The Flint Hills Observer
A Public Apology and Appeal
by Gil Alexander-Moegerle, Co-Founder of Focus on the Family (909) 592-6660, GMoegerle@AOL.COM
Note: The following press statement was given on August 15, 1997, at the Gay and Lesbian Pride Center in Colorado Springs. It has been edited for space.
I'm the author of the new book "James Dobson's War on America," the first book to critique James Dobson's character, style and political agenda from an insider's perspective.
I was one of the co-founders of Focus on the Family.
In 1977, seven people signed their names to the legal documents that started Focus on the Family. We were its first Board of Directors. You will find my signature among the seven, along with my former friends Jim and Shirley Dobson, Mike Roberts, Mac McQuiston, Peb Jackson and Bobb Biehl.
I personally set up the three core operating divisions of Focus on the Family: Broadcast, Publications, and Mail Processing. I also started the Film and Video Division.
Speaking, then, as a co-founder of Focus on the Family, I have come to Colorado Springs to make two statements.
I recently heard the Jewish philosopher Dennis Prager say, "Civility requires that responsible members of the various groups that make up a culture have the courage to apologize to the rest of society for bad people within their group."
I have come to issue just such an apology for certain actions and attitudes on the part of the Christian Right in general and James Dobson and Focus on the Family in particular:
First, I apologize to the women of America for the sexist attitudes all-too-often displayed by James Dobson and the organization I helped found.
I apologize to African Americans and other ethnic minorities who are concerned by the continuing vestiges of intolerance in the land and by the dangerous role James Dobson, a wealthy, powerful, white, heterosexual male, plays in promoting intolerance.
I apologize to lesbian and gay Americans who are demeaned and dehumanized on a regular basis by the false, irresponsible, and inflammatory rhetoric of James Dobson's anti-gay radio and print materials.
I apologize to Jewish Americans as well as Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and atheist Americans who are also victims of the dangerous words and divisive political actions of James Dobson, who claims quite falsely that this is a "Christian nation" that should be "ruled" by fundamentalist Christians and their doctrines.
I apologize to the American media, specifically to radio, television and print reporters, who have been ridiculed and demonized by Dobson and his staff and guests.
I am ashamed of my former colleagues for their attacks on you and for their pattern of slamming the doors of reasonable access in your face. And I encourage you to bang those doors down, to investigate, and to report the truth about the threat James Dobson and other religious extremists pose to the American tradition of tolerance, inclusivity and the separation of church and state.
And I apologize to my fellow Christian Americans, many of whom have been misled by a man I once loved and trusted. I hope you will not make the same mistake I made in letting my personal loyalty to an old friend blind me to the unchristian and un-American words and actions of James Dobson and so many of his Focus on the Family guests.
I apologize to any American who has felt the sting of James Dobson and the Christian Right wagging their holier-than-thou fingers in your face, shrieking that because your views differ from theirs, you are ungodly, evil and unworthy of the rights of full citizenship.
Please don't let these extremists confuse you about the life and teachings of Jesus. He spoke in love. I regret that Jim and Focus have not.
I have come to Colorado Springs to call on James Dobson to step down as a political activist and return Focus on the Family to its original mission.
When we began Focus, in 1977, the seven founders had only two objectives: (1) To help Americans raise their children and (2) to help us maintain our marriages. Millions of Americans would say that James Dobson has made a tremendous contribution in those two areas. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said regarding his harmful foray into big-time politics.
I believe Dobson-style politics have been inept, simplistic, exclusionary, divisive and alarmingly sectarian. Mr. Dobson has shown little respect for our pluralistic system, for differing views or for the core skill of compromise and consensus building. That is un-American.
James Dobson's political style has been one of relentlessly demonizing his adversaries. And he has created the impression that the pathway to national moral reform leads through the legislative machinery of Washington. That is unchristian.
I ask Mr. Dobson to cancel his political radio series "Family News in Focus" and his political magazine "Citizen"
* to get out of the business of organizing and training grassroots political organizations around the country
* to break off his powerful alliance with lobbyist Gary Bauer and the Family Research Council
* to discontinue meeting with politicians in an effort to leverage his influence to shape public policy, and to pledge never again to devote a Focus on the Family radio broadcast to politics.
I call on James Dobson to return to the kinder gentler Focus on the Family we seven founded in 1977, to support America in those noble human endeavors of building strong marriages and raising strong children.
James Dobson and Gary Bauer Tidbits to Heighten Reader Understanding
of Gil Alexander-Moegerle's Frustration
info provided by The Right Wing Watch Online
James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, attached a personal endorsement to the most recent fundraising letter for Gary Bauer's new PAC, the Campaign for Working Families. Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, wrote that he created CWF "to give pro-family, pro-life conservatives the same power that the labor unions, the pro-abortion forces and the radical gay rights militants have: the power to endorse, promote and fund individual candidates." The legislative goals of the new PAC are to "stop partial birth abortion, the granting of most favored nation status to China, kill the Kennedy homosexual rights bill and pass the Religious Freedom Amendment . . ."
Though Gary Bauer has been focusing much of his energy on opposing most favored nation status for China, he has not toned down his anti-gay attacks. Claiming that "aggressive homosexual activists will not leave decent families alone," Bauer used the most recent Family Research Council letter to proclaim that people "who practice homosexuality embrace a culture of death." Wrote Bauer, "We must stop the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that will create incredible invasions of morality and privacy and lead to workplace quotas for abnormal sexuality. We must end funding for the homosexual propaganda spread by the National Endowment for the Arts and through AIDS programs that misspend our tax dollars."
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