Focus on the Family|
Focus on the Family (hereafter abbreviated to FoF) picked up where the Christian Coalition left off, but it learned from the mistakes of the CC. FoF has become so big and receives so much mail that they have been given their own zip code. The group employs over 120 people simply to answer correspondence. Their central headquarters, located just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a spread of 77 acres (professionally landscaped) where 1300 people go to work every day. The annual budget of the group (reported for 2000) is over $128 million dollars. You can tour the grounds Monday through Saturday (except holidays) and they even provide a play area for kids as well as free literature for many of the issues they involve themselves in.
It would probably be easier to list areas they don't involve themselves in— and right now, I can't think of any. FoF's web presence is just as huge. In addition to its main site at family.org, FoF also maintains the following sites:
- Focus on the Family Institute: An undergraduate school that seeks "to equip today's student leaders to impact culture for Christ." The courses offered are those one would expect, like "Cultural Issues in Christian Perspectives". Credits can be transferred to more than 100 other Christian colleges, but many other colleges "will accept credit through the Institute's relationship with Colorado Christian University." In other words, the other colleges wouldn't accept them if Colorado Christian University didn't accept them. For an 8 week summer course in which you can earn 8 credits, tuition, room and partial board is only a mere $5400 dollars! If you want to take the fifteen credits during the fall or spring, tuition, room and partial board is $8,900. For credits that many schools probably won't accept as college level courses.
- Whit's End: A site aimed predominantly at kids and young adults (pre-teen mostly). The site has games, broadcasts of radio shows, a library of resources for kids and parents— all, of course, keeping in line with the Dobson understanding of Christianity.
- Focus on Your Child: A site for parents from newborns up to teenagers.
- Alliance Defense Fund: A Christian legal defense organization founded in part by James Dobson, founder of FoF.
- Pure Intimacy: Dealing with issues of sexuality, including homosexuality. There's an area for parents (dealing with teaching your child about sexuality) and an area for couples. Once again, it's all presented from the Dobson view of Christianity.
- Boundless Webzine: A webzine for singles that states that being single is not an end unto itself. That it's just a transition phase from your family of origin to marriage and that it's not Christian to want to remain single.
- Troubled With: If you're having problems with virtually any area of your life, this is where FoF wants you to seek help. It offers a wide variety of topics and each topic is broken down into background information, questions and answers, personal stories and other things to consider.
- Love Won Out: A series of one day conferences on "addressing, understanding and preventing homosexuality." One of the people involved is Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who is one of the founders of NARTH and whose "scientific" studies on "treating" homosexuality have been debunked by his peers so many times it's amazing he's still considered an "expert". If I'm not mistaken, Nicolosi's partner in NARTH has a son who is gay.
- Brio Magazine: A magazine for teenage girls.
- Clubhouse Magazine: An online magazine for kids.
This broad-based attack is one of the lessons that FoF learned from the mistake of the CC. It didn't focus on just Christians and keeping things in line with their narrow interpretation of the Bible. By broadening the issues they addressed and putting them in less apparently Christian terms, FoF has appealed to a much broader base than just Christians. Parenting advice that is practical and, while in keeping with their interpretation of the Bible, doesn't actually quote the Bible, can be swallowed by a lot more people than just Christians. Dobson, who has a doctorate in psychology (a field often shunned by those in the RRR) often gives sound (although still conservative) advice in many matters relating to raising a family.
Another lesson FoF learned is to not "run down the middle" every time and to do a lot more end runs and sneak plays. By disguising the RRR message as concern for the family or patriotism rather than launching an assault against those whose beliefs FoF finds offensive, they don't turn off as many people who are hearing their message for the first time. Even the name "Focus on the Family" gives no mention of the Christian basis for the groups existence. Everyone would like to come from a functional and loving family and with a name like FoF, there's no one who is going to turn away from the group on the basis of name only. This not only extends to those of other faiths, but those in other nations as well. There's no hint whatsoever of the political leanings of the organization from the name and so those who are reading about the group for the first time don't go in with their guard up. And so they can get more people to "take the bait". (This is the kind of PR packaging that groups like FoF have become so good at: masking the true intent of a proposed law or bit of advice. I will go into greater detail on this in the Agenda section of this site.)
FoF is probably the most dangerous organization in the nation with respect to civil rights. Groups like the Westboro Baptist Church are so radical that even leaders of the RRR like Pat Robertson distance themselves from the church and from Fred Phelps. Other groups are too overtly political, like the Christian Coalition. By cloaking itself in the mask of concern for the family, something we all can relate to, FoF gets their foot in far more doors than any other group in the RRR. How do we stop these kinds of groups from having the influence that they do? For an answer to that, please check The Solution section.
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|Click on any of the links below to read more articles about Focus on the Family.|
||Why FoF Is of the Devil|
|Synopsis: Written by a former Christian, this site contains lots of writings that detail the damage being done by Focus on the Family. The writer shows how FoF is a political machine more than a ministry.|
|Synopsis: If you can get through the disjointed beginning, you will arrive at a story about one man's trials with FoF as an employee. It is, of course, only one side. But it is not the only story of such behavior by the folks at FoF. What makes this story rather unique is that it's told by someone who is still a Christian and is more "judgmental" than FoF.|
||Another Visit to Focus' Headquarters|
|Synopsis: This reporter visited shortly after FoF had opened its new headquarters. The article points out some scary facts. Anyone who writes to Focus has their information stored in a computer they named "Joshua"— back in 1998, they already had a database of over 4 million names. The story also emphasizes the subtlety of the political message (remember, this was written 6 years ago) and how FoF is the "gateway" to the "harder" stuff. |
|Synopsis: This group keeps tabs on organizations that claim to help gays "leave their lifestyle". They report on the inconsistencies of these groups and their outright hypocrisy. Once at the site, do a search for Focus on the Family. There are a lot of entries about it.|
||The New Kingmaker|
|Synopsis: This article focuses more on Dobson than on FoF per se, but Dobson wouldn't be a king-maker if he didn't have the kind of following he has. And his following is tended to by those employees of FoF.|
||Rice's 'Mother-in-Law' Comment Raises Conservative Hackles|
|Synopsis: At the swearing in ceremony for the global AIDS ambassador from the US, Secretary of State Rice made a comment about the mother-in-law of the new ambassador. The FRC, the activist arm of Focus on the Family, is up in arms because the term gives an air of credibility to the relationship of the new ambassador who is gay.|
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