Focus on the Family

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Focus on the Family is a disturbingly cult-like "not-for-profit" evangelical Christian organization founded by Dr. James "Show your children your penis in the shower so they don't become gay" Dobson[1] in 1977, with Jim Daly as its current president[2] and is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It specializes in family issues approached from a fundamentalist standpoint, espousing homophobia and strongly advocating corporal punishment for children. Its meddling attitude can be summed up by the bumper sticker slogan "FOCUS ON YOUR OWN DAMN FAMILY!" In 2012 the group had an annual budget of $98 million and employs a staff of 655. [3]

Political advocacy[edit]

Focus on the Family's logo, depicting the battle between loving parents and the evil Big Government that wants to steal their children.

Although Focus on the Family itself is technically apolitical (in accordance with federal requirements for a tax-exempt religious organization), it has recently created a political action committee called Citizen Link, which is utterly committed to ensuring that biblical values prevail in Washington. These values literally always line up with the Republican party line, not just on standard Christian issues which have a minute biblical basis (abortion, homosexuality, divorce) but on things which have no biblical basis (health care reform, taxation, labor unions). Citizen Link has also been very vocal in the ENDA controversy, arguing constantly for the right of Christians to discriminate against gays and Muslims. The group has not yet become famous for its ability to find "anti-Christian discrimination" in anything that happens anywhere, but rest assured that this will happen any day now. Focus on the Family has specifically been involved in trying to stop the legislature and the (then) governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, from signing a bill that would extend non-discrimination protections to LGBT people, using the common scare tactic that men will come into the girls' restroom. [4]

Although federal law would seem to require James Dobson to limit his political outbursts to Citizen Link-related media, Dobson has, on several occasions, branched out into politics on the Focus on the Family Daily Broadcasts, doing everything from asking radical Republican lawmakers what hate crime legislation is really about (outlawing disliking homosexuals, obviously) to attempting to rehabilitate Tom Delay's image.

Focus on the Family has also recently created a website called "True Tolerance," which is, of course, dedicated to intolerance, and also features some of the Alliance Defense Fund's typical idiotic free legal documents.[5] In 2009, they crafted "Stand for Christmas," which provides shoppers with a list of which retailers are "Pro-Christmas" (the site was very useful, in as much as it told a secularist which shops to avoid).[6]

Children's ministry[edit]

Focus on the Family has a long-running children's adventure series Adventures in Odyssey which is broadcast by radio, published on audio cassettes and CDs (often given away for free in kids' meals at Chick-Fil-A since 1990 [7] [8]), and more recently available online (an animated TV series is also available on DVD). It mostly takes place in the fantasy of every fundamentalist, a small American town full of almost exclusively deeply religious people who never got the notice that the 1950s ended. Wacky hijinks inevitably lead the one new kid in town who isn't a Real True Christian to a saving knowledge of his Lord and Saviour. In the words of a pastor's testimonial on their website, "The stories provided a much-needed balance to the 'critical' method of approaching faith that I was being taught in the classroom." Who needs critical thinking when the cartoon that came with your 8-piece chicken nugget meal (with a small Coke® and fries) answers all the fundamental questions of the universe?

Adventures in Odyssey has a Very Special Collection called "For God and Country" which teaches a... unique perspective on American history.

They also put out a series of teen novels which re-imagined Old Testament events as steampunk, giving God's favorite murderers access to 1800s technology and (white, very white) European sophistication. They were actually quite good, as it turns out that whitewashing the tale of King David to make him not seem like a homicidal maniac, while ALSO giving him a gun, vastly improves the original story.

Scandals[edit]

Child sex scandal[edit]

In 2009, Focus employee Juan Ovalle was arrested on two felony accounts of soliciting sex with a child via the internet. Ovalle was arrested when he drove to Lakewood, Colorado to meet a 15 year old girl who he had cybered with online - the "girl" turned out to be an undercover police detective. [9] Ovalle worked in Focus's Spanish broadcasting department, and was FOTF's Spanish language narrator of their Bible in Spanish CDs and their "Adventures in Odyssey" radio show. However no other employees are known to have done anything similar or apologized for him, so this is more of a statement of the failings of an employee, rather than the organization.

Jack Abramoff casino scheme involvement[edit]

In 2006, Media Matters reported:

"On the February 17 broadcast of his radio program, Focus on the Family president James C. Dobson and Tom Minnery, the organization's vice president of public policy, sought to fend off questions arising from reports of their alleged collusion with convicted felon and former gambling industry lobbyist Jack Abramoff in a scheme to shut down competition to his [Abramoff's] clients' casinos.

"While both Dobson and Minnery deny working with Abramoff, email exchanges between Abramoff and associates Ralph Reed and Michael Scanlon appear to contradict Dobson and Minnery's claim that Focus on the Family's activities in opposition to the expansion of a Louisiana casino had nothing to do with requests from Abramoff or Reed."[10]

Guns don't kill people, gay marriage and abortion do![edit]

According to James Dobson the Sandy Hook massacre was caused by abortion and same-sex marriage.[11] Because, of course, everything bad is caused by them.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]