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“Prayers For Bobby” Tonight, Focus Shifts Blame

Jim Burroway

January 24th, 2009

As a programming reminder, “Prayers for Bobby” will premiere tonight on the Lifetime Channel at 9:00p.m. Eastern and Pacific, with encores scheduled on Jan. 25 at 8:00 p.m. and Jan. 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The movie tells the true story of Bobby Griffith, who committed suicide after a four year struggle to reconcile his orientation with the pressures from his family to pray his gay away.

Bobby’s mother, Mary, had an interesting observation about her own mindset before Bobby’s death:

Q: Do you think Bobby’s story would have been different if he’d come out in today’s time?

A: No, unfortunately. My mind-set was completely tied up in the word of the gospel, and I couldn’t hear anything differently. It wouldn’t have made a difference whether this happened yesterday or several years ago. I couldn’t hear anything else.

Q. What advice would you give to parents who have just found out that their child is gay?

A. I’ve talked to many parents about this over the years. And I guess I’d just tell them to listen to their kids and to try not to push their opinions on them.

This is sage advice from someone who learned through a terrible tragedy the harm that can come when a parent doesn’t fully accept a son. Unfortunately, Focus On the Family refuses to listen to the voices of tragic experiences, and shifts the blame for what happened back onto Bobby’s parents:

Jeff Johnston, gender analyst at Focus on the Family, said the movie’s message runs contrary to God’s. “Parents can love their kids and still hold to what the Bible says about homosexuality and human sexuality,” he said.

It takes an awful lot of arrogance to pretend that this isn’t precisely what Mary was doing. Apparently Johnston and Focus On the Family are just that arrogant.



Richard W. Fitch
January 24th, 2009 | LINK

“Parents can love their kids and still hold to what the Bible says about homosexuality and human sexuality,” he said.
…..which is almost nothing.!!

January 24th, 2009 | LINK

What? You’re calling Focus on the Family arrogant? That’s a bit steep, isn’t it? Whatever next? (Excuse the irony.)

January 24th, 2009 | LINK

Anything that reveals the truth about homosexuality (even a true story as tender and tragic as Prayers for Bobby) is something that the powers that be at Focus on the Family has to send out their soldiers to prevent their followers from thinking for themselves. Anything that threatens their dogma is something that they have to constantly work to prevent from happening. They spend millions of dollars every year in keeping their followers and listeners in lock step. It’s hard to believe that there are people as arcane and as backward in the 21st century but that’s Focus on the Family for you.

a. mcewen
January 24th, 2009 | LINK

FOF’s message is really hot air. Yes you can have your personal beliefs regarding homosexuality but that doesn’t mean you put your child in a situation where he or she feels that suicide is the only solution.

Regan DuCasse
January 24th, 2009 | LINK

And there it is. This is what I’ve never really been able to forgive, reconcile or understand: the human sacrifice of one’s own TO one’s belief or church.


There you are, a mother and father. Often with additional children who AREN’T gay. The gay child will still resemble you, have family features, gestures and characteristics that you recognize. With love, exasperation, with joy.

And even as you believe firmly in keeping to the close structure that church provides…THEY are NOT your flesh and blood. They are NOT your child’s eyes, tears and smile.

They will NEVER provide the joy, grounding and familiarity that a child will.

Sacrificing one’s church SHOULD be easier than doing that to your own.

Nothing and no one should can or will own the soul of a parent and child.

But parents being led along as if they have NO POWER over the doctrines of their church as if they can’t CHANGE to a church more friendly to the WHOLE of their family.
They can change churches more easily and readily then they can change their gay child.

They can change their ignorance also, more than they can REPLACE a child in their hearts and minds.

FOF’s message still does not track with one of the most fundamental facts of all….

that NOTHING is so certain regarding a part of our humanity and a feature of human sexuality so enduring and symbiotic with our existence.

Examining the cultures that wrought religious books and the histories of their distortions and abuses should be the first order of any business of a religious based organization.

So is consistence, of which they have none, really.

I read the book twice. I’m going to DVR the story.
Lifetime is running “The Matthew Shepard Story” and “A Boy Named Gwen” over those two days.

Set your DVR’s.
That the programming is a BLOCK of films on recent and remarkable gay and transgender stories should give Lifetime network a thank you from us.

FOF, FRC…any of them, require a remarkable amount of fear and ignorance to operate and gain any attention.

But the LGBT don’t do that, nor require anything from us who aren’t already FAMILIAR with them.
And so that is a MUCH easier and reasonable demand than the other way around.

What frustrates me more than anything is here we are, any given city has horrendous family deterioration and gang and drug problems.
These all fuel one another and are pernicious to nearly every corner of our society.

I’d have a LOT more respect for all those ‘family’ orgs…if they fought GANGS the way they fight gay Who are not the enemy to anyone.

January 24th, 2009 | LINK

The anti-gay forces always want to shift the blame to anybody but themselves. Sadly they are to blame always, and all the subterfuge in the world won’t change that fact. Eventually even their practice of hiding behind god and religion won’t help them.

January 25th, 2009 | LINK

Anti-gay violence is hate and hate has no place in religion. If we live anti-gay lives, we are no better than others we condemn for violence.

January 25th, 2009 | LINK

I did see the movie. It is very moving, and I think that Sigourney Weaver did a great job. Your heart just breaks.

I can understand why Focus and Exodus would be so sensitive. I have to wonder how much suicide they have had to deal with and how that plays out within Exodus chapters.

January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Of course Focus and Exodus are sensitive. The blood of gay teen suicides, murders, and hate crimes are on their hands.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Will this film be released on DVD? Does anyone know how I could get hold of it here in Ireland?


Yuki Choe
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Jeff Johnston, gender analyst at Focus on the Family…

I would really like to know his credentials… and would not be surprised if his credentials are not recognized by almost all the real gender specialists in the country….

February 1st, 2009 | LINK

TRiG, I hope it goes to DVD, but for now you can watch it online, here.

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