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02/23/2010

Weird, why doesn't Focus ever address 'the homosexual problem' in their actual ads?

by Jeremy Hooper

A new Focus on the Family web ad is poppin' up here on the Intertubes, even on non-political, non-faith-based outfits that should know better. like, for instance, blogger Pat Griffin found this one on NCAA.com:

Screen Shot 2010-02-23 At 8.18.18 Am-1

Well, let's just hope the child does not have the gay. Because if he does, then his father (and anyone else) who clicks on this ad will be just one step away from a wealth of information on how to "cure" him. Seriously, just search "homosexual" on this ad's landing page:

Screen Shot 2010-02-23 At 8.32.22 Am-1
SEARCH: "homosexual" [FOF]
*UPDATE: A sampling of the kind of rhetoric one will find on the site

You'll find a whole slew of "ex-gay" propaganda, cherry-picked Biblical clobber passages that are presented as non-debatable fact, junk science from the likes of NARTH, and the blanket instruction to not view a friend or loved one as gay, but rather as "a person with a homosexual problem." That's the kind of thing that CBS found suitable for Super Bowl advertising?! And it's the same kind of thing that the NCAA is now supporting?! Good God, they must really want to keep the gays and sports stereotype alive!

As best we can tell, this latest NCAA.com ad is not auto-generated by an outside provider (something that sometimes leads us and any number of websites to run ads that we don't want). This one seems to be an actual ad placement, agreed-upon by FOF and the NCAA! So that being the case, we have no choice but to challenge it. It's obvious that FOF is on a clearly defined mission to "nice up" the outfit. After years of James Dobson, the staffers know that they have an image problem. That's exactly why they've hired a young person, Esther Fleece, whose sole role is to reach young people, and why they are launching some new websites for these same purposes. It's all being carefully orchestrated. Through efforts like the Tebow ad, they hope to give off (a) a vibe that's so "benign" that orgs. like CBS and the NCAA will casually support it, and (b) a message that's so "nice" that it's hard to criticize on its face. But of course the FOF mission hasn't changed one iota (as evidenced by the above search), so when these "nice" ads draw viewers to their properties, the new recruit will find the same anti-LGBT, pro-"ex-gay,' anti-choice, anti-[fill in the blank] nonsense as always.

We're all going to have to be extra diligent with all this. We have to say that while yes, the ads themselves might be non-controversial, the organizational mission is WILDLY controversial. We have to force everyone to look deeper. To look at the product being sold, as we would with any other junky commodity that was being pushed to the American public under false pretenses. Why should our gay "cure" be any different from Cialis or any of the other prescription drug ads that pepper our landscape? It shouldn't! We must be our own version of the FDA: The Focus Deterrent Academy! Actual human lives are at stake.


All we want is for all kids, including gay ones, to grow up knowing how to do the right thing!

***TAKE ACTION: Pat Griffin provides this contact info.:

Call NCAA Public Relations - 317 917 6762
Call NCAA Main Number - 317 917 6222
Email NCAA Public Relations - pmr@ncaa.org

**UPDATE: According to Change.org, the NCCA has pulled the ads for now:

UPDATE: Good news! The NCAA is feeling the pressure! As Pat Griffin writes, the NCAA has temporarily removed the ads from their site! But, they could reappear at any moment without an official statement from the NCAA. Keep the pressure going by signing our petition, and getting the NCAA to remove Focus on the Family ads once and for all.
The NCAA Promotes Anti-Gay Focus on the Family [Gay Rights Change.org]

**MEGA UPDATE, 2/24: THEY PULLED THE ADS! And it was largely because of the anti-gay teachings: Pulling Focus: NCAA sports principled ad policy [G-A-y]

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Your thoughts

I sent them this e-mail at the address you provided:

I see you are running a Focus on the Family ad on your web site. FotF may not be an anti-gay hate group as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but it comes close. FotF presents lies and misinformation about sexual orientation that have been thoroughly debunked by genuine scientific research. The sad truth is that they know this, yet continue to do so anyway.

With more athletes coming out as gay men or lesbians as time goes by, I would think you would be supportive of these young men and women who choose to be truthful about themselves rather than support an organization that tells us that we should not recognize that such people exist.

I sincerely request that you stop supporting this anti-gay hate group and sullying your own reputation as a result by refusing to run Focus on the Family ads in the future.

William J. Ware, Sr
Spring City, TN

Posted by: Bill Ware | Feb 23, 2010 5:17:37 PM

Is all of this advertising from fof a recent development? I seem to recall them complaining in the past about being shut out, but I have to admit that my recollection of that is pretty fuzzy. I suspect that they previously managed to fleece the radio flock of virtually every dime that they needed. And, given the layoffs and cutbacks, one has to suspect that those former supporters are not meeting the budgetary requirements of late. So, that they are now(??) beating other bushes makes one wonder just how bad things at the fof are...

I am still hoping that they lost all (or at least most) of their endowment to Bernie Maddof, and would almost be willing to cut a couple of months off of the Ponzi schemer's jail sentence if that were true... almost. Following such a scenario to it's ultimate conclusion, they may be in such dire straits that they're betting the farm in hopes that something starts replenishing the coffers. This mad round of ad buys might be the last gasp of a dying entity.

I certainly won't hold my breath, but certainly would not be surprised if the fof hits the proverbial fan sooner than later.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Feb 23, 2010 9:39:19 PM

Thanks for the link! One important thing to note is that NCAA.com is the news/scores site for the NCAA (vs. NCAA.org, which is the corporate site). NCAA.com is run in partnership with--wait for it--CBSsports.com. This article from Inside Higher Ed indicates that the original CBS-FOF Super Bowl deal included provision for FOF ads to be run on CBS Web sites. This is not to excuse the NCAA--they should have been paying attention--but to me, CBS bears the brunt of fostering the FOF relationship.

Posted by: Dana | Feb 24, 2010 7:40:44 PM

Agreed Dana: CBS needs to give us some answers!

And thank you Dana for getting this to our attention. Everyone needs to give Dana a round of applause. She was really instrumental in pushing it out to the larger LGBT activist community.

For fun, check out FOF's @gschneeberger and @EstherFleece on Twitter. Playing the victim on this. It's pretty funny. Feel free to engage them.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 24, 2010 7:47:25 PM

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