Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" Conference is in Seattle this weekend. This traveling road show claims to help gays go straight through a combination of prayer and therapy. Yet there is a startling lack of "healed" homosexuals at these events. Instead of "cured" patients, one meets crushed parents desperately latching on to every promise offered by the "experts" at Love Won Out.
The producers of Love Won Out do not offer up compassion, sound science, or rational explanations. The goal of the conference is to perpetuate stereotypes and malign a minority, and mainstream newspapers and television news programs that allow themselves to be used to disseminate anti-gay propaganda are complicit. Love Won Out is a dangerous anti-gay experiment that is shattering lives and breaking spirits. That's the story that needs to be reported.
Wayne, I think the reason why the media is lazy surrounding this farce is that: (a) they are uneducated about it's existence (b) are afraid to broach the topic, (c) they buy into the lies that these fraud programs perpetuate. I find most media coverage about gay and lesbian issues rather malignant. An example of this was coverage of a protest of a Catholic Bishop in Calgary who is being challenged through a human rights complaint. The camera quickly zoomed by the pro-gay protestors and went directly to show the anti-gay protesters and then showed an interview with an elderly lady who impined "god loves the homosexual but doesn't approve of the behaviour". There was no counter to this argument or questioning of this woman's misinformed dogma. The reporter didn't even show both sides of the argument such as why the compliant was filed in the first place. Most media coverage is just like this example. Not much will change in public perception until the media takes the bull by the horns and shows unbiased coverage of us, we have to rely on individual hearts and minds unfortunately. Tim W.
posted by Anonymous, at
6/25/2005 1:11 PM
Plus most of the media is now owned by about 5 companies (no doubt republican suck-ups) and now they're trying to take over PBS and NPR!! We really are being turned into a totalitarian mind/information control state. Thank God for Air America Radio ( I call it Radio Free America), the Sundance Channel and internet bloggers (like Wayne). If the Dems dont get some control back in the 06 elections, the jackboots will continue to stomp across this land and the Constitution.
posted by Anonymous, at
6/25/2005 1:39 PM
The gay community needs to start ACTING UP again and bring back the spirit of the late 60s in protesting and fighting against these merciless shitheads. That program or rally or whatever the hell is was in Seattle should have been TOTALLY disrupted by hoards of chanting and screaming Queers!! And the science and medical community needs to get off their apathetic butts and help out; they're not even doing enough, in my opinion, to stop the war on science and evolution that is being waged across this country right now by these fundamentalist troglodytes.
posted by Anonymous, at
6/25/2005 2:03 PM
Wayne; We could use more help here in Seattle from people like you. Your article in the Stranger was reasoned, compelling, and a good read.
The coverage in the press was as you anticipated. PFLAG has organized an alternate workshop called Love Welcomes All for July 9th. I became concerned, as did others, by the fact that the gay community and PFLAG did not want to 'confront Dobson because it would give him more publicity'. How can you give a man who brings a sophisticated media machine to town 'more publicity'? How do you give more publicity to a man heard by 200 Million people a day worldwide?
I brought up this reluctance to respond at a George Lakoff talk at Town Hall. (Although I bumbled the question - Lakoff gave an extended response.) He said that the issue should be treated like abortion should be treated. There should be a response. It was dangerous if there were no response, and dangerous, but less so, if the response were inappropriate. The best response would be "families with children, straight families". I disagree with him on a minor point. I feel that the rally should be a cross section of the Seattle Community, all people, all families, all kids, together, loving and supporting each other. This is what we feel the Seattle area is about. It's time to walk the talk. The next day, at a workshop for the most active groups in the area. A political activist raised the same question. Lakoff said it was frightening and dangerous that there was no response.
I managed to locate a local group called ACTIONNorthwest that was organizing a rally on very short notice. The first meeting was 6 days before the Dobson event. I e-mailed notice of this event to 500 community activists, many of whom had attended the Lakoff lecture and an invitation only series of workshops. The rally was billed as a celebration of our community's support of families and kids, straight and gay, that we love them as they are in all their rainbow brilliance. We asked people to show their love for the frightened families and kids attending Dobson's promo. I got no response.
2 Religious leaders showed up, people I'd talked to in person, 2 political activists - straight activists, this was despite the fact that I stated clearly and loudly that Dobson, and his cohorts, D. James Kennedy, and Richard Land, would be deciding the next Supreme Court appointments - and they would probably be Anti-Union, Anti-Civil Rights, Anti-First Amendment, Anti-privacy, Anti-Teacher, etc.
People still saw it as 'the third rail' of Democratic Politics. I was very proud of the religious and political people who arrived. They changed the whole mood of the rally. We had happy chants, waving, car horns honking support, and Radical Women smiling and talking with religious folk. There's so much that progressives from Religion, Activism, and Politics have in common, so much that tempers the excesses and increases our strengths! Dobson's back in the Fall to take his program into the schools. Will PFLAG and Progressive People of Faith retreat? Will Democrats declare it their downfall to support gays? Will Unions maintain the pattern they followed during the Civil Rights Movement? Not if I can help it. Whether by encouragement, by flaming, or any other method, they will hear from me, and others, that we stand together against injustice, or we fall. I'm fired up for the former, and ready with my passport for the latter.
There are people who do not understand the power and reach of Dobson and his ilk, or the opportunity to take him down now. They do not understand what $200million a year gets. They doubt the power of grassroots activism.
My housemate's straight Christian Republican sister was here at my house. They were going to the Pride Parade together. I told them about the wonderful religious leaders who had put smiles on the faces of tired and frightened (expressing only anger, hiding the fear inside) gay demonstrators. She got an education about Dobson, and the judges he supports. It was a revelation for her. Most of the followers of these power hungry 'leaders' are far more diverse and reasonable than we realize. Not all, but many, do not understand the consequences of the virulent actions of the people they follow.
How do we separate them from their flocks? I took one away, for a time at least. Having religious leaders on my side made an enormous difference for my credibility. I've worked hard to support these progressive religious leaders. They know how much I appreciate their efforts and how great my love is for them. One religious leader standing by my side at the relly who told the one PFLAG leader who showed up at the rally to voice her concern about it, and was pleased to note that we'd changed the tenor from anger to loving. The minister said that it was not possible to be a Christian, know about this rally, and not attend. PFLAG is on notice, from a source they did not expect - a young, brilliant, and charismatic minister.
Thanks again for your beautifully written article! It would be great to get you here to meet, and inspire, more people like the friends of mine who came to support me. When we broaden our definition of the gay community to respectfully and lovingly include the people who support and love us, miracles happen, miracles that will grow and take root.
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