that homosexual behavior is a sin and does not reflect God’s created intent and desire for humanity. Further, we at Focus do affirm that character and moral rectitude should be key considerations in appointing members of the judiciary, especially in the case of the highest court in the land. Sexual behavior–be it heterosexual or homosexual–certainly lies at the heart of personal morality.”

In other news, right-wing groups are planning on raising and spending millions of dollars to fight Obama's nominee, without even knowing who it is:

Even without a nominee, some conservative organizations are bracing for a fight based on the ideological leanings of previous Obama judicial nominees.

Carrie Severino, the general counsel for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, formerly called the Judicial Confirmation Network, said her group was prepared to launch a media campaign costing in the seven figures, similar to the one it waged against Sotomayor.

“I think we have funding in place. We are prepared to really fight,” she said.

Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, another conservative group, said that a judicial fight can boost fundraising and energize the base to get out and vote in the midterm elections.

Finally, Penny Young Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, has an op-ed on FoxNews.com explaining just "What Women Want In a Supreme Court Nominee" - remarkably, what all women want seems to be exactly the same as what CWA wants:

Just because Justice Stevens was a liberal on the Court, it does not mean that President Obama must nominate another liberal to replace him. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is already salivating at the possibility of a justice who will “stand equally strong for” abortion on demand.

Obama sailed into office as a man expected to heal the nation, unite the political parties, and bring warm fuzzies to a country divided. On the contrary, since entering the White House our president and his policies have driven the country into an unfathomable divide, even lending to the uprising of the Tea Party movement, which brought out everyone from retirees to soccer moms -- and professionals who never cared about politics -- because Obama introduced policies that would destroy the lives they had built.

Women want a Justice who will uphold the Constitution, the right to life, and will preserve the family as a foundational cornerstone of our society. They don’t want someone who will legislate from the bench and uphold abhorrent legislation like the health care bill.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Steve King are BFFs.  Why is that not surprising?
  • Why is Sen. Scott Brown's daughter now a contributor to "The Early Show"?
  • Rick Santorum says the only reason he endorsed Arlen Specter last time around was because Specter promised to support President Bush's SCOTUS nominees.
  • Focus on the Family has kicked-off a 12-city tour aimed at educating couples on how to strengthen their marriage, parenting skills, and family life.
  • Harry Jackson defends Michael Steel, saying Steel deserves more time to get things organized.  Seriously.
  • Quote of the day I from Dave Welch on standing up to gays: "We must stand boldly, declare God's standard of morality for the good of the people and take back the ground that has been yielded to the forces of spiritual darkness by cleaning house at every level of government, education, media and the arts. However, as it will be with God's judgment, we must start in the house of God. "
  • Quote of the day II comes from those who don't want to see Rick Green on the Texas Supreme Court: "Let’s not jeopardize that good work by electing someone who is likely to attract criticism and ridicule for himself and our entire judiciary."
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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

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/01/2011, 4:10pm
As we noted last week, Rick Perry gathered with a whole range of Religious Right leaders at the ranch of right-wing megadonor James Leininger over the weekend and details continue to emerge about what took place during the event, like Perry vowing to them that there would be no revelations about his past that would ever embarrass them. We are also seeing more reports about which leaders were in attendance: The meeting received little public attention, though the 200 or so in attendance included luminaries of the Christian right such as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, California... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/01/2011, 12:53pm
Focus on the Family is warning that women today are being seduced by "emo-porn," which is not actually pornographic at all but simply soap operas and romance novels which create unrealistic images of attentive and loving husbands:  Loneliness strikes at the heart of both husbands and wives, but tends to plunge deeper into the emotional expanse of women. This is one reason why wives are seduced by “emo-porn,” virtual infidelity that is more emotionally satisfying before it physically pleases. But like salt water, it creates a worsening thirst. With emo-porn, fantasy... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 08/30/2011, 3:36pm
Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg appeared today on The Matt Friedeman Show on the American Family Association’s American Family Radio to discuss the budding controversy over the right-wing “charity” service CGBG. The progressive groups AllOut.org and Change.org have persuaded over 200 retailers to leave the CGBG, a for-profit group that allows customers to shop at companies online and direct part of their proceeds to right-wing organizations like FRC and Focus on the Family – success that, unsurprisingly, has got the Religious Right up in arms. It... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/26/2011, 5:31pm
The Catholic League has rallied to the defense of their anti-gay allies the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family as a reaction to a campaign by LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates to have corporations drop out of the Charity Give Back Group, which sponsors the FRC and Focus. The Charity Give Back Group (formerly known as the Christian Values Network) allows customers to shop in a virtual mall and direct proceeds to CGBG affiliated groups, which led to complaints as a number of the CGBG’s charities are actually anti-choice and anti-gay political groups. Yesterday,... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/26/2011, 10:03am
Since the Charity Give Back Group was forced to defend its financing of right-wing organizations like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, spokesman Kevin McCullough (who himself has propagated virulent anti-gay rhetoric) has stated that the campaign to have companies withdraw from the CGBG represents bullying. Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, even said it was an attempt to “censor” Christians. After Apple dropped out of the CGBG, which was previously known as the Christian Values Network, McCullough told The Christian Post, “We're not asking Apple to... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 08/25/2011, 11:10am
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins joined Janet Mefferd yesterday to discuss the campaign progressive groups are leading to get companies drop ties to the Charity Give Back Group (formerly the Christian Values Network). The CGBG is a for-profit company that helps consumers direct a percentage of their purchases at participating retail outlets to a variety of right-wing organizations including the FRC and Focus on the Family. LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates are calling on companies to leave the CGBG over its support for FRC and Focus on the Family. CGBG’s... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/24/2011, 3:34pm
A campaign spearheaded by LGBT rights and women’s rights groups Change.org and AllOut.org, encouraging companies to drop their ties to the Charity Give Back Group (formerly the Christian Values Network), unsurprisingly has the Religious Right up in arms. The CGBG “operates a sort of online mall, donating a portion of each purchase to religious nonprofits,” Michelle Goldberg explains. “Among them are conservative organizations like Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, Promise Keepers, and a number of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.” The... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/10/2011, 5:48pm
Matt Barber is not happy with Ann Coulter for joining GOProud's Advisory Council. Speaking of GOProud, the groups is not happy about being tossed-out of CPAC. PBS takes a look at Francis Schaeffer and his work, which had a big influence on Michele Bachmann. Albert Mohler says the the biggest problem with marriage equality "is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins." Finally, it seems that Focus on the Family is still angry about the... MORE >