Focus on the Family

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.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sarah Palin's PAC filings show donations to Reps. Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch.
  • LifeNews: A federal judge has issued a ruling saying a collection of pro-life groups don't have standing to file a lawsuit against the FDA over its decision allowing the sales of the morning after pill to minors. The groups wanted to reverse the Food and Drug Administration ruling opening the morning after pill to 17-year-olds.
  • The Republican National Lawyers Association has named James Bopp its Republican Lawyer of the Year.
  • Take that, Woodstock.
  • Focus on the Family President and CEO Jim Daly is scheduled to appear on Thursday night's episode of "Hannity" as part of "The Great American Panel."

The Values Voter Summit Gets With The Times

Every fall for the last several years, the Family Research Council and allied groups like Focus on the Family and American Values have hosted the Values Voter Summit to which Republican presidential candidates have come seeking the support of Religious Right activists while right-wing speakers have warned that the Antichrist is gay and exhorted the audience to use words like"faggot" and "sissy" as a statement of principle.

This year things look to be a little different as organizers seek to get in on all the right-wing activism that is the rage at the moment, tweaking what has traditionally been known as the "Values Voter Summit" so that it is now being billed as the "Values Voter Town Hall":

Like the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference, this event is offering a variety of exciting and informative workshops and break-out sessions as well:

I am particularly intrigued by the panel entitled "The New Masculinity" and really look forward to hearing what Senator Tom Coburn's Chief of Staff has to say about it:

THE NEW MASCULINITY
Dr. Pat Fagan, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Family and Religion, FRC; Michael Schwartz, Chief of Staff, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.); Dr. Matthew Spalding, Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Feminism has wreaked havoc on marriage, women, children and men. It is time to redress the disorder it has wrought and that must start with getting the principles and ideals for a new "masculinism" right. Such a "masculinism" will have its dovetailing counterpart in a new "feminism" for they mutually define each other and, in nature, are meant to be complimentary. This panel will begin this exploration.

What Would That "Good Reason" Be?

Newsweek profiles LeRoy Carhart, one of the few remaining doctors capable and willing to perform late-term abortions. Given the small number of doctors willing to perform this service, Carhart is making efforts to train more of them:

He's fielded calls from three physicians who want to learn how to do abortions. Two have already begun training. "I think the only thing I can do…is just train as many doctors as I can to go out on their own and provide abortions and get enough people providing them," says Carhart. "That makes [the anti-abortion activist's] job 10 times harder because there are now 10 times more of us."

Not surprisingly, Focus on the Family doesn't approve:

Carrie Gordon Earll, senior bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said that may be easier said than done.

"Many obstetrics and gynecology residency programs offer abortion training, yet the number of physicians willing to do abortions doesn't seem to be on the increase," she noted. "It's not a preferred profession or even sideline for most doctors, and for good reason."

And what would that "good reason" be for why doctors might be reluctant to provide this sort of service? Presumably, Earll thinks they have some sort of moral opposition to it, but the real reason probably has more to do with the fact that they would prefer not to be routinely harassed, vilified, and even murdered:

Carhart knows there are people who want him dead, too. A few days after Tiller's murder, Carhart's daughter received a late-night phone call saying her parents too had been killed. His clinic got suspicious letters, one with white powder. It's been like this since Carhart started performing abortions in the late 1980s. On the same day Nebraska passed a parental-notification law in 1991, his farm burned down, killing 17 horses, a cat, and a dog (the local fire department was unable to determine the fire's cause). The next day his clinic received a letter justifying the murder of abortion providers. His -clinic's sidewalks have been smeared with manure. Protesters sometimes stalk him in airports ... A wave of anti-abortion violence in the 1990s—three doctors killed in five years—coincided with a dramatic drop in providers, from 2,680 in 1985 to 1,787 in 2005.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is Rick Santorum contemplating a presidential run in 2012?  We can only hope so.
  • Focus on the Family is facing a budget shortfall and handing off its "Love Won Out" conferences to Exodus International.
  • Charisma profiles Alveda King.
  • Time profiles Marco Rubio.
  • The Right is quite unhappy that Harvey Milk is being posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • The Family Research Council is hosting several right-wing events in the coming months in New Jersey, California, and Maine.
  • The ACLJ is apparently so concerned that Democrats are trying to "intimidate and silence critics of President Obama’s policies" that it felt the need to release a report reminding lawmakers "that this nation has a long history of Americans exercising free speech to comment on important social issues of the day."
  • Finally, I am going to be on vacation until Thursday, August 20.  Hopefully, the Right will have gotten all of the crazy out of its system by the time I get back.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Steve Benen: For some reason, a recent Gallup poll showing strong "pro-life" numbers was a huge story, even though the results were dubious, whereas a new Gallup poll showing weaker "pro-life" numbers is a complete non-story.
  • Eleanor Bader at RH Reality Check examines the Right's campaign against ENDA and hate crimes legislation.
  • David Weigel reports that conservative TEA Party and town hall protesters are literally taking a page out of Saul Alinsky 1971 book “Rules for Radicals."
  • Autumn Sandeen: "I couldn't be more surprised to find out that I'm apparently now the honest to gawd, serious 'face' for the second tier religious right organizations regarding Obama Tranny-Care."
  • David Hart debunks Exodus International's new study that claims a 53% "success rate" in converting gays.
  • Good As You reports that the Family Research Council has gotten into the act of peddling Paul Cameron's bogus "research."
  • Truth Wins Out: Even though Focus on the Family is facing a $6 million budget shortfall, it doesn't mean it is necessarily hurting for money.

The Religious Right Gets In On the Town Hall Fun

As anybody who has been paying any attention knows, right-wing groups have been busy urging activists to descend on Congressional "town hall" meetings during the August recess and voice their opposition to health care legislation, in some cases going so far as to encourage them to cause a commotion in an effort to disrupt them.

To date, most of these efforts have been carried out by anti-tax and fiscal conservative groups:

Conservative and business groups, some funded in part by insurers, are mobilizing members and supporters to participate in health-care forums that lawmakers are holding in their states and districts this month.

...

America’s Health Insurance Plans, the national association representing 1,300 health insurers, is out with “August Recess Talking Points” that assert a “government-run plan would dismantle employer-based coverage … [and] add significant liabilities to the federal budget.”

The group is also offering a sample “August Recess Activation Letter” http://tr.im/vIsV for CEOs to send to employees.

“All over the country, conversations on health care reform are taking place, from Town Halls to coffee shops,” the letter says. “Members of Congress and the Administration are planning and participating in several events during the month of August as Congress breaks for recess. You can help share the perspective of the health plan community during these conversations by signing up.”

AHIP’s director of strategic communications, Robert Zirkelbach, says the group discourages confrontations “We encourage people to be positive and constructive.”

FreedomWorks, chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, is e-mailing 380,000 supporters this week with a link to an “August Recess Action Kit.”

“Turn Up the Heat in August: Help Defeat ObamaCare,” the group says on its website. “While Senators and Representatives are home for their August recess they need to hear from you, regardless of party. … Find a town hall meeting near you. If your representative or senator isn’t holding one - ask them why.”

Americans for Prosperity is going a step further and recommending in-person visits to lawmakers’ district and state offices. The groups says on its website that it “has always encouraged members to visit the district offices and attend town hall meetings of their senators and representatives, especially during this August break when issues like health care and cap-and-trade are at the peak of debate.”

But it looks like Religious Right groups are getting into the act as well, encouraging their own activists to attend these events and get in on the action:

Focus on the Family Action has been sending e-mail alerts to subscribers that encourage them to attend town-hall meetings and demand that abortion funding be explicitly excluded from any reform bill, according to Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for the Colorado Springs-based group.

recent Washington Update from the Family Research Council likewise urged activists to attend their local meetings and provided a list of various town hall events across the country:

Americans are talking. The leadership just refuses to listen. Until it does, House and Senate Democrats can expect a long, uncomfortable August where the temperatures outside are nothing compared to the heat they're feeling inside their District offices. FRC has posted a schedule of townhall meetings across the country and sample questions you can ask. Please make a point of going to the forums near you and share--in a respectable manner--your thoughts with your congressman. While you're at it, why not bring your video camera?

For it's part, the Traditional Values Coalition is urging its activsts to participate as well:

The U.S. House of Representatives is on their summer break and the Senate starts on August 7th. They will be in their home districts through Labor Day.

Sign up today to learn where your elected officials are holding their Town Hall meetings! They need to hear from you and hundreds of other concerned Americans.

President Obama has been trying to rush through his government-run health care reform bill. It took him six months to pick a dog for the White House, but he wanted Congress to pass a health care bill in only a few weeks!

His plan to nationalize health care has been slowed down by citizen activism, but he still plans on pushing for passage of his government-run health care plan this fall. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has admitted that Obama's health care plan is designed to socialize our medical system!

Attend Your Congressional Member's Town Hall MeetingGo to Town Hall meetings and challenge your legislators on these issues:

1. Government-Run Health Care and the 53 New Federal Bureaucracies it creates.

2. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (will force religious employers like Bible publishers, day cares, camps, etc., to hire gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons)

3. Pledging to read Legislation before voting on it!

Important Civics Lesson!

Bring a van load of friends, children and grandchildren to these Town Hall meetings. Most students have not returned to school, yet. Let them learn a valuable civics lesson about how our system of government works!

Once you sign up for our Town Hall alert, you’ll be sent the dates of your elected officials’ Town Hall meetings. We want your feedback on how they responded! Sign up today!

As is the American Family Association:

Gary Bauer sent out a special alert yesterday concerning how the liberal politicians and liberal media outlets are seeking to silence those who are speaking out against out of control spending and the take over of vital industries. The liberals are upset that common citizens like you are exercising their right to free speech, and are using it to let the liberals know they have had enough and are going to let their voice be heard.

I urge you to get involved, stand up and speak out. Make the phone calls, send the e-mails, make the phone calls. Don't let the liberal left silence you! The future of our country and our children and grandchildren is at stake. The ugly name calling shows that your voices are being heard. Please keep it up!

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Religious Right's healthcare webcast was held last night and you can listen to the audio here. It was apparently such a success that the Family Research Council has decided to hold its own webcast next week.
  • Boy, it seems like Republicans can't even send around racist emails about President Obama any more with getting into loads of trouble.  What is this world coming to?
  • Al Mohler explains why the Southern Baptists aren't going to be changing their stance on the role of women in the faith any time soon: "Ultimately, I'm not so fearful that the times will judge us as I'm aware that God will judge us, and I hope with all my heart that he will find our church is faithful to his word."
  • Alan Chambers talks to Focus on the Family about his new book Leaving Homosexuality: "The key thought here is the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality. It’s holiness. There are people who are conflicted with their sexuality, involved with homosexuality, and there is a way out for those who want it. But it doesn’t say that they’re going into heterosexuality, because that’s not the point. The point is that people can leave whatever it is that God calls less than His best and move into something that is His best, becoming more like He is."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bill Donohue says Randall Terry’s threat not to pay taxes is a "recipe for anarchy."
  • Al Mohler is not impressed by Jimmy Carter's decision to sever his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Focus on the Family really seems to be getting behind The Civility Project.
  • Oral Roberts University has signed an agreement with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference that will position ORU as the exclusive educational strategic partner for the NHCLC.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has filed suit against Wisconsin's Domestic Partnetship law, claiming it violates the marriage amendment passed in 2006.
  • You just can't win against WorldNetDaily: "The announcements of Barack Obama's birth printed by two Hawaii newspapers in 1961 do not provide solid proof of a birth in the Aloha State."
  • Finally, Jesse Lee Peterson weighs in on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates:
  • "Henry Gates and Al Sharpton are abusing police while black," said Rev. Peterson. "Their false allegations say to young blacks that they too can abuse police and cry racism. Gates was abusive and disorderly and the police dealt with him accordingly--where's the racism? This is a case of black males gone wild."

    ...

    Rev. Peterson said, "What's regrettable is that the city of Cambridge and the police have allowed themselves to be intimidated by a race hustler like Al 'The Riot King' Sharpton. The race card has once again been used to unjustly smear law enforcement and thwart justice. This is Tawana Brawley all over again!"

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Haaretz: "Mike Huckabee plans to broadcast his weekend show on Fox News from the site of a disputed Israeli construction project in East Jerusalem, a New York politician has told Haaretz. New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said Huckabee will air the talkshow during a solidarity visit to the site of the project, which is in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah."
  • Associated Press: "An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by accepting private donations to pay her legal debts."
  • In other Palin news, Vanity Fair provides her with the copy editor she so badly needs.
  • Focus on the Family has a new blog.
  • Finally, Carrie Prejean will be speaking at the Republican Party of Florida's "Drive the Discussion" event next month where she'll be sharing the stage with Bruce Jenner and Jonathan Krohn.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Steve Benen takes a look at how the American Conservative Union sells its principles to the highest bidder.
  • On a semi-related note, Conor Friedersdorf has a good post on how Human Events shills for obvious scams.
  • TPM reports that infidelity seems rampant among those who inhabit the house on C Street, this time involving former Rep. Chip Pickering who, by the way, was recognized as a "True Blue" member of Congress "for supporting public policy that values human life, protects our religious liberties, and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family" by the Family Research Council Action and Focus on the Family Action last year.
  • Alan Colmes provides a handy chart demonstrating how Frank Lutz controls Republican messaging.
  • Box Turtle Bulletin: "Lying About The Hate Crime Bill, #2."
  • On a related note, we released out latest Right Wing Watch In Focus yesterday entitled "As Senate Prepares to Take Up Hate Crimes Bill, Far Right’s Inflammatory Claims Should Not Be Taken Seriously":
  • Anti-gay organizations have been fighting the steady advance of federal hate crimes legislation with rhetoric that is increasingly unhinged from reality. When the U.S. House of Representatives passed a hate crimes bill on April 29 with a bipartisan 74-vote margin, Religious Right leaders and some of their congressional allies were inspired to new heights (or depths) of literally incredible accusations.

Right Wing Hate Crimes Lies Now Available in Convenient Video Form

With hate crimes legislation moving towards a vote in the US Senate, I was thinking of pulling together a blog post cataloging all of the various lies the Religious Right has been spreading about what passage of such legislation would do. 

But it turns out that I don't have to, because the Family Research Council has more or less already done it for me by producing this video featuring Reps. Mike Pence, Sen. Jim DeMint, Bishop Harry Jackson, and David Barton of Wallbuilders that pretty much covers them all. 

Pay special attention to lies spewed by Barton and DeMint, who don't seem to understand the difference between hate crimes legislation and legislation pertaining to things like marriage equality or employment discrimination:

It seems as if the Religious Right is going all out to spread as many lies as it can in trying to ramp up opposing to this legislation as the deadline nears, with Focus on the Family warning that "gay activists have and will continue to use these kinds of laws to silence Christians who speak publicly about God's design for human sexuality – and make them pay if they stand up for their beliefs" and is therefore "encouraging Christians everywhere to stop and pray that the Lord would intervene."

And Good as You catches the Illinois Family Institute making even more absurd claims [PDF]

Miss California, Carrie Prejean, could have been charged with a “hate crime” for her views on same-sex marriage if S. 909 was already law. What could constitute a “hate crime” under this bill is a homosexual man or woman claiming they were discriminated against and hurt by what was said.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times examines the factors at work behind Sarah Palin's sudden resignation.
  • Mike Huckabee says its unfair to call Palin a "quitter" while predicting that Mark Sanford's political career is over.
  • The ACLU is taking a look at Sally Kern's "proclamation for morality."
  • Rick Scarborough has found a new crusade: Obama's various czars, which he complains "are unelected and unaccountable [and] have too much money and power, and are remaking America in ways none of us could have imagined."
  • Jesse Lee Peterson lambastes Michael Jackson's memorial service saying it was all "about unrealistically lifting up a black Michael as the 'king' in order to lift up blacks, and, in so doing, lowering the value of the hated white man."
  • Personhood advocates claim their movement is gaining momentum.
  • Ted Cruz, who is running for Texas Attorney General, unveils a list of endorsements and backers [PDF] that includes, Cathie Adams of the President of Texas Eagle Forum, Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation, Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ, David Barton of Wallbuilders, Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family Action and many other right-wing figures.
  • Finally, Harry Jackson, Niger Innis, Dr. William Owens, Sr, Bishop Dale Bronner and Pastor Terry Millender have penned a letter to President Obama urging him to fight the "disintegration of marriage" by saving DOMA and opposing marriage equality:
  • Changing the definition of marriage will have many unintended consequences, which will hurt generations to come. If one redefines marriage, then the family is redefined. If the family is redefined then the nature of parenting must also be redefined.

    “We are concerned that an attempt to recognize and adjust to one group’s sense of alienation may actually confuse future generations of children about their sexuality and blur lines of responsibility in our families. The very definitions of motherhood and fatherhood may be unnecessarily challenged in years to come.

    “Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. The laws enacted by Congress during a century of struggle for equal rights for African Americans were intended to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, not on the basis of an individual’s sexual preferences or personal behavior.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Focus on the Family says "President Barack Obama's selection to head the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is being met with appreciation by family advocates."
  • Joseph Farah has written a timely new column ... in praise of Carrie Prejean.
  • Get your Marriage War Bonds while they last.
  • Randall Terry declares it his "mission ... to dance on the grave of Roe vs. Wade."
  • Finally, keep your schedule open for the Taxpayer March on Washington:
  • On Saturday, September 12th FreedomWorks will be joined by over ten thousands of liberty-loving activists to take a stand against politicians who are bankrupting our future. National co-sponsors include Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, National Taxpayers Union, Americans For Tax Reform, Young Americans for Liberty, Ayn Rand Center, Campaign for Liberty, Free Republic, Young America’s Foundation, Smart Girl Politics, and The Club for Growth.

    The event will kick-off on September 10th and 11th with various events throughout Washington including grassroots leadership training and Capitol Hill visits. The three-day event culminates on September 12th as taxpayers march on the Capitol building.

Hate Crimes Deja Vu

With hate crimes legislation scheduled to be voted on in the Senate next week, the Religious Right seems somewhat resigned to the fact that they do not have to votes to stop it or even slow it down, but that doesn't mean that they aren't trying.

Yesterday was apparently "National 'Stop S. 909' Day" during which "the American Family Association, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and other conservative activist groups [urged] their supporters to call, e-mail, fax, or visit their senators today to express their disapproval of S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Senate Bill 909)."

James Dobson and Tony Perkins discussed it on Dobson's radio program yesterday, with Dobson proclaiming that its passage would be used to silence pastors and Focus on the Family is calling on its activists to contact their senators and ""ask them to oppose S.909 or 'hate-crimes' legislation in any form."

Of course, as we've pointed out before, the Religious Right doesn't really oppose "hate crimes legislation in any form," they just oppose protection for gays.

But since it looks like they'll be unable to stop the legislation's passage, they appear to be turning their attention toward stopping efforts to amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include bullying and harassment prevention program because it also provides protection based on sexual orientation ... and so they are trotting out the exact same bogus claims they used in opposing hate crimes legislation:

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a so-called bullying bill that would require public schools to spell out special categories in their discipline policies, including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

Family advocates say it will pave the way for a pro-homosexual, adult-driven agenda in public schools.

The name of the bill is Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Focus on the Family's Education Analyst Candi Cushman explained that there is a way to deal with the issue in a fair and objective way, without sexualizing and politicizing the school environment.

"We recognize that bullying and the harm it causes in the lives of kids is tragic and shouldn't be allowed to happen," Cushman said. "We agree schools should be encouraged to have strong policies prohibiting bullying—applied equally and across the board, against any child for any reason."

She said parents need to keep a close watch on the progress of the bill, because if it passes, it could be used to undermine parental rights and local control.

"People need to realize that gay activists will use this federal mandate as the leverage they need to get promotion of homosexuality into public schools," Cushman cautioned.

Jeremiah Dys, president of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, said the bill's language is taking the focus off of the real problem.

"A bully is a bully because he's a bully, not because of who he bullies," Dys said. "The rules ought to be enforced against the bullies regardless of who they're bullying or what actions he takes."

The Traditional Values Coalition has also come out against it by tying it into the Religious Right's crusade against Kevin Jennings, claiming it turn the nation's public schools into bastions of homosexuality:

If this legislation is passed, it will permit Jennings to spend millions of our tax dollars to push the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda in schools under the guise of fighting “bullying” and allegedly promoting “school safety.”

...

Jennings will use millions of our tax dollars to push the promotion of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender behaviors upon hundreds of thousands of school districts throughout our nation.

Make no mistake: The Safe Schools Improvement Act is an ATM machine for the LGBT agenda. Issues about school safety and bullying are simply smokescreens to hide the real agenda.

Note the definitions of bullying and harassment. Under this bill, any gay or cross-dressing teen who is “bullied” or “harassed,” can claim protection. It includes a teen’s “actual or perceived” sexual orientation or gender identity (code for cross-dressers or transsexuals).

If a straight teen criticizes the sexual behavior of a gay or cross-dressing teen, he is guilty of bullying or harassment. This is a direct attack upon free speech.

Let's take a look at the definitions of bullying and harrassment, as TVC suggests, shall we:

(12) BULLYING- The term `bullying' means conduct that--

`(A) adversely affects the ability of one or more students to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities by placing the student (or students) in reasonable fear of physical harm; and

`(B) includes conduct that is based on--

`(i) a student's actual or perceived--

`(I) race;

`(II) color;

`(III) national origin;

`(IV) sex;

`(V) disability;

`(VI) sexual orientation;

`(VII) gender identity; or

`(VIII) religion;

`(ii) any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by a State or local educational agency; or

`(iii) association with a person or group with one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in clause (i) or (ii).

`(13) HARASSMENT- The term `harassment' means conduct that--

`(A) adversely affects the ability of one or more students to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities because the conduct, as reasonably perceived by the student (or students), is so severe, persistent, or pervasive; and

`(B) includes conduct that is based on--

`(i) a student's actual or perceived--

`(I) race;

`(II) color;

`(III) national origin;

`(IV) sex;

`(V) disability;

`(VI) sexual orientation;

`(VII) gender identity; or

`(VIII) religion;

`(ii) any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by a State or local educational agency; or

`(iii) association with a person or group with one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in clause (i) or (ii).

Bullying entails "reasonable fear of physical harm" and harassment must be "severe, persistent, or pervasive" but, just as they did with hate crimes, the Right is completely misrepresenting this legislation.

And notice also that they are not complaining about the protections included for religion or race - they are simply opposed to protections for gays.

It's becoming pretty clear that even after the hate crimes legislation is passed by Congress and signed into law, we can look forward to having the same exact fight over anti-bullying legislation, complete with the same exact right-wing scare-tactics and false claims.

Concerned Women for America, Confused on Sanford

A few days ago, Kyle mentioned that one Focus on the Family state affiliate, the Palmetto Family Council, couldn't quite make up their mind on whether or not to call for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's resignation.

Then, their national organization, Focus on the Family, spoke, albeit rather softly, about the governor's actions. It seemed a good deal of family values organizations were having a difficult time deciding how to react when a "family-values" governor goes against the family values they preach about.

It seems, today, that Concerned Women for America have outdone the indecisiveness of both the Palmetto Family Council and Focus on the Family. On Thursday, CWA published an article in which they chastised the governor for his "teary press conference" and showing "no emotion as he talked about betraying and hurting his wife and sons."

But, let's look at the facts. Gov. Sanford turned to Mrs. Chapur again and again via e-mail and long-distance visits; there is no evidence that he attempted to turn away from temptation. Gov. Sanford was not honest in his accounting of the times they got together. Amazingly, even after his wife accidentally learned of the affair, Gov. Sanford asked her repeatedly for permission to go to Argentina to see Mrs. Chapur. 

Can you imagine anything more bizarre? He asked his wife for permission to go visit his mistress!

When a politician won't keep his commitments to his family (the philanderers are generally men), how can we trust him to keep his commitments to the public he represents? If his wife and children can't trust his word and depend upon his character, how can we?

CWA had their course laid out and it seemed their stance could be easily deciphered...until today, that is.

The CWA's president, Wendy Wright, has written an article commenting on the affair and, of course, blaming the media for "salivat[ing] over the juicy details" of it. Wright does acknowledge Sanford's failings, but reels back heavily from the rhetoric of CWA's first statement on the issue. She pleads for a "civil and sober moment to sympathize with Gov. Mark Sanford and his family."

As we watched his heartrending press conference on Wednesday, our immediate thoughts were for his family. Confessing his infidelity, apologizing to his family and loyal friends, recognizing that breaching God’s law carries serious consequences, it was a stark contrast to other politicians caught cheating who act defiantly.

Christians understand that humans are broken, all of us are sinners in need of redemption through a Savior, Jesus Christ. God has given us high moral standards, and we commit to help each other to live up to them. People fail (as we all do in some manner). The conversation at that point is: Is the person sorry, willing to make amends, and do all it takes not to fall again?

So, CWA, is Sanford an "untrustworthy, not credible, [person who] treats those closest to him with disdain" or is he "a stark contrast to other politicians caught cheating who act defiantly?"

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Ken Blackwell has been named co-chair of the RNC's Redistricting Committee.
  • In its effort to stop hate crimes legislation, the Family Research Council is asking supporters to target Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor as well as Alaska's Mark Begich.
  • FRC's Tom McClusky writes that Al Franken's election to the Senate "says more about how far the Senate has fallen then how high the former comedian has risen" and that merely calling him "Senator" makes him vomit.
  • Focus on the Family recently celebrated its three millionth visitor to its headquarters.
  • Finally, I fully expect that this effort will cause the Religious Right to freak out in all sorts of predictable ways.

Focus Speaks Out (Very, Very Quietly) On Sanford

Yesterday we noted that the most influential Religious Right group in South Carolina couldn't decide if Gov. Mark Sanford should resign.

Dan Gilgoff wrote a semi-related post on the same topic, commenting on the noticeable silence coming from Religious Right goups on the issue:

One week after Mark Sanford admitted to his affair with an Argentine woman—and a day after he called his mistress his "soul mate" and acknowledged further indiscretions—I'm struck by the total silence of pro-family groups.

The Family Research Council has been completely quiet on the South Carolina governor's affair. So has Concerned Women for America. Ditto for Focus on the Family.

The wall of silence is all the more striking given that 10 Palmetto State senators in Sanford's own party have called for him to step down. Does the pro-family movement burn up credibility if it looks the other way when Republican allies own up to extramarital affairs?

Today, Gilgoff writes that Focus on the Family took exception to his claim:

Focus on the Family's vice president of communications E-mails to protest my post about the silence of family values groups on Mark Sanford's affair. Focus, he says, has hardly kept quiet, responding to interview requests from Politico, the Washington Times, and a small New England newspaper.

Gilgoff wisely notes that these few examples are not particularly impressive "given what Focus's powerful media ministry is capable of," but I'd take it a step further by pointing out that I can find no article from Politico quoting the organization on Sanford's affair and the Washington Times quote doesn't exactly take what anyone would consider a particularly strong stand:

Focus on Family's Carrie Gordon Earll agreed.

"If anything, it hurts the nation," she said. "Any time you have an elected official who has a moral failure, I think it affects people's general confidence in leadership. Decisions have consequences, and Gov. Sanford is experiencing that today."

She said voters have one standard when it comes to marital fidelity, regardless of party. "Adultery is a moral failure, and I think the pubic doesn't have a stomach for it," she said.

Maybe Focus spoke out more forcefully in whatever small New Englad paper it is referring to, but if it did, I haven't seen it.

Until today, the only Religious Right leaders we had seen call for Sanford's resignation was Rob Schenck:

I humbly offer to you this pastoral advice: First, when these sins overtake us and ruin what is best of our lives, it is better to say less to the public and more to God and to those who have been injured by us. I urge you to now observe an extended period of public silence and address your interior spiritual life and the repair of your family. I also admonish you to immediately step down from public office. It has been my experience and that of many others in the ministry, that such turbulent and injurious human failings, such as this one in your life, require our complete and undivided attention.

And now this call has been echoed by Al Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

Governor Sanford is no King David, and the people of South Carolina -- as well as the watching world -- now observe the sad spectacle of a man who, while admitting to wrongdoing, shows no genuine repentance. As the Christian church has long recognized, true repentance is reflected in the "detestation of sin." This is a far cry from what we've heard from Governor Sanford.

If the governor is really serious about demonstrating character to his four sons, he should resign his office and give himself unreservedly to his wife and family. He must show his sons -- and all who have eyes to see -- how a man is led by the grace and mercy of God to hate his sin, rather than to love it. Until then, the governor must be understood to indulge himself in wistfulness for his affair and in a desperate determination to maintain his office. His remaining days in office are like a Greek tragedy unfolding into farce. The whole picture is just unspeakably sad.

Despite it claims to the contrary, aside from this one article on FOF's CitizenLink discussing efforts to voice support for Sanford's wife, Focus has been noticeably silent on the entire issue.

Should He Stay or Should He Go? The Palmetto Family Council Can’t Decide

While a majority of Americans believe that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford ought to resign following his decision to go AWOL and the subsequent disclosure of his infidelity, one group is not so sure.

And that group is the Focus on the Family affiliate and pre-eminent Religious Right organization in the state, the Palmetto Family Council:

Palmetto Family Council president Oran Smith says his group has not yet called on Sanford to resign, but is monitoring whether the governor is earnestly trying to reconcile with his wife.

"We really haven't reached a conclusion," Smith admits. "I'll have to say there is a lot of strong support on our board of directors for asking the governor to resign -- just simply because of some of the things that happened that were not related necessarily to the affair, but that involved him telling some untruths and trying to be evasive in a way that was not good to establish trust in the office of governor."

Just out of curiosity, what do you think the PFC's position would be were Sanford a Democrat?

But frankly, it's not surprising that the Palmetto Family Council would be reluctant to take a stand against Sanford (just like all the other Religious Right groups) considering that his endorsement of the organization is featured prominently on its website:

And, for those who are so inclined, here is an address Sanford delivered in which he gushingly praises the organization, though most of the speech is an introduction of former Rep. Steve Largent, whom Sanford credits for introducing him to C Street.

But just because the organization is unsure of what to do about the state's hypocritical governor doesn't mean they can't try to rally support for his wife, which it has done by setting up a webpage asking activists to send her messages of thanks and support:

The people of South Carolina, particularly the wives and mothers of the Palmetto State, feel the hurt of this scandal most deeply, and refuse to let this moment pass without taking time to thank and encourage the one person who has been a rock in this crisis: First Lady Jennifer Sullivan Sanford.

Friends of Palmetto Family Council are saying loud and clear that Jenny Sanford deserves our thanks and our support ... By doing so, you can encourage her and thank her for her strength, her courage, her commitment to her family, and her example. Please help us collect as many signatures as possible to show how deeply the people of South Carolina (particularly wives and mothers) appreciate her and what she represents.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council and Kansans for Life both endorsed Rep. Todd Tiahrt bid for the Senate today.
  • Two actual Washington, DC residents are challenging Harry Jackson's claims to live in The District.
  • The Parental Rights Amendment continues to pick up co-sponsors.
  • Focus on the Family whines: ""The Obama administration, which refused to send a representative to a Capitol Hill commemoration of the National Day of Prayer, is hosting a White House celebration of what most gay activists regard as the birth of their movement."
  • Thanks goodness for WorldNetDaily - after all, how else would we learn that the Ark of the Covenant is about to be unveiled?
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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

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/22/2011, 5:16pm
Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family’s True Tolerance campaign has been an outspoken opponent of anti-bullying policies, and now she is warning parents that the safe-schools group GLSEN wants to make school sports teams a friendlier and less hostile environment for gay and lesbian athletes. While the National Education Policy Center found that 85% of LGBT students “report being harassed because of their sexual or gender identity” at school, anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family militantly oppose any efforts to tackle the bullying problem and claim “pro-homosexual... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 2:00pm
In November Right Wing Watch highlighted a video by the Cornwall Alliance featuring prominent Religious Right leaders who lashed out at the environmentalist movement for trumpeting “exaggerations and myths,” and “seducing” and “scaring” children. Now, the Cornwall Alliance is pushing a book, “Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death,” about environmentalists’ “anti-human and anti-Christian ideas.” Focus on the Family has already endorsed the book. According to author James Wanliss of the Cornwall Alliance,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 1:48pm
On today's broadcast, James Dobson interviewed Ralph & Danielle Drollinger, longtime friends of his who run an organization called Capitol Ministries, an organization that hosts regular Bible studies for, and ministers to, Members of Congress. Among the members listed as sponsors on the organization's website are Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Sue Myrick, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Lamar Smith, Joe Wilson and various others. Danielle was actually a former employee of Focus on the Family before Dobson helped her get a job as a staffer for a Congressional... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/15/2011, 11:48am
The Religious Right continues to parade the myth that gays and lesbians are trying to “recruit” followers in schools, and are increasingly using the lie as the basis of their opposition to anti-bullying programs. Leaders and groups continue to describe anti-bullying policies as attempts to “homosexualize their children” and “promote homosexuality in kids” through “homosexual indoctrination.” Focus on the Family has been at the forefront of challenging anti-bullying policies, which often cover the widespread harassment and bullying directed... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/09/2011, 1:33pm
After Focus on the Family asked members to pray for Justin Bieber’s protection from Usher, the organization is now taking a stand against Lady Gaga. While Lady Gaga is a leading advocate of LGBT equality, Focus on the Family consistently lobbies against gay rights and is a chief sponsor of “reparative therapy” for gays and lesbians. Jim Daly, the head of Focus on the Family, writes about Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, and unsurprisingly finds her music and message deeply troubling. In his critique, Daly claims that people can be “set free from homosexuality,”... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/25/2011, 3:11pm
The latest issue of Focus on the Family's "Citizen Magazine" features a cover story on Sen. Jim DeMint and the cost he has had to pay for standing on his Christian/Tea Party principles ... but it is a sacrifice DeMint is willing to make because "our government has never been further from the principles of freedom" and only Christians can save it: Tea Party icon Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is just one example of a Christian opting to stand on principle — and his faith — and paying the price in doing so. While his fiscal conservatism is widely reported, his... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/25/2011, 3:11pm
The latest issue of Focus on the Family's "Citizen Magazine" features a cover story on Sen. Jim DeMint and the cost he has had to pay for standing on his Christian/Tea Party principles ... but it is a sacrifice DeMint is willing to make because "our government has never been further from the principles of freedom" and only Christians can save it: Tea Party icon Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is just one example of a Christian opting to stand on principle — and his faith — and paying the price in doing so. While his fiscal conservatism is widely reported, his... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/24/2011, 12:29pm
Just because James Dobson left Focus on the Family last year doesn't mean he has abandoned his Religious Right activism.  Last week he dedicated two days of his radio program to exposing the dangers of Islam with Jerry Boykin and this week he is dedicating two days to exposing the evils of Planned Parenthood with Gary Bauer and Rick Santorum. On today's broadcast, Santorum claimed that the Nazi's eugenics ideas were taken from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and that the organization continues to target minorities to this day: Dobson: We're going to talk about Planned... MORE >