From Focus on the Family’s ‘Love Won Out’ Conference Comes to Woodstock; Message That ‘Change is Possible'” to Be Shared in Georgia on Nov. 4:

“The issues surrounding homosexuality have become so politicized in recent years, that it is easy for people to forget how deeply personal these matters are. We hope to change that,” said Melissa Fryrear, director of Focus’ gender issues department and a conference speaker. “Love Won Out is a conference that reaches out to those who are hurting and offers them a message of understanding and of hope.”

An brief examination of Melissa Fryrear’s media release statement for Focus on the Family (FOTF) :

1.) FOTF makes a statement regarding how “issues surrounding homosexuality have become so politicized,” and then Exodus International — which I believe receives a certain amount for operating funds from FOTF (A.S., 10/11/2006)– makes multiple statements indicating how deeply they’re involved in the politics “surrounding homosexuality.” Examples:

From Worldwide Network of Former Homosexuals to Take Part in Rose Garden Ceremony as Bush Endorses Marriage Protection Amendment:

Representatives from the world’s largest outreach to those affected by unwanted homosexuality will join other pro-family organizations as President Bush endorses a federal amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman in a White House ceremony today. As the Senate plans to vote on the amendment this week, Exodus International plans to voice their concerns on Capitol Hill and says this vote is critical in the fight to preserve the institution of natural marriage.

“The lives of thousands of former homosexuals, like me, verify that homosexuality is not an immutable trait, therefore marriage is not a civil right to be casually granted to any group who demands it. Nor is it a relational right of passage to be awarded to those demonstrating a committed, emotional bond,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International. “Ultimately, this debate is about nothing less than the preservation of future generations.

From Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers Invited To White House, Lobby For Marriage Amendment:

(Randy Thomas🙂 Yes, I am going to DC to lobby for the MPA (Marriage Protection Amendment) and also the next LWO is in the vicinity (Silver Spring Maryland.) We start the week with MPA, finish the week with Exodus Regional leaders meeting and then the LWO conference.

Surely at least part of the “blame” for so much politics being involved is because it appears, at least per the Southern Poverty Law Center, that Exodus International is “funded largely by Focus on the Family.” (Although FOTF and Exodus International have entwined issues and jointly sponsor events such as ‘Love Won Out’, there is question of Exodus International’s key funding sources and the distribution of honoraria from speaking appearances by Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas. –M.A., 10/12/2006)

2.) As for hurting people:

– 51 percent of lesbians and gay men in Pennsylvania reported experiencing discrimination in their lifetime

– 54 percent of respondents in a 2001 statewide survey of lesbian, gay, and bisexual New Yorkers had experienced discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodation since 1996, with eight percent reporting that they were fired specifically because of their sexual orientation; 27 percent also reported being called names such as “faggot” and “dyke” in the workplace

– 35 percent of respondents in a 2004 Task Force survey of residents of Topeka, KS reported receiving harassing letters, e-mails, or faxes at work because of their sexual orientation, and 29% had observed discrimination based on sexual orientation seeking social or government services

– 33 percent of a national sample of members of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Latino/a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization, and the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum reported employment discrimination

At the ‘Love Won Out’ Conference in Woodstock, what will Melissa Fryrear, Director of FOTF’s Gender Issues Department and a conference speaker, offer in terms “of understanding and of hope” to those LGBT people who are hurting from employment discrimination, workplace harassment, or being called “faggot” and “dyke” in the workplace?

My guess is that Melissa Fryrear won’t address hurt as related to employment, housing, or bullying issues, as — for example — addressing employment issues possibly goes against the politics of FOTF.

I don’t have a lot of faith that Melissa Fryrear is FOTF’s future voice for turning the politicized into the personal, unless by personal she means fallacious statements of conversion.

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