On Dec. 9, Ex-Gay Watch observed that Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas had complained publicly about being quoted out-of-context by Focus on the Family.

The next day, Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas offered a near-apology to Focus on the Family.

Thomas associated my observation with efforts by “the Adversary in the spiritual realm” (Satan). Thomas seeks to avoid any “appearance of division” between Exodus and Focus on the Family.

Thomas means religious division. However, what distinguishes Focus on the Family from traditional, evangelical, and mainstream Christian organizations, including gay-tolerant ones, is its obsessive antigay politics, not its spirituality.

Note that Thomas is not afraid of an appearance of division between Exodus and less intolerant Christian organizations; he criticizes them frequently. Thomas is afraid that the public might perceive a lack of conformity with Focus on the Family.

But why is Exodus afraid to hold Focus on the Family accountable for its misstatements of fact on AIDS and its overgeneralizations (stereotypes) about gay behavior?

Does Exodus leadership share the Focus ideology? Perhaps. But finances play a role, as well, in the symbiosis that Exodus and Focus have formed.

For example: Exodus’ monthly newsletters do not carry advertising. But they make an exception for Focus on the Family. Page three of the August 2003 issue features a half-page ad for Love Won Out — a pro-ex-gay fund-raising and publicity venture operated by Focus on the Family. Fully one-quarter of that ad is an effusive statement of gratitude to Focus chairman James Dobson, who is already considered by conservative critics to be a bit of an egotist. Does Exodus provide this advertising to Focus for free — in effect, making it a gift of financing and publicity from impoverished Exodus chapters to the wealthy Focus — or is the advertising contingent upon ad fees or, perhaps, Focus providing a measurable portion of Exodus’ meager $600,000 annual budget?

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