By Dan Gonzales
Last Saturday, "Life On The Edge
Live," Focus on the Family’s two-hour teen radio show, dealt exclusively with homosexuality and the guest was Scott Davis of Exodus Youth.
Davis contributes little more than a few poorly chosen, inflammatory quotes; plugs
Alliance Defense Fund’s Day
of Truth and claims "tens of thousands of people have been helped" out of homosexuality.
Hosts Susie Shellenberger and Steve Russo typically
take even-tempered and compassionate stands on social
issues compared to other Focus outlets. But tonight I
believe Shellenberger said the word "hell" more
than any other program in the six months in which I’ve
been monitoring their program. Not even the earlier
program on children practicing Wicca elicited so much
hell-bound condemnation from Shellenberger.
The first caller declares "a fad" at her school has
made it almost "cool" for kids to choose to be gay/bi.
Davis responds that this fad is not merely confined to
her school but sweeps the nation. To Davis’ credit he
goes on to say many people struggling with same-sex
attractions do not choose those attractions. (Hence
they want Exodus’ help to rid themselves of it.)
The next caller is a struggling bisexual girl for whom
Shellenberger falls back on a tired old stereotype
when she asked if the caller wasn’t really attracted
to girls but rather "certain qualities" about them.
Only at the end of this call did Shellenberger seem to
accept this girl’s sexuality and suggested celibacy as
a morally acceptable alternative with the
understanding it is until she is able to "change."
(For the record there was absolutely no discussion of
the "success rate" of exgay ministries. Virtually no
statistics of scientific fact were presented in the
entire two-hour program. Hosts alluded to "the
psychological consequences" of homosexuality
throughout the program but once again never went into
any detail and instead relied on listeners’
preconceived bias to fill in the details.)
Russo launches into a monologue stating that the
only way to change is by accepting Jesus. He
then reads everyone’s favorite fiery verse from from I
Corinthians for a caller, to explain that gay Christians are
"shaking their fists at God" and really going to
hell. Davis compliments that by reminding listeners
that God loves us even "when we’re spitting on him."
Don’t find that offensive? Here, try it this way: Yes, God loves the Jews even though
they crucified his son. But don’t forget, God loves
the Jews so you be nice to them now.
Shellenberger continues the Calvinism by curiously
choosing to read John 3:16, which of course says that
accepting Jesus is the only way to heaven. A most
conspicuous time to quote this verse: Taken in context
this brings to the forefront Focus’ paradoxical party
line of ignoring the existence of self-affirmed gay
Christians who have accepted Jesus Christ as their
lord and savior. Later in the program Shellenberger
makes it clear "real Christians" (not a quote) cannot
be gay, when she verbally prays for a friend of a
caller who is a self-affirmed gay Christian and is
quoted as saying "but clearly is living in sin yet
calls herself a Christian."
Later in the program Davis asks a gay, but conflicted
male caller "which is more important to you, being gay
or being Christian?"
Are Shellenberger and Davis saying self-affirmed gays
cannot truly accept Jesus?
Are they saying if a gay Christian accepts Jesus this
one sin of accepting this sexuality banishes one to
They never say.
For that matter, Focus never says.
The logic of their issue-position might collapse if
they were forced to develop it that far.
(It is extraordinary how even the teen ministries at
Focus are so in-step with the party line on
The uplifting fire-and-brimstone teen radio program
decides to end the diatribe and take another caller, a
girl asking how to convince a marginally-faithful
friend he gayness is wrong. Davis responds with
vagaries typical of Exodus about mental illness and
blathers on about homosexual actions being contrary to
"God’s design." Once again, no meaningful statistics
or science are presented. From this point onward the
program is almost exclusively spiritual in nature with
no arguments presented holding any ethos for
The show ended with a bizarre diatribe by a caller asserting that all secular media are biased against Focus’ purely religious point of view, and subsequently
Shellenberger and Russo join in. Yet again, only vague
generalities and stereotypes were offered. (Naturally,
a caller who was dating a gay Christian saving
himself for marriage was dismissed.)
The primary focus of the show was not to offer facts and informed choices to listeners, but to claim ownership of Christianity on behalf of antigay ideologues; to exclude same-sex-attracted Christians from their churches; to insult the diverse secular media of a pluralistic nation; and to pummel listeners with Focus on the Family’s stereotypes in the hope that some prejudices, repeated often enough, might gradually become accepted by some listeners
Anyone wishing to ask Life On The Edge Live whether such rhetoric helps or hurts gays and exgays may email them here.
— Dan Gonzales