Essay / Culture

Salazar has a chance to repudiate extremism.

Rocky Mountain News: State: “Anti-Focus rallyJim Dobson is not perfect. Run a ministry for decades and you are bound to have done your share of silly things. Why do I bring this up?Dr. Dobson used to be cited as the perfect example of a mainstream evangelical that should be the focus of media attention. He has been involved in saving thousands of marriages and lives. His organization is a model of financial rectitude. His broadcasts are interesting and his views are very mainstream. He is nothing like the “t.v. evangelists” of the seventies. He has an earned doctorate in psychology from a major secular university where he also worked.I predict that many evangelicals are soon going to “tire of” Dr. Dobson. Why? He entered the fray and the media found out he existed. Having found out he existed, they discovered he was for traditional marriage, opposed to abnormal sexual practices as unhealthy, and (horror of horrors) a conservative Republican. In other words, Dobson is just like eighty percent of white evangelicals in the United States.The cultural elite, which includes some Republicans and conservatives, do not like social conservatives. And so now the attack begins on Dr. Dobson.The “Sponge Bob” story was a perfect example. Someone says something that if said by a person on the left would be considered “normal” intellectual work. (“The show ‘Desperate Housewives’ shows a post-feminist backlash on the part of Hollywood.” is an example of the kind of sentence that is routinely offered without proof in the halls of higher education. Fair enough. Dobson made a similar comparison, with far more evidence, from the right arguing that a group that is known to promote a liberal sexual agenda was using fun cartoon characters to advance its cause. His argument was twisted and he was painted as an anti-cartoon kill-joy. The media simply played on an existing stereotype and were too lazy to write a story. To get the point imagine a slew of national stories arguing that a feminist leader who said the above was against fun entertainment and middle-aged women looking attractive. This false stereotype also exists of feminists but the major media is careful to avoid it in writing stories for the most part.)On a day like today, take time to write an email of support to Dobson and his wonderful group. Show the media that our support for our leaders cannot be “washed away” by a flood of negative stories.Protesters condemn organization’s stance on homosexualityBy Dick Foster and Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain NewsMay 2, 2005COLORADO SPRINGS – Nearly 1,000 gays, lesbians and their supporters gathered in freezing temperatures and spitting snow at Focus on the Family headquarters Sunday to declare it a ‘toxic religion zone’ and its director James Dobson ‘a danger to himself and the country.’These folk have a right to protest. I have the right to point out to evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox readers that these people and the pols that support them think your religion “toxic.”Note the odd position the protestors are in with this argument. Christians argue a person should not engage in behaviors that lead to a genetic dead end and horrific health consequences (in males). They urge people NOT to do those things. They also do not want to publicly sanction behavior opposed to the laws of nature and Nature’s God. On the other hand, the protestors are urging folk with conflicted desires to do those very acts.‘The poison that comes out of that place leads to suffering and death,’ said the Rev. Mel White, director of Soulforce, a national gay rights advocacy group that organized the three-hour protest.This seems over the top, yes? I have no problem with saying that anyone who says “God hates fags” and other such rubbish is wicked. Why can’t gay rights groups say the same? ‘We’re the ones who have to bury the gay teenagers who kill themselves because their parents have been quoting Jim Dobson to them,’ White said.No examples cited. Just as likely (meaning without support other than rhetoric) is that sexually confused young adults are being torn by a movement that needs them to advance its agenda and what they have always believed. What is the gay teen suicide rate in havens of tolerance such as San Francisco?White’s fiery speech kicked off the rally, which drew hundreds from across the country and Colorado to Dobson’s sprawling hilltop campus.Note the bias. Are “hundreds many?” What if the sentence said “fewer than one thousand” again? In this sentence it would give the context that as national protests go this is not much. Biola could get more people with a weekend email campaign announcing a good speaker.The rally came as Dobson’s national profile is rising, a week after he appeared on the nationwide evangelical Christian broadcast, Justice Sunday, condemning U.S. Senate Democrats for opposing seven Bush nominees to federal courts.Dobson’s national profile is rising if you are one of those folk that have no evangelical friends and are unaware of what a majority of folk in the nation believe. His profile is rising in the secular media: period. That is not the country. . . though as I noted above many evangelicals also accept the fact that it is. Millions of people listen to Dobson each week and the media is just discovering him. Every day traditional Christians should say to themselves: the mainstream media consists of a tiny group of folk who are predisposed to dislike my core values. They are not the country and though they have great influence it is waning.Police closed off the street in front of Focus headquarters to accommodate the crowd.Long streams of balloons and creative costumes brought the only swatches of color to the leaden cold day, but weather did not chill demonstrators’ spirits or their message.READ: it was a pretty dispiriting event, but I don’t want to write about it that way.‘Focus on the Family does not focus on families. They teach from a theology that is morally bankrupt,’ said Jacob Reitan, Soulforce’s youth director, who stood between his mother and father. ‘It teaches mothers and fathers to reject their gay sons and their lesbian daughters, and it has to end. We cannot go on any longer dividing our families.’Let’s count the falsehoods here! Focus does focus on families: the sort that have children. The theology they teach is that of John Paul the Great, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth, C.S. Lewis. . . and every traditional ethicist (meaning everyone until the last fifty years) that has ever lived in all nations at all times. Mr. Reitan has just proclaimed them all morally bankrupt.Focus does not teach parents to reject their gay children. It tells them they can best help their child by not supporting destructive BEHAVIOR. However, Reitan is in a movement that is organized around a sexual behavior. It is all he has.Other parents came. Carol and Dean Reyman drove from South Dakota. They said friends and relatives deserted them when their 34-year- old daughter announced she was a lesbian seven years ago.”We felt alone for the longest time. It shouldn’t make a difference. She’s the same person; yet they look at her differently,” Carol Reyman said.Their daughter is the same person engaging in a behavior most people at most times have viewed as destructive. Put any other traditional sin in the sentences for homosexuality and you find it is also true: my son is the same person even though he cannot seem to stop stealing. It sounds like the community did not handle this “coming out” well and that is bad, but then try being a traditionalist in Berkeley!In a small tent on their property, a dozen
Focus on the Family staffers watched, including Tom Minnery, the organization’s vice president for government and public policy.Minnery said gay activism is actually causing Christians to defend their values more strongly. Citing state constitutional amendments supporting traditional marriage in 13 states last year, he said most Americans don’t believe marriage should be expanded to include gays.To permit same-sex marriage, Minnery said, “you have to stand against all of civilization, which says that marriage is one man, one woman, and against the totality of social science that says a child does best with a mom and a dad.”It was not same-sex marriage that occupied the Soulforce speeches Sunday. It was Focus on the Family’s condemnation of homosexuality itself, the damage its position has done to gay and lesbian youths suffering confusion and guilt, and the toll it has taken on their families, speakers said.NOTE: There is no compromise with these folk. They can show up at your parish next. You believe as Dobson believes and so they think you wicked as well. White told of a gay man who became Christian and, facing the conflict between faith and sexuality, penned a suicide note to God: “I don’t know how else to fix this.””It has to be fixed here, at Focus, which is saying we are beasts, that our agenda is to recruit and molest children, that we are the worst threat this country has ever seen. The polluting, toxic lies are taking lives,” White said.Citations? White should be marginalized for such rhetoric the same way the Westboro Baptist Church is.A smaller demonstration coincided with the Soulforce rally. About 15 members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., protested Soulforce and Focus on the Family.”The Bible clearly says it’s an abomination to be a fag,” said Sara Phelps, granddaughter of church founder Fred Phelps. “On the other side you’ve got Focus on the Family acting like it’s their job to convert people, and there’s no way these fags can repent.”They were largely ignored, held apart from the Soulforce rally by some of the 140 Colorado Springs police officers on hand, and they departed after about an hour.Why give them any press at all? They are of no consequence, but their “leader” got almost as much time as Focus to respond to the rally.In fairness, let me be on the record as repudiating her hateful speech: Christians believe every sexual sin can be forgiven. (Thank God!) We believe in healing, hope, and restoration for all mankind. This tiny group is a cult and does not represent mainstream Christianity or any other religion.Dobson was not in Colorado Springs on Sunday. Focus on the Family also announced it would be closed to the public Monday, when Soulforce had planned to deliver more than 1,000 letters from families of gays condemning its stance against homosexuality.”It will not be open to the public to ensure the safety of our staff,” Focus spokeswoman Sonja Swiatkiewicz said.In Westminster, a group of anti- abortion protesters picketed for the second consecutive Sunday outside a Dairy Queen that is owned and operated by U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar’s family.About 20 picketers, including a man holding a baby doll and a crucifix, stood in snow showers holding pictures of aborted fetuses.”We want to let the community know that the owner of this Dairy Queen supports aborting future customers,” said Pastor Bob Enyart of the Denver Bible Church.Last week, Salazar called the protests “outrageous and un-American,” saying the group should picket him, not a business run by his wife.Is his wife pro-choice? Has she aided pro-choice causes? Mr. Salazar has to protect his wife, a businesswoman, from protests? Is he going to intervene in labor disputes for her? Is this really her company? When did businesswomen need US Senators to protect them from peaceful protests? News flash to Salazar: your wife is a full grown American citizen engaged in public commerce. She is going to have to reap the rewards and liabilities of her career just like anyone else.END OF STORY, COMMENT BELOW MY OWNSalazar is someone who called a traditional Christian leader an “antichrist” in an unguarded moment. Twenty peaceful protestors send him into a spiral of rage. Colorado voters should remember this come his next election. Everyone has a right to their views. Do you want someone who goes nuts over twenty Catholic pro-lifers at a Dairy Queen who ignores rhetoric like that used by SOULFORCE?Dobson repudiates the Phelp’s church. As a result they picket him! Will Salazar repudiate the over the top rhetoric of SOULFORCE?

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