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05/19/2010

'FOtFA' (2004-2010); 'Citizenlink' (2010-[we're working on it])

by Jeremy Hooper

The folks at Focus on the Family are changing the way they do business.

No, don't be silly: They're not going to stop attacking gay rights for sport. Our Colorado Springs poker buddies are just gonna move all of their anti-LGBT public policy work, which has been operating under the name "Focus on the Family Action" since '04, so that it now comes from the "Citizenlink" umbrella instead:

Focus on the Family Action was a 501(c)(4), the type of organization that could carry out the kind of direct political advocacy Dobson said was necessary to fend off "the attack from social and political liberals that is tearing families apart."

From the beginning, some confusion about the exact identities and missions of the two similarly named organizations has existed in the general public and media, said Tom Minnery, Focus vice president of public policy.

"We want to create some clarity about the two organizations. It's better branding," Focus President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Daly said.

Focus on the Family Action already calls its magazine "Citizen" and its electronic newsletter "CitizenLink."

"We're not saying (Focus on the Family) is stepping out of the public policy realm," Daly said. "From my perspective, it means Focus on the Family can focus on the family, and CitizenLink can do its job of engaging the citizenry."

Focus on the Family changes name of lobbying arm to CitizenLink [Denver Post]

Now, all involved insist that this is no sort of break from the group's Dobson-y (read: outdated, hurtful, Falwellian, proudly discriminatory) past. We, however, are skeptical. On a couple of occasions we've noted the aggressive PR tactics that the Colorado Springs outfit has employed in the days post-Jimmy D, most notably concerning the way they've been painting new prez Jim Daly as a "nicer, softer" voice. It's all spin, since this organization is still as hostile to fairness as they ever were. That's what matters. So to us, the understandable cynics of the still-unequal world, this name change really seems like nothing more than another strategic transition. It'll allow the Focusers to say, "No, no, Focus on the Family doesn't care about gay marriage -- Citizenlink does," and have that idea stick with certain people. To pass the buck, if you will.

Plus, the chief FOtF players are aggressively saying that this is not an attempt to de-Dobsonify the joint: And if those of us who've been paying attention have learned anything about this group, it's that when they're aggressive about saying something, it's most always the opposite that's true! Just another part of their legacy. A legacy that no name change will quickly invalidate.

But okay, fine: It's now "Citizenlink" that'll tell society that gays are unfit for equal marriage, barred from fighting and possibly dying for their nation, innately unqualified to serve on the nation's highest court, and inherently prevented from enjoying just about anything that involves both same-gender love and a fair shake at existence? Whatevs -- we'll go with it. Especially since the new moniker allows us to save both our "F" and our "U" keys for purposes more representative of how this group regularly makes us feel!

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