Focus on the Family

Dobson Edges Toward Retirement

As of the end of next February, James Dobson will no longer be hosting his flagship radio program:

James Dobson, the voice of conservative Christian group Focus on the Family since its inception, is leaving the organization's flagship daily radio broadcast.

Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger says Dobson will go off the air at the end of February. He said Friday it was a mutual decision of Dobson and the board, and that more details are forthcoming.

Dobson, 73, a strong voice in conservative Christian politics, has taken on a reduced role at Focus on the Family as part of a succession plan. He resigned as president in 2003, and as board chairman in February.

The evangelical group recently laid off staff because of a decline in donations.

Earlier this year, when Dobson stepped down as Chairman of Focus on the Family, it was announced that he would continue to speak out on important political and cultural matters and that there were no plans for him to step away from the microphone as the voice of the daily radio program.

But this announcement suggests that Dobson's reign as the face and voice of Focus on the Family and, by extension, the Religious Right as a movement, is coming to an end.

Focus On The Family Should Be Expecting a Visit From Randall Terry

You have to hand it to Alan Colmes.  Even though I spend my days wallowing in right-wing insanity for this blog, I don't know that I could tolerate the prospect of actually debating any of the people we write about, but Colmes does it day in and day out.

Case in point: his interview last night with Randall Terry about his "Pelosi and Reed Should Burn in Hell" contest.  Terry insisted the contest was "somewhat tongue and cheek" but when the conversation turned toward the issue of covering reproductive health needs in heathcare reform, Colmes informed Terry that Focus on the Family provides its employees health insurance through Principal, an insurance company that covers "abortion services," Terry was shocked by the news and said he'd be contacting James Dobson about it.  So it looks like Focus on the Family ought to be expecting a visit from Terry and his theater troop in the near future.

Perhaps the most interesting exchange came when Colmes asked Terry is he had any sympathy for Scott Roeder, the man accused of killing Dr. George Tiller and Terry went silent, saying he'd never thought about it.  Eventually, Terry suggested that his views on Roeder's alleged actions depended on whether he acted in order to stop Tiller from carrying out more abortions and thereby saving babies or whether he acted in order to punish Tiller for his past abortion procedures.  The latter, Terry seemed to suggest, was completely different from the former and Roeder's actions should be judged accordingly. 

But in the end, the one person for whom Terry has no sympathy at all was Tiller himself, whom Terry called "one of the most evil, damnable, demonic men on the planet, every bit as vile as the worst Nazis" and a "son of a bitch who deserved to rot in hell":

Focus Spends $400 K Fighting Healthcare Reform

For an organization that has been laying off hundreds of staffers left and right, Focus on the Family sure seems to have a lot of money to burn.  In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars they've spent fighting equality in Maine and Washington, they've also reportedly spent some $400,000 fighting healthcare reform:

Focus on the Family Action, the political arm of the Colorado Springs family group, has spent more than $400,000 fighting the Obama Administration’s federal health care proposal, according to Focus Action senior vice president Tom Minnery.

Focus Action says the proposal subsidizes abortion, will ration health care for the elderly and will create a huge tax burden.

Here are some of the results Focus Action has had by reaching out to the general public through various media campaigns that impugn Obama’s health care proposal, according to a Focus Action news letter released today:

* Generated 52,000 phone calls into the offices of 10 key senators

* Generated 43,000 phone calls into the offices of 10 key congressmen.

* Online phone-a-thon in which thousands of Focus supporters called their senators, congressman and the White House.

* In late October, Focus Action delivered about 150,000 petitions to Capitol Hill.

Focus on the Family, Healthcare Reform, Fungibility, and Abortion

Amy Sullivan asks a question that I had recently been wondering about - Does Focus on the Family Fund Abortions?:

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fungibility argument that many pro-life groups and politicians have employed to oppose health reform. The problem, they say, is that if any insurance plan that covers abortion is allowed to participate in a public exchange, then premiums paid to that plan in the form of taxpayer-funded subsidies help support that abortion coverage even if individual abortion procedures are paid for out of a separate pool of privately-paid premium dollars. You can debate about whether it makes sense to use this strict standard, but that's the argument.

But are those pro-life organizations holding themselves to the same strict standard? As it happens, Focus on the Family provides its employees health insurance through Principal, an insurance company that covers "abortion services." A Focus spokeswoman confirmed the fact that the organization pays premiums to Principal, but declined to comment on whether that amounts to an indirect funding of abortion.

Even if the specific plan Focus uses for its employees doesn't include abortion coverage--and I'm assuming it doesn't--the organization and its employees still pay premiums to a company that funds abortions. If health reform proposals have a fungibility problem, then Focus does as well. And if they don't think they do have a fungibility problem, then it would be interesting to hear why they think the set-up proposed in health reform legislation is so untenable.

Health Care Reform Will Lead To Forced Abortions

Is anyone surprised that right-wing groups are holding a press conference to claim that including coverage for reproductive health services in healthcare reform legislation are would lead to forced abortions ... or that several Republican members of Congress would join them in making that claim

If so, you obviously haven't been paying attention to what has become of today's GOP:

Today Concerned Women for America will join in a press conference on health care with numerous groups including Focus on the Family Action, National Right to Life, and Family Research Council as well as Representatives Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina,) Tom Price (R-Georgia) and Eric Cantor (R-Virginia.) The press conference will be held in the House Triangle.

"Women are generally the primary decision-makers in the family when it comes to health care. However, our ability to make health care decisions will be snatched away and given to bureaucrats empowered to ration care and pay for abortion," stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America.

"The current bill sets up a system whereby bureaucrats decide what health care we can receive, with cost as a major factor. It also will fund abortion. Since abortion costs less than prenatal care, delivery and post-natal care, especially if the mother or child has special needs, it is not unlikely that bureaucrats will put on their green-eye shades and decide that abortion will be covered but expensive maternal and child care is not.

Focus on the Family Pumps Neary $100 K into Maine

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Focus on the Family has donated nearly $100,000 to fight marriage equality in Maine, while the Roman Catholic Diocese has pumped in nearly $390,000:

Last year, Focus on the Family donated nearly $450,000 to support a California proposition outlawing gay marriage. This year, the Colorado Springs-based organization is setting its sights on Maine, but the outlay is a lot smaller — both because Maine is a lot smaller, and because of the economy.

As of Sept. 30, Focus had donated $98,500 to Stand for Marriage Maine, a coalition supporting an initiative on the Nov. 3 ballot to overturn the state Legislature’s legalization of gay marriage. Efforts began in May to collect signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Jenny Tyree, marriage analyst for Focus Action, the political arm of the Colorado Springs family group, said the creation of the measure shows that people, not politicians, should decide the parameters of marriage.

“Marriage is the safest in the hands of the people,” Tyree said. “Politicians are swayed by a lot of things.”

...

The leading donor to Stand for Marriage Maine is the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, which has given nearly $390,000, Maine records show.

Update: David Hart double checked the numbers and puts FOF's contributions at $83,584.

Dobson: Kevin Jennings Is My Greatest Nightmare

Over the last two days, James Dobson has dedicated his radio program to discussing current political issues, with yesterday's program focusing on healthcare reform, while today's program focused on things like ENDA, but primarily on Kevin Jennings. 

If you need a reason to support Jennings, just listen to Tom Minnery explain that Jennings and GLSEN are "anathema to everything that Focus on the Family stands for" while Dobson says that what is happening in Washington right now is his "greatest nightmare" as everything he has worked for over the last twenty-five years is coming undone and "Kevin Jennings is the quintessential expression of that far-left agenda":

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW statement: Mormon Leader Compares Pro-Equality Activists to Violent Segregationists.
  • Orly Taitz has been slapped with a $20,000 fine.
  • On a semi-similar note, Larry Klayman owes Judicial Watch nearly $70,000.  Plus, in his new book he says the "vast right wing conspiracy" to take down President Clinton was started by himself, Phyllis Schlafly Paul Weyrich, and Wayne LaPierre during a Council for National Policy conference in 1998.
  • Slog: Focus on the Family Affiliate Donates $200,000 to Washington's Reject R-71.
  • AMERICAblog: Catholic group wants No on 1's newest ad off the air because a Catholic mother wants her son to be equal.
  • Finally, Rep. Michele Bachmann sure does miss a lot of votes.

Dobson's Lament: Obama Is No Reagan

The Council for National Policy is a notoriously secretive organization, so it came as a bit of a surprise to see that Focus on the Family had posted video of the entire speech that James Dobson recently delivered at the group's annual meeting when he accepted the "Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award."

For the majority of the speech, Dobson recounted his personal history in light of the difficulties those who share his right-wing views and values faced in the 1960s and 1970s and contrasted that with the joy they felt with the election of Ronald Reagan.  Toward the end of his remarks, Dobson turned to the current political environment, lamenting that President Obama is opposed to everything that Ronald Reagan stood for, alleged that Obama believes in "peace through appeasement" with the nation's enemies and compared him to Neville Chamberlain, and declared that the nation is in "greater danger, right now I think, than at any time since the Civil War."

Dobson closed by laying out the recipe for conservative (and Republican) political success in the coming elections and "save America from national disaster," warning that efforts to purge the Religious Right from the GOP will lead to disaster and proclaiming that what the movement needs "are political candidates who love conservative principles, who believe in them, who can articulate and defend them to the public, men and women who cherish liberty and are willing to give their very lives for it, and will oppose the evil of liberalism, and will speak with conviction about the institutions of marriage and parenting, and will revere and uphold free enterprise and defend the Constitution.  If American patriots will do this and then bathe their efforts in prayer, as did the Founding Fathers, then they will restore our country to its heritage and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity":

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Pam's House Blend: Washington Times publishes ugly hit piece on Kevin Jennings.
  • Truth Wins Out: Focus on the Family Seeks to Exempt Alabama Gays from Antibullying Protection.
  • Rob Boston: At the Values Voter Summit, Wing-Nut Christian Right Plots Its Comeback.
  • Texas Freedom Network: David Barton Promotes Oklahoma Extremist Sally Kern.
  • Amanda Hess: Ex-Gay Group Calls Hate Crime Laws “Anti-Ex-Gay.”
  • Wow, Hitler and Obama really do have a lot in common.
  • Finally, I'll be out for the rest of the week.  See you Monday.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Randall Terry and company are now targeting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • The Freedom Foundation of Texas has received Focus on the Family Action's "Family Champion Award."
  • Tullian Tchividjian says members of D. James Kennedy's church tried to oust him because he wasn't talking about politics enough from the pulpit.
  • Do you remember the brothers responsible for Huck's Army? The are now working to save thousands from wasting their youth.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has announced its second Pulpit Freedom Sunday, to be held on September 27 in order to challenge IRS restrictions on what pastors and priests can say.

When You See Malkin on TV, You Can Thank James Dobson

Following up on the post from earlier today regarding Michelle Malkin's appearance on James Dobson's radio program, it turned out that most of the discussion revolved around Obama, taxes, healthcare, czars, and every other right-wing talking point.  But there was one interesting revelation regarding Malkin's recent move to Colorado Springs, CO from the "swamp" that is Washington, DC.

Malkin revealed that the move had been made for the benefit of her family and that, as a result, she had had to give up some of her more high-profile television opportunities, at which point Dobson chimed in to note that she is still doing a lot of television appearances and that, when she does, she utilizes the studios at Focus on the Family headquarters:

Dobson: You're still on television a lot, aren't you?

Malkin: Yes.

Dobson: And you do some of that right here from this ministry.

Malkin: Yes, it is such a blessing ...

Dobson: So when you're seen now on Fox News, you're probably broadcasting uplink from one of our studios.

Malkin: That's exactly right. And you have a wonderful staff here and, it's just, I feel at home.

Forgetting the "Judeo" Part of their "Juedo-Christian" Values

The Family Research Council says that it "promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society."

Gary Bauer of American Values says "a belief in God and a commitment to the principles of our Judeo-Christian tradition ... are what the country was founded on and they're the secret to our prosperity."

Focus on the Family says its "primary reason for existence is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ [based upon "pillars"] drawn from the wisdom of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian ethic.".

The American Family Association says its "goal is to inform, motivate, and equip God's people to take action on issues that threaten to undermine and destroy the traditional family and the Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation was founded."

All four groups are sponsoring the Values Voter Summit beginning tomorrow, but it seems that none of them paid much attention to the "Judeo" aspect of their mission statements when planning this event:

The Family Research Council is holding its annual "Values Voter Summit" in Washington this weekend. The summit gives Republicans, including some would-be presidential candidates, a chance to play to activists -- unless, that is, those activists happen to be Jewish.

The summit this year coincides with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and one of the religion's most important holidays; it begins Friday night at sundown. There aren't very many Jewish Republicans to begin with, but chances are very few of them will make it to the summit, to hear from the likes of Mitt Romney and others. There are more speakers on Friday -- Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty (and also Stephen Baldwin) -- but it's hard to imagine many Jewish conservatives heading to Washington for the event just for one day.

Does the FRC think Jews don't have values? Or was this just the only fall weekend they could get into the Omni Shoreham hotel?

How Clinton's Impeachment Led to The Collapse of the Christian Coalition

Joel Vaughan was a high-ranking staffer during the heyday of the Christian Coalition and its inexorable decline into obscurity. He eventually left the organization and now serves as special assistant to Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, and has written a book called "The Rise and Fall of the Christian Coalition: The Inside Story." 

Recently, he appeared on a Christian radio program called "The Georgene Rice Show" to promote the book and provided a fascinating insider's view on the group's rise and decline following the departure of Ralph Reed.

But, Vaughan says, what ultimate doomed the Christian Coalition was Pat Roberston's decision to abandon the impeachment effort against President Clinton

Georgene: We know that the Christian Coalition was a bi-word to the media that tended toward the left, and that anything that was accomplished there was lauded as not positive. But let’s talk about the fall of the Christian Coalition and what ultimately left the organization in utter obscurity. Talk about the high point and then the slide downward.

Vaughan: There were three main things: finances, mission and staffing. The high point was after the 1994 elections, all through 1995 and leading up to 1996. But when Dole lost to Clinton in 1996, we immediately began experiencing a cash crunch. When it didn’t pick back up in 1997, we started to accumulate debt. Making matters worse, we were being hounded by the IRS and the Federal Elections Commission. And we were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on those defenses. In April, Reed announced he was leaving to go into consulting full time, and his successors, Hodel and Randy Tate, weren’t announced until June. And during that period, money went into the tank, and the debt increased. Therefore, the debt was unmanageable by the first two or three months of the new administration. After about a year, they had kind of gotten things back on an even keel. Hodel and Robertson both put in their own money to keep the Coalition afloat and to help meet payroll. Direct mail was getting back up. Things were on a good line until the Clinton impeachment in 1998 over his then alleged affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.

All the conservative groups were fighting hard to get Clinton impeached, and he was impeached, and his trial was set for January, 1999. Then Clinton made his State of the Union address right before the trial. He did such a good job. It was a true Clintonian performance. There is no one better before a camera. He doesn’t even need the teleprompters that our current President needs. He did such a good job that Robertson went on the 700 Club the next day and said Clinton did such a great job, and this impeachment thing is over, and as far as he was concerned, we should get on with something else. Well the Christian Coalition supporters across America didn’t agree. They thought we should keep fighting and keep working and, even if we were going to lose the impeachment trial, we should still hold Clinton’s feet to the fire and stay based on the matter of fighting for principal……Robertson thought it was more expedient to get on with a battle we could win……Finally, Hodel told Robertson that we needed to apologize to the grass roots. Pat didn’t feel like that was something he wanted to do…So Hodel decided to leave and return to Colorado where he could return to his private pursuits.

Robertson made a decision to bring in one of the state directors [Roberta Combs] from South Carolina to take over the organization. She did a good job running the Coalition in South Carolina, but bless her heart, she wasn’t ready to run a national organization. She was in over her head from day one. The staff didn’t want her there. She didn’t want any of the staff there. She questioned their loyalty. People started leaving in mass. She started firing a few people. Before you know it, the thing was just gone. By the end of the year, it was only a vapor.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Adele M. Stan: Make no mistake; the Tea Party movement is the new religious right. The megaphone of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network and James Dobson's Focus on the Family media empire has been replaced by FOX News Channel and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.
  • How many people showed up at the 9/12 rally?  Millions? Not quite.
  • For those who couldn't attend, view photos from the rally here and here.
  • Rick Santorum: running for president?
  • Think Progress: Neal Boortz compares President Obama to a child molester.
  • Bob McDonnell tries to stem the damage from his Regent thesis with a new ad.
  • Karen Ocamb: The Religious Right is Swiftboating Same Sex Marriage in Maine.

Maine: Religious Right Barring the Media From Their Anti-Marriage Rally

The other day, Jeremy at Good As You noticed that Religious Right groups organizing behind the anti-marriage equality effort in Maine were suddenly distancing themselves from Mike Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council.

I assumed these groups were trying to avoid being seen in public with Heath because of the rabidly anti-gay insanity he's been spreading recently.  But, as it turns out, these groups just trying to avoid being seen in public period:

The Stand for Marriage Rally is being organized by Focus on the Family, The Maine Jeremiah Project, Family Research Council and Stand for Marriage Maine, which includes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Bishop Richard Malone is expected to address the crowd, along with religious leaders from Maryland and California.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family will provide a video message, [Rev. Bob Emrich] said.

The event is free, but tickets are required. Emrich said members of the media will not be allowed inside the event.

The most recent campaign finance reports from Main showed that of the money raised by the Religious Right groups fighting marriage equality in the state, the amount that came from actual residents of Maine constituted a mere .1%, whereas the amount donated by national Religious Right groups like the National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family made up the other 99.9%.

These groups sure do seem to be dumping a lot of time, money, and effort into this campaign while simultaneously trying to keep the people of Maine in the dark about it.

Bush's White House Visitor Log Reveals Revolving Door of Religious Right Leaders

From Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington:

Newly disclosed Bush-era White House visitor records suggest leading conservative Christian leaders may have had a significant voice in President Bush’s administration, and many seem to have had the ear of the president himself. The White House produced these records in response to CREW’s request for the visitor records of nine individuals beginning in January 1, 2001.

Only one record indicates a visit after October 4, 2006, the date of CREW’s request. The data is summarized below.

  • For the period April 2001 through June 2006, Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman Emeritus James Dobson visited the White House 24 times; 10 of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director of the Traditional Values Coalition, made an astonishing 50 visits to the White House starting on February 1, 2001, and continuing through March 16, 2008. Six of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, made 43 visits to the White House between May 2001 and August 2006. Four of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Gary Bauer, President of American Values, made 10 visits to the White House, starting with a January 6, 2003 visit to Vice President Cheney and ending with a July 20, 2006 visit to President Bush.
  • The late Jerry Falwell, of Jerry Falwell Ministries, made eight visits to the White House between May 2001 and September 2004. Three of those visits were to President Bush.
  • Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, visited the White House 14 times between February 2001 and June 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
  • Louis Sheldon, Chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, made 19 visits to the White House between March 2001 and September 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
  • The late Paul Weyrich, the Founder of Free Congress foundation, made 17 visits to the White House between May 2001 and July 2005, including six visits to President Bush and one to Karl Rove.
  • Donald Wildmon, Founder of the American Family Association, made three visits to the White House between July 2001 and March 2003, including one visit to President Bush. 

The Religious Right's Miraculous Recovery

In the months following the election, there appeared a series of articles all carrying a similar theme: With the election of Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, the Religious Right was all but dead.

As we pointed out in a series of posts and reports, these sorts of pieces tend to get written whenever Republicans fare poorly in an election and there is rarely any validity to their claims:

I have to say I find this temptation from commentators to write the Religious Right’s obituary after every Republican electoral setback rather remarkable. For one thing, as we pointed out not too long ago, these sorts of pieces appear every few years, only to be overtaken a short time later with pieces marveling that the “sudden” and “unexpected” resurgence of the “values voters" crowd. In addition, despite the gloominess from the likes of Mohler and Deace, the Religious Right is more committed than ever to regrouping as a “resistance movement” to fight for its agenda and eventually regain its position as an influential and powerful political and social force.

And that day may come sooner than many realize. While it might seem at the moment that the Religious Right is on its way out, it is important to remember that the GOP has lost exactly one mid-term election and one presidential election and Democrats have controlled Congress and the White House for less than three months.

Doesn’t anyone else remember all the talk following George W. Bush’s election, and especially his re-election, about the “values voters” and coming of a “permanent Republican majority” which would give the GOP ironclad control over the reigns of government for decades to come?

Remind me again: how did that all work out?

The point is that political fortunes change … and often change rapidly. It is far, far too early to be declaring the Religious Right to be dead based on two elections and three months of Democratic government.

Well, guess what?  After being declared moribund just a few months ago, the Religious Right has been miraculously resurrected, thank to the healthcare reform debate, declares the Washington Post:

The Christian right, facing questions before the presidential election about its continuing potency as a force for cultural and political change, has found new life with Barack Obama in office, particularly around health care.

As the president prepares to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night to press for health-care reform, conservative Christian leaders are rallying their troops to oppose him, with online town hall meetings, church gatherings, fundraising appeals, and e-mail and social networking campaigns. FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council, has scheduled a webcast Thursday night for tens of thousands of supporters in which House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other speakers will respond to the president's health-care address.

...

"It's a busy time," said Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family. He said donations to Focus Action have climbed beyond expectations, although he declined to say by how much.

[F]or the moment, conservative Christian leaders are riding high on opposing health-care reform.

"Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Henry Waxman have done more to energize Christian conservatives than any conservative leader could have done with this health-care package," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I, who never believed that we were dead, did not believe that it would happen this quickly."

...

"We're not having to build a grand new organization. We're using the strengths of other organizations that understand the needs of their particular constituencies," said Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law and an organizer of the Freedom Federation.

Christian right leaders say it is too soon to tell whether health-care reform will trigger a flood of donations, but they are encouraged by the response they are seeing in other ways.

Gary Bauer, who heads the socially conservative group American Values, said that the list of addresses to which he sends his daily e-mail alerts was down to 170,000 and that he was getting only 50 requests a week to sign up for it before the election. Now, he said, the e-mail list is up to 225,000, and he is getting 1,000 or more requests a week asking to be added.

"The passion that was so evident in the Obama campaign right now, at least, has shifted to our side," he said.

The Post reports that "experts say the resurgent interest is proving that predictions of the death of the Christian right -- widespread before the election -- were again premature." 

Gee, really? 

And who exactly was making all those "predictions" about the "death of the Christian right"?  It was the media that declared the Religious Right dead ... and now it is the media declaring that they have been resurrected. 

It is sort of like a doctor declaring a sleeping patient to be dead and then proclaiming it a miracle when the patient wakens while blaming others for "prematurely" writing their obituary.

Another 75 Layoffs At Focus on the Family

To follow-up on a post from yesterday, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Focus on the Family is undergoing another round of layoffs:

Focus on the Family announced a reorganization Wednesday that will eliminate 75 jobs — an 8 percent reduction in a workforce that already has been cut twice since September 2008.

The Colorado Springs-based ministry is shutting down the creative division of its advertising department, accounting for 30 of the layoffs. The others are from various departments throughout the ministry, including Love Won Out, a program aimed at homosexuals that Focus is handing over to an organization in Florida.

In 2002, Focus’ employment reached a high of about 1,400. A year ago, it was down to about 1,155. The cuts announced Wednesday, coupled with two rounds of layoffs since 2008, bring the local workforce to 860.

“These are tough economic times,” Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said. “The challenges have made us take a hard look at what we do structurally and strategically so we can accomplish our mission more efficiently.”

Most workers affected will be paid through Sept. 18, though not all will be expected to report to work, Schneeberger said.

Even though Focus cut its budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million in fiscal 2009, it still suffered a $6 million shortfall. Schneeberger said the deficit largely was due to the loss of donations from small- to medium-sized businesses. Donations from families has remained steady, he said.

The latest job cuts are part of a series of moves by Focus to reorganize its operations in response to a drop in donations during the recession. Focus eliminated 46 positions a year ago and 202 in November. The organization also axed the print editions of four of its eight magazines.

More Layoffs Looming At Focus On the Family?

That is what local media outlets are reporting.

KKTV:

Amid a serious budget shortfall, Focus on the Family has announced plans to restructure. That will include a reduction of staff.

This news comes less than a month after Focus president and CEO Jim Daly wrote in a letter to 800,000 donors that projected income for the year is 6-million dollars short of expectations.

The organization’s fiscal year budget is $138 million.

It remains to be seen how many staff members will be let go during the restructuring. But more details are expected later today.

News Channel 13:

More changes could be on the way for Springs-based Focus on the Family.

An anonymous source tells NEWSCHANNEL 13 that employees will be told of the upcoming layoffs during a staff meeting to be held around 4:00 p.m. The ministry would not confirm if any jobs will be cut Wednesday -- only that they will be making some major changes.

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Focus on the Family Top Posts

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, Monday 07/11/2011, 6:02pm
Truth Wins Out: I Received ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy at Marcus Bachmann’s Clinic. Towleroad: Focus on the Family Responds to 'Regret' from TOMS Shoes Founder. Igor Volsky and Scott Keyes @ Think Progress LGBT: Thrice-Married Gingrich Won’t Sign FAMiLY LEADER’s Fidelity Pledge Unless Changes Are Made. Sofia Resnick @ Washington Independent: Influential Focus on the Family affiliate in S.C. both a critic, former recipient of federal funding for social issues. Robin Marty @ RH Reality Check: Ohio Heartbeat Bill On Hold Until Fall. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 07/05/2011, 5:57pm
Warren Throckmorton: David Barton misleads Focus on the Family on death penalty case. Steve Benen: Bachmann weary of ‘our wicked ways.’ Marie Diamond @ Think Progress: Bachmann Fails Economics 101: ‘A Dollar In 2011 Should Be The Same As A Dollar In 1911.′ Tim Murphy @ Mother Jones: Michele Bachmann's Redistricting Whopper. Matt Finkelstein @ Political Correction: In Independence Day Prayer, Rep. Broun Compares Progressives To Terrorists Who "Want To Destroy Us." Digby: "It's A Personal Matter." MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 07/05/2011, 12:03pm
As we have noted before, actual historians tend to agree that David Barton is not a historian but rather a Religious Right activist who intentionally misrepresents history in order to promote his political agenda. And with every presentation he delivers, Barton just reinforces that fact.  For instance, Focus on the Family ran a two-day broadcast last week featuring one of Barton's presentation in which he made the following assertion: You see, even in previous generations, we fully expected our military and our political leaders to be highly religious. You've probably seen lots of... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 07/01/2011, 3:10pm
Christianity Today profiles Focus on the Family after the departure of James Dobson. The Family Research Council apparently does not see the irony. Al Mohler says given society's wide acceptance of gays, conservative Christians need to find ways to talk about the issue without looking like bigots. For some reason, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter is going to run for president. It seems Rep. Todd Akin doesn't really want to talk about his "liberals hate God" comment. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/21/2011, 5:36pm
Newt Gingrich’s campaign continues to implode. Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel thinks People For the American Way and other members of the “intolerant left” are going to purge religion from the US. Focus on the Family is, ironically, upset that gays are political. Abby Johnson has signed on as a blogger for Life News, even though her story about leaving Planned Parenthood falls short of reality. Finally, the Family Research Council pleads that we pray against marriage equality in New York. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/10/2011, 5:25pm
Herman Cain has managed to make Alan Keyes seem reasonable, so that is quite an accomplishment. Rep. Peter King will be holding a second round of hearings on "Muslim radicalization" next week. Focus on the Family responds to allegations that the organization has given up the fight against gay marriage. It looks like Liberty University will finally get a polling place on campus. Finally, Gary Cass is very upset that the White House issued a proclamation recognizing LGBT Pride Month: "Christians know God is not mocked. We refuse to affirm their... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/09/2011, 5:52pm
Texas Freedom Network: Tell Gov. Perry: Stop Using Faith as a Weapon. Sofia Resnick @ Washington Independent: Personhood Mississippi sends daughter of rape victim on tour to garner support for abortion criminalization measure. Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Focus On The Family President Jim Daly Concedes On Marriage Again: ‘Yeah, It’s Over.’ Towleroad: Rick Santorum Says He Supports Federal Constitutional Amendment to Ban Same-Sex Marriage. Steve Rendall @ FAIR: WaPo's False Equivalence on Founder Misquotes. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 06/09/2011, 11:10am
A self-proclaimed “ex-gay” official with Focus on the Family’s California affiliate, in response to Los Angeles’s recognition of LGBT Heritage Month in June, has called on the city to create a day honoring “ex-gays.” The Focus chapter, called the California Family Council, earlier this year slammed anti-bullying initiatives for allegedly “push[ing] a homosexual message” and attacked efforts to incorporate gay and lesbian historical figures in the school curriculum. Speaking to the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Jim Domen,... MORE >