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07/12/2011

Audio: Focus on the responsibility-shirking

by Jeremy Hooper

Recently, an anti-equality advocate tried to have my personal Facebook profile pulled for no other reason than what she called my "in your face" gayness. This came about after I left a perfectly fair, in-no-way-inflammatory comment on a public group wall, a comment that this Facebooker simply didn't like on ideological grounds. She wrote me to say she had reported me to the social networking gods and had instructed her supporters to do the same, with a goal/threat of getting me yanked from the system. A goal/threat to silence my ability to engage anyone else who wishes to talk within a "pro-family" vacuum.

Now, obviously I wasn't pulled, nor did I have even a scintilla of fear that I would be. Because this is the thing about scrutiny: We all have the right to offer it up, but we don't have a right to ascribe merit simply because we want it to be so. Once someone puts a probe out there, the attention turns to the body of available evidence. Investigators weigh the stated claims against the targeted person or group's alleged affronts, and then any number of juries or arbiters, big and small, render a judgement, be it personal or official. This is just the way it works.

So in the case of this Facebooker: She had every right to complain about me, but she did not have the right to make homosexuality and/or pro-gay advocacy a reason to yank Facebook profiles. Did not have the right to have her heterosexism translate to social networking superiority.

Okay, So why all this set up? Oh. Well, because Focus on the Family really needs to learn a thing or two about this concept:

*AUDIO SOURCE: TOMS Shoes Caves on Pro-Family Support [FoTF Citizenlink]

"Because we hold to a traditional moral position."

"What they are saying."

"Activists chose to stick their nose in this mess."

"Because of the selfishness of the radical homosexual activists."

It's the same thing, different day. This has been Focus on the Family's reaction to this situation from the very beginning: To elevate the denied good, blame the people who brought the scrutiny, and take absolutely no responsibility for what they have actually said and done to create this state of affairs. And of course they never acknowledge those of us who have trafficked in pure fact, instead painting all gays as "radical" "militants" who simply "hate" on them. It's just more of the victim meme that the modern "pro-family" movement has turned into an abstract art form.

But here's the thing: While I know the anti-LGBT industry would love to believe that courts and scientific communities and major corporations (among others) are all being reshaped by "radicals," the reality is that decisions like this one involving TOMS are not made in a willy-nilly manner. If Focus on the Family had not spent over three decades cultivating the landscape that they themselves have opted to cultivate, then the scrutiny would be tossed aside. Written off. At most, those of us who raise concerns would get a polite corporate reply or minor make-good. But that's not what tends to happen when things like this are brought to light. Instead, the light tends to raise the company-in-question's consciousness, and when all factors are weighed, diversity/inclusion/acceptance almost always wins against an organization that still pushes "ex-gay" therapy, still positions marriage equality as a danger to children, and still likens gay couples to "infected wounds."

Break

*NOTE: The Kevin McCullough clip comes from his own show. However, Kevin went on to repeat these claims on Bryan Fischer's radio show, of which Kevin was a fill-in host and Schneeberger was a guest. Yes, that's right: For damage control PR, that's the radio outlet that Focus on the Family chose -- a show whose audience was built by one of the most incendiary voices working today, hosted on the radio network of an SPLC-designated hate group (The American Family Association).

As a prominent conservative wrote to me yesterday: "dumb, just dumb to go on there."

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