Focus on the homophobic family

I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about Focus on the Family’s launch of a new site called, hilariously and awfully, “True Tolerance.” See, the main message of, ahem, True Tolerance, is that homophobic parents’ rights are being violated when kids are taught they shouldn’t bully or beat up other kids for being perceived as gay or trans.  And apparently, anti-bullying programs are just a way for gay activists to sneak in gay propaganda into schools.

Obviously this is total fail – and incredibly dangerous, misleading, and callous – on many counts.  The blatant lying is pretty amazing.  They act as though they don’t know perfectly well that gay children and children taunted for being gay or trans have died – have either been killed or have committed suicide – because of this kind of bullying.  I’ve yet to hear a story of anything like that happening to a child because they were perceived to be straight or cisgendered.  LGBT and gender non-conforming children aren’t more “worthy” of protection from bullying – they’re more in need of it because of their perceived gender or sexuality.  Try to keep it straight, everyone: homophobic bullying is perfectly compatible with childlike “innocence and purity,” but teaching kids that homophobic bullying is wrong is gay propaganda.  Someone has to think of the children . . . but only the children being taught at home that it’s ok to hate LGBT people.  Not, you know, the children actually being bullied.

More evidence that Focus on the Family only cares about white, straight, narrow-minded Christian families.  Leave it to Bryan Safi to find some humor in this nastiness.


9 Comments on “Focus on the homophobic family”

  1. Mark says:

    Well, by that token, can we argue then that teenagers’ rights are being violated when their parents don’t allow the schools teaching (or register their kids in schools that lack) sex ed? (And I mean a comprehensive, informative, and useful sex ed). Shouldn’t they demand the State to provide with such comprehensive, informative, and useful sex ed as a defense of their teenagers’ rights? Every single study that has been done since the 1960s (that is FIFTY years!!!!) proves that a) well informed teenagers delay the age of sexual activity by a significant number of years, b) teenagers who are well informed are much, much, MUCH less likely to have stds or pregnancy and, ultimately c) they won’t contract diseases like HIV that can eventually kill them! Shouldn’t we demand those parents, and actually sue them, when they do not allow for their teenagers’ sexual education, as they are actually exposing them to risks that could cost them their lives? I mean, if we are concerned with the violation of the rights of children, what is more essential than the right to receive information that can save their lives?

    But there is a problem on the base of bullying that, I believe, is the reason why most families are against legislation for bullying acts: children who bully other children do so because they are learning patters of violence at home, and believe that is an appropriate outlet for their frustrations, confusions, and relationships with others. What’s more, what lies behind the attack to children labeled as gay, lesbian, transgender, or effectively gay, lesbian, or transgender? The social sanction that a man that becomes feminized (or a woman that looses her feminine “identity”) are less valuable, *because they are like women* (or because they attempt to be women who do not subordinate themselves to the penis, or who take a “penis-like” attitude, i.e. a proactive attitude in life). What these parents don’t realize (or hide effectively), is the fact that they are sanctioning women as less than human… and by the same token limiting men to rigid norms that in most cases make them unhappy in life, even if they are straight (the guy who does not want kids, the guy who wants to cry, the guy who needs a hug, the guy who doesn’t want to marry the “good” girl, etc).

    • Grace says:

      Great point, Mark. The truth is that for a lot of these families, “Parents’ rights” is code for the fact that they don’t really believe children and teenagers HAVE rights. They only believe in parents’ rights to teach children whatever they want, no matter how ignorant, e.g. creationism, or hateful, and to treat their children however they want, e.g., severe to the point of being abusive corporal punishment. A lot of these parents believe all social services is there to do is take children away from their families so that the government can raise them to be “godless,” rather than to protect children from unhealthy and abusive situations (not to say that social services always does this job well!). They’re even against the UN declaration on the rights of children – which is all about the right of children to food and water, shelter, healthcare loving, safe homes with their biological families in their home cultures/countries, stuff that no sane person would disagree with – but they think this is a conspiracy to deny parents’ their rights to raise their children as they see fit, and turn kids into godless socialists. They really believe children don’t have any rights, and that upholding rights is a zero sum game (i.e., if you give children rights, you must be taking rights away from parents). It’s so absurd.

  2. Toranse says:

    I live in an extremely homophobic city (when everything with prop 8 was going on, *all* our city talked about was “protecting the sanctity of marriage” and all that) and from what I can tell, they think tolerance and treating people with respect is the equivalent of chucking the Bible out of the window and doing away with all morals. It’s sickening. Even if a person just cannot believe anything other than homosexuality being a sin, to err on the side of hatred rather than take the risk of love shows an incredible lack of compassion, and an incredible lack of faith in the God they supposedly say they trust.

    God loves all life…and since Focus on the Family is pro-life, isn’t that what they say they believe? If the womb is sacred, isn’t the life that’s born also sacred? They say they love life and yet by their actions they demonstrate that they perceive it to be just a commodity. A cheap, worthless commodity, filled with clones of one another, where everyone or everything different is ignored, ridiculed, or destroyed. Hallelujah and praise the Lord, don’t they serve a wonderful God, who cares more about our bodies and outward appearance than our heart and soul.

    • Grace says:

      This is why I despise the “hate the sin, love the sinner” BS with a burning passion. In the churches I grew up in, love the sinner meant at best thinking LGBT people are revolting and wanting them to stay far, far away. At worst it meant believing homosexuality should be criminalized and even subject to capital punishment.

      The truth is that people who think like this don’t think the lives of LGBT people are worth caring much about. They think they are worth less than everyone else. Same goes for women, or people of color, or poor people, or foreigners, etc. etc., etc. – as I was discussing with a friend today, these prejudices rarely come in just one form.

      • Toranse says:

        “They think they are worth less than everyone else. Same goes for women, or people of color, or poor people, or foreigners, etc. etc., etc. – as I was discussing with a friend today, these prejudices rarely come in just one form.”

        I can definitely see that. Christian culture is largely a white, upper-middleclass male dominated culture, and prejudices toward anything different from that abound.

        I love reading books for what kind of subtle messages its sending separate from the main message of the text and Christian culture has so many messages – most that aren’t even all that subtle, they just are usually so entrenched in their own beliefs they probably have no idea of those implications. But anyway, I don’t know if you’ve ever read any Black Christian fiction – but from the little I read, I saw a huge difference in culture. There’s less taboos related to sexuality and profanity – and yet Christians aren’t going into moral rants about “how dare this author write a sex scene” – probably because a lot of them don’t even read any literature that isn’t written by someone white and even if they do, there’s this innate prejudice toward other races or groups that makes them assume “well, you’re automatically not “pure” and “righteous” enough because you’re *insert race, gender* (I don’t think Christian culture would acknowledge a book written by someone of different sexual orientation being a Christian) so you can write books like these because it’s all your good for.”

        Racism is a far more subtle prejudice with them, and then follows gender – mostly because those are harder to get away with then spewing hatred toward LGBT people – but racism and misogyny are still very prevalent within it.

        • Grace says:

          But anyway, I don’t know if you’ve ever read any Black Christian fiction – but from the little I read, I saw a huge difference in culture.

          Yep, you’re so right on that. Black evangelical Christianity in majority black churches is TOTALLY different from majority white evangelical Christianity in so many ways. That’s one of the dirty little secrets of all the studies on evangelicalism in the U.S. – they define “evangelical” as “white evangelical!” There are lots of black churches and people that fit the doctrinal and theological definitions of evangelicalism but just aren’t counted as such in these studies because the trends are so different between black and white evangelicals – as you say, in terms of personal morality, but also in terms of politics (mostly democrats vs. mostly republicans).

          Racism is a far more subtle prejudice with them, and then follows gender – mostly because those are harder to get away with then spewing hatred toward LGBT people – but racism and misogyny are still very prevalent within it.

          It is far more subtle. It’s taken me some time to figure out the ways in which the churches I’ve been in have had some serious issues with race. Like the SGM church I grew up in – it’s pretty racially diverse in some ways, but then when you look at the leadership, it’s way less diverse than the congregation. Which is the trend I see in a lot of majority white evangelical churches: they’re cool with having members of color, but pastors of color, especially senior pastors? I’ve seen very, very few. And the churches I’ve been in definitely push the “let’s be colorblind, racism doesn’t exist anymore” line that is really a very subtle and insidious form of racism – it seems to embrace people of color on the surface, but only if we minimize our cultural and ethnic differences as much as possible (except when we get trotted out as evidence of the church’s diversity!), and only if we buy into the myth that discrimination and racism don’t exist anymore.

      • Toranse says:

        “let’s be colorblind, racism doesn’t exist anymore”

        That’s what I see. Arguing against affirmative action, the NAACP, because “while that was important a long time ago, they don’t need it now.” Oh…really? Interestingly, I’ve seen leadership roles for Blacks in the area I live, but Mexican….nonexistent. Even though we live in a high populated Mexican city. So the churches in our area will tote their lack of racism because “look we have Blacks!” while we segregate the rest of the population.

        And then of course there’s all the “Christians have always been against slavery!” line they throw out – and then move on to preach sermons about how God only created two genders and thus, same sex marriage is wrong. (As a side note, I have tried really hard to see how the church addresses intersex individuals, and my search has come up empty – it’s like they’re just going to refuse to acknowledge their existence.) Yeah, that *totally* proves just how enlightening Christianity is…

  3. Jordan says:

    “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

    Probably the single most absurd thing to come out of organized religion in a long time. I remember always really struggling with this, trying to imagine rogue sins gallavanting about the land perpetrating their harm as innocent sinners looked on helplessly. As someone who has always taken the perspective that since people are going to judge anyway, at least have them judge me for who I really am, I have always had a problem with the idea that the church was telling me specifically to ignore what a person does/chooses/how they live in order to form my opinion about them.

    I guess I was already astray when I acknowledged that people form opinions and judge others, so it makes sense that I couldn’t understand the church’s point.

  4. Jordan says:

    Hmm, and now my global avatar that I installed for my own blog is showing up here. Oh well. I suppose that’s why it is “global”.

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