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06/22/2010

Birds of a Feder?

by Jeremy Hooper

To be frank: Don Feder's work is that of a fringe, far-right propagandist, and his teachings are largely rejected even within "pro-family" circles. That's because Mr. Feder has an incredible track record of eye-openers.

-Back in July of '06, while Don was blaming conflict in Israel on God's anger over a gay pride parade, he "jokingly" suggested that gays should move their parade to Gaza, an area that was embroiled in widespread, daily-reported violence: [http://www.goodasyou.org/gay/2006/07/hey_whos_blamin.html]

-Then there was June of 2008, when Don called gays "a sorry collection of individuals (connected only by their carnal appetites) caught up in a perverted lifestyle," directly compared marriage-seeking gay couples to the North American Man/Boy Love Association, and rolled out that tired "pro-family" nugget about gay marriage leading to man/poultry unions: [http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2008/06/don-feder-who-f.html]

-Not to mention March of 2009, when he responded to a less-than-enthusiastic reception that he'd received while speaking to the UMass College Republicans by saying, "Perhaps conservative speakers should go to campus lectures armed, thereby exercising their Second Amendment rights to forestall violation of their First Amendment rights": [http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2009/03/shooting-the-messenger-literally-like-as-in-murder-with-guns.html]

Feder1-1-Also, Feder has been associated with the Watchmen on the Walls, one of only 13 U.S. groups to make the Southern Poverty Law Center's anti-gay hate groups list: [http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2007/11/28/1056]

-Plus Feder's World Congress of Families organization is all about partnering up with relentlessly anti-gay groups like Peter LaBarbera's "Americans For Truth": http://americansfortruth.com/news/americans-for-truth-joins-as-partner-of-world-congress-of-families.html

And those are just a few examples culled from brief glance at our archives. There are several others out there in Google Land.


Well fast forward to today. A time when Focus on the Family, a supposed mainstream "pro-family" group, is now using Mr. Feder to preach to us all about what does and does not constitute an acceptable family:

(click to play)
*AUDIO SOURCE: Obama Lauds 'Two Father' Households [Focus On the Family]

What, was there no one in FOtF's Colorado Springs house who could give a stock quote about kids and mothers and fathers? Why the need to outsource, other than to reach out to the movement's more incendiary voices?

The answer: Once again, Focus on the Family is trying to have it both ways. On one hand they try to look "nicer" and "softer," with some Focus on the Family staffers even confirming to us that certain figures are outside of the group's purview. Yet at the same time, they continue to give credence to intensely homo-hostile folks like Feder and Matt "I carelessly drop Joseph Goebbels references" Barber. And in doing so, FOtF alienates BOTH sides.

For us, obviously, FOtF continues to look as out-of-line and their values as irreconcilably third rail as they did even during the most heated of Jimmy Dobson days. If they keep such unabashedly hyperbolic figures on speed dial, then they clearly see worth in the harshest of anti-gay agendas. This tells us that there's no real change or growth to be had. No bridge-building in any foreseeable future. No way we could ever come together and support any part of this organization's "family" playbook, regardless of how much "nicer" the current Jim Daly version of FOtF might want to seem.

But those like Feder and LaBarbera and Barber aren't stupid, either. Misguided and often callous, yes -- but not stupid. And so when they look at Focus on the Family, they can surely see that they are being used: Brought out and appeased in the deader summer months so that the money wells don't dry up, yet put right back in the closet whenever high-profile campaigns roll around. Sure, FOtF plays footsie just enough to keep the more, uhm, dedicated voices in the stable. But they will never, ever, ever buy the cow because they know it's the movable middle that's most in need of bilking.

We can see right through it. And guess what: The convicted far-righters can see right through it too. So while FOtF thinks they are looking down from a "pro-family" mountaintop, laughing at those of us little people on both sides who they think they are duping, the truth may be one that'll rock them off their pedestal. One that just might ultimately crumble Focus on the Family's increasingly tenuous infrastructure!

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