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Your 'prayers for Bobby' have done quite enough, FOF!

by Jeremy Hooper

This is the trailer for Prayers For Bobby, a Lifetime TV movie that will premiere this Saturday:

Now, this film is based on the true story of Bobby Griffith, a gay man who committed suicide at age 20, and his mother Mary, who had tried to convince her son "pray away" his gayness during his life, only to realize the error of her ways and to become a gay rights champion after Bobby's death. It is a real and powerful tale that can only be told in one way: The way it actually happened.

Well leave it to the spinners at Focus on the Family to lash out against actuality. In a new report posted to their CitizenLink site, the "pro-family" organization preemptively attacks the film for supposedly portraying Christians in a negative light:

The Lifetime Channel is airing a controversial new movie this weekend in which conservative Christian parents shoulder the blame after their gay-identified son commits suicide. "Prayers for Bobby," based on a true story from the 1970s, stars Sigourney Weaver.

Family advocates are concerned the film tells only half of the story, leaving out the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

Louisiana mom Terri Brown can identify with the parents in the movie. For 17 years, she has prayed that her son would find freedom from the homosexual identity.

“I can understand a mother’s despair," she said, "especially a Christian mother’s despair. Because we know what the Bible says about homosexuality.

“My heart goes out to people that struggle with homosexuality. They did not ask for that struggle. What do we do with our sin nature? We take it to the Lord and let Him renew our minds and hearts.”

Jeff Johnston, gender analyst at Focus on the Family, said the movie's message runs contrary to God’s.

“Parents can love their kids and still hold to what the Bible says about homosexuality and human sexuality," he said.

Johnston said the movie does send a strong message about the importance of fathers.

“Boys need dads who are loving and strong," he said, "but who reach out to them when they are struggling with sexuality or sexual issues.”

No matter where the movie lands, Johnston said, people can and do change their sexual orientation — he's living proof.
Lifetime Movie Casts Christians in Ugly Role [FOF CitizenLink]

So they are essentially chastising the film for failing to present the very things that led to Bobby's death, parental non-acceptance and "ex-gay" programs, in a positive light. Never mind that this is all based on true life accounts. Never mind that "praying away the gay" is the very thing that Mary Griffith campaigns against. Never mind that in this tale, "ex-gay" programs like the one run by Focus on the Family are, quite unapologetically, presented as the negative force that contributed to a young boy's senseless suicide. To Focus on the Family, every pro-gay point deserves their anti-gay counterpoint. To them, this is all just a "culture war" debate in which both sides deserve equal credence, no matter how much demonstrable pain one side has caused.

Well guess what? They are wrong, wrong, wrong. If Focus on the Family can convince a network to make a movie in which they defend the figurative blood that is on the "ex-gay" proponents' hands, then they have every right. However, Prayers For Bobby is not that story. This is one specific instance in which their version of "Christian love" did, demonstrably, terminate a young man in his prime. We absolutely get why they wouldn't want something like that to air; but we refuse to let them present its factual presentation as somehow unfair!

It's one thing to defend your practices despite their negatives. It's quite another to recast yourself as the three little pigs when you are so clearly the team of wolves that blew this family's house down!

**MORE: Video: Preying on the way others pray [G-A-Y]

**UPDATE, 1/27: Watch the telefilm, in full: Video: His life was abridged, his tale is here in full [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

Question: What the hell is a "gender analyst?"

Posted by: PMW | Jan 19, 2009 7:43:01 PM

What the fuck is a "gender analyst"? Sounds like one of those women who check the sex of baby chickens and tosses them into one box or another. I guess the Focus-on-the-Fags organization has to give these lying liars a title that sounds like it actually might be something. They can't use words like Clinical Psychologist, or Therapist, or any of the good titles, because, ya know, they could end up going to jail for that. Instead they slap a sticker onto a sexless professional former "gay" person, and think that that means something.

But, the thing that really strikes me about this "article", is that they never mention that the mother's name is Mary Griffith. And, while I am sure that she would have gladly consented to be interviewed by the Fuck-Off-To-Fags organization, they apparently didn't even attempt to talk with her. I say that, because the SF Examiner did contact her, and did interview her:


Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 19, 2009 7:47:36 PM

We need to keep up and intensify the huge efforts in exposing Focus on the Family for what they really are. They need to be exposed as bigoted, hateful, intolerant pseudo-Christians who don't care about anything but their worn out anti-gay bible dogma. I have heard that their broadcast reaches over 150 million people. We need to reach those same people in this expose. We need to reach the young people especially and expose the lies and the false promises of the ex-gay movement.

Posted by: Benjamin | Jan 22, 2009 5:48:34 PM

is it me or is the choice of wording here really fucked up:

"No matter where the movie lands..."

is this supposed to be an illusion to him jumping off the overpass? cause if it is, that is just so shameful.

Posted by: ryan | Jan 23, 2009 3:16:29 PM

Well the wording is indeed messed up, because their every idea is flawed. But I'm not sure if that was meant to be any sort of allusion.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 23, 2009 3:25:45 PM

well first of i wouldlike to say that i am sorry for the mothers lost my sister is gay and i still love her but wrong is wrong and the lord to says its is wrong and the bible and if god wanted say's it is wrong and the lord will not apogolize for something that is wrong he didnot put up with back then what makes you think he will apologize now the bible is true and i believe what the bible says and so should you but if you ask for forgives than the lord will forgive you homosexuality is a spirit from the enemy and we know he is a liar and a deceiver so remeber pick up your bible and read it the lord is love but is also god of chastiment remeber

Posted by: lisa marshall | Feb 12, 2009 3:50:41 PM

What's missing from your response to the FOF article of an unbiased opinion. I just recently watched Prayers for Bobby and I am a Christian. I saw that the mother was hurt, but she was really misguided in the Scriptures. For one thing, they only quote the old testament, never pointing the the entire bible to get the word as it is in context. The other thing is of course the leave out Jesus Christ. They say God a whole lot, and pray religious prayers, but Jesus is ultimately missing. If lifetime wanted to paint a more clear picture, and if thier were true believers present, Christ would not have been left out, it is Him who makes the difference, and it is Him who sets the captive free. FOF is not a hateful organization, but there in 1 corinthians 6:9-10 it tells what God's will is for all types of sinful behavior. But there is a redemptive plan for everyone, and that can only be identified if one accepts the work of Christ on the Cross. The problem here is, no one wants to listen to the folks who really know what the bible says, and really live their lives according to it's principles. Sin gets in the way of eveyrone's agenda. Gay people want acceptance, the problem is God's word says that lifestyle is against His nature and His will. So Gay people condemn the folks that believe God in the same way they feel they are being condemned. The problem is, FOF isn't attacking YOU. They are attacking the fact that Christ was no where to be found in that movie. That left the inevitablity of the boys choice to commit suicide, and the mother's choice to support something God is against. Christ is being ignored. That's all FOF is trying to say. Your article is riddled with bitterness, because FOF won't say what you want to hear, that being Gay is okay with God, when scripture clearly teaches that it is not. Go to the bible, read it for yourself, and stop blaming others just because they have a faith you cannot understand.

Posted by: Ash | Jan 1, 2010 10:26:57 AM

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