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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for April, 2013

GOP Slams Brakes On Rebranding Effort

Jim Burroway

April 11th, 2013

The Republican National Committee is meeting in Los Angeles over the next three days beginning today, and one of the first items on the agenda for consideration is a resolution that states:

WHEREAS, the institution of marriage is the solid foundation upon which our society is built and in which children thrive; it is based in the conjugal relationship that only a man and a woman can form; and

WHEREAS, support for marriage has been repeatedly affirmed nationally in the 2012 Republican National Platform, through the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, signed into law by President Bill Clinton), and passed by the voters of 41 States including California via Proposition 8; and

WHEREAS, no Act of human government can change the reality that marriage is a natural and most desirable union; especially when procreation is a goal; and

WHEREAS, the future of our country is children; it has been proven repeatedly that the most secure and nurturing environment in which to raise healthy well adjusted children is in a home where both mother and father are bound together in a loving marriage; and

WHEREAS, economically, marriage is America’s greatest weapon against child poverty no matter what ethnic background individuals are; and, based on the facts of stunning recent articles, marriage is the best way for society to get out of poverty and raise emotionally healthy children; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of laws adopted  to protect marriage from the unfounded accusation that support for marriage is based only on irrational prejudice against homosexuals; therefore be it

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of American; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee implores the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The GOP platform last summer was probably the most anti-gay platform in the party’s history. After Barack Obama won re-election in a campaign which included support for marriage equality, there were some suggestions that the Republican Party should soften its anti-gay positions. But after RNC Chairman Reince Priebus issued the official “autopsy” of the 2012 presidential elections which called on the party to become more “inclusive and welcoming,” a coalition of social conservatives responded with a letter to GOP leadership warning that “an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support.” The letter writers also protest that their anti-gay stance does not mean the party can’t can’t attract gay voters:

Many homosexuals are active in the GOP because they agree with Republicans on economic issues. The fact that the Party is strongly committed to traditional marriage has not prevented their involvement through GOProud or Log Cabin Republicans. We deeply resent the insinuation that we have treated homosexuals unkindly personally.

And we would like to point out that in the four blue states where voters narrowly voted for same sex marriage in 2012, Mitt Romney, who refused to discuss the issue, lost by an average of five points more than the state initiatives to preserve marriage.

Republicans would do well to persuade young voters why marriage between a man and a woman is so important rather than abandon thousands of years of wisdom to please them.

…Real and respectful communication is needed with our organizations. Alleged gaffes by candidates in 2012 on social issues could have been avoided if Party leadership had consulted us, the experts on how to articulate those positions.

Those so-called “experts” who signed the letter were:

  • Gary Bauer, President, American Values
  • Paul Caprio, Director, Family-Pac Federal
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List
  • Dr. James Dobson, President and Founder, Family Talk Action
  • Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Tom Minnery, Executive Director, CitizenLink
  • William J. Murray, Chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition
  • Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
  • Sandy Rios, VP of Government Affairs, Family-Pac Federal
  • Austin Ruse, President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
  • Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
  • Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Founder, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association

According to Politico, the anti-gay resolution is expected to pass overwhelmingly tomorrow when it goes before the full committee, although it’s not clear whether the resolution’s final form will be the same as the version that has circulated today.

Dobson: Abortion, Homosexuality To Blame For Shooting

Jim Burroway

December 17th, 2012

Of course I’m not surprised that someone would say this. I’m just surprised it took three days for it to happen:

Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I’m not talking politically, I’m not talking about the result of the November sixth election;  I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.

I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition.  Believe me, that is going to have consequences too. 

And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.  I think that’s what’s going on.

Rubio Records Robocall for NOM

Jim Burroway

November 2nd, 2012

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has been identified as a rising star in national politics, is making robocalls on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage to voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state, where marriage equality is on the ballot (Minnesota, which is considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, prohibits robocalls.) And in a sign that marriage is still seen as a wedge issue, those calls are also going out to the swing states of Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Also making calls for NOM are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Focus on the Family co-founder James Dobson.

A review of the Manhattan Declaration

This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

November 20th, 2009

A group of conservative Christians released today their manifesto of their agreement across lines of faith and tradition. Entitled Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, this document lays out areas in which the signatories declare commonality of purpose.

Who they are

First, let us say what this document is not. It is not, as the NY Times described it, a situation in which “Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues“. Indeed, this is but a segment of Christian thought, claiming the mantle of Christian history and tradition but excluding broad segments of the faith.

One need only glance at the signatories to know the nature of the alliance. Present are some who are well known names in the political culture wars who have long striven to impose their religious views by force of law on the unbelievers: Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Gary Bauer, and Tony Perkins. Some are religious leaders who have been recently shifting their realm of influence away from faith towards secular domination: Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Jonathan Falwell.

But this is not just broadly social conservatives. There is, instead, a concentration of those who focus on “opposing the homosexual agenda”. There are a few religious activists who seem dedicated and committed (obsessed, one might think) to fighting equality for gay people: Ken Hutcherson, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Jim Garlow. And then, inexplicably, some who are not religious leaders at all but social activists whose primary occupation is in seeking the political institutionalizing of inequality to gay people: Maggie Gallagher, Frank Schubert, and William Donohue.

Perhaps the most difficult to explain, and by far the most troubling name present, is The Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria.

There is no explanation provided as to what relevance Akinola has on what is a uniquely American collection. But his participation is not accidental. And, as I will discuss momentarily, his is perhaps the key that explains the true nature of this manifesto.

This could be seen as nothing more that “the usual suspects”, a rehashing of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition or any other of the loose groupings of religious authoritarians, were it not for one import inclusion. There are nine Catholic Archbishops who signed on to this document.

Ideologically as dissimilar as possible, these two Christian extremes – one whose doctrine is based in tradition, liturgy, and hierarchy, the other whose doctrine is based in reform, spirit-led worship, and direct divine revelation – have set aside ancient hostilities and theological beliefs that doubt the other’s right to be considered “Christian” and have now joined in a common purpose: denying your rights.

But as important as who is present, is who is absent.

Among the signatories I was unable to find any members of the United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Friends (Quaker), Disciples of Christ, Unitarian Universalists or American Baptists. There was one United Methodist minister.

In short, a whole branch of Christianity, Mainline Christianity, was missing, including many who no doubt would agree with the goals of banning abortion and forbidding same-sex marriage. This exclusion is, I believe, integral to understanding the true purpose of this manifesto.

The agreed upon issues

While this alliance is one that does not reflect the face of Christianity, it also is not a declaration of a new-found position of agreement based on shared Christian teaching and ideology. There is no mention of shared faith in creeds or teachings, no virgin birth, no resurrection, no divine redemption.

Rather, this is a statement of political purpose by an alliance of socially conservative activist who oppose abortion and marriage equality. Indeed, although the document speaks in lofty terms of Christian tradition and religious freedom, the only commitments it makes are to oppose legal abortion (some day down the road) and the immediate attack on the ability of gay people to avail themselves of civil equality.

This is, in short a political alliance. It is a pact and a threat.

What it means

While on the face of it, this manifesto purports to be a rededication to fight two specific political issues, I think that this is but surface dressing for a deeper meaning.

This is not a war over civil marriage definition – nor, indeed, has that ever been the real motivation behind anti-gay marriage drives. Rather, this is a war over religious domination, a fight over who is “really a Christian” and an effort on the part of a long-suffering religious subset to spite those who have long had what they coveted.

Political power in the United States had long been in the hands of what is now called Mainline Christianity. Our presidents have included over a dozen Episcopalians (as is the National Cathedral), about ten Presbyterians, with most of the rest being Methodists, Unitarians, Disciples of Christ, and Quakers.

There has been exactly one Catholic. There have been four Baptists, of whom the two Southern Baptists were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. There have been no Pentecostals and no members of mega-Churches. In fact, though some Republican presidents have been religious and conservative, there has never been a President of the United States that was both denominationally and ideologically within the fold represented by the signatories of this Manhattan Declaration.

And now they want theirs. And, not content at the rise of their own political power, they will not be happy unless they can diminish those denominations whom they seek to replace.

Note the presence of the second signatory, Peter Akinola? He is the Nigerian Anglican who has been missionizing the United States in an effort to hurt the Episcopal Church. His inclusion is a very clear message sent to the EC that they are a target for the Catholic Church and the evangelical churches who will use whatever political power they may wield in the future to thwart her position in the nation.

This manifesto is, I believe, less a declaration of war on gay people and those with unplanned pregnancies than it is a declaration of war on other Christian faiths.

One absence that seems to confirm this alliance is a denomination that one might have expected to be quick to affirm its commitment to the right to life and protection of the family. But there are no representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). The exclusion of this church, considered by most conservatives to be “NOT Christian”, suggest that this manifesto has less to do with social goals and more to do with Christian definition.

This manifesto says, in effect, “We are the Christians. We are the ‘heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s word’, and we alone will speak for the faith.”

What the manifesto reveals

In addition to highlighting the division in the Christian body, there are also some clues as to future items on the agenda of this newly affirmed political alliance. Here is how I translate some of their declarations.

we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our governmenttruly Christian answer to problem pregnancies is for all of us to love and care for mother and child alike

Only lip service will be paid to the shared objection to abortion. Little time, money, or political capital will be spent on this already lost goal. However, should opportunity ever swing in their direction, they will stop at nothing short of a full ban on all abortions without any consideration of rape, quality of life, or the life of the mother.

But absent the abortion issue, these allies have but one other shared issue: attacking you and your life.

Around the globe … take steps necessary to halt the spread of preventable diseases like AIDS

The situations in Nigeria and Uganda are not accidental nor unrelated to the efforts of conservative Americans. Although virtually all of the spread of AIDS in Africa is related to heterosexuality, this will be an excuse to pass draconian laws seeking to repress, incarcerate, or execute gay men and women.

In addition to being a slam against the Episcopal Church, the inclusion of Akinola announces that pogroms against gay Africans will have the endorsement of both the Catholic Church and conservative evangelical churches.

We should not expect the calls for criminal prosecution of gay people to be limited to foreign soil. Should such a fervor be fostered internationally, it is unquestionable that this will lend support to efforts to reinstate or bolster oppression here.

It is no longer a matter of curiosity that the Catholic Church has not spoken out against the Kill Gays bill in Uganda. Nor had Dr. Mohler or Dr. Dobson. Nor, indeed, has any signatory of this document.

The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships … there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships … Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital … the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships

The Manhattan document does not in any place refer to same-sex relationships without simultaneously mentioning multiple-party relationships. This will no doubt translate to a new commitment on the part of the signatories to try and tie the two together in their political campaigns.

Frankly, I wish them godspeed in that decision. Americans have, I believe, moved beyond the point in which gay couples are viewed as identical to polygamists.

as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.

This probably tells us nothing but the extent to which these people are self-righteous and truly deeply smarmy. They are willing, lovingly, to sacrifice your life and freedom and equality, not their own. Oh how loving. Oh how Christ-like.

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.

There are, as we all know, no requirements for any churches or ministers to act contrary to their faith. We have long since debunked their claims of oppression and shown them to be nothing more than a retraction of special privilege when the religious groups in question wanted to use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against gay taxpayers. There are no instances in their recitation in which religious groups were forced to compromise in any areas of faith in the administration of their own funds or time.

That is of no consequence. Liars lie. We expect the morally bankrupt to behave without integrity.

But what I think we can anticipate, based on their conclusion, is a concerted effort at political stuntery. A dedication to dishonesty. And an ongoing campaign of lies.

As a Christian, it distresses me to see the name of my faith and the mantle of its history usurped by those who have no respect for its greater principles but instead gleefully glom onto its darker bloody history. Rather than exalt in the liberties that have evolved from Christian thought, they seek to equate the faith with its most prejudicial, superstitious, exclusionary and dictatorial moments.

But perhaps something good may come of this.

It is possible that out of this declaration of war, the moderate and liberal branches of the faith may find common cause, if nothing else in defense of their own good name. Perhaps they will decide that they have a purpose and meaning in modern America and will let go of residual guilt and angst and take up the mantle of protector of the oppressed and champion of justice and mercy.

Let us hope and pray that they do.

Dobson To Quit Radio Broadcast

Jim Burroway

November 2nd, 2009

Focus On the Family founder James Dobson has announced that he will be leaving his radio program at the end of February. Last February, Dobson stepped down as chairman of Focus On the Family last February. Dobson will also stop writing his monthly newsletter and turn it over to Focus President Jim Daly. Daly insists however that Dobson is not moving into retirement and “will continue to make his voice heard in the public square.”

[Hat tip: Ex-Gay Watch]

Lying About The Hate Crime Bill, #1: “The Thirty Sexual Orientations”

Jim Burroway

May 11th, 2009

You can always tell when our opponents are really scared. Their lies become more ridiculous. Such is the case with the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (also known as the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act). The proposed legislation expands the already existing federal hate crime law to include violent crimes based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and/or disability. The current law already covers actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color and religion.

One of the most egregious lies is this one, as told by the American Family Association:

The Hate Crime law, S.909 (and HR1913), will make 30 sexual orientations federally-protected. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has published 30 such sexual orientations that, because of Congress’s refusal to define “sexual orientation,” will be protected under this legislation.

Focus On the Family’s James Dobson also jumped on the bandwagon as well:

As I’m recording this video greeting, there’s a so-called hate crimes bill that’s working its way through the congress that contains no adequate safeguards to protect the preaching of God’s word. Because the liberals in Congress would not define sexual orientation, we have to assume that protection under the law will be extended to the 30 sexual disorders identified as such by the American Psychiatric Association. Let me read just a few of them: bisexuality, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual masochism, urophilia, voyeurism, and bestiality. Those are just a few. And I have to ask, have we gone completely mad?

Well, it appears that Dobson has. He, the AFA, the Traditional Values Coalition, Liberty Counsel, and many, many others, are pushing this obnoxious notion. Let’s break it all down, shall we?

“Congress would not define sexual orientation”
This line was brought up when the Hate Crimes Act was working its way though the House Judiciary Committee. During the hearing, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) sought to add an amendment to the bill indicating that the term sexual orientation does not include pedophilia.

This attempted amendment was, of course, a deliberate attempt to play on the slander that homosexuality is equivalent to child molestation — a slander that has no basis in the professional literature. But Rep. King pressed on in his attempt to write that slander into U.S. law, claiming that the law doesn’t define sexual orientation.

The problem, of course, is that the federal law which directs the FBI to collect hate crime statistics already includes a very specific definition of sexual orientation. The law’s definition goes like this:

As used in this section, the term “sexual orientation” means consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality.

It couldn’t be much clearer than that. Sexual orientation is exactly what everyone knows it to be: an orientation based on one’s own gender and the gender to which that individual is sexually attracted.

“The APA Defines Thirty Sexual Orientations”
But what if Federal law hadn’t already defined sexual orientation and we had to fall back on the American Psychiatric Association’s definition? Well, it turns out that the APA’s official definition is not much different from the federal government’s. The APA’s official handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR, 2000) offers a very precise definition of how clinicians should describe a client’s sexual orientation:

Specifiers
For sexually mature individuals, the following specifiers may be noted based on the individual’s sexual orientation: Sexually Attracted to Males, Sexually Attracted to Females, Sexually Attracted to Both, and Sexually Attracted to Neither. [Emphasis in the original]

In other words, the APA defines only four sexual orientations. And they do so in order to provide a consistent description of an individual’s sexual orientation. It is not a diagnosis itself, since homosexuality is not listed as a mental disorder.  And just so everyone’s clear on exactly what the APA means by their very short description of sexual orientation, they provided an expanded discussion on their web site:

Sexual orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction toward others. It is easily distinguished from other components of sexuality including biological sex, gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female), and the social gender role (adherence to cultural norms for feminine and masculine behavior).

Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality. Bisexual persons can experience sexual, emotional, and affectional attraction to both their own sex and the opposite sex. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).

So where did the list of thirty “sexual orientations” come from? Let’s turn again to the APA’s DSM-IV-TR under the heading of “Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders,” namely the APA’s examples of sexual paraphilias:

The Paraphilias are characterized by recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The Paraphilias include Exhibitionism, Fetishism, Frotteurism, Pedophilia, Sexual Masochism, Sexual Sadism, Transvestic Fetishism, Voyeurism, and Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified.

The DSM goes further, identifying specific criteria for diagnosing these various paraphilias, something that the DSM does not do for sexual orientation. And the reason is simple: sexual paraphilias are mental disorders according to the DSM, while homosexuality is not. Which is why the DSM devotes several pages to sexual paraphilias — and describes them as an impairment to normal functioning — but just a few words to consensual adult homosexuality, heterosexuality or bisexuality, which the APA reminds us “is not an illness, a mental disorder, or an emotional problem.”

So just to be clear:

  • Sexual orientation is strictly limited to the realms of homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality.
  • All the other stuff — pedophilia, exhibitionism, masochism, and the other twenty-seven paraphilias are not sexual orientations. Homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality are not paraphilias.
  • The proposed hate crime laws covers only sexual orientation, and not paraphilias.

In other words, you can still punch a pedophile and not risk running afoul of the proposed hate crime law. I wouldn’t recommend it — you’d still be liable for assault charges, but there would be no federal hate crime enhancements involved.

If you won’t believe me, then how about Dr. Jack Drescher? He’s a member of the APA’s DSM-V Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders, one of the groups working on the next revision of the APA’s manual. He confirmed everything I said, and went further:

Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation, nor would pedophiles be covered by a law protecting people for their sexual orientation. Religious social conservatives who oppose gay rights are using terms that sound like science, as opposed to actual science, to make unwarranted and malicious comparisons between homosexuality and pedophilia. Not only is this scare tactic untruthful, it reveals how little respect some religious conservative leaders have for the intelligence of the people they are trying to persuade.

It is indeed a scare tactic, and anti-gay activists know full well that it is a blatant distortion of the APA’s position on sexual orientation and paraphilias. Remember, Dobson holds a Ph.D. in psychology. He clearly knows that he’s lying, and he has chosen to do so as a deliberate tactic. There’s simply no other plausable explanation. And as the bill comes closer to passing and being signed into law, their rhetoric is likely to get worse, not better. Stay tuned.

See also:
Lying About The Hate Crime Bill, #2: “A Danger To Religious Freedom”
Lying About The Hate Crime Bill, #1: “The Thirty Sexual Orientations”

James Dobson Resigns As Chairman of Focus On the Family

Jim Burroway

February 27th, 2009
James Dobson (Mike Simons/Getty Images)

James Dobson (Mike Simons/Getty Images)

The Associated Press is reporting that James Dobson is resigning as chairman of Focus On the Family, but he will continue to play a prominent role in the organization. Dobson, 72, notified the board of directors on Wednesday, and the 950 remaining employees were told this morning at a monthly worship service at their Colorado Springs headquarters.

Jim Daly, the who succeeded Dobson as president and CEO six months ago, said that Dobson will continue to speak out on political matters. He will also continue to write his monthly newsletter. Dobson will continue to host FOTF’s radio program for the time being, although there is some indication that the program may be retooled with a new host or group of hosts in order to reach a younger audience. Focus officials have acknowledged difficulties in raising money from younger families recently. But with Dobson continuing to play a prominent role in the organization, this latest move likely won’t signal a change in FOTF’s positions or tone in the short term.

Dobson described his resignation as the last step in their transition plan:

“One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority,” Dobson said in a statement. “… Though letting go is difficult after three decades of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do.”

Focus On the Family has undergone a series of layoffs over the past few years. At its peak, FOTF employed some 1,500 employees. As of September 2007, FOTF reported an $8 million budget shortfall. Daly said they are now “right on track” with a revised annual budget of $138 million, a budget which dwarfs that of the Human Rights Campaign and the HRC Foundation, representing the largest LGBT advocacy group, by 3.6 to 1.

FRC, Focus Battle For Soul of the GOP

Jim Burroway

January 5th, 2009

There is a battle going on right now for the soul of the Republican Party — at least for the chairmanship for the GOP. At least six contenders are in the race right now, including former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, and former Mike Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman, who are battling for the top spot in order to steer the party to a much harder social-conservative line. The other contenders include former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, and current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan are vying for votes among the GOP’s more secular, fiscally-conservative members.

Saltsman has come under fire for having sent out a Christmas greeting to RNC members with a music CD containing a song called “Barack the Magic Negro.” That pretty much leaves Blackwell standing unscathed among social conservatives. So over the weekend, Focus On the Family and the Family Research Council have weighed in Blackwell as their favored candidate. Not too surprising, since Blackwell is already an FRC employee, serving as a “Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment,” whatever that means. But for good measure, he has also picked up James Dobson’s endorsement.

We know Blackwell for his heavy involvement in Ohio’s draconian anti-marriage amendment campaign, during which he compared gays and lesbians to “barnyard animals.”

Palin Tells Dobson McCain Will Implement Full GOP Platform

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2008

GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin told Focus On the Family’s James Dobson that she believes that John McCain will implement the full Republican Platform on taking office. That platform includes total bans on stem cell research, abortion and gay marriage — position which are far more conservative than those taken by McCain himself during the campaign.

Dobson began the interview on his radio program Wednesday by calling the GOP platform the “strongest pro-life, pro-family document to come out of a political party.” Palin responded that she believes that a President McCain will implement the full platform:

“I do, from the bottom of my heart. I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details too, about the different planks and what they represent.”

McCain has previously stated his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment on federalist grounds, but he has endorsed state constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage.

Dobson Nominated for Radio Hall of Fame

Jim Burroway

July 9th, 2008

Imagine my surprise on learning that Focus on the Family’s James Dobson has been nominated to the Museum of Broadcast Communication’s Radio Hall of Fame. I wonder, is Father Charles Coughlin also a member? If so, then Dobson might make good company. But no, I don’t see Coughlin on the list, so I don’t see how Dobson deserves the honor. Not after such gems like this:

“Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.”

Wayne Besen at Truth Wins Out is organizing a campaign to remove Dobson from consideration.

To fight back against this offensive decision, TWO strongly urges fair-minded people to take three actions. First, sign TWO’s formal request to have James Dobson removed from consideration. Second, contact Museum of Broadcast Communications CEO Bruce DuMont directly, brucedumont@museum.tv, to express your displeasure. Third, as an option, vote for nominees other than James Dobson or Laura Schlessinger (the general public may vote, and the other nominees are Bob Costas and Howard Stern). It is urgent to act now, as voting comes to a close on July 15.

Another Researcher Blasts Focus On the Family

Jim Burroway

May 1st, 2008

Focus On the Family has a long history of misrepresenting legitimate social science research, and researchers are starting to raise their voices in protest. The latest to join the chorus of outrage is Dr. Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. When he discovered that Focus On the Family was misrepresenting his 1992 paper, he wrote an open letter to Focus on the Family’s James Dobson to stop misrepresenting his work. That open letter has been posted at Truth Wins Out:

I want to draw your attention to a gross misrepresentation of our research at the website of “Focus on the Family” In the third paragraph of the article, “Myths and Facts,” our research is cited in support of the statement: “During early adolescence, many children experience a period of sexual-identity confusion when they can easily be influenced in either direction.”

First, please note that the citation itself is incorrect. The original article was published in Pediatrics, not Journal of Pediatrics. … More important, had the authors of “Myths and Facts” actually read the article, they would have found no support for their contention that “many children experience a period of sexual-identity confusion when they can be influenced in either direction.” The word confusion does not appear in our article; nor did we find that anyone can influence a young person’s sexual identity.

Dobson’s NYT Op-Ed: We’re Not Splintered. Honest.

Jim Burroway

October 4th, 2007

Focus On the Family’s James Dobson wrote an op-ed in today’s New York Times in which he discusses some of the outcomes of the uber-secret Council on National Policy meeting that took place in Salt Lake City last Saturday. While saying that the conferees aggreed that “If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate,” support for forming a third party was mixed.

While media reports suggest that the religious right is fractured over who to support for president, Dobson contends “if the major political parties decide to abandon conservative principles, the cohesion of pro-family advocates will be all too apparent in 2008.”

But if that’s true, it may be another example of trying to win a battle while loosing a war. If the religious right really wants to build a coalition for the ages, they need to figure out how to address the plummeting drop in the esteem for Christianity among the next generation.

One area they might want to address is the uber-secret conferences (whose name and membership must not be mentioned) which lend support to the notion of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” — and one that includes Paul Cameron as one of their members.

James Dobson and John MacArthur Have Tested Stigma-Positive

Jim Burroway

June 8th, 2007

We all remember back to just a few days after 9/11 when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed the terrorists’ actions on homosexuals, among others. According to Falwell, God lifted his veil of protection of America because we embraced all sorts of moral evil. Falwell stood by those remarks just a week before he died.

Now comes word that something terrible is going to happen, and this time it’ll be the lesbians’ fault. Not only that, but the old 1980’s canard of AIDS being the wrath of God is back in all its glory. And all of this comes with James Dobson’s imprimatur.

On the June 4 broadcast of James Dobson’s radio program, he played a recorded sermon by John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, titled “A Nation Abandoned by God.” Dobson preceded that broadcast with this endorsement:

Some of our listeners are not going to agree with what he [Rev. McArthur] has to say, but it’s going to make you think, and it’s also going to be somewhat disturbing. And I happen to agree with what John MacArthur was saying on this day, and I want to thank him and his team and Woodman Valley Chapel for allowing us to share this message. It needs to be heard, especially at this time in our nation.

And what did Rev. MacArthur preach? Well, first of all, he says we’re lucky we haven’t been smited already:

I don’t believe we’re waiting for God’s wrath in this society. We haven’t had a massive calamity such as the destruction of an entire city. We certainly don’t want that to happen — pray that does not happen — but it could happen. And God would be just in any calamity that he brought upon us. … But this massive concept of the wrath of abandonment, I’m convinced, is now at work in our society.

…The first thing that you look for in a society if you’re trying to discern whether God has abandoned that society is whether or not that society has gone through a sexual revolution so that illicit sex, adultery, every form of immorality is accepted as normal in that society. And we’re there. The second step in the progression, [Romans, chapter 1] verse 26: “God gave them over not just to passions that are explicable,” because they’re men and women, “but to inexplicable, degrading passions. For their women exchange the natural function for that which is unnatural.” You know a society has been abandoned by God when it celebrates lesbian sex.

So there it is. Whenever something goes wrong, we’ll know who to blame. It’s them lesbians.

But MacArthur doesn’t let the guys off the hook either:

The amazing thing of it is this, verse 27: “The men abandoning the natural function of the women, burning in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts, and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Right into this wrath of abandonment comes the wrath — the consequential wrath. And even though it generates venereal disease and AIDS, they keep doing it.

AIDS as the consequential wrath of God. It’s as if we all stepped back in time to the mid-1980’s. And remember, this has Dobson’s imprimatur all over it.

These comments arise from a most incredible willful ignorance. If AIDS were God’s judgment on the gay community, why did he have the AIDS virus enter the human chain clear back in the 1930’s in the Congo River basin? In fact, there is a pile of documentation showing that AIDS began ravaging parts of Central Africa since the early 1970’s. But in a land of inadequate fresh water, mysterious tropical diseases, war, povery, and poor hygiene and nutrition, this went unnoticed by the outside world until the CDC reported the deaths of five young gay men in 1981.

Gay men have been the scapegoats ever since. For twenty-five years now, people like Falwell, MacArthur, and Dobson have been compounding the suffering of those with the opportunistic infections that accompany AIDS and the struggles of those who continue to live with the disease. Medical science has progressed significantly in the past decade and those opportunistic infections are no longer the threat they once were. But no pill can vanquish the one opportunistic infection that continues to plague society. Stigma is alive and well, and James Dobson and John MacArthur are among the carriers.

I guess you could say they are Stigma-positive.

Paul Cameron “Calls Himself A Researcher”

Jim Burroway

February 27th, 2006

I’ve been furiously updating A Look At Paul Cameron’s Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do over the past two weeks. I’ve now added three new sections (parts 7, 8 and 9) for your reading pleasure. The final installments should be ready in another couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson has made a move that has many of his fellow conservatives scratching their heads. On a recent radio broadcast, he endorsed Colorado Senate Bill 166, the reciprocal beneficiaries bill authored by Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) which would pretty much grant any adult couple living together several important rights which are now difficult to obtain.

Such rights would include decision-making powers over shared property, health care, funerals and organ donations. The couples could be any two adults who live together: two elderly sisters, a parent caring for a disabled adult child, or anyone else who might need these benefits to take care of a friend or loved one. Including gay couples.

This led Paul Cameron to launch a blistering attack on his fellow conservative, which Dr. Dobson brushed off by describing Paul Cameron as someone who “calls himself a researcher” in a recent radio broadcast.

Dr. Dobson isn’t the only conservative to dispute Dr. Cameron’s research credentials. He’s just the latest. And while many conservatives find themselves using some of his “research” in their pronouncements against gays and lesbians, most are loathe to cite him directly by name, including Dr. Dobson.