I’ve blogged before about how the extremists in religious fundamentalism are killing faith practice in this country.
We have further proof: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (a project from the Pew Research Center) reports that in the last 5 years alone, the group of people who self label as having no religious affiliation has gone up 5% (from 15% to 20% of US adults). The full report is enlightening. With the birth and rise in fundamentalists media speak (think Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Oral Roberts, Bob Jones (Jr. and III), Jim Baker, et. al.) over the past 40 years has come an 11% drop in protestant affiliation. In that same time Catholicism has only dropped 1%. The unaffiliated have more than doubled—up a whopping 11%. Source: Nones on the Rise (PDF of the full report at this link.)
I believe this nation expects kindness from religion, not judgmental hatred, condemnation, and a sickeningly singular, psychologically unhealthy fixation on the subjugation of women and gay people with a carefully focused assault on the civil rights of both of those groups.
And as I read some place a while back: if the God you worship is seen as hateful, judgmental, and mean, you will be too. The extremist, fundamentalist’s vision of God is that of an angry, jealous, hateful deity. Make no mistake, the leaders of this extremist, fundamentalist movement are indeed hate-filled people. They use fear to terrorize and enslave their congregants. I have blogged before about the fact that their work has done nothing to meet the real needs of real people with real problems. They are no better than the Taliban in my humble opinion. And with the advent of social media and the internet their effectiveness is dying a slow and torturous death as their true bullying nature and political activism is exposed.
Focus on the Family, founded in 1977 by religious extremist James Dobson who advocated hitting children to “break their will,” has focused almost singularly on “the culture wars” centered around abortion and homosexuality. In 1981 Dobson created The Family Research Council (now officially labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) as part of Focus on the Family. Tony Perkins, a graduate Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University is the current president and often speaks publicly against civil rights for gays and women. These organizations have supported a concerted and very effective political effort in state legislatures across the US to destroy civil rights for women and gay people.
Hate Comes at a High Price
In 2008 Focus on the Family had an annual budget of $145 million. Today its budget is down 35% to $95 million. In 2002 the organization had a staff of 1,400 people spewing their hatred as if it were the voice of God. Today their staff is down by 54% to 650 people. (The fact that they can still hire 650 people absolutely horrifies me.) Focus on the Family is cutting programs as well, transferring, for example, its anti-gay (cure the gay) program, dubiously named “Love Won Out,” to Exodus International, another religious extremist organization that has lost so much financial support it is now in dire financial straights struggling to survive by making severe staff cuts and reducing office space.
Additionally, in their desperate bid to survive, these hate-based organizations are trying new approaches. Their key strategy seems to be to soft pedal their true agenda and their real intentions.
Jim Daly, the current president and CEO of Focus on the Family, has recently said,
When you are in the culture of doing good deeds, taking care of the poor, taking care of the widow, the orphan, not as a means to something else but because this is what true religion should be doing, even the nonbeliever would say, ‘Look at that.’ There is a certain respect that comes from that.”
So, with an attempt to have a kinder, gentler public focus on immigration reform, “lifting up adoption,” and doing what the mainstream considers to be actually “good” things instead of the hate-based evil they have repeatedly and consistently manifest for the past several decades, he hopes to get his funding levels back up.
And he’s doing exactly the opposite of what he says! This is so disgustingly typical of these manipulative people! He’s going to attempt to do some things the public as a whole perceives as generally good, as respectable, but, despite the words that came out of his mouth, he’s doing this precisely to attain a goal: more funding for the hate-based activity they still believe in and aspire to accomplish.
Exodus International president Alan Chambers has even taken to Oprah’s television channel to peddle a kinder, gentler, softer hate-based organization.
Nothing has changed. Their hearts are as black as ever they were. Teen suicides will continue to be on their hands. Their hate, fear mongering, and political activism will remain unabated, just less public.
I call them out. I stand against what they do.
What Can You Do?
As I have said in previous posts, they need to be unfunded. People need to stop supporting them. They need to continually be exposed for who they are based on the hateful things they do.
I re-iterate my position that all political organizations (hate-based or not) that masquerade as religious organizations need to be taxed just like everything else. Let them outsource their jobs to China! And, make no mistake about it, these are all political organizations.
- Changing Focus: Right-Wing Group Focus On The Family Aims To Broaden Goals (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rights groups skeptical of Focus on the Family about-face on LGBT rights, abortion (rawstory.com)
- Greatest Threat To Liberty | The 10 Most Dangerous Religious Right Organizations (theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com)
- Focus on the familily is a political organization masquerading as a relgious organization (endhereditaryreligion.com)
- Focus on the Family Betrays Families and Its Own Principles (christianlibertynews.wordpress.com)
- Peddlers of Hate Rage Against Those Who Call Them Out (acslaw.org)
- Liberty University’s Flip-Flop Moment (christianitytoday.com)