On Tuesday I had the privilege to listen to a speech delivered by Glenn Stanton, director of Focus on the Family, in favor of abolishing no-fault divorce. For those uninitiated, Focus on the Family is an advocacy group that describes itself as “a global Christian ministry” that is “dedicated to helping families thrive.” Also to “deporting gays” (probably). But I digress. It was in pursuit of the goal of “helping families thrive” that Mr. Stanton addressed the Yale Political Union on Tuesday, saying that unless married couples are legally prohibited from separating simply because they want to, the U.S. will become the next Sodom.
Okay, so he didn’t actually refer to Sodom. Probably because the word makes him uncomfortable. But he did make an impassioned plea for the government to abolish married people’s right to fall out of love.
Whatever you think of no-fault divorce, there’s no denying that a guy like Stanton really, really cares about the family. Which is why I wanted to look at Focus on the Family a little more deeply, to see if there were any ways that I, personally, could better focus on the family in my daily life.
I checked out their website. Here are my findings:
On what to do if you suspect your teen child might be gay: Always remember that “a good parent-child relationship is one of the best defenses against homosexuality.”
On watching pornography: Don’t.
On reading “Harry Potter”: Don’t.
Having read enough of the website to get a gist of what FOTF is all about, I was ready to go out and focus on the family for myself. The only problem was, I didn’t know how! I had no children, so I couldn’t worry over whether they would grow up to be attracted to the wrong gender. I had no wife, so keeping my marriage together in the face of a decadent, sinful culture was out of the question. And I had already read “Harry Potter,” so I was probably going to hell anyway, even though I’d forgotten how to do most of the spells.
So the question remained: how could I focus on the family? Luckily for me, I stumbled upon another pro-family group. This one was called the National Organization for Marriage. Led by Maggie Gallagher — whose previous work experience includes holding Han Solo prisoner in her Tatooine crime lair — this organization had “family” written all over it. It was right there on the website: “For decades, pro-family organizations have educated the public about the importance of marriage and the family, but have lacked the organized, national presence needed to impact state and local politics in a coordinated and sustained fashion.”
Again, for the uninitiated among you, this means that Gallagher and her friends have formed a national advocacy group based on the position that the gays are icky, and that it would be great if they would stop trying to have families, please.
And then it dawned on me: I had been way over-thinking the “focus on the family” issue. I didn’t need to be married or have children in order to prize family values. All I had to do was actively believe that gay people are worse than regular people!
I’ve got to tell you, this makes a lot of sense. Don’t believe me? Just look at the horrified testimonies of children whose parents have come out of the closet, courtesy again of the Focus on the Family website: “It was a big shock when my dad came out to me. I started crying,” and “You don’t want people to know [that you have a gay parent] … You don’t know what they’ll think of you and your family.”
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. These negative reactions have nothing to do with anything intrinsically wrong with homosexuality, but are the direct cause of groups like FOTF and NOM actively stigmatizing homosexuals! And anyway, couldn’t we better “focus on the family” by embracing all kinds of loving relationships, rather than ones that are illogically and narrowly prescribed?
Spoken like a true homosexual. Get some help. Jesus is waiting.
River Clegg is a senior in Davenport College. His column runs on alternate Thursdays.