Focus on the Family: Bully Pulpit Christianity

Rev. HB London Jr.On March 4, 2011, The Rev. H.B. London  Jr. will be the featured speaker for the “Mayor’s Breakfast” in the Southern California City of Arcadia, an upscale community of about 60,000 straddling the 210 Freeway, just east and slightly north of downtown Los Angeles. While the breakfast is a City taxpayer-funded event, Mayor Peter Admundson obviously feels that it’s “his,” when he pontificates, “The theme for my Mayor’s Breakfast is ‘Celebrate Family.’ I am appalled that a few activists have tried to hijack my Mayor’s Breakfast by wanting to censor my choice of speaker. Is that what tolerance is all about?” My, my, my!

A good question, Mr. Mayor. But a question that Reverend London, Vice-president of Ministry for Focus on the Family, an ultra-right wing evangelical Christian group based in Colorado, but founded in Arcadia 34 years ago by Dr. James Dobson, would really have to stretch to answer. In fact, Focus on the Family is not known for tolerance. Along with the Mormon Church, Focus on the Family was one of the main supporters of Proposition 8, the ballot measure which changed California’s constitution and took away the right of same-sex couples to marry. Their message? We support families, just not those kinds of families.

Is that what tolerance is all about?

The good Mayor’s last invited speaker was radio shock-psychologist Dr. Laura Schlessinger. You may remember Dr. Laura. She resigned her radio show after achieving the world’s record for the number of times anyone has ever said, in quick succession, the “N” word on air. Sounds like the Mayor could use a refresher course on tolerance – and hate speech.

Despite Mayor Admundson’s admonishment that, “No organization in the world has done more to support the American family than Focus on the Family,” Arcadia area groups such as Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG), Arcadia High School Gay/Straight Alliance, LA County Human Relations Commission, San Gabriel Valley Pride and California Asemblymember Anthony Portantino, beg to differ. They will be peacefully demonstrating, along with others, on the sidewalk outside of the Mayor’s March 4 breakfast against Reverend London’s appearance.

Arcadia general contractor Gary Searer, who is married and has two children, asked Admundson at a recent council meeting to reconsider his decision. “I am extremely disappointed that a member of such a misguided and discriminatory group would be invited to speak at the Mayor’s Community Breakfast. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered family members – including children – are threatened and made to feel unsafe in their schools, workplaces and places of worship by the hateful messages of Focus on the Family.”

Arcadia residents Robert and Marsha Aizumi asked Admundson to reconsider saying their son faced “intolerable harassment and bullying” as a high school student in the city because of his sexual orientation. We “ask that you consider bringing someone in who makes our community safer, more open and more accepting.”

Admundson has lived all his 51 years in Arcadia and now serves as its mayor. A two-term councilman, as well as the owner of a refrigeration warehouse and transportation company, he is married with three children. “I, like thousands of parents found Dr. Dobson’s books like “Dare to Disciple”, “The Strong Willed Child” and “Bringing up Boys” very helpful to raise my family,” said Admundson.

Very interesting, Mr. Mayor.

Are you saying, as Dr. Dobson intimates, that you have taught your children that it is better for single mothers to put their children up for adoption by two-parent families rather than raising them on their own? Will Reverend London clarify that at your Community Breakfast?

And, perhaps in Dr. Dobson’s book, “Bringing Up Boys,” he has brought home the point that your wife may have already started your sons on the path to homosexuality if she didn’t make sure you had “reattached” your self to them. For, as Dr. Dobson says, “[Homosexuality] has to do with an identity crisis that occurs too early to remember,…where a boy is born with an attachment to his mother and she is everything to him for about 18 months, and between 18 months and five years, he needs to detach from her and to reattach to his father.” Overbearing mothers are a root cause of homosexuality according to Dr. Dobson.

And don’t stop there, Mayor Admundson, do you want your children to believe that embryonic stem-cell research is morally equal to Nazi medical experiments on prisoners, as does Dr. Dobson?

And finally, do you and your children believe, “…that God would be just in creating worldwide calamity to pay us back for rampant lesbian sex?”

carl matthesA schoolyard bully is someone who intimidates, is overbearing and tyrannical. Who better fits that description than someone who uses a Christian pulpit to turn the all-encompassing Love of God upside down and then uses it to bully God’s children? Focus on the Family, Dr. Dobson and Reverend London give new meaning to the words “bully pulpit.”

Southern California Demonstration for ALL Families Against “Focus on the Family.”
Friday, March 4, 2011 – 7 to 8 am
Outside of City of Arcadia Mayor’s Community Breakfast
365 Campus Dr., Arcadia, CA
We support all families – single-parent, two-parent, straight or gay. Join us on the sidewalk outside of the breakfast to tell the world: All families and people deserve respect. We will not tolerate bullying of the LGBT community.

Carl Matthes

Published by the LA Progressive on February 23, 2011
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About Carl Matthes

Carl Matthes is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Eagle Rock for 45 years. He is the current president of UGLA, Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a grassroots organization in Northeast Los Angeles which provides a support system for gay men and lesbians and education for individuals and the community-at-large on the true nature of homosexuality. He is a former columnist and a current advisor to the Lesbian News, the oldest lesbian publication in America, which is owned and published by his sister, Ella. He was editor of the GLAAD/LA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) newsletter, a former GLAAD National Board member and served as a GLAAD/LA representative on the LGBT/LAPD Advisory Board. Carl has also been a Board member of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

In July, 2008, Carl was legally married to Carl Johnson, his partner of 45 years, by Los Angels City Councilmember Jose Huizar. It was a unique gay/lesbian double ceremony as Carl's sister Ella and her partner Gladi were also married by Jose.