SPLC blasts Focus on the Family: ‘goal is apparently to make schools less safe for LGBT students’

Last week, I posted video of Anderson Cooper’s interview with Candy Cushman from Focus on the Family. It seemed pretty clear to me that Focus on the Family’s goal was to LGBT kids get bullied.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance took that same view in a post titled, Focus on the Family Goes After LGBT Students. SPLC has been working on the bullying issue for decades. Maureen Costello is pretty blunt about what the Focus on the Family crowd is doing. They’re endangering the lives of LGBT kids:

For the last few days, an “educational analyst” for Focus on the Family has been getting a lot of press. She’s been suggesting that anti-bullying efforts that draw attention to the harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students are part of a “gay agenda” to “sneak homosexuality lessons into classrooms.”

One can argue, as some have, that Focus on the Family is a fringe group that doesn’t represent the majority of Christians in the United States. That’s true. But it’s also true that Focus on the Family has an outsized impact on conservative thought in this country. And by using deception and spin, the group has managed this week to grab the media spotlight. The goal is apparently to make schools less safe for LGBT students and more safe for their harassers. That cannot be ignored.

It’s also impossible to ignore Focus on the Family’s smarmy tactics. Taking a page out of George Orwell, the group has developed a website for parents designed to “challenge the monopoly.” They’ve named it TrueTolerance.org. Sound familiar?

Teaching Tolerance has been fighting for children and teachers for 20 years. We can say with certainty that the Focus on the Family campaign has nothing to do with tolerance. And it has nothing to do with keeping children safe. The harassment of LGBT students is rampant and destructive, as has been detailed in the new Teaching Tolerance documentary, Bullied: A School, a Student and a Case that Made History. This film tells the story of Jamie Nabozny, a gay student who was tormented and beaten by bullies while school officials steadfastly looked the other way.

The hatred spewed at the LGBT community from Focus on the Family is always despicable. But, that Candy Cushman and her ilk are willing to abet the bullying of LGBT kids is just beyond the pale. The traditional media needs to stop providing a forum for these haters.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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