Focus on the Family clinches ‘victory’ from jaws of [procedural obstructionism]

Two ridiculous reactions to DADT repeal’s failure, both printed by Focus on the Family:


“The U.S. Senate did not allow itself to be bullied into passing legislation that would be harmful to our military,” said Elaine Donnelly, founder and president of the Center for Military Readiness. “This was not just a procedural vote, this was a substantive vote. It’s time for President Obama and his administration to let this issue go.” [SOURCE]

How can Elaine seriously deny that this failure was largely procedural? There were several votes on the 40 “nay” side who said they would’ve voted Donnellyfor repeal under different procedural circumstances. Who openly support repeal SUBSTANTIVELY, but who would not follow the PROCEDURE before them. We only needed three of them (two, if Blanche Lincoln’s vote had counted) to put this conversation to rest FOR GOOD. Unfortunately, partisan obstructionism won out.

So sorry, Elaine — we’re not putting a near-victory to bed. Instead, we’re going to lay out the procedure that will cut through contrived political allegiances and lead to a free and clear 60 who’ll join the 2 OUT OF 3 AMERICANS WHO SUPPORT REPEAL!


Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst at CitizenLink, said family advocates are to thank for the historic vote in the Senate.

“Today’s vote was an absolute victory for family values,” she said, “and it was due in large part to constituents all across the country who were calling in, saying, ‘We don’t want this to happen.’ ”[SOURCE]

A win for family values. FOR FAMILY VALUES?!? Are you kidding me right now?! Even under the most generous read, how is booting otherwise Hornequalified solders any kind of a “family value”?! Unless, of course, your family values telling some family members that they are more than qualified to fight and possibly die for his or her country, but not call out to a most cherished love one when wounded in the field.

And again: It wasn’t even a “victory” on its merits. This “pro-family” crowd loves a nice majority. Well guess what: We had one, just didn’t achieve the 60 needed to proceed. Plus, as stated: We had the supermajority, if not for procedure. And, because it can’t be repeated enough: A VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT REPEAL!

So it’s pretty arrogant for Ms. Horne to act like this was some sort of a mandate from the American people. The truth is that groups like Focus on the Family are too obsessed with man dates to even see what is right, fair, free, and American.


*SEE ALSO: Why repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still viable, and perhaps even more so than earlier today [P8TT]

Good As You

—  admin

Department of Health’s Roadmap Includes Focus on LGBT Community

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services’ issued Healthy People 2020, a set of goals and objectives to guide health promotion and disease prevention efforts in the United States for the next 10 years.  Healthy People is issued every decade, laying out benchmarks and objectives to measurably improve the health of the American people.  In Healthy People 2020, for the first time, the Department acknowledges that addressing the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is critical to the overall health and well-being of our nation.  LGBT health is among thirteen new areas of focus in this year’s report, which specifically recognizes that LGBT people face significant health disparities, yet remain alarmingly ignored in the collection of health data and continue to face stigma and discrimination that negatively impact their health.

This is an important step forward for LGBT health – but it will require a strong commitment by HHS and the entire administration to fully include the LGBT community throughout the implementation of this decade-long health improvement strategy.  In 2000, Health People 2010 acknowledged that gays and lesbians experience health disparities, yet markedly little was done to address them over the last decade.  We thank HHS for greatly expanding and improving its consideration of LGBT health in Healthy People 2020 and look forward to working with them to ensure that this framework truly improves the lives of all Americans, including our community.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

SPLC hate groups list: Focus on the Family punts to God; we advise keeping at least half an eye on more grounded facts

In light of the recent additions to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups, we asked Focus on Family’s Communications Director, Gary Schneeberger, if the Colorado Springs mega-gelicals still plan to reach out to groups like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council (two of the five groups added to SPLC’s dishonor roll). Here is Schneeberger’s on record reply:

We have some substantive differences with the way the SLPC defines ‘hate,’ so we’ll continue to base our partnerships on biblical criteria such as adherence to God’s truth and extension of His grace.

Interesting. This writer’s first reaction: That Focus on the Family really needs to reconsider some of the “God’s truth” that comes from people like the AFA’s Bryan “only homosexuals were savage enough for Hitler” Fischer, who pretty much single-handedly got the American Family Association on the SPLC’s list (*see more of what Fischer’s all about here). Or the godly gospel that comes from folks like the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, who has called for both the exportation and criminalization of gays (which SPLC specifically cited as reason for FRC’s addition to the hate groups list). If that’s grace, then we’d hate to see God’s inelegance.

Second reaction: This reply seems counterproductive to FOtF’s wants and needs. After all, the SPLC’s criteria clearly sees Focus on the Family in a different light, which is why they are not on the list. In fact, in two different points of her write up regarding these new additions, SPLC writer Evelyn Schlatter was careful to note how Focus on the Family has adopted a more moderate stance in the days post-Dobson. And even though we’d say that FOtF’s “ex-gay” advocacy often belies this moderate desire, clearly SPLC, using their own organizational standard, sees Focus on the Family as failing to meet or exceed the “hate” bar. One would think Focus on the Family, especially in this “softer” Jim Daly era that they’ve been working so hard to cultivate, would want to embrace the higher standards that keep them from getting such negative notice. One would think they’s wish to repudiate the harsh words that seem to be growing harsher with every passing LGBT victory. But no. Instead of criticizing the fully documented realities that got these other groups on the list, they are opting to go after SPLC for simply noting the same? Hmm. Perhaps that’ll work out for ’em, but I’m failing to see how.

Why would it be in Focus’ interest to taunt the SPLC’s discerning bar, saying that they have “substantive differences” with the SPLC’s definitions? And why would they stick their necks out to challenge the SPLC’s work when, again: All of this stuff is fully documented, most of it on audio or video (much of it brought to light by yours truly). All Schneeberger’s response will do is highlight the “pro-family” community’s all-too-common refusal to take responsibility for what comes from the religious rights stable, as well as force groups like SPLC (and sites like this one) to publicly wonder why on-message unity seems so much more important to these Colorado Springs kids than does responsible discourse.


*NOTE: Focus on the Family’s Stuart Shepard was on AFA Radio just yesterday.

*NOTE2: After another member of the SPLC’s incoming freshman class, Americans For Truth’s Peter LaBarbera, posted my wedding picture with the word “perversion” written on top of it, I wrote Schneeberger to see why he and his fellows never step up and criticize beyond the pale nonsense like that. I got no response.

Good As You

—  admin

Finally! Focus on the Family makes post with which we can agree

Screen Shot 2010-10-15 At 4.11.04 Pm


Yes, it is in fact a placeholder. Good job, FoTF.

Now if you all will just stop presenting homosexuality as a placeholder between abstinence and reparative therapy, we might find ourselves agreeing more often.

Good As You

—  John Wright

Ill. Repub.: Won’t Focus on Social Issues

BILL BRADY PAT QUINN X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMIllinois governor Pat Quinn is highlighting challenger Bill Brady’s social conservatism, but Brady says he will focus on economic issues if elected. Daily News

—  John Wright

In wake of anti-lgbt youth climate, Focus on the Family attacks GLSEN

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family just released a critique of GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)'s recent school climate report.

GLSEN's report found that in 2009:

 . . . 7,261 middle and high school students found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third of LGBT students skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.

Naturally, Cushman and Focus on the Family disputes this. To make a long story short, Cushman is claiming that GLSEN's report is inaccurate because it:

 . . . lists four authors—all of whom are employed by GLSEN, including Emily A. Greytak, who became involved with a GLSEN chapter 12 years ago and has worked for the organization since 2006; Elizabeth M. Diaz, who, as a GLSEN employee since 2004, conducts workshops opposing abstinence education; and GLSEN employee Mark J. Bartkiewicz, whose “research interests include LGBT students’ access to comprehensive sexual health education and the effects of inclusive LGBT curricula.”

Hardly what you’d call an objective research team—and then there’s the little fact that they are paid by an organization that has openly acknowledged its goal of getting gay, lesbian and transgender themes “fully integrated into curricula across a variety of subject areas and grade levels.”

Cushman is pushing the same old lie that GLSEN is trying to "introduce homosexual themes" into schools in order to "indoctrinate" children.


It's the standard lie she and Focus on the Family pushes and it's nothing new.

But the sad thing is that this attack is coming in a climate in which we have seen a recent outbreak of bullying and suicides of young lgbts including:

An 11-year-old sixth grader in Ohio had his arm broken by teenagers who called him a queer and a sissy because he wanted to be a cheerleader.

There's the suicide, by hanging, of 13-year-old Seth Walsh, in California.

The suicide, by means of his father's Beretta, of 13-year-old Asher Brown, in Texas.

and finally, the suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, which needs no introduction because we know the story.

 In the long run, it doesn't matter who backed the GLSEN report or who created it.

Because based on recent events, the report has a degree of accuracy.

If Cushman or Focus on the Family really cared about the children, they would realize this instead of releasing a ridiculous critique that does nothing but demonstrate how uncaring and clueless they really are.

Related posts:

Focus on the Family's attack on anti-bullying efforts take centerstage on AC 360

Focus on the Family cites George Rekers in fighting anti-bullying efforts

The Problems With Focus On The Family’s And The Alliance Defense Fund’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy

AFA Highlights/Recycles FOTF Campaign Against Perceived Gay Public School Agenda
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Focus Citizenlink typo of the day

The editors of Daddy D’s CitizenLink must have been seeing red after Charlie Crist released his mostly pro-LGBT turnaround position paper…

Gov. Charlie Christ, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, released today his position statements on federal lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues; thus completing his transformation from a social conservative candidate to social liberal one.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

HRC May Focus On Bringing Marriage Equality To Minnesota

The Human Rights Campaign recently announced that it will distribute 0,000 three ways in a push to make marriage equality a reality in Minnesota.

Ta According to the AP, "The Human Rights Campaign will give 0,000 to WIN Minnesota, a political fund backing Democrat Mark Dayton; ,000 to the gay rights group OutFront Minnesota to mobilize voters; and ,000 to state candidates, including Dayton. The group announced its plans to give the money last month after Target declined to match its initial donation with another donation to help candidates who support gay rights."

Joe Solmonese says that the donation is more than just a response to Target's own donation to help fund an anti-gay a political candidate. It believes that marriage equality could come to Minnesota very soon.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that the donation is partly a response to Target's donation to a group helping Republican Tom Emmer in the governor's race. Emmer opposes gay marriage, and the Target contribution set off a national backlash among liberals and the retailer's gay employees and customers.

The Washington-based gay rights organization may spend more in Minnesota, which Solmonese said he views as one of the next states that could legalize gay marriage. Solmonese will deliver the keynote speech at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Twin Cities dinner in Minneapolis on Saturday. "We've understood long before the Target situation that Minnesota was poised, as is New York, to be the next state to win marriage equality," Solmonese said.

You may remember that last month The HRC recently said that it would remove Target from its Buyer's Guide list.

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

The Problems With Focus On The Family’s And The Alliance Defense Fund’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy

Thumbnail Link To's/The Alliance Defense Fund's 'Model Anti-Bullying Policy for All Schools'Focus On The Family, via their activism arm CitizenLink, has been using their website to promote the Alliance Defense Fund’s (ADF’s) Model Anti-Bullying Policy. When I read the model policy, I saw the problem with the lack of enumeration, and contacted the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to get their statement on the Model Anti-Bullying Policy. Also, I vaguely remembered their was documentation on why enumeration is important in bullying policies, and wanted to know they had information on the relevant court rulings and statistical documentation.

During my phone communication with their media relations department, I learned there are actually four significant issues with the ADF’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy that Focus On The Family’s/CitizenLink‘s Education Annalist Candi Cushman is pushing in the media. (You remember Candi Cushman: she’s the point person that CitizenLink has declared on their website is “a  leading national expert on education issues” without providing corroboration as to how or why she is a leading national expert in this field.) So here are the four major issues with the Model Anti-Bullying Policy:

  1. Enumeration.
  2. Lack of a training component.
  3. Over-limitation on locations where school bullying falls under the policy; over-limitation on when school bullying falls under the policy.
  4. Overemphasis on free speech.

Point by point:

1. Enumeration.

GLSEN has a document available on the importance of enumeration — simply entitled “Enumeration,” and it references theirs and Harris Interactive’s From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America; A Survey of Students and Teachers and The 2007 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools.

In a legal sense, enumeration refers to the identification of categories — of people or things — to which a law applies. In anti-bullying laws, in hate crime laws, in laws that protect against discrimination — these categories are referred to as protected classes.

One of the main reasons to spell out protected classes regards how students are better protected from bullying where enumerated polices exist.

[More below the fold.]
To quote from GLSEN’s Enumeration:

Students who attend schools with policies that enumerate categories report less bullying and harassment then students who do not.

• Research has shown that students in states with non-enumerated laws are no more protected from bullying than students who live in states without any anti-bullying and harassment laws (74.3% with generic policies vs. 75.0% with no policies report ‘often or frequently’ hearing homophobic remarks based on sexual orientation).

Thumbnail Link to Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network's (GLSEN's) 'Enumeration'• Students report less overall harassment when they know their school has a comprehensive policy that includes enumeration. Students from schools with an enumerated policy report that others are harassed far less often in their school for reasons like their physical appearance (36% vs. 52%), their sexual orientation (32% vs. 43%) or their gender expression (26% vs. 37%).

• Students whose schools have a policy that specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression are less likely than other students to report a serious harassment problem at their school (33% vs. 44%).

Enumeration is essential if laws are to be implemented.

• History and the Supreme Court tell us that enumerating policies is necessary. Girls would not have sports and our schools would not be integrated if policymakers had not specifically addressed these inequities by enumerating categories like sex and race in our laws. The Supreme Court of the United States noted in Romer v. Evans that “enumeration is the essential device used to make the duty not to discriminate concrete and to provide guidance for those who must comply (Romer v. Evans 517 U.S. 620 (1996).”

• Enumeration gives teachers and other educators the tools they need to implement anti-bullying and harassment policies, which makes it easier for them to intervene to prevent bullying. School personnel often fear that they will themselves be targeted for intervening on behalf of LGBT students. When they can point to language that provides clear protection for LGBT students, they feel more comfortable enforcing the policy. Students reported that teachers were significantly more likely to intervene always or most of the time in states with enumerated policies, as compared to states with either non-enumerated policies or no policies at all (25.3% vs. 15.9% and 12.3%).

Comprehensive policies with enumeration help ensure safety and reduce absenteeism.

• Students from schools with an enumerated policy are 50% more likely to feel very safe at school (54% vs. 36%). Students without such a policy are three times more likely to skip a class because they feel uncomfortable or unsafe (16% vs. 5%).

Unlike GLSEN, the Alliance Defense Fund and Focus On The Family — on their — don’t list studies that support their conclusion that anti-bulling polices that don’t enumerate protect students better than enumerated policies. Unlike GLSEN, Focus On The Family has not funded its own studies to determine if their model policy actually does what thay state it will do. In fact, one of their bullet points on the subject actually states:

Statistics also indicate that race, ethnicity issues, and even opposite-sex harassment actually account for more bullying problems, than do homosexual-related issues.

If, as Focus On The Family states

• Focus on the Family believes that bullying should be recognized as a serious problem and should be strongly addressed.

• We believe schools can address this issue with a strong prohibition against any form of bullying-for any reason, against any child.

…Why point out which group is bullied more, or bullied less? This isn’t the Oppression Olympics, but the Alliance Defense Fund, Focus On The Family, and specifically Focus on the Family Action (CitizenLink) Education Analyst Candi Cushman, are trying to make this the Oppression Olympics. Specifically, Candi Cushman stated (emphasis added):

…In fact, when you look at the more objective data sources, and not just the information coming from gay activist groups, physical appearance-or the general concept of appearing different than one’s peers — is actually the most common reason reported for why victims are targeted. This can involve a whole slew of issues, such as one’s weight, a girl who is developing faster than others, a child who wears glasses, or a boy who acts more effeminate than his peers, etc, etc. In fact, statistics indicate that race, ethnicity issues, and even opposite-sex harassment actually account for more bullying problems, than do homosexual-related issues.

It’s sure appears to me that Candi Cushman is defining how serious bullying is against individual students by puting it in the terms of how many in each catagory are bullied. It seems to me that Candi Cushman is framing anti-LGBTQ bullying as a lesser form of bullying then of bullying for race or gender — she’s more than implying that because the quantity of students who are bullied for being perceived as being LGBTQ are less in numbers than other forms of bullying, it’s not a serious problem.

2. Lack of a training component.

There is no training component to Focus On The Family’s and the Alliance Defense Fund’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy.

Think about that for a moment. How is a teacher or administrator going to know how to identify what constitutes bullying — identifying bullying that falls under the parameters of a school district’s policies? How does a teacher or administrator recognize the students who are being bullied if one doesn’t know what typical bullying of specific types of students looks like? How is a teacher or administrator going to know, by district policy, when he, she, or ze is supposed to intervene in accordance with the policy? What are intervening actions are the teacher or administrator is supposed to take if he, she, or ze determines bullying has occurred? How is a teacher or administrator going to know what intervening actions are effective, and what intervening actions are ineffective? — and could make the bullying escalate?

With no training component spelled out in Model Anti-Bullying Policy, Focus On The Family’s and the Alliance Defense Fund’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy, the bad outcomes that GLSEN’s studies indicate in Enumeration document seem assured.

3. Over-limitation on locations where school bullying falls under the policy; over-limitation on when school bullying falls under the policy.

This is what the Model Anti-Bullying Policy states about where the policy applies:

The District prohibits all bullying on school premises, at school-sponsored functions or activities, or on school-sponsored transportation.

Thumbnail Link to GLSEN's 'Victimization Relates To Lowered School Connectedness For LGBT Youth, Institutional Support Relates To Greater Connectedness, GLSEN Article Finds'This is the definition of these locations:

B. “School Premises” means any building, structure, athletic field, sports stadium or other real property owned, operated, leased or rented by the District or one of its schools, including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary, or vocational-technical school.

C. “School-Sponsored Functions or Activities” means a field trip, sporting event, or any other function or activity that is officially sponsored by the District or one of its schools.

D. “School-Sponsored Transportation” means a motor vehicle owned, operated, leased, rented or subcontracted by the District or one of its schools.

This means that students who don’t take the school bus to and from school are subject to bullying that doesn’t fall under the district anti-bullying policy if they walk, ride a bike, or take a privately owned vehicle to school. This means that all bullying that takes place on a public sidewalk or street in front of the school doesn’t fall under the district anti-bullying policy. This means that all cyberbullying that is initiated via electronic devices that are not physically on school property when the cyberbullying is initiated is cyberbullying that doesn’t fall under the district anti-bullying policy.

A student bully essentially just has to move his bullying off-campus, off school buses, and away from within the confines of school-sponsored events to engage in bullying that impacts his, her, or hir chosen bullying victims.

And remember, bullying can include physical violence.

4. Overemphasis on free speech.

The last line in the Model Anti-Bullying Policy states this:

This policy shall not be interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students, and is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical, or political views, provided that such expression does not cause an actual, material disruption of the work of the school.

Thumbnail Link To Citizen Magazine's (Focus On The Family's) Parents Beware; 'Anti-Bullying' Initiatives Are Gay Activists' Latest Tools Of Choice For Sneaking Homosexuality Lessons Into Classrooms Note that the first listed protected viewpoint listed  is religious. That means an Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian student is free to tell lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students as frequently as he or she desires:

You homosexuals are an abomination to God, and are going to hell.

As long as an Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian student does not cause an actual, material disruption of the work of the school — which I’m assuming means doesn’t disrupt work in the classroom — this would not be administratively considered creating a hostile school environment for LGBTQ students. So a bullying Christian student could repeat this over and over again as long as he or she said this to LGBTQ students between classes and during lunch period.

This means that a transgender elementary school student could be harassed with faith-based free speech as frequently as frequently as a peer Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian student desires — except when that faith-based free speech causes an actual, material disruption of the work of the school. Recess and lunch then are fair game in the school day to harass transgender elementary school children.

The Alliance Defense Fund’s and Focus On The Family’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy is designed specifically to let Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian students (and their Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian parents) to create hostile school environments for LGBTQ-identified students.

And let’s again remember the woman who is currently pushing the meme “Anti-Bullying” Initiatives Are Gay Activists’ Latest Tools Of Choice For Sneaking Homosexuality Lessons Into Classrooms. She’s the education expert…right?


Further reading:

* Twin Cities Daily Planet: Mother: Anoka-Hennepin School policy contributed to gay son’s suicide

* GLSEN: An Open Letter from GLSEN Board Member Sirdeaner Walker to Candi Cushman at Focus on the Family


* AFA Highlights/Recycles FOTF Campaign Against Perceived Gay Public School Agenda

* Focus On The Family/CitizenLink Sees “Sneaky” Gay Agenda In The Public Schools

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

When Focus on the Family went on CNN to support letting gay kids get bullied

There’s a right way to prevent bullying — and there’s the right wing way, which doesn’t work and would let gay kids get bullied. You’d think at some point these Focus on the Family types, like Candy Cushman, would be embarrassed about their positions. I mean, trying to block legislation that would protect kids? They’re disgusting. It’s always about sex and the secret gay agenda with these whackos.


—  John Wright