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Strangers with Candi: How media's favorite conservative bullying 'expert' really sees us

by Jeremy Hooper

Candi Cushman is Focus on the Family's resident "expert" on school bullying, regularly landing punditry gigs in mainstream papers like The Denver Post and on networks like MSNBC or CNN. In the media, she is a common counterpoint to the pro-equality side's reasoned points -- the "from the right" voice meant to "balance out" the other (i.e. inclusive) view.

So when we see the rhetoric that Candi pushes on Focus on the Family's own web properties....

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...we who hope to actually curb bullying through accurate information, credible science, an embrace of the the world's true normalcy, and a network of needed support tend to look on with interest. And when we see stuff like this, we get a truly sick feeling our stomachs:

Without God, and without following His intentions for us, all the good of sexuality is distorted. The good news, in the midst of our sexual brokenness, is that God still loves us deeply. He longs to reconnect with each of us and to begin healing, restoring and transforming us. He invites each of us to respond to His love.

All throughout Scripture, we see that God has a special place in His heart for people who are messed up sexually. Jesus’ ancestors included prostitutes and adulterers, and He brought forgiveness and restoration to many people who were caught in sexual brokenness. In the same way, Jesus is standing with His arms open to each of us. We’ve all had our identity, relationships, sexuality and desires impacted by sin. He invites us to experience new life, forgiveness, true relational intimacy with Him and healthy relationships with others.

As Christians, children of God and followers of Jesus, we have a unique opportunity to offer this good news to our classmates and those around us. In a disordered and hurting world we can offer hope, healing and renewal.
*FULL PIECE: God’s Design for Sexuality / Posted by Candi Cushman / Written by Jeff Johnston [Focus on the Family]

The "unique opportunity to offer this good news to our classmates": That is exactly what Candi wants in public schools. She wants to tell parents that gay people are "messed up sexually." She wants to use "ex-gays" like Jeff Johnston to 6A00D8341C503453Ef0134880E32E4970Cpaint homosexuality as just another bullet point on a list of "sexual brokenness." And most egregiously: Candi wants this wholly unscientific belief taught in *public* schools as just another equal viewpoint, with the accurate sexuality information that the pro-fairness touts routinely painted as some sort of "special rights agenda." On shows like "AC:360," she'll never come right out and say she wants to "change" gays. Instead she voices more neutral-sounding support. And she talks in dog whistles meant to direct her supporters towards more revelatory pieces like the one above.

Candi and her Focus on the Family colleagues have every right to hold these condemnatory viewpoints, which they can then administer to their own families, their own churches, their own private schools, and their own evangelical news outlets like "The 700 Club" or TBN. But we are talking about public schools here. As in the whole public. A public where certain sects are demonstrably wounded by discrimination and harassment. In that world, religious freedom means the freedom for a kid to go to a tax-supported place of learning and not be told that their gay family member is in need of theological "hope, healing and renewal." And a word where public education certainly means sexuality teaching that limits itself to the spectrum of sexuality that the ENTIRE. CREDIBLE. SCIENTIFIC. COMMUNITY. accepts, and that does not lend credence to some flux "ex-gay" state simply because its practitioners have confused peer-reviewed research with peer-echoed persistence.


*The way it often plays out:

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