Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (free subscription required):
About 1,000 people, from 22 states, paid $60 a piece to attend the “Love Won Out” convention that lasted all day and featured eight speakers. About 50 activists gathered on the sidewalk.
How much did the conference cost Focus on the Family, and what was the organization’s net income? The AJC doesn’t say.
Inside, Sarah Tate, a 62-year-old from Gwinnett County lamented the antagonism between the groups: “It [Love Won Out] is a very understanding way of trying to be helpful and not as judgmental as most people think Christians are,” she said. “What a shame because they [protestors] have a biased view. If they came inside, they would realize it’s about compassion.”
The article neglects to provide either context or alternative views regarding that “compassion.” Readers might have benefited from knowledge of Focus on the Family’s nationwide lobbying to promote discrimination, to enact so-called “sodomy laws,” and to prohibit gay couples in states such as Virginia and Oklahoma from forming lasting relationships, sharing households and other property contractually, or raising their biological or adopted children. Exodus International, the ex-gay umbrella network, and NARTH, the reparative-therapy advocacy group, aren’t even mentioned in the article, and so their political activities go unreported as well.
The conventioneers broke up into groups and listened quietly to speakers on topics that included “Straight Thinking On Gay Marriage,” and “Responding to Pro-Gay Theology.”
The article offers no specifics from any of the speakers. Readers are not given any quotes by Joe Dallas, which might have exposed — in Dallas’ own words — the speaker’s prejudices toward Christians whose “theology” refuses to single out homosexuals for harassment. Readers are not informed of Joseph Nicolosi’s tendency at Love Won Out events to denigrate wives and to encourage dangerous behaviors between fathers and sons. Nor are we told that Nicolosi’s organization (unnamed by the AJC) unapologetically hosted racist propaganda on its web site until recently. And readers are not informed that gay and tolerant people of faith are protesting Focus on the Family because of the organization’s “straight thinking” to make marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships illegal between two people of the same gender.
The article quotes one Mike Haley but fails to note that he is the chairman of Exodus International:
“[The conference is] It’s for people who want to walk away from homosexuality, but we’re not forcing anybody. We’re not going into gay bars and pulling people out.”
Here again, the newspaper failed to tell its readers that Exodus and Focus on the Family believe that marriage and numerous civil rights should be withheld from homosexuals in order to coerce them to “change.”
The newspaper reports that Mike Haley once lived as a homosexual but stopped 15 years ago. It fails to report Haley’s young age at the time he supposedly turned straight, and it fails to report his activities when he claimed to be gay — mature relationships? youthful experimental sex? bisexual dating? prostitution?
Ditto for the article’s reference to Alan Chambers:
Still, no one is bound to live a homosexual life, speaker Alan Chambers argued. Once Chambers lived life as a homosexual. Now he is married to a woman and the father of two children. He’s on the Love Won Out tour as a paid speaker.
The newspaper fails to identify Chambers as the president of Exodus, fails define what a singular “homosexual life” would be, fails to report that Chambers only identified as “gay” for a few years as a randy teen-ager, and fails to report that Chambers adopted.
Addendum: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s report is shallow at best, and recklessly biased at worst.