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12/11/2006

Who needs Dr. Spock, when you have Dr. Dobson?

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images Picture-11-14 1-1In a Time magazine commentary wherein he presents an incredibly simplistic picture of the American family, Focus on the Family head James Dobson (pic.) finally breaks his crippling silence in regards to Mary Cheney's womb. He surmises, in part:

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy--any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.
...
In raising these issues, Focus on the Family does not desire to harm or insult women such as Cheney and Poe. Rather, our conviction is that birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples. Traditional marriage is God's design for the family and is rooted in biblical truth. When that divine plan is implemented, children have the best opportunity to thrive. That's why public policy as it relates to families must be based not solely on the desires of adults but rather on the needs of children and what is best for society at large.

But here is what we will never get about Dobson and his ilk: Why can't they see that THEIR IDEAL is simply not everyone's? From what this writer knows about Dobson's views on child-rearing (as highlighted in multiple columns and books), he personally is very thankful that he was not brought up in the kind of home that Mr. Dobson suggests is best. But Mr. Dobson has the right to conduct his household in the way that he sees fit, and never would we try and challenge that! But Mr. Dobson and his crew are working day and night to see to it that we gay folks do not have the right to conduct on our households and bring up our own families in the way that suits our realities, dreams, and visions. It is not them "protecting children," as they like to suggest. It is them protecting society from finally creating a generation that finds their anti-gay bias to be as unsavory as it truly is!

Any of us could throw out statistics to make either same-sex parents or opposite-sex parents look either great or terrible, so we'll abstain from doing as Mr. Dobson does in his piece (although we do feel it is worth mentioning that at least one of the experts Dobson quotes in his piece, Kyle Pruett, has previously discredited the way opponents of gay rights have misused his work, with Pruett stating that there's no reason to assume that a homosexual couple is less qualified to care for children than a heterosexual one). For those of us who actually know and spend time with same-sex-headed households, it seems both ridiculous and offensive to even dignify condemnations of their parental abilities. So instead, we will just ask everyone who is using Mary Cheney's impending pregnancy to lash out against gay couples to just consider for a second that maybe they don't have all of the answers. We'd ask them to open up to the idea that society comes in various stripes for a reason! And most importantly, we'd ask that they raise their kids the way that they see best, and in turn, simply allow us to do the same.

Live. Let Live.

At one point, Mr. Dobson has the gall to say in his piece:

In raising these issues, Focus on the Family does not desire to harm or insult women such as Cheney and Poe. Rather, our conviction is that birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples.

So don't be upset, Ms. Cheney and Ms. Poe -- Dobson apparently meant that he doesn't think you gals deserve to get married, raise a child, and have a happy family in the totally "non-harmful," "non-insulting" sense. And so considering his apparent fondness for saying he means something when his words suggest exactly not that, perhaps his entire Time article is actually a love letter to gay parents everywhere. If that is, in fact, the case, then we just want to take an opportunity to say, "Please Shut the F*** Up, Mr. Dobson." But it's gonna be up to you to decide whether or not we too have a fondness for linguistic incongruity.

Two Mommies Is One Too Many [Time]

**Media Matters has more on Dobson's misrepresentations.

***MORE: Carol Gilligan and Kyle Pruett have both condemned the way Dobson twisted their research. Pruett writes (as quoted by Truth Wins Out):

Dr. Dobson,

I was startled and disappointed to see my work referenced in the current Time Magazine piece in which you opined that social science, such as mine, supports your convictions opposing lesbian and gay parenthood. I write now to insist that you not quote from my research in your media campaigns, personal or corporate, without previously securing my permission.

You cherry-picked a phrase to shore up highly (in my view) discriminatory purposes. This practice is condemned in real science, common though it may be in pseudo-science circles. There is nothing in my longitudinal research or any of my writings to support such conclusions. On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece, I wrote, "What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex."

Kyle Pruett, M.D.

Yale School of Medicine

***UPDATE, 12/18: Video: Dobson misquotes Gilligan...and probably the Skipper too [G-A-Y]
***UPDATE, 12/20:
Who knows better about research than the researchers? Why, Focus on the Family, of course! [G-A-Y]

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