Soulforce makes little mention of Focus in connection with ex-gays; Nonetheless Focus can’t simply expect people to push happy and healthy gays back in the closet, ergo Focus points to their token alternative "Love Won Out". Wayne Besen makes the case in Anything But Straight that religious right groups such as Focus disingenuously support ex-gay organizations to justify their own attacks on all gays. Groundwork laid, Soulforce’s upcoming confrontation of Focus is unquestionably an ex-gay issue. This post is meant as a change for XGW which tends too often towards reactionary content, typically dwelling on events ex post facto rather than offering more proactive analysis.
On Sunday April 1st Soulforce has a rally, church service, concert and a press conference to attract attention to their cause and fire up their supporters. (Schedule) Realistically any mainstream media coverage they receive will be from events on Sunday since as I shall argue, Monday’s planned "direct action" at Focus headquarters is poorly thought out and will prove anti-climactic.
“On Monday, May 1, [sic] James Dobson has to make a moral decision," explains the Rev. Dr. Mel White, Executive Director of Soulforce. "Does he welcome this delegation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people with supportive clergy and other people of faith? Or does he lock us out and force us to risk nonviolent civil disobedience and arrest? We can’t just go away and ignore the terrible consequences of Dobson’s ignorance and bigotry." (Soulforce press release)
Soulforce makes it pretty clear they anticipate some great confrontation with Dobson on Monday. However, as far as Soulforce’s own schedule indicates, the only time they plan on even setting foot on Focus property is taking one of many public tours on and maybe eating lunch in the cafeteria. Focus had proposed a panel discussion for April 25th titled "Biblical Text and Homosexuality" which Soulforce boycotted. So yes, it appears their best chance to confront Dobson will be on the public tour if they happen to stumble across him.
In the words of Soulforce is Dobson going to “lock us out and force us to risk nonviolent civil disobedience and arrest?”
Please, give me a break.
And Dobson is probably smart enough to steer clear of the lunch room that day. [joke]
Soulforce and Mel White have the tone of defiant children daring a parent to punish them. It’s my opinion that Dobson is going to let them take the tour just like everyone else who comes to visit Focus. Maybe if he’s getting some bad press Dobson will call up Hannity & Colmes and say something to the effect of “Why would I ever turn away God’s children? Who am I to single them out? Everyone is welcome to take the tour here at Focus.”
So what should Soulforce do? In my opinion their best shot is to bring attention to all the horrible things Dobson has actually said about gay people. Soulforce has diligently documented and published this on their website. If Soulforce paired this documentation with persistent media savvy instead of childish stunts they would succeed in bringing much more attention to their cause.