According to the Southern Voice, The Atlanta Braves have asked that anti-gay Focus on the Family not be included in future Faith Days events. “We do not feel it is an appropriate connection for Focus on the Family to be part of this event,” said Braves spokesperson Beth Marshal. She declined to comment further.
Faith Days, a new event the Braves call primarily a business decision, is an effort to boost attendance by reaching out to the 5000 churches within 75 miles of Turner Field. The first such event was held on July 27, with two more scheduled this year – sans Focus on the Family. A centerpiece of the first night was the testimony of devout Christian and Braves pitcher John Smoltz. You may remember Smoltz from his comments in 2004 when he compared gay marriage to bestiality.
Starting well before Faith Days, this is the third year the Braves’ marketing team has reached out to gay friendly First MCC of Atlanta with discount tickets and a special night when the First MCC logo is displayed on the Braves’ giant video screen. While the logo is the extent of First MCC’s exposure during their night, Focus representatives handed out materials listing websites containing anti-gay propaganda and ex-gay themes on Faith Days.
It’s interesting that just over a week ago, Third Coast Sports, the promoter of these events, praised the participation of Focus on the Family.
To have the opportunity to help Focus on the Family expand their reach is very rewarding. We hope this is just the beginning of a much larger cooperative effort.
On August 1, only a few days later, they had no comment on the subject. One wonders what happened in the interim.
What do you think about Focus using a major league baseball game for outreach? How about First MCC night? Would you be offended by being exposed to a particular ideology after paying for your ticket?
(Hat Tip to Patrick)