Soulforce presents . . .

A False Fo us on My Family Focus
Why every person of faith should be deeply troubled by Dr. James Dobson’s dangerous and misleading words about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community

By Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC Foreword by Mary Barber, MD, President of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
Soulforce is an interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. We teach and apply the nonviolent principles of M.K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. For more information on Soulforce go to For more information on Soulforce’s campaign to challenge the false rhetoric of Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family, go to

Mary Barber, MD, President of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists

Dr. Dobson Is Not My Enemy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
We are both children of God

The Psychology Of Fear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Five false and spiritually violent claims by Focus on the Family Violent Claim One: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by family problems and bad parenting.

Violent Claim Two: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Gay people want to destroy marriage and the family. Violent Claim Three: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Same-gender parents are unfit and seek to hurt children. Violent Claim Four: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Homosexuality can be prevented by parents and cured through “reparative therapy.” Violent Claim Five: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
Gays and lesbians are sick, ungodly people who want “special rights,” not civil rights.

Strange Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
How research is twisted to promote Dr. Dobson’s antigay bias

Dr. Dobson's Deception By Omission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Those happy families Dr. Dobson never told you about Dobson’s Word Is Not God’s Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 None of us own a copyright on the Bible or a patent on Christianity A Call To Justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
A plea to save lives

The family of Dr. Mary Barber



to recognizing the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. In this setting media pundits often ask the question: What if a person feels that homosexuality is morally wrong because of deeply held religious beliefs? The implication in this question is that antigay sentiment is acceptable, okay by us, if it is part of a person’s religious faith.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is not okay when believers seek to spread their hateful and intolerant views to the vulnerable among us, to young people questioning their sexuality or parents who are confused and upset by their adult child’s disclosure of being gay. It is also not okay when the message of intolerance is cloaked in science, when data is distorted or fabricated to further a damaging agenda. And the association of Christianity with intolerance to homosexuality is perhaps the most hurtful and wrongheaded distortion by both the popular media and advocates of so-called “reparative therapy” such as Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family. In this booklet, psychotherapist Jeff Lutes has broken down many of these false associations. He systematically exposes flaws in Dr. Dobson’s “scientific data” about homosexuality. He quotes from leaders in psychiatry, psychology, and social work to reveal what professionals really have to say today about being gay or lesbian. And he rejects the idea that a person has to be antigay in order to be a Christian. Jeff Lutes has given us a welcome antidote to the harsh rhetoric of Dr. Dobson and others like him. Armed with the knowledge imparted in this text, hopefully many gay people and their families will be able to find a way to grow into their full potential. And hopefully we as a society can begin to focus on the problems that really tear families apart, instead of continuing to allow the scapegoating of gays and lesbians. Mary Barber, MD President, Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists

A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE


Dr. Dobson Is Not My Enemy
We are both children of God


in the simple and mundane moments of life. I personally experience this presence when I hug my son as he gets on the school bus, create collaborative conversations with my clients, spend quiet time with my partner at the end of the day, and worship with our church family. You see, like thousands of other gay and lesbian people across America, I am totally profamily. There is nothing more important in my life than to grow in my commitment to my partner, and to see our son develop into a healthy, loving, and successful young man. My parents and the Southern Baptist church of my childhood instilled in me the values of faith and family that remain the cornerstone of who I am today. My mother, a Sunday school teacher for fourteen years, taught me the importance of honesty, prayer, and helping those who are less fortunate. My father, a devoted church deacon, taught me the value of hard work, humor, and play. My pastor taught me to believe the Bible, but also to respect that no one person or group has the last word on the meaning of Scripture. Like most Southern Baptists, we went to church every Wednesday night, twice on Sunday, and just about any other time the church doors opened. All of my friends were members of the church. I was a “Royal Ambassador,” gave my testimony every youth Sunday, and sang in a traveling group called the “Jesus Kids.” I still know all those traditional hymns by heart, and my favorite has always been “Just As I Am.” As a pastoral counselor and family therapist, I am deeply concerned about the state of the family. Research indicates that the divorce rate still hovers around 50 percent, as heterosexual couples struggle with poor communication, domestic violence, financial strain, substance abuse, and many other problems. Yet James Dobson and his organization, Focus on the Family, routinely portray families like mine as the number one threat to heterosexual marriage, children, and the stability of our nation. Let me make something absolutely clear: I do not consider Dr. Dobson my enemy. Misunderstanding is the enemy. We are both children of the same loving Creator, and I genuinely appreciate the many ways he has helped heterosexual families around the globe. I enjoy listening to his radio program, and I believe he has a sincere heart with an unmatched passion for nurturing and protecting families. But gays and lesbians form loving families too, and his spiritual violence against us must stop. According to the Focus Web site, more than 200 million people hear the commentaries of Dr. James Dobson every day. He’s heard on nearly 4,000 radio facilities in North America and in twenty languages on approximately 3,300 facilities in over 116 other countries. In addition to radio, he routinely speaks out against gay and lesbian families on eighty television stations, and in books, cassettes, videos, and DVDs. Untruth about America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens flows from the Focus Web site, daily emails, monthly fundraising letters, and traveling conferences that present homosexuality as a sickness. Backed by an annual budget of more that $130 million, his words cause unneces-


“I do not consider Dr. Dobson my enemy. Misunderstanding is the enemy.”


SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

sary fear and panic . . . dividing fathers from their gay sons, mothers from their lesbian daughters, and neighbors from one another. In his book Marriage Under Fire (the front cover bears the image of a rifle’s scope aimed at a pair of wedding rings), Dr. Dobson states: In twenty-seven years I have never said anything hateful about homosexuals on our broadcasts, and I do not condone violence or disrespect for anyone.1 I doubt those words will ring true after you read through other Dobson quotes documented in this booklet. Read on and then ask yourself the following questions: Do you understand how Dr. Dobson’s words confuse Christian parents whose children are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and lead to unnecessary pain and suffering in those families? Do you understand how his teachings lead some gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people to commit or attempt suicide? Can you see why some unstable people cite religious beliefs as justification for injuring or even killing a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person? Can you see how Dr. Dobson’s influence on public policy and politics contributes to unjust laws that deny full equality to same-gender families? I invite you to carefully compare the words of Focus on the Family with the policies of every major American health association as well as statements by the reputable social science researchers. I encourage you to visit the Web sites of these professional associations and verify the facts for yourself. Notice the striking difference between Dobson’s words and those of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow and other heroes from the civil rights movement. Finally, read a public apology to gay Americans by the man who co-founded Focus on the Family and worked side-by-side with Dr. Dobson for the organization’s first ten years. I call upon Dr. Dobson to stop misrepresenting the scientific research and abusing the Bible to demean, demoralize, and degrade gay people and their families. Will you join me?

Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC

The Lutes-Stein family 3

A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE

The Psychology Of Fear
Five false and spiritually violent claims by Focus on the Family

True False

Homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by family problems and bad parenting. Focus on the Family says:
“What do we know about this disorder? Well first, it is a disorder, despite the denials of the American Psychiatric Association.”2 “Contrary to claims by gay activists, homosexually active persons as a group appear to be less psychologically healthy than the general population.”3 “The mother is over-emotionally involved, a dominate, strong personality . . . the father is quiet, withdrawn, non-expressive, and/or hostile.”4 “I’ve never met a homosexual man that had a loving respectful relationship with his father.”5 “I have never seen a male with a homosexual problem think fondly of his older brother . . . I’ve never heard that . . . never do hear it.”6 “Homosexuality is a gender identity disorder.”7 “There is no such thing as a homosexual . . . We are all heterosexual, but some heterosexuals have a homosexual problem.”8 “Homosexual behavior is always prompted by an inner state of emptiness.”9

James Dobson

“Homosexuality is about a sense of self. Homosexuality is a masculine inferiority. Homosexual behavior is about striving to connect with the lost masculinity within the self.”10 “A little prehomosexual boy came home from school and said ‘Mom, we are doing a play at school, and I am playing the part of the father.’ The mother got angry and said, ‘You go back and tell them you want a speaking part.’”11 “Any incident that happens to place a particular strain on the relationship between the child and the parent of the same sex is potentially causative.”12 “Male homosexuality is a developmental problem that is almost always the result of problems in family relations, particularly between father and son.”13


SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Response to Claim One: Forty years of research concludes that gay men and lesbian women are as healthy, stable, and functional as their heterosexual friends.
The American Psychological Association “The research on homosexuality is very clear. Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor moral depravity. It is simply the way a minority of our population expresses human love and sexuality. Study after study documents the mental health of gay men and lesbians. Studies of judgment, stability, reliability, and social and vocational adaptiveness all show that gay men and lesbians function every bit as well as heterosexuals.”14 “The literature that classifies homosexuality and bisexuality as mental illness has been found to be methodologically unsound. Gonsiorek (1991) reviewed this literature and found serious methodological flaws including unclear definition of terms, inaccurate classification of subjects, inappropriate comparison of groups, discrepant sampling procedures, an ignorance of confounding social factors, and questionable outcome measures. The results from these flawed studies have been used to support theories of homosexuality as mental illness and/or arrested psychosexual development. Although these studies concluded that homosexuality is a mental illness, they have no valid empirical support and serve as the foundation for beliefs that lead to inaccurate representations of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.”15 The American Psychiatric Association “The APA affirms its 1973 position that homosexuality per se is not a diagnosable mental disorder. Recent publicized efforts to re-pathologize homosexuality by claiming that it can be cured are often guided not by rigorous scientific or psychiatric research, but sometimes by religious and political forces opposed to full civil rights for gay men and lesbians. APA recommends that the APA respond quickly and appropriately as a scientific organization when claims that homosexuality is a curable illness are made by political or religious groups.”16 “Whereas homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities, the American Psychiatric Association calls on all international health organizations, and individual psychiatrists in other countries, to urge the repeal in their own country of legislation that penalizes homosexual acts by consenting adults in private. And further, the APA calls on these organizations and individuals to do all that is possible to decrease the stigma related to homosexuality wherever and whenever it may occur.”17 The American Counseling Association The American Counseling Association has adopted a resolution that states that it “opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation; and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based on ignorance or unfounded beliefs about same-gender sexual orientation.”18
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE

Velma Garcia and Michelle Pye have been together three years and live in Texas.


True False

Gay people want to destroy marriage and the family. Focus on the Family says:
“How about group marriage, or marriage between relatives, or marriage between adults and children? How about marriage between a man and his donkey? Anything allegedly linked to ‘civil rights’ will be doable. The legal underpinnings for marriage will have been destroyed.”19 “For more than 40 years, the homosexual activist movement has sought to implement a master plan that has had as its centerpiece the utter destruction of the family . . . Those goals include universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle, discrediting of Scriptures that condemn homosexuality, muzzling of the clergy and Christian media, granting of special privileges and rights in the law, overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia, indoctrinating children and future generations through public education, and securing all the legal benefits of marriage for any two or more people who claim to have homosexual tendencies.”20 “Barring a miracle, the family as it has been known for more than five millennia will crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself.”21 “They don’t just want marriage. They want to destroy marriage and the family as we know it.”22 “Saying there’s a constitutional guarantee for two homosexuals to marry is just a few steps away from saying there’s a constitutional guarantee to marry more than one person, or for relatives to marry, or even for people to marry their pets.”23 “Traditional marriage between one man and one woman can not co-exist with homosexual marriage. It will destroy the family”24 “Lesbian relationships are equally unhealthy and just as life-threatening as gay male relationships.”25 “To say that homosexual relationships are the same as heterosexual ones is to make a mockery of God’s divine act of creation and His ordination of marriage.”26 “Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the empire of Japan served to energize and mobilize the armed forces of the United States, it would appear that the vicious assault on marriage and the church in recent months has begun to reinvigorate people of faith. I see indications that the church is marshaling its forces and preparing to meet the challenge. Evil has a way of overreaching, and that appears to have happened regarding the blatant and lawless assault on marriage and biblical morality.”27

James Dobson


SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Response to Claim Two: America’s health and mental health associations and scientists say that same sex couples have the same hopes and dreams as any other family.
The American Anthropological Association “The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies . . . The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.” 28 The American Psychoanalytic Association “Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice, RESOLVED, the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage.” 29 The American Academy of Pediatrics “The AAP recommends that pediatricians become familiar with professional literature regarding gay and lesbian parents and their children; support the right of every child and family to the financial, psychological, and legal security that results from having both parents legally recognized; and advocate for initiatives that establish permanency through coparent or second-parent adoption for children of same-sex partners.” 30 Dr. John Gottman Dr. Gottman and his wife, Julie Schwartz Gottman, Ph.D., conduct relationship research, therapy, and education at the Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington. They have studied same-gender couples for over twelve years and heterosexual couples for over thirty years: “Gay and lesbian relationships are the vanguard of how heterosexual relationships could be. Heterosexual couples have a lot to learn from gay couples. Same-sex couples tend to be more positive than straight couples during conflict and tend to use more affection and humor when discussing difficult subjects. They tend to use fewer controlling and hostile emotional tactics during a fight, and fairness and power-sharing between partners appears to be more common in gay and lesbian relationships than in straight ones.”31 The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy “We see no evidence that same-sex couples or family units vary significantly from heterosexual couples or family units in terms of aspirations, hopes and goals, or in outcomes for children.”32
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE

Sue Marriott and Tanya Voss with children, Cade and Mason. Sue and Tonya live in Texas and have been together for fifteen years.


True False

Same-gender parents are unfit and seek to hurt children. Focus on the Family says:
“If it continues, almost every child will have several ‘moms’ and ‘dads,’ perhaps six or eight ‘grandparents,’ and dozens of half-siblings. It will be a world where little boys and girls are shuffled from pillar to post in an ever-changing pattern of living arrangements—where huge numbers of them will be raised in foster-care homes or living on the street (as millions do in other countries all over the world today). Imagine an environment where nothing is stable and where people think primarily about themselves and their own self-preservation.”33 This is an issue America has got to wake up to. The homosexual agenda is a beast. [It] wants our kids . . . And the only thing that’s standing between them and that agenda . . . are those of us who believe in the Judeo-Christian values of this country.”34 “There is other evidence of the desire to gain access to boys. It is seen in the worldwide effort to lower the age when a child can legally give consent for intercourse with an adult.”35 “Moms and dads, are you listening? This movement is the greatest threat to your children. It is a particular danger to your wide-eyed boys, who have no idea what demoralization is planned for them”36 “The fact is man-boy contact increases homosexual outcome . . . and gay advocates are more likely to lobby for lowering the age of legal consent.”37 “What about the rights of children? What about children who are going to be raised fatherless or in a motherless home? See, you are condemning children to not having either a mother or a father.”38 “Schools will change instantly . . . It’s the end of morality . . . Can you imagine a teacher standing or sitting in the middle of these little wide-eyed kids all around and instead of teaching them about fairy stories, or the ABC’s, or numbers, she’s talking to them about adult perverse behavior?”39 “ . . . We are now going to disregard all of that and imply that children can do just as well with a contrived arrangement that was never intended by God?”40 “The homosexual agenda is infecting our schools.”41 “Or take another sexual behavior that’s hoping to gain more acceptance: pedophilia (adults having sex with children or minors).”42

James Dobson


SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Response to Claim Three: Numerous studies show that children raised by same-gender parents grow up to be just as healthy as children raised by heterosexual parents.
The American Psychological Association “Research has indicated no significant differences between the capabilities of lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents when compared to heterosexual parents. However, lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents face challenges not encountered by most heterosexual parents because of the stigma associated with homosexuality and bisexuality. Prejudice has led to institutional discrimination by the legal, educational, and social welfare systems. In a number of instances, lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents have lost custody of their children, have been restricted in visiting their children, have been prohibited from living with their domestic partners, and/or have been prevented from adopting or being foster parents, on the basis of their sexual orientation.”43 “Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual and by heterosexual parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role identity or development of sexual orientation . . . Another stereotype about homosexuality is the mistaken belief that gay men have more of a tendency than heterosexual men to sexually molest children. There is no evidence indicating that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.”44 The American Psychiatric Association “Numerous studies over the last three decades consistently demonstrate that children raised by gay or lesbian parents exhibit the same level of emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as children raised by heterosexual parents. This research indicates that optimal development for children is based not on the sexual orientation of the parents, but on stable attachments to committed and nurturing adults. The research also shows that children who have two parents, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientations, do better than children with only one parent.”45 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry “There is no evidence to suggest or support that parents with a gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation are per se different from or deficient in parenting skills, child-centered concerns, and parent-child attachments, when compared to parents with a heterosexual orientation. It has long been established that a homosexual orientation is not related to psychopathology, and there is no basis on which to assume that a parental homosexual orientation will increase likelihood of or induce a homosexual orientation in the child. Outcome studies of children raised by parents with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, when compared to heterosexual parents, show no greater degree of instability in the parental relationship or developmental dysfunction in children.”46
Tasim Martin and Lisa Van Den Berg have been together for five years.

A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE


True False

Homosexuality can be prevented by parents and “cured” through “reparative therapy.” Focus on the Family says:
“We advise parents to use clear and consistent messages: ‘We do not accept your effeminacy. You are a boy. God made you a boy. Being a boy is special.’ When parents do this, especially fathers, they can turn their boys around.”47 “Like many other adult problems, homosexuality begins at home. Mom and Dad are key players. Research from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality states, ‘One hundred percent of the research participants stated their father/father figure was distant, uninvolved in their upbringing, frightening, and unapproachable. Eighty-seven percent spoke of a mother who was close, controlling, and overbearing’ . . . But gender confusion can be reversed. Biological predisposition can be treated. Patterns of attraction and addiction can be understood and reformed. With the right information, the right strategy, and God’s help, we can prevent homosexuality.”48 “We advise fathers: If you don’t hug your son, another man will.”49 “The further gay argument is to say ‘efforts to modify,’ which is to say ‘treat’ Gender Identity Disorder in children is equal to ‘homosexual genocide,’ and they are right. It [reparative therapy] is a way to eliminate future individuals who identify as gay or lesbian.”50 “There is freedom from homosexuality.”51 “Is homosexuality unchangeable? It is fixed? Hardly. There is plenty of evidence that homosexual attraction can be diminished and that changes can be made.”52 “If you struggle with homosexuality and feel trapped . . . there is hope!”53 “Focus on the Family is promoting the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable—a message routinely silenced today. We want people to know that individuals don’t have to be gay.”54

James Dobson

“These groups also argue that the therapies that are designed to help homosexuals change are ‘cruel’ and ‘misleading’ and ‘harmful.’ But all of these claims are contradicted by the scientific research. There are numerous studies that prove that permanent change is possible.”55

10 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Response to Claim Four: America’s major health and mental health associations warn that “reparative therapy” is ineffectual or even psychologically damaging.
The American Psychiatric Association “The American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as “reparative” or conversion therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation. In doing so, the APA joined many other professional organizations that either oppose or are critical of ‘reparative’ therapies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, and the National Association of Social Workers.”56 “The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone ‘reparative therapy’ report that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.”57 The American Academy of Pediatrics “Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.”58 The American Psychological Association Research findings suggest that efforts to repair homosexuals are nothing more than social prejudice garbed in psychological accouterments.”59 Robert Spitzer, MD (on his flawed study often referenced by Dobson) “For the vast majority it is not possible for them to change their sexual orientation,” Spitzer said. Spitzer also acknowledged that “a lot of people will misuse” his findings, which could cause pain for many individuals. “It may help 5,000 people, but harm 500,000,” he said. He is concerned, he added, that “the Christian Right” with its intolerance of and opposition to homosexuality, will use his findings in its campaign to prevent gays and lesbians from gaining civil rights protections.60 Jack Drescher, MD (who has published extensively on the ethics of reparative therapy) “It is the client’s compliance with the therapist’s authority, rather than the therapist’s interpretations, that will determine the outcome of treatment. This is a clinical stance with troubling ethical implications.”61
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 11

Dr. David Jones and Sergio Barrera live in Texas.

True False

Gays and lesbians are sick, ungodly people who want “special rights” not civil rights.

Focus on the Family says:
“The apostle Paul described a similar society in Romans 1, which addressed the epidemic of homosexuality that was rampant in the ancient world and especially in Rome at that time. He wrote, ‘They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless’ (v. 29-31, NIV). It appears likely now that the demise of families will accelerate this type of decline dramatically, resulting in a chaotic culture that will be devastating to children.”62 “Communities do not let prostitutes, pedophiles, voyeurs, adulterers, and those who sexually prefer animals to publicly celebrate their lifestyles, so why should homosexuals get such privileges?”63 “Is it possible to be a totally healthy person who is also homosexual? NARTH did a very extensive study . . . and found everything from cigarette smoking, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, greater depression, anxiety, poor longterm relationships, sadomasochism, anonymous sexual encounters, lesbians are more unfaithful to their partners than heterosexual women . . . it goes on and on and on.”64 “Solid, irrefutable evidence proves that there are lethal consequences to engaging in the defining features of male homosexuality—that is, promiscuity.” 65 “It is not glamorous or exciting. It is not thrilling or fulfilling. Instead, it’s lonely, confusing, and in the end, often leaves the individual hopeless and, in some cases, terminally ill.”66 “Scripture tells us that Satan is the great deceiver and the father of all lies. I believe that Satan uses the gay activist movement to further his goals here on Earth. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy the traditional family. And if our government redefines marriage to include same-sex relationships, I am certain Satan would be just delighted. So, I think, as believers we always have to differentiate between that homosexual individual—whom God loves so dearly and who is made in His image—and the gay activist movement, which I believe is a tool of Satan.”67 “Slowly but surely, it seems the government is embracing this view and granting special rights to the homosexual community for what is behaviorally based identity rather than a true genetic one.”68

James Dobson

12 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Response to Claim Five: The widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., other civil rights heroes, and distinguished biblical scholars say that homophobia is like racism and other forms of bigotry
Coretta Scott King “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice . . . But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ . . . I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”69 “Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”70 “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny . . . I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be,” she said, quoting from her husband. “I’ve always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy.”71 “Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.”72 “We have a lot of work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say ‘common struggle,’ because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry & discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.”73 “We have to launch a campaign against homophobia in the black community.” 74 “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.”75 Rev. Dr. James Lawson (A distinguished United Methodist pastor who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to train the young people who staged the lunch counter sit-ins and Freedom Rides): “Gays and lesbians have a more difficult time than we did. We had our families and our churches on our side. All too often, they have neither.”76
Rev. Dr. Lewis Smedes

Coretta Scott King

Dr. James Lawson

Rev. Dr. Lewis Smedes (Biblical scholar, teacher, and author for over fifty years): “I believe the Church’s treatment of homosexuality has become the greatest heresy in the history of the Church. It’s living heresy, because it’s treating God’s children as if they weren’t God’s children.”77
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 13

Congressman John Lewis (A young civil rights leader who was twentythree years old when he spoke at the 1963 March On Washington): “We hurt our fellow citizens and our community when we deny gay people civil marriage and its protections and responsibilities. Rather than divide and discriminate, let us come together and create one nation. We are all one people. We all live in the American house. We are all the American family. Let us recognize that the gay people living in our house share the same hopes, troubles, and dreams. It is time we treated them as equals, as family.”78 “We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.”79

Congressman John Lewis

14 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Strange Science
How research is twisted to promote Dr. Dobson’s antigay bias
fter carefully monitoring and analyzing their radio, television, and print materials for nearly three years, I am concerned by four disturbingly deceptive trends in Focus on the Family’s efforts to promote an antigay agenda: 1. Dr. Dobson accuses reputable social scientists and the major mental health associations of deliberately skewing the research and lying to the public. In Bringing Up Boys, Dobson refers to the American Psychiatric Association: Finally, a decision was made in 1973 to remove this condition from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). It was made not on the basis of science but was strongly influenced by a poll of APA members, which was initiated and financed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force . . . The American Psychological Association soon followed suit.80 This is a total distortion of the facts. The protest of gay activists during the APA’s 1970 annual meeting led the APA Committee on Nomenclature to study the scientific literature on homosexuality. Based on the scientific evidence, the APA membership voted to remove homosexuality from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.81 Also, Dr. Dobson fails to tell his readers that these other health organizations have also analyzed the research and issued policies in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people: American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy American Counseling Association American Medical Association National Association of Social Workers Child Welfare League of America American Academy of Family Physicians North American Council on Adoptable Children American School Counselor Association American Psychoanalytic Association National Association of School Psychologists American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry American Academy of Pediatrics American Bar Association Each of these organizations has thousands of highly educated members from varying social, ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds. Yet Dr. Dobson wants you to believe that somehow they have collaborated, orchestrated a national conspiracy to cover up the research, and lied to the public. Then he infers that only the antigay “research” that he reports is empirically valid and
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 15


Bev Wells and Genevieve Howe have been together for eighteen years and live in California.

reliable. He wants his millions of faithful followers to trust that only he and a handful of his friends have the accurate scientific information about homosexuality. If you believe in Dr. Dobson, then you are to just accept his word that behavioral researchers and scientists from all over the world are completely wrong. 2. Dr. Dobson helps create and support antigay fundamentalist organizations with scientific-sounding names, like the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), and the Family Research Council. Dr. Dobson regularly quotes his friends, like Dr. Joseph Nicolosi of NARTH. Dobson and Nicolosi both claim that NARTH is a secular organization. However, anyone who looks closely at NARTH can see just how rooted their positions are in fundamentalist doctrine and ideology. Dr. Nicolosi is one of the keynote speakers for Dobson’s “Love Won Out” conferences that teach that gays can be made straight through a combination of “therapy” and the acceptance of Christ. It is incredibly dishonest to suggest that Nicolosi and NARTH are unbiased and objective researchers. Furthermore, the NARTH Web site states that it was founded “in response to the growing threat of scientific censorship.” This, of course, is just another veiled attempt to alarm people of faith and discredit reputable health and mental health scientists. 3. Dr. Dobson misleadingly quotes reputable research findings out of context to support his antigay position. Here is a quote by Dr. Dobson from his book Marriage Under Fire: More than ten thousand studies have concluded that kids do best when they are raised by loving and committed mothers and fathers.82 Guess what? He’s absolutely right. There is just one major catch. Those studies compared children raised in heterosexual single-parent homes (either a mother or a father) to children raised in heterosexual two-parent homes (both a mother and a father). Those studies did not examine same-gender parents at all! Not surprisingly, research shows that kids do best with two parents instead of just one, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation. Yet Dr. Dobson manipulates the facts in a section of his book entitled, “Children will suffer most,” and uses this distortion repeatedly in other print material and speeches. The fact is, research comparing heterosexual and homosexual parents finds that children develop equally well in both family structures (see references # 42–45 earlier in this booklet). In the same book, warning of the “dangers” of marriage equality for samegender couples, Dr. Dobson writes: In 1999, sociologists Dr. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and Dr. David Popenoe, both from Rutgers University, released the results of a longitudinal study that confirms the trends: The family as we have known it is passing from the scene.83 Right again, Dr. Dobson. In fact, that report has been updated in a new 2004 publication. But there is absolutely no suggestion in the thirty page report that homosexuals or same-gender couples have anything whatsoever to do with
16 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons celebrated 51 years together in 2004. They live in California.

the struggles facing heterosexual families. Go to http://marriage. Publications/SOOU/TEXTSOOU2004.htm to read it yourself. One last example of the blatant misuse of the research: . . . in the Scandinavian countries which began experimenting with homosexual unions in the 90’s have now seen the destruction of the family . . . in certain places in Norway 80 percent of the children are born out of wedlock . . . in all Scandinavian countries 61percent of babies are born out of wedlock.84 Notice that Dr. Dobson offers absolutely no scientific proof that the high rates of children born out of wedlock are a result of homosexual unions. Why? There is none. He just puts the two social trends together in the same sentence to infer causality. Commenting on the false claims that same-gender marriage is detrimental to society, Princeton University anthropology professor, John Borneman, said “The sun rises every day and there are a certain number of murders, but that doesn’t mean one causes the other”85 None of Dr. Dobson’s claims match the actual evidence. In fact, Dr. M.V. Lee Badgett at the University of Massachusetts Amherst analyzed the data on Scandinavian and Dutch families and found that divorce rates have not risen since the passage of partnership laws. Marriage rates are stable or may have even increased. He found that the majority of Scandinavian kids have married parents and spend, on average, more than 80 percent of their childhood living with both parents (which is more time than the average American child lives with both parents). The rates of children born out of wedlock have not risen faster in Scandinavia or the Netherlands since same-gender relationships were legally recognized. These non-marital birth rates have changed just as much in countries that do not legally recognize samegender couples as in countries that do legally recognize them.86 Do you see how easy it is for Dr. Dobson to quote research out of context to support his antigay bias? He’s counting on the fact that most readers will not look up the research themselves and discover his spin on the truth. How much longer will gays and lesbians be treated as second-class citizens just because well-meaning people of faith choose to blindly follow Dr. Dobson’s authority? 4. Dr. Dobson searches the media for negative stories about the gay community that reinforce old stereotypes and create fear. Here is a quote from a Focus article entitled “Same-Sex Couple Already Seeking Divorce”: It might be too soon to start saying “I told you so,” but evidence confirming what many already know—homosexual relationships are notoriously unstable and short lived—is already filtering in. One homosexual couple issued a marriage license by the city of San Francisco and Mayor Gavin Newsom just a few months ago is already trying to dissolve that decision.87 Between 40 percent and 60 percent of gay men and between 45 percent and 80 percent of lesbians are in committed relationships; between 18 percent and 28 percent of gay couples and 8 percent and 21 percent of lesbian couples have
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 17

Ben, Jake, Phil, Randi, Josh, and Britta Reitan (Jake is gay).

lived together ten years or more.88 But Focus on the Family finds one gay couple whose relationship didn’t make it and wants the reader to accept this as evidence that “homosexual relationships are notoriously unstable and short lived.” No one has ever suggested that if gay Americans gain the right to marriage none of them will divorce. Award-winning playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein once quipped that when gays can marry he is confident we will mess it up just as well as the heterosexual community. One of Dobson’s favorite scare tactics is to suggest that gays and lesbians are pedophiles: We see it in the growing influence of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) that shamelessly promotes sex between adults and children. Although this wretched organization has not been endorsed by most gay and lesbian publications, it has not been condemned by most of them either. That tells us a great deal.89 Do you hear the not-so-subtle suggestion that most gays and lesbians are really in favor of child molestation? When will this toxic dishonesty end? I have treated registered sex-offenders in weekly cognitive-behavioral group therapy since 1997. Research findings clearly demonstrate that gays are no more likely to hurt children than non-gays (see reference 43).

Andrew Nance and Jim Maloney have been together for fifteen years and live in California.

18 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Dr. Dobson’s Deception By Omission:
Those happy families he never told you about


very day on my way to the office, I pass two huge billboards advertising bars where women dance topless for men. These places are not filled just with single men, but also with married men who are choosing to be in those establishments rather than at home with their wives and children. Television talk shows and sitcoms display heterosexuals in all kinds of unhealthy and illicit behaviors. Yet I have never heard anyone point a finger and say, “Look at the destructive heterosexual lifestyle.” Such a statement would, of course, be absurd. We automatically understand that these behaviors represent the choices made by some, not all heterosexual people. Meanwhile, gay people as a group are automatically labeled and portrayed as promiscuous, deviant, and immoral by Focus on the Family. Dr. Dobson routinely showcases the negative stereotypes of the gay community and falsely suggests that we all share the same religious, political, and moral values. It is really sad when HGTV (Home and Garden Television) treats same-gender couples with more respect and kindness during a kitchen remodelling than Dr. Dobson can muster from his radio microphone. How is it that HGTV can see same-gender couples as having many of the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations as any straight couple, while a man dedicated to spreading the Gospel won’t even go into their homes and share a meal with them? I have never seen a positive image or heard a positive story about a gay person, lesbian couple, or same-gender family in any of Dr. Dobson’s print material or radio broadcasts. Why is that? Is his heart so hardened with fear and misunderstanding that he does not even know we exist? Or is he only interested in highlighting the stories of unhappy gays, or so-called “exgays” who promote his agenda?

The 2000 U.S. Census counted over one million people living in committed same-gender relationships. Due to factors which may have led to undercounting, it is estimated that the actual number of Americans in same-gender relationships may well exceed three million.90 The 2000 U.S. Census also found that about 22 percent of male couples and 33 percent of female couples have at least one child in the household.91 A 2003 report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute found that lesbian women and gay men are more likely than heterosexuals to adopt “special needs” children, such as older children, children of color, or children with disabilities, including HIV infection.92 In 2001, Dr. Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz published a comprehensive review of the social science research on lesbian and gay parenting in the American Sociological Review. In an interview, Dr. Stacey said, “Significant, reliable social scientific evidence indicates that lesbian and gay parents are as fit, effective, and successful as heterosexual parents. The research also shows that children of same-sex couples are as emotionally healthy and socially adjusted and at least as educationally and socially successful as children raised by heterosexual parents.” Later in the interview she said, “There is not

Ervin Knezek and David Bieniek live in Texas and have been together four years.

A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 19

a single, respectable social scientist conducting and publishing research in this area today who claims that gay and lesbian parents harm children.” She explained that the research does find some differences between families with gay and lesbian parents and those with heterosexual parents, but emphasized that they are differences, not deficits. She said that antigay activists had cited these differences as evidence to support their efforts to deny partnership and parenting rights to lesbians and gay men and that, “This is a serious misreading and abuse of our work.”93 The truth is that gay and lesbian families are not to be feared. We are no longer strangers to a growing number of Americans. Those of us with kids have the same concerns as any other parent. We are trying to get our children to eat their vegetables, worried about saving enough for their college fund, and making fools out of ourselves as we cheer them on at soccer games. As the saying goes, sometimes a picture says a thousand words. The truth about same-gender families is clearly visible in the family photos featured on the pages of this booklet. If only he would let me, I could gladly introduce Dr. Dobson to hundreds of loving and committed gay and lesbian families right there in his hometown of Colorado Springs. I am convinced that his heart would begin to open and change if he just shared a meal with a lesbian or gay family. In fact, let me make a standing offer: Dr. Dobson and his wife, Shirley, are invited to my home in Texas for dinner and conversation with my family. My partner’s father will cook his famous Italian meal, and I will personally pay all of Dr. Dobson’s travel expenses if he agrees to be a guest in my home.

Zb Bornemann and Jen Morse live in Pennsylvania and have been together fourteen years.

Amy and Jennifer Hallmon with daughter, Nora. The Hallmons have been together six years and live in Washington.

Randy, Marisal, Luther, and Francisco Marinez. 20 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

Dobson’s Word Is Not God’s Word
None of us owns a copyright on the Bible or a patent on Christianity
s a Christian, I have a deep love and respect for the wisdom and truths found in Scripture. I have also come to believe that it is my responsibility to study Scripture with an understanding of the culture, people, and history in which it was written. Even those Christians who claim to be biblical literalists do not really follow all scriptures to the letter. Dr. Dobson quotes Scripture frequently in support of “biblical marriage” between one man and one woman. Here are a few verses about marriage I doubt he shared with his readers: “And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron. Also, more sons and daughters were born to David.” 2 SAMUEL 5:13 “Now Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.” 2 CHRONICLES 11:21 “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so that you shall put evil away from Israel. If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both to the city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled a neighbor’s wife: so you shall put the evil from among you.” DEUTERONOMY 22:22–24 Does anybody really believe those Scriptures should be written into law today? Taken at face value, they seem to support men having multiple wives and other customs common during biblical times but completely foreign to our traditional Judeo-Christian values. Have you ever noticed how easy it is for some to explain why the above verses are not really applicable to modern times, while loudly proclaiming that a handful of others clearly condemn homosexuality for all times? Some verses no longer mean what they say . . . but other verses on “homosexuality” are absolute and timeless truths. No questions asked! Dr. Dobson certainly has a First Amendment right to his beliefs. But it is unfair and elitist for him to suggest that those who believe exactly as he does are “true” Christians, while those who believe differently are somehow less Christian or less devoted to God. His theological beliefs about gay people are not universally accepted by biblical scholars, other Christians, and those from other faith backgrounds. Many clergy and congregations have a different understanding of Scripture; one that does not condemn or dehumanize us, but rather affirms us in all our wholeness and welcomes us into the body of Christ. I am not a theologian, and I’ve heard Dr. Dobson say on the radio that he is not one either. But, for us, the debate is over. Our families are not sick, and they are not sinful. No longer will we remain silent while our humanity is stripped away and our relationships demeaned over the airwaves by Dr. Dobson. Too many lives hang in the balance.
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 21


Christian recording artists Jason and deMARCO live in California.

A Call To Justice
A Plea To Save Lives
t this very moment, a young gay man in a Christian home is deciding whether or not to live another day. Tonight, a young lesbian will cry herself to sleep, her soul crushed by unfathomable psychological torment. Why? Her parents, following the advice of Dr. Dobson, will tell her to read the Bible once more, force her to go to yet another “reparative” therapist or join an “exgay” ministry, and admonish her to “just get right with God.” Parents of gays and lesbians are also victimized—falsely blaming themselves for their child’s sexual orientation. How many more mothers will waste years in unnecessary remorse, wondering if they were too “controlling and overbearing”? How many more fathers will join the walking wounded by wrongly shaming themselves for having a gay son? After all, Dr. Dobson said they were too “distant and unapproachable.” Nevermind that reputable social science disproved these old theories decades ago! A beautiful child of God will die tonight because of that misinformation. A young lesbian will take her own life, a gay son will be murdered. Countless others will kill their precious souls by locking themselves deeper into dark closets of shame and despair. When will people of faith stand up in the pews and demand that clergy stop delivering fatal blows to the psyche of the young gay man singing faithfully in the choir loft? When will we find the courage to stand up for the bisexual church organist who must hide her pain after yet another sermon condemning her to hell? What will it take for us to defend the beautiful lesbian in the youth group, trembling in fear from the back row of what is supposed to be “the sanctuary”? When will we stop supporting and donating millions of dollars to organizations like Focus on the Family that breed fear and distrust toward the gay community? If you are a gay person, know that God loves you just as you are, without any reservation. God’s love welcomes all. You are entitled to the same happiness, the same liberty, and the same richness of life as any of your heterosexual friends. God is waiting for you to discover just how beautiful you really are . . . so that you can share God’s love with others simply by being yourself and caring for those who are less fortunate than you. If you are the parent of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender child, I beg you to open your heart to your son or daughter if you have not already done so. Don’t waste one more precious minute being separated from your child because of misunderstanding or fear. That breaks God’s heart. Call your son or daughter now. Start listening. Accept your loved one just as he or she is, and begin reconciling your family before it’s too late. As I finish writing this document, the news media is reporting the horrific story of a local gay man who was beaten and tortured in his own home by four other men.94 His attackers referenced the Bible throughout the two-hour
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Rev. Thomas Squiers and Rev. Jason Tardiff in Texas.

nightmare. Religious leaders like Dr. Dobson don’t want to accept any connection whatsoever between their misguided words and such violence. With great power comes great responsibility. Soulforce calls on Dr. Dobson to be more responsible in his language and to stop casting a web of divisive misunderstanding and fear. Soulforce encourages you to visit the Web sites of the major health and mental health associations to learn more. We invite you to get to know the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people who live in your neighborhood, work beside you everyday, and worship in your church. Do Dr. Dobson’s comments accurately describe the GLBT people who live, work, and worship near you?

Soulforce also encourages you to do two very important things:
1. Peacefully confront Focus on the Family whenever it is clear that the organization has misrepresented the truth. You can reach them by: Calling Focus on the Family at 800-A-Family (232-6459) Faxing a letter to 719-531-3424 Mailing your comments to: James Dobson, Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO 80995 2. Pray for Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. His misunderstanding of us is poisoning his own spirit and keeping him from experiencing the full joy of God’s creation. If you or one of your friends or family members is gay, reading Dr. Dobson’s quotes in this document might have made you very angry. I understand. I had to struggle with my own anger as I wrote it. But ultimately, I felt great sadness for him. He’s really just another victim of misinformation, and he is suffering because of it. Finally, I leave you with these words from the Christian man who started Focus on the Family with Dr. Dobson in 1977. Gil Alexander-Moegerle was co-founder of Focus on the Family, co-host of their radio talk-show with Dr. Dobson from 1977 to 1987, editor of Focus magazine, and one of the organization’s original board members. His heart and mind were changed. We pray God will help Dr. Dobson and the employees of Focus on the Family see the truth too. I apologize to lesbian and gay Americans who are demeaned on a regular basis by the false, irresponsible, and inflammatory rhetoric of James Dobson’s anti-gay radio and print materials.95 —GIL ALEXANDER-MOEGERLE

Suzanne Bain and Karen Weldin have been together fourteen years. They live in Oklahoma.

A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 23

The Soulforce Declaration to Dr. Dobson
We call on the founder of Focus on the Family to publicly acknowledge the following truths:


is theological view of homosexuality, and his interpretation of Scripture, is not universally accepted by biblical scholars and other Christians. A growing number of Christians (and people from other faith backgrounds), clergy, and congregations are modeling an inclusive faith by welcoming and affirming all God’s children: gay and straight worshiping together in Holy Communion. We call on Dr. Dobson to acknowledge that he does not own a patent on Christianity or a copyright on the Bible.

“We call on Dr. Dobson to acknowledge that he does not own a patent on Christianity or a copyright on the Bible.”

His psychological view of homosexuality, including his support for “reparative therapy,” is not shared by the vast majority of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other health and mental health professionals. The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League, the American Anthropological Association, and the National Association of Family Physicians have issued position statements based on four decades of scientific research. These national health organizations state clearly that homosexuality is not a mental illness, therefore there is no need for a “cure,” and that gays and straights are equally capable of forming loving families and raising healthy children. We call on Dr. Dobson to admit that he associates himself with a relatively small group of people who share his fundamentalist views and operate well outside mainstream psychology by misrepresenting scientific research to support their antigay bias. His personal view of homosexuality should not be used to create fear of gay people among his radio listeners and book readers. We call on Dr. Dobson to stop his frequent suggestions that gays seek to harm children, destroy the family, and demolish our country’s moral values. To the contrary, we love our parents and relatives, and our straight neighbors and their families, and we support all mutually respectful long-term relationships regardless of sexual orientation. The institution of marriage is in trouble, not because of gay and lesbian couples, but because some people do not have the relationship skills to make their marriages work. It is unfair to scapegoat gay Americans for the high divorce rate among heterosexual couples. We call on Dr. Dobson to stop his dehumanizing reference to us as only a “behavior,” and to acknowledge that many of us maintain long-term commitments, practice a deep faith in God, and make contributions every day that improve the communities in which we live.

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Soulforce beliefs about Dr. Dobson
Our Pledge of Nonviolence
Dr. Dobson is also a child of the Creator; we are all members of the human family; we are sisters and brothers in need of reconciliation. Dr. Dobson is not our enemy, but a victim of misinformation, as we all have been. Our only task is to bring Dr. Dobson truth in love relentlessly. We promise to do so without any violence of the fist, tongue, or heart. Dr. Dobson’s motives are as pure as ours and of no relevance to our discussion. Dr. Dobson has amazing potential for positive change. Dr. Dobson may have insight into the truth that we do not have. We will understand each other and come to a new position that will satisfy us all if we conduct our search for truth guided by the principles of love (nonviolence). These Soulforce principles, applied here to Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family, were taught by Gandhi in South Africa and India and by Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States. Gandhi said that his favorite sermon was the “Sermon on the Mount” by Jesus.


“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to be friends to the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.” —MAHATMA GANDHI

A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 25

Recommended Reading
The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Third Edition) New Revised Standard Version James Dobson’s War on America by Gil Alexander-Moegerle Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth by Wayne R. Besen Women in Love: Portraits of Lesbian Mothers and Their Families photographs and interviews by Barbara Seyda with Diana Herrera Love Makes a Family: Portraits of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People and their Families photos by Gigi Kaeser, interviews by Peggy Gillespi Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is by Abigail Garner An American Family by Jon and Michael Galluccio, with David Groff Homosexuality and the Christian Faith edited by Walter Wink, Ph.D. Is The Homosexual My Neighbor? by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity by Bruce Bawer A Place at the Table by Bruce Bawer Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: A resource for congregations in dialogue on sexual orientation by the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America and the Alliance of Baptists (available at or by calling 704-521-6051) The Slow Miracle of Transformation by Mary Lou Wallner Mary Lou Wallner lost her lesbian Christian daughter (Anna) to suicide in February of 1997. Being raised in a fundamentalist, legalistic church environment, Mary Lou was taught the untruth that homosexuality is a sin. Her journey from “tragedy to transformation” is nothing short of amazing. She and her husband, Bob, are now strong allies for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. Order from or by calling 501-843-7121. Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America by Rev. Dr. Mel White

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1 2 3

Dr. James Dobson, Marriage Under Fire, p. 68. Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, “The Origins of Homosexuality,” p. 115.

Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 16. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conference, Oklahoma City, 2003. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.

4 5 6 7 8 9

10 11 12

The Truth Comes Out: The Roots and Causes of Male Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 10. Ibid. American Psychological Association, Statement On Homosexuality, July 1994.

13 14 15

American Psychological Association, Guidelines For Psychotherapy With Lesbian, Gay, And Bisexual Clients, The American Psychiatric Association, Position Statement on Homosexuality, 2000. American Psychiatric Association, Position Statement on Homosexuality, December, 1992. American Counseling Association, Resolution by the Governing Council, March 1998.

16 17 18

19 Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family Newsletter, April 2004 (mailed to over two million people and read on his March 24, 2004 radio broadcast). 20 21 22 23 24 25

Ibid. Ibid. Focus on the Family, CitizenLink, Q&A: The Homosexual Agenda, July 25, 2003. Dr. James Dobson, Cybercast News Service, May 18, 2004. The Battle for Marriage, television simulcast to over 700 churches, May 23, 2004.

Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 21. Ibid. p. 13. Marriage Under Fire: The State of Our Unions, Focus on the Family’s Web site. American Anthropological Association , Statement on Marriage and the Family, February 25, 2004. American Psychoanalytic Association, Marriage Resolution, 1997.
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 27

26 27 28 29


American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health.

31 Dr. John Gottman, A Research Based Approach To Marital Therapy, Dallas, Texas, September 2001. (Note: Dr. Gottman is a clinical psychologist and the author of The Relationship Cure, The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work, and The Heart Of Parenting: Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child. He and his wife, Julie Schwartz Gottman, Ph.D., conduct relationship research, therapy, and education at the Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Gottman and researcher Robert Levenson of the University of California at Berkley have conducted observational studies of couples for over 30 years.) 32 33

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Annual Conference, September, 2004.

Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family Newsletter, April 2004 (mailed to over two million people and read on his March 24, 2004 radio broadcast).
34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

Focus on the Family, Citizen Magazine, January 2003. Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, “The Origins of Homosexuality,” p. 125. Ibid., p. 127. Ibid. The Battle for Marriage, television simulcast to over 700 churches, May 23, 2004. Ibid. Ibid. Teaching Captivity, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 3.

Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 7. American Psychological Association, Guidelines For Psychotherapy With Lesbian, Gay, And Bisexual Clients, American Psychological Association, Answers To Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality, American Psychiatric Association, Adoption and Co-parenting of Children by Same-sex Couples, Approved by the Board of Trustees and by the Assembly, November 2002. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Parents, June 1999. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conference, Oklahoma City, 2003. Don Schmierer, Focus on the Family Web site. Ibid. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conference, Oklahoma City, 2003.




46 47 48 49 50 51

Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 23. Ibid. p. 24.

52 53

The Truth Comes Out: The Roots And Causes Of Male Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 31. Love Won Out , Focus on the Family Web site.

54 55

Dr. Bill Maier in an interview with Pete Winn, The Unhappy Truth About Being Gay, Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink, July 16, 2004. American Psychiatric Association, Committee on Psychotherapy by Psychiatrists (COPP), Position Statement on Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies), Approved by the Board of Trustees March 2000, and by the Assembly May 2000.


28 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

57 58 59 60 61

American Psychiatric Association, May 2000. American Academy of Pediatrics, Division of Child and Adolescent Health. American Psychological Association, Statement On Homosexuality, July 1994. Psychiatric News, American Psychiatric Association, July 6, 2001. Ibid.

62 Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family Newsletter, April 2004 (mailed to over two million people and read on his March 24, 2004 radio broadcast). 63 64 65

James Dobson’s War On America, Gil Alexander-Moegerle Prometheus Books, 1997. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conference, Oklahoma City, 2003.

Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out series, p. 12. Teaching Captivity, Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” series, p. 3.

66 67

Dr. Bill Maier in an interview with Pete Winn, The Unhappy Truth About Being Gay, Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink, July 16, 2004.
68 69 70

Ibid. p. 8. Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, March 31, 1998

Coretta Scott King, speech at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, USA Today, March 24, 2004 71 Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund , quoted in the Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998 72 Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund , quoted in the Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998 73 Coretta Scott King, Opening Plenary Session, 13th annual Creating Change conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Atlanta, Georgia, November 9, 2000
74 75 76 77 78

Coretta Scott King, Reuters, June 8, 2001 Coretta Scott King, a speech at the Palmer Hilton Hotel, quoted in the Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998 There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy, Rev. Dr. Lewis Smedes, Video on Romans 1, Soulforce, Inc. at_a_crossroads_on_gay_unions/. The Boston Globe, Nov. 25. 2003. Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, “The Origins of Homosexuality,” Dr. James Dobson, p. 115.

79 80 81

Drescher, J. (2002), Sexual conversion (“reparative therapies”): A history and update. “Mental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities” (Review Psychiatry, 21:4), eds. B.E. Jones & M.J. Hill. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, pp. 71-91. Dr. James Dobson, Marriage Under Fire, p. 54. Ibid, p. 33 The Battle for Marriage, television simulcast to over 700 churches, May 23, 2004

82 83 84 85

San Francisco Chronicle, “Publicity-shy critic at center of storm: Researcher wrote much-cited article on registered partnerships,” Rona Marech, August 7, 2004


“Will Providing Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples Undermine Heterosexual Marriage? Evidence from Scandinavia and the Netherlands,” Council on Contemporary Families, M. V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D., July 2004.
A False Focus on My Family • SOULFORCE 29

87 88 89 90

Focus on the Family, Citizenlink Daily Update, July 12, 2004. American Psychological Association, Briefing Sheet on Same-Sex Families and Relationships, June 2004. Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, “The Origins of Homosexuality” p.124.

Facts based on analyses of the 2000 U.S. Census conducted by the Urban Institute and Human Rights Campaign. Parent Magazine, Zoe Has Two Mommies, March 2004.


92 Adoptions by Gays and Lesbians: A National Survey of Adoption Agency Policies, Practices, and Attitudes, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, October 29, 2003.

“Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?” American Sociological Review, 2001, and
94 95


Austin American Statesman, Aug 4, 2004 and LGRL of Texas, July 27, 2004.

Focus On The Family co-founder, Gil Alexander-Moegerle, Colorado Springs Press Conference, August 15, 1997.

30 SOULFORCE • A False Focus on My Family

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