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04/16/2012

Okay, Focus on The Family—that's it. I'm not playing this game of pretend anymore

by Jeremy Hooper

Jeff Johnston, Focus on the Family's resident "ex-gay", has posted yet another piece accusing gays of being intolerant when we raise concerns about the harsh rhetoric that people like Tony Perkins use when speaking to the public. Johnston, like other Focus on the Family staffers before him, specifically cites the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project as an example of supposed "silencing," yet again neglecting to mention that this project's sole request is for media figures to bring MORE ATTENTION (i.e. more speech) to the crude words and actions that people like Tony have used in their advocacy. We have asked this because we are sick of seeing the dual roles that conservative commentators tend to play, talking one way when speaking to their base and talking another way when speaking to mainstream media cameras.

But you know who else has concerns? Well, people "on the right," that's who. Not only people on the right, in fact, but people who work for—wait for it, wait for it—Focus on the Family:

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You know what, Focus on the Family staffer? I did stay tuned to see if these concerns made their way to the public. I held up my end of the bargain. But while I was waiting for that to happen, a funny (but not funny "ha ha") thing occurred. Instead of watching the organization valiantly step up with their own concerns -- ideally creating a rare moment of semi-unity where we could all call for the rhetoric to be toned down -- I watched as Focus on the Family personality after Focus on the Family personality flat-out lied about GLAAD CAP, completely overlooked the documented "approach and tone" that led someone like Tony to be listed, and acted as if we LGBT activists are absolute crazypants opponents of free speech for having and expressing these true and obvious concerns. I waited patiently, sitting on information that I knew to be true, in hopes that some of you Family Focusers would have the fortitude to publicly talk about reasonable concerns that I know that you know to be true as well. I waited for valor; I got cowardice.

The person who wrote me this is surely not so happy with me for making it public. You know what? I no longer care. And I say that sadly, actually. Even though "off record" was never requested, I never intended to make this public. I never intended to burn down whatever personal bridges had been forged over the years in spite of the deep political differences. I never wanted to force Focus on the Family to go public with their own conversations of concern about Tony Perkins' "approach and tone." The startling lack of ethics and hypocrisy that Focus on the Family has shown towards GLAAD CAP, a project with which I have intimate familiarity, forced my hand. At some point, what I had seen as my ethical choice to not post this email became an unconscionable lack of disclosure that betrayed my life, my family, my community, and my search for peace. I couldn't live with that.

***

*Note: Adding more hypocrisy to the whole thing, the above email actually came after I described the basic idea that would eventually become GLAAD CAP. So there should've been NO SURPRISE about the project or its intent:

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