Earlier this week we mentioned the recent colum by Kathleen Parker, who used a small feud between Focus on the Family and right-wing radio host Steve Deace to proclaim that the Religious Right was “finished as a political entity.”
Needless to say, this did not sit well with Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus on the Family Action, who has now taken to the page of (where else?) WorldNetDaily to set her and everyone else straight:
Parker’s animus is as puzzling as her myopia. Unlike many reporters, she has never visited, never phoned, never gained her information firsthand, never sought out our side of any issue. She is content to shoot from a great distance, always with second and third-hand information.
No wonder she misses so badly.
Minnery defends James Dobson’s and Focus’s support of John McCain on the gorunds that they really had no other option in the face of “the almost viciously pro-abortion positions of Obama” and then takes issue with the supposed divide between younger evangelicals who care about things like poverty and global warming and old-guard figures like Dobson who only care about abortion and gays, saying that it is groups like Focus really represent the agenda of the evangelical voters in America:
One reporter went so far in an interview with me as to point out that two evangelical leaders who emphasize these newer issues have been leaders at two conservative religious organizations, Richard Cizik at the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor Joel Hunter at the Christian Coalition.
She missed her own point. These men “have been” leaders. Neither is in his role today, precisely because these organizations got fed up with so much emphasis on these issues. They are not unimportant matters, but they will have secondary influence as long as the unborn are killed in their mothers’ wombs and as long as the definition of marriage is threatened. These are the problems that motivate most evangelicals to engage politics. Mike Huckabee did not win the Iowa caucuses by talking about the polar ice caps. He did it by emphasizing marriage, faith and the pro-life cause.
And by the way, At Focus on the Family we believe we fight poverty every day by teaching people how to keep their marriages intact. It’s how we spend 90 percent of our income, and the failure of the intact family is a leading cause of poverty in our country. Like many reporters, this one wasn’t convinced. If it’s not a government program, it’s not a poverty program.
In their haste to pronounce us dead, reporters routinely ignore the most profound grass-roots uprising of our era, the writing of marriage definitions into 30 state constitutions. That’s 30 victories in all 30 states that have put this question to voters, and many of those victories have been landslides. This has been a continental phenomenon, from the Midwest, through the South, the Intermountain West, and the Left Coast states of Oregon and (shudder!) sophisticated California. The marriage movement lags only in the older states of the Eastern seaboard, which do not permit citizen initiatives.
And here is the most ignored fact of all. In nearly every marriage amendment state, the action was led by organizations nurtured to life by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, who the media routinely offer up as exhibit A, the T-Rex of Jurassic Park.
If Minnery sounds bitter, it’s mainly because he is sick of being written off every few years, saying that “with nearly every election cycle now come the somber reports in the news media of the death of the Religious Right. In the 20 years I’ve been in the movement, we have died four times.”
We don’t agree with Minnery on much, but we can understand his frustration – because we are equally tired to having to keep making this same point.