On Friday, the New York Times ran a puff piece about Focus on the Family, claiming that under the leadership of its president Jim Daly, the organization is softening by becoming one that “invites civil dialogue” and “turns down the rhetorical temperature on the debate.” It goes on to claim that Daly is “attesting to the divine love and grace that he firmly believes saved his life.”
Jeremy Hooper and David Badash have already penned extensive retorts, outlining the many odious anti-LGBT positions that Focus on the Family still holds. As a simple test of whether Focus on the Family and its political arm CitizenLink are engaging in more “civil dialogue,” here’s a look at some of the rhetoric they’ve put out over just the past six months:
- Marriage equality will “shut down businesses” and is actually about “silencing Christian voices in the public square.”
- Marriage equality is a “pernicious lie of Satan.”
- Gender and sexuality are determined by procreation, not anybody’s own sense of their identities.
- Homosexuality isn’t a “super sin,” but it’s still a sin, just like adultery, lying, cheating, and gossiping.
- There’s no such thing as being gay; it’s just a “political statement.”
- Marriage equality passed in November because voters are “unchurched” and care more about themselves than about children.
- Transgender identities are unhealthy disorders that result from childhood trauma.
- Trans people should pursue ex-trans therapy to rectify their “confusion” with their “God given gender identity and destiny.”
- Gay people are in “pain” and at battle with God.
- Heterosexuality is society’s ideal because affirming homosexuality would be “normalizing brokenness.”
- “Satan roams the earth like a lion, using sexual and relational brokenness to destroy individuals, families, churches, groups, businesses.”
- Parents should be able to prevent their children from learning that gay people exist.
- There are “a variety of roads into homosexuality” including molestation, parents’ divorce, and trouble conforming to gender roles.
And that was just the rhetoric that ThinkProgress happened to cover since last September. Of course, Focus on the Family also sponsors the annual “Day of Dialogue,” which encourages Christian students to condemn their gay peers — a counterprotest to the “Day of Silence,” which is designed to bring visibility to that very kind of bullying.
The New York Times should better clarify that not a single position has changed at Focus on the Family. As the article inadvertently demonstrates, the organization has simply achieved better PR when individuals aren’t paying attention to what they actually believe.