Saturday, February 22, 2014

Misinformation goes out to 2,300 Media Outlets in 94 Countries

James C. Dobson, Ph.D., is founder and president of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization that produces his internationally syndicated radio programs, heard on more than 3,000 radio facilities in North America and in nine languages in approximately 2300 facilities in over 93 other countries.
He was for 14 years an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, and served for 17 years on the Attending Staff of Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics. He has an earned Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development.
Dr. Dobson is married, the father of two grown children, and resides in Colorado.

·      We affirm the Scriptural teaching that homosexuals can and do change their sexual identity (1 Cor. 6:9-11)
·      We support counseling and the availability of professional therapy options for unwanted homosexual attractions and behaviour.
·      We do not endorse or promote any one particular religious, psychiatric or psychological approach as the "one and only" way to go about changing same-sex attractions and behaviours.
·      Just as there are many paths that may lead a person to experience same-sex attractions, there are likewise multiple ways out. Thus, individuals and their helping professionals are called to discern and pursue the most appropriate approach that best enables them to steward their sexuality in alignment with their chosen values.
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Copyright © 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Letter to Dr. Dobson from a Gay Man

I am gay, and I am writing on behalf of many thousands of gay people in this country who have grown to hate the church because of organizations like yours. First, however, I would like to give you a quick background on myself.

I grew up in the home of a minister. It was a very happy, non-dysfunctional environment. I grew up as a Bible-believing Christian, and I always tried to put Christ first in my life and live by His commandments. Most of my childhood was spent where I knew of no other gay people.

I loved the Lord, the church, and my family--in that order. I left home and attended college, where I spent hundreds of hours studying the Bible, theology, and the history of the church. My parents were proud and thought that everything had turned out perfectly when I graduated. That's when I told them I was gay. They were devastated!

You see, from day one of puberty, I was attracted to the same sex. I never changed. Of course, I tried to change because I thought I was the only one in the world like this, and my father preached against it. So from the sixth grade to my junior year in college, I tried everything I could to go straight--counselors, prayer vigils, reading countless books on the evils of homosexuality, and attending Homosexuals Anonymous; nothing worked. The more I tried to change, the more it seemed just natural for me to be gay.

I decided to come out of the closet. The first person I met in a gay club was the choir director's son at my parents' church! He introduced me to many other gays--students in seminary, Sunday school teachers, church pianists, ushers, and many preachers' sons. There were gay people all throughout the church, but no one really knew because, like me, they were silently living their lives far from the minority of loud activists that you see on the evening news.

In the next few months, I took a course at college in Pauline Epistles, and one of our textbooks had a lengthy chapter regarding what the Bible says and does not say about homosexuals. To oversimplify a complex argument, it concluded that the Bible did not take a definite position on what we know today as committed gay relationships. I am sure you have read some of the discussions, and they are quite sophisticated. Nothing to be dismissed lightly, I'm sure you'll agree-- especially when people's lives are at stake.

I write this letter on behalf of my many friends who come from a similar background but hate the church because of organizations like yours. Sprinkled throughout all your programs are derogatory and demeaning references to gay people. You support legislation to take away our rights and spread misleading, inaccurate information. If you are really concerned about winning people to Christ, then look to the gay community. They are ripe for harvest. They would be attentive to a voice that preaches hope, forgiveness, acceptance, and sexual morals--as long as you understand we are not perverted in our feelings of love for one another.

Dr. Dobson, I remember watching your first videotape series in my dad's church, and I felt so strong for your message. I still do-- basically. My partner and I, as well as thousands of other gay people, just wish you would be more inclusive.

Dear (Name),

More than anything else, I appreciate the respectful and conciliatory attitude you conveyed in broaching an extremely emotional and controversial subject with me. You have made your case sensitively and intelligently. Thank you for that. I honestly believe that if more of us would adopt your approach, we might begin to make some headway in the business of understanding one another!

In response, I want to begin by telling you how strongly I feel about the mandate we have as Christians to love and care for people from all walks of life. Even those with whom we disagree. Even those involved in lifestyles we believe to be immoral. My first reaction to your honest sharing of yourself is a sense of acceptance for you as an individual. I mean that sincerely.

Regardless of what the media may say, Family Talk has no interest in promoting hatred toward homosexuals or any other group of our fellow human beings. We have not supported, and will never support, legislation aimed at depriving them of their basic constitutional rights--rights they share with every citizen. On the contrary, we want to reach out to gay and lesbian people whenever and wherever we can. If I had the time, I could describe for you many situations in which we've done exactly that. It's a commandment we've received from the Lord Jesus.
Beyond that, I have to acknowledge that you and I have a very different understanding of Scripture. It is my firm conviction that sex outside of marriage (whether homosexual or heterosexual) is not permitted by those who call themselves "believers."

Yes, I'm aware that some biblical scholars have conducted elaborate studies to show that Scripture takes no decisive position on the issue. This is neither new nor surprising. Biblical studies have been done to support a wide variety of unbiblical ideas!

But from our perspective, the truth remains clear. You've obviously been over that ground, and I will not use this reply to belabor the point.

Let me simply say that the same Scriptures that condemn homosexuality and premarital heterosexuality also tell us to accept those who are in violation of these ordinances. Jesus was more compassionate toward the woman caught in the very act of intercourse--a capital offense in those days--than He was toward the hypocrites in the church. This is our model and our mandate.

Whereas we have never attempted to hurt or ridicule the individual homosexual or lesbian, I do find myself in sharp disagreement with the more radical elements of the movement. The effort to redefine the family, qualify for adoption, promote the homosexual lifestyle in the schools, etc., are objectives with which I disagree. And I will oppose them when the issues are raised. Does that make me a hatemonger? I think not.

Concerning the passage of Amendment 2 here in Colorado (which would have prohibited ordinances and legislation creating "special rights" for homosexuals, equating them with those needing civil rights protection), let me explain why we strongly favored that legislation. To understand our position, you must know that many Christians also feel they have been victimized by society's hostility to traditional religious views.

A dear friend of mine, Bob Vernon, former assistant chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, was driven from office because of his faith. No charges were ever brought against him. The pressure was political, resulting solely from his fundamental beliefs. He is but one of thousands of people being discriminated against today because of their Christian beliefs.

How would you and your homosexual companions feel if we, as Christians, began lobbying for special, protected legal status? How would you react if we asserted that we should be given a job and shielded from termination just because we are Christians? I can predict that you would fight such ordinances tooth and nail. Why?
Because when one person wins in these kinds of struggles, someone else (the nonbeliever) loses. Thus, we must be very careful before creating new "minorities" based on behavior or beliefs--as opposed to those who have been discriminated against historically based on their race.

That raises the question: Have homosexuals faced this kind of uphill battle? Perhaps in the past, but there is no evidence of which I'm aware that they are disadvantaged now. The average homosexual earns $55,000 per year, compared with $32,000 for heterosexuals.1

Gays also have a much higher percentage of college degrees than the straight population.2 And when it comes to political clout, how can they claim to be shortchanged? Dozens of objectives of the gay and lesbian community are being achieved today.

Look at the issue of funding for AIDS research and treatment. I had a heart attack several years ago, and I am very concerned about support for research on coronary artery disease. After all, heart attacks and strokes kill more people than AIDS, cancer, TB, and several other diseases combined. But as you may know, the federal government spent thirty-nine times as much on AIDS last year as it did on heart disease.3 Why? Because of the clout of homosexuals who turned their powerful guns on Congress and the White House.

My point is not to decry money being spent on the horrible AIDS epidemic. I'm simply making the point that the homosexual community is hardly an oppressed, powerless minority seeking protection under the law. You have Hollywood, the press, the media, the universities, the publishers, the professionals (in the Ameri- can Bar Association, American Medical Association, etc.), and the judiciary enforcing your "politically correct" agenda.

Conservative Christians, by contrast, are stranded pretty much on their own. Given this undergirding, I hope you can see that our opposition to the gay and lesbian tidal wave is not an expression of hate but one of social justice and common sense.

One more thought about expressions of hatred. The question is: Who is endeavoring to hurt whom? Have we brought caskets to your front door? Have we thrown bricks through your windows? Have we left bloody animal parts on your property? Have we spread untrue rumors about your activities and motives? Have we spray-painted your buildings or made bomb threats at your offices?

No, but all of these hostilities have been inflicted on us by the homosexual community and its supporters in Colorado Springs. Nevertheless, we have not returned evil for evil, nor do we intend to do so. Thus, the charge that we are hateful is simply not rooted in fact.

I hope this clarifies my position for you. Again, I'm grateful that you cared enough to write, and I want you to know that we're here for you if you need us.

God bless you.

Millions have read and heard Dobson's LGBT announcement. No doubt shared in good faith, and what he believed was factual at the time should be dispelled as it may cause unhealthy hope and expectations. Many have suffered as a consequence.

On Sunday evening Feb 23 scientific findings grounded in verifiable research will be posted.  


Kjell Edlund said...

Thanks for sharing this conversation.
As it's uncertain when this conversation took place, there are some issues to address.

First - this is about an American situation.
I guess I'm not all that wrong when I say that we find the very leftwings and the very rightwings throwing themselves in each other's thoughts like in no other countries than in the US.
However - I love the people of that country, don't get me wrong on that.

Secondly - it's certainly wrong to imply that the situations for LGBT is all well and good in those lately times of ours.
You just have to turn your eyes towards Africa, or some eastern European countries only counting predominantly Christian countries, to be aware of how the situation really is - presently - not years ago for the LGBT populations.

One thing though is correct. We need to reach out to each other in a spirit of respect for each other's views, and do it in a not patronizing manner.

Kjell-Erik Edlund

Anonymous said...

Well done to Focus on the Family - a great reply to the letter from the gay man. It's good to find Christians who are not bending and stretching God's Word to accommodate every ungodly demand placed on it, and to point out the total imbalance in expression that current - LGBT driven - legislation has saddled us with. One person's 'equality' is definitely someone else's inequality.

Anonymous said...

This is the same James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family, who when the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, turned out to have a homosexual relationship after having been an outspoken critic, was deposed of his position and his church, and who, when he asked Dobson for help, was told that he was too busy to be a pastor to him.

Kjell Edlund said...

Well... that tells it all, doesn't it...?
Oh dear Lord... may thy love shine through us and don't let us be the one that hinder lost souls to meet you Christ Jesus!

Anonymous said...

Just in case people aren't aware, this is also the same James Dobson who was kicked out of his own Focus On the Family organization in 2010, at least in part, due to his own vitriolic anti-gay rhetoric, and of whom Frankie Schaeffer, in his book "Crazy for God" said, was one of the most ruthless, power hungry men he had ever met and who would, just about malign anyone or any group of people he could, to get that power.

According to Frankie he and his father Francis later regretted the day they ever got mixed up with Dobson and others such as Kennedy, Falwell and Robertson as co-belligerents on the abortion issue. Francis reportedly told his son Frankie that he thought they were all nuts and one time after a conversation with Falwell in which Falwell made an anti-gay slur, told Frankie that he thought the man was "disgusting."

As a side note when I was in the throes of monitoring these characters for my archive on the Religious Right in America, I can still remember when they first put their noses into the TSA health insurance debacle back in 2001.

Dobson was crying about it on his radio program, but true to form let his sidekick at the time (Tom Minnery?) make the most negative comments while he (Dobson)
just went on and on about how his heart was broken etc. and etc. (sort of like a kindly father or grandfather).

Tom made the comment that if William Booth were alive today he'd leave TSA and start a new organization. At the time, I thought that was somewhat presumptious of him to say (and still do think so) since it wasn't an issue in Booth's time. In fact, no one knows for sure what Booth would've done if it was an issue, as Booth was surprisingly progressive for his day and age.

And of course here we are 13 years later now and the only people who've left anything, have been James Dobson and Tom Minnery---from Focus On the Family---because they were kicked right out on their butts!

Daryl Lach
USA Central

"You Must Go Home By the Way of the Cross, To Stand With Jesus In the Morning!"