56 thoughts on “Focus on the Family helps AIDS fund raiser”

  1. Yeah, forgot all about it until mom sent a pic a while back. My memories of gram were perfect…the dress, the shoes, the apron…I just forgot the bonnet. (Never knew my grandpa on dad’s side; he died a few years before my mom and dad even met. I’ve heard he was an itinerant ‘fire and brimstone’ type preacher. ) Mom’s side is all Irish Catholic. Dad converted in order to marry mom and we were raised Catholic. I begged my way out of Catholic school after 9th grade.

    Another fun ‘gram’ memory. I’ve mentioned that I’m very short. Well, some occasion came up…I was probably between 8 and 11…and we went to visit grams sister.

    First, the idea of gram having a sister threw me. Gram was Gram. She always had been. What’s this deal about having a sister and a past life? So, then we get there and, now that I understand, I can’t wait to see this person.

    We find her in the kitchen, with the freezer door ajar. She’s small and a bit bent. I notice the age like I never did with gram. I also notice the shortness. Her eyes are barely level with the bottom of the freezer. My six brothers and I are all standing at our ‘most polite attention’ and I start nudging mom to ask a question. Sensing it won’t be good, perhaps, she shushed me. And again when I nudged again. On my third try, she finally asked, “What?” I pointed at ‘Aunt Sadie” and, with dread in my voice, iwhispered rather loudly “Is THAT going to happen to US?”

  2. Ann,

    What a lot of people do not realize is that there are many sects of christianity as well as sects of judaism, and muslim. And we of any particular group choose to be of that group and do not agree with others of our “same” religion. Believing in the same prophet does not mean believing the same about the prophet.

    There are even splits among the mormons, the catholics, etc.. There are the Calvinists the Weslyans among the protestants – and on and on it goes.

  3. yes, this is the reason I wanted to know the breakdown – I really think it will tell a story and hopefully direct any future concern/criticism to the right place instead of just clumping all of Christianity together. From what I have seen with these statistics, it is a very big and diverse religion that has the capability to respond individually according to the individual beliefs of the denomination – even there, I see some inconsistency. I really hope Christianity (faith and belief) is not judged on what one errant or provoctive denomination, church, staff, or members do or say. I also feel the same about other organizations and religions.

  4. Thanks JAG.

    LOL…I remembered a few of those other groups that would be lumped under “Protestant”…Mennonite, Amish sects, Quakers. Strangest thing about forgetting them is that I’m originally from Pennsylvania and my dad’s mom actually wore the white bonnet most of her life. (Funny…when it’s ‘gram’ wearing the bonnet you don’t even notice it.)

  5. Eddy –

    “I think as time marches on, the PEW Review might need to break down their Protestant numbers somehow to give a more accurate picture of churches and their influence.”

    Great point on this…and thank you Timothy for the breakdown…

  6. Timothy, Oooooh…..you HAVE done your homework! LOL. I haven’t thought it through but, at the moment, that sure sounds true. My gut wants to add some others to the first group (Catholics, Baptists, Mormons and Pentecostals) but I’m thinking that ties in to my other point about the denominations that have the big theological differences within them. LOL. I’m just glad we recognize the same distinctions!

  7. Good point, Eddy.

    Although they are as far apart as you can get theologically and still be “Christian”, as far as politics and culture go the Catholics, Mormons, Baptists and Pentecostals have more in common with each other than they do with Episcopalians, Lutherans or Presbyterians.

  8. Jag,

    Very, very interesting – thank you!


    Thank you answering my second question and sending the breakdown – I’m going to study it as I have never seen this information before.


    Thank you for your comments – it is always nice to have a meaningful dialogue, regardless of where two or more people originally stand on issues – where we start could be completely different from where we end up – it is what we learn from each other in between that matters – if I respect someone, I’m going to want to listen to what they say, whether I agree with it or not.

  9. First I’d really like to say a special thanks to both JAG and Ann for focussed and respectful discussion. JAG you get extra credit for a wealth of valuable information that you’ve shared. Thanks! Good reading and thought-provoking.

    I did want to comment on the results of the PEW Review Council. JAG did cite that Protestants (as the largest group) represented ‘multiple denominational families’. I think what caught my attention was the fact that the PEW review council seemed to see all Protestants as pretty much the same thing. Yet the term would include (I presume) Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, United Church of Christ, Presbyterians, and many more. It strikes me that some of these groups hold more to a ‘born-again’ theology while others simply try to ‘live by Christian principles’. And, among the Protestants–and even within most of the individual denominations–there are differing views on issues such as homosexuality, divorce, abortion. LOL! I think as time marches on, the PEW Review might need to break down their Protestant numbers somehow to give a more accurate picture of churches and their influence.

  10. However, as a single denomination, the Catholic Church is by far the largest.


    This site lists the top ten as:

    1. Roman Catholic Church: 67.2 million.

    2. Southern Baptist Convention: 16.4 million.

    3. United Methodist Church: 8.2 million.

    4. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 5.5 million.

    5. Church of God in Christ: 5.4 million.

    6. National Baptist Convention USA: 5 million.

    7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 4.9 million.

    8. National Baptist Convention of America: 3.5 million.

    9. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): 3.2 million.

    10. Assemblies of God: 2.7 million

  11. Ann –

    As of 2002 (I know that is a bit dated), the Pew Research Council found that Protestants (encompassing multiple denominational families) are the largest denomination in the USA with about 52%, and Catholics are second with 24%.

    “This matches data from Gallup, Barna, and other polling organizations, which all show that Protestants are clearly the largest branch of Christianity in the United States, followed by Catholics, who have about half as many members. Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are the 3rd largest branch, comprising about 2% of the U.S. population.”

    The statistics were published in a study titled “Americans Struggle with Religion’s Role at Home and Abroad”, released on March 20, 2002.

    Interesting, eh?

  12. Timothy,

    Regarding the Ten Commandments – since I really am not sure (as I stated), I should have probably said there was a similarity or comparison in our laws to the Ten Commandments instead of the foundation or base of them. I remember one of the buildings at Harvard Law School has a long inscription that has a religious inference that related to law and I believe (but am not sure right now) referred to the Ten Commandments.

  13. Jag,

    Thanks so much for all the information – I am going to read it several times – I also appreciate your thoughts that accompanied it. I agree with a lot of what you said and some of the other things I will have to think about 🙂

    Do you know what denomination of Christianity is the largest in the U.S.?

  14. Timothy,

    That is one way of looking at it, however, it certainly isn’t the only way – thanks for your perspective though, I found it interesting.

  15. Ann,

    I think you are mistaken. Our country was founded primarily on the principles of the enlightenment. Many of the founders were Deists and those who were Christian were not so in the way that we would recognize today.

    The notion that our founding documents were devised by good God-fearing church-attending believers in the Nicene Crede is nothing but myth.

    In the Declaration of Independence, the the divinities mentioned are “Nature’s God”, the “Creator”, and “Divine Providence”. These are best understood to be Deist notions and language and not Christian.

    In the Constitution, there is no deity referenced at all. The only religious reference is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or

    prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

    Some folks claim our laws are based on the ten commandments. Again, not so. Our laws, for the most part, were based on English Common Law. I am not qualified to explain the difference clearly, but as I understand it, history and precedent along with judicial common sense are more important than commandments.

    In subsequent centuries, the good Christian folk who respected our founders wanted to believe the best of them. So they decided they MUST have been Christians. And since they must have been Christians, they much have believed what we want them to have believed.

    It simply isn’t true. Truthfully, most of the great American heros had a belief system that would be branded heretic by most conservative churches today. If they were to come to our time they would probably attend a Unitarian Universalist chuch if any at all.

  16. Ann –

    “I cannot remember everything about my American History classes but what I do remember is that our country was founded on Christian beliefs and that is the basis of our constitution. Am I right? If so, when and how did that change and why? If it hasn’t changed, should it and why?”

    Our country was founded on the notion of religious freedom – or at least that was my impression. The signers of the declaration of independence were of various faiths – predominantly Christian, but not exclusively so, at least as we know it today. Here is a table that I pulled of all the signers of the declaration and their religious affiliations:

    “Charles Carroll Maryland Catholic

    Samuel Huntington Connecticut Congregationalist

    Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist

    William Williams Connecticut Congregationalist

    Oliver Wolcott Connecticut Congregationalist

    Lyman Hall Georgia Congregationalist

    Samuel Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist

    John Hancock Massachusetts Congregationalist

    Josiah Bartlett New Hampshire Congregationalist

    William Whipple New Hampshire Congregationalist

    William Ellery Rhode Island Congregationalist

    John Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian

    Robert Treat Paine Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian

    George Walton Georgia Episcopalian

    John Penn North Carolina Episcopalian

    George Ross Pennsylvania Episcopalian

    Thomas Heyward Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian

    Thomas Lynch Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian

    Arthur Middleton South Carolina Episcopalian

    Edward Rutledge South Carolina Episcopalian

    Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia Episcopalian

    Richard Henry Lee Virginia Episcopalian

    George Read Delaware Episcopalian

    Caesar Rodney Delaware Episcopalian

    Samuel Chase Maryland Episcopalian

    William Paca Maryland Episcopalian

    Thomas Stone Maryland Episcopalian

    Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian

    Francis Hopkinson New Jersey Episcopalian

    Francis Lewis New York Episcopalian

    Lewis Morris New York Episcopalian

    William Hooper North Carolina Episcopalian

    Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian

    John Morton Pennsylvania Episcopalian

    Stephen Hopkins Rhode Island Episcopalian

    Carter Braxton Virginia Episcopalian

    Benjamin Harrison Virginia Episcopalian

    Thomas Nelson Jr. Virginia Episcopalian

    George Wythe Virginia Episcopalian

    Thomas Jefferson Virginia Episcopalian (Deist)

    Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian (Deist)

    Button Gwinnett Georgia Episcopalian; Congregationalist

    James Wilson Pennsylvania Episcopalian; Presbyterian

    Joseph Hewes North Carolina Quaker, Episcopalian

    George Clymer Pennsylvania Quaker, Episcopalian

    Thomas McKean Delaware Presbyterian

    Matthew Thornton New Hampshire Presbyterian

    Abraham Clark New Jersey Presbyterian

    John Hart New Jersey Presbyterian

    Richard Stockton New Jersey Presbyterian

    John Witherspoon New Jersey Presbyterian

    William Floyd New York Presbyterian

    Philip Livingston New York Presbyterian

    James Smith Pennsylvania Presbyterian

    George Taylor Pennsylvania Presbyterian

    Benjamin Rush Pennsylvania Presbyterian”

    Congregationalists, Quakers, Episcopalians, etc..all working together toward the notion of providing all citizens with a free and open place to live peacefully….and frankly, AWAY from the land that tried to tell them what to believe and how to worship.

    I hope we can remain consistent with this, but slowly, my perspective is that there is a faction of our country that would love a theocracy – but only if it suites their one interpretation of Biblical truths. It is true that many countries seem enmeshed with the dominant religion of their lands – but given those I could list (and those you named above), I wouldn’t want America ended up anything like them.

    Until then, I think we’re going to have to try to struggle and determine how individual freedoms and the variety of personal faiths can coexist peaceably. otherwise, we are left trying to determine whose religion runs what.

    I’m a reconciling methodist, but I’m thinking my “rules of the land,” in christianity would likely be different than a Catholic. Both Christian.

  17. Hi Jag,

    Thank you for your knowledge on this and the thoughtful way you wrote it. I can understand what you are saying. I cannot remember everything about my American History classes but what I do remember is that our country was founded on Christian beliefs and that is the basis of our constitution. Am I right? If so, when and how did that change and why? If it hasn’t changed, should it and why? Also, aren’t other countries enmeshed to some degree with the dominant religion of their land? Israel, Iraq, Japan, Thailand, Saudia Arabia, Iran, India, etc.?

  18. Ann –

    “They don’t seem to get the disparaging remarks on this blog that Christianity does even though I believe they share many of the same thoughts and beliefs.” [regarding those who are muslim]

    This is true. Although to be frank, Muslims have little influence over American politics, practice or law – whereas because Christianity is the dominant religion in this country, have influence over our laws, and “moral” arguments are usually waged between Christianity and whomever the other group is.

    The other thing I would mention, is that Christianity in our country is not only the dominant religion, but it is a fractured one in our country. We have all sorts of denominations that disagree with each other, all claiming some sort of moral superiority or “correct” interpretation of things. Most Americans are unaware of even the basic teachings of Islam.

    The teachings of Islam are important, and noteworthy, but due to the minor impact on our laws and socio-political landscape, as well as the expected American ignorance regarding the topic, people let it be.

  19. Eddy –

    “You wondered if only those conservatives would be willing to discuss these things? Do you mean with you? To be brutally honest, my friends think I’m crazy to blog here.”

    Eddy, they certainly can discuss these things with me if they like – I’ve spoken to Senators, the Judiciary Committee, etc..and would be happy to be a part of that conversation. You were very literal and concrete in your interpretation…

    However, I meant that I’ve never seen conservative groups step up to the table and say that they want to talk about jointly drafting a bill that would give GLBT people assurance they will not be discriminated against in their places of employment or housing. People should be held to the same standard of work performance or “good neighbors” as anyone else. Just like those that have various religious affiliations, or disabilities.

    In many areas, it is still acceptable (and legal) to fire a perfectly hard-working productive individual simply because they are gay. I think we can agree, that this is not right.

    However, I’ve heard nonsense like wanting to restrict gay/lesbian individuals from being teachers, etc…which is likely why conservative groups would not sign onto a bill that is, well, nondiscriminatory in nature – they want schools to have that right.

    As for your friends thinking you are “crazy” to blog here…mine do as well. I live in such a progressive neighborhood – where two moms or two dads are not uncommon…where my neighbors are as diverse as one could imagine – islamic (in full dress and not), african-american, jewish, caucasian, etc..and we all live in harmony.

    I forget easily that there are such odd sentiments in the world outside of my progressive town, and the places that I vacation – and frankly, it keeps me grounded to be reminded.

  20. Thanks Eddy – its good to be back – and no problem about Saint Nicholas – we can talk about him whenever you like 🙂

  21. Jayhuck,

    Can a person belong to a conservative church and still be politically liberal??? Or does liberal mean that you accept homosexuality as God’s plan and design? I’m not sure I understand how you are differentiating the two.

  22. Ann,

    An orthodox acquaintance of mine once told me that it can be difficult to explain that “no, I can’t stay late just this one Friday” or “no, I can’t move my vacation request to another week to fit better with the work rush schedule”. But I took her word for it so I don’t really know if it is as easy as you claim.

  23. Evening all! Welcome back Jayhuck!

    I’m chuckling over the fact that my use of the new holiday interpretations seems to have spurred its own mini thread. Sorry ’bout that.

    Jayhuck, we’ll save the Santa Claus discussion for a more seasonal time.

  24. thanks Jayhuck – I was asking worldwide, not just the U.S. I believe the Muslim faith/religion is the largest in the world and was wondering if they or the other religions made any meaningful contribution to AIDS charities compared to the Christian organizations. They don’t seem to get the disparaging remarks on this blog that Christianity does even though I believe they share many of the same thoughts and beliefs.

  25. Ann,

    I know some Jewish groups that do but I don’t hang around people from the other groups very much so I don’t know.

    Be careful about comparing the amounts the different groups contribute – First of all, Liberal Christian Churches have been on the scene much longer and have been contributing and helping out with HIV research and care longer than their conservative counterparts

    Second, Christianity is by far the largest religion of the land, so it wouldn’t really be fair to directly compare amounts from them and other groups

  26. I’m not sure who “we” is/are, however, my point was that when there is a Jewish holiday, it has been my experience that it is honored or celebrated in a traditional way as the day was meant for. Christians seem to take the holidays off whether they observe them or not. That also is true for those who are very critical of the Christian faith – they bash the religion but have no problem taking the holiday off. Seems hypocritical to me. Also, I’m not sure how accurate it is that those of the Jewish faith have to make an “extra effort” to ask for “special consideration” and then “hope it doesn’t affect their career”. It has been my experience that they just let their employer know what the days will be ahead of time – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Pasah and then take them off. There are Christian faiths that observe The Feast of the Tabernacles and also the sundown to sundown Shabbat (Sabbath) as well as the Jewish faith. I believe accommodations are made for them as well although I have never experienced it personally.

    Does anyone know or have information for the question I asked in post #42262?

  27. Ann,

    With Jews making up about 2% of the US population and with the vast majority of them secular or in Reform Judaism, I’m not sure I understand the idea that there are more observant Jews than observant Christians.

    I think perhaps we don’t notice observant Christians as much because our work days are structured around Christianity. We don’t have to worry about leaving by sundown on Fridays – we have Sundays off. We don’t have to ask for Yom Kippur, we already get Christmas. etc. etc. Jews have to make an effort to request “special consideration” and hope that it doesn’t effect their career.

  28. thanks Jayhuck – I appreciate the clarification. I was just thinking about the traditional ones that are well recognized in the work place, etc. It seems to me that Jewish holidays are more solemnly honored or celebrated than others but I can also see where I could be wrong – thanks again for the information 🙂

  29. Ann,

    Again – you have to be careful about which groups you are talking about. The Orthodox Christian Church fasts from all meat and dairy products for nearly 40% of the year – and all these times revolve around Holy/Feast Days – There are many Catholic and Orthodox people who are very strict and pious about these days. But they are also taught not to go around talking about the fact that they are fasting – there are strong words against doing such in the Bible – So it really depends – I wouldn’t ever say there are more Jews or Christians or Muslims that are more pious than others.

  30. thanks Jayhuck – I didn’t think about this distinction. I guess I was thinking about just the traditional ones. The Jewish religion has a variety of celebratory and solemn days that are honored and require complete devotion which means limited activity on those days. It seems to me that there are more of these or more people honoring them than in the Christian religion.

    I have a question to ask though – are Jewish, Buddist, Sikhs, and Muslim organizations making contributions to AIDS fund raising in any meaningful way? If so, are their any statistics compared to Christian contributions?

  31. Eddy,

    Listening to Bill O’Reilly can be fun… as long as you don’t believe everything he says. There is no “War on Christmas”.

    Sure there were some individual business that stopped saying “Merry Christmas”. But I always thought it was funny that Mr. Macy started a business that ever said Merry Christmas anyway. More than a little ironic, I thought. (segue warning) I once went off on some poor clerk at Macy’s for having huge Christmas displays set up during High Holy Days and having the menoras half-hidden by Christian holiday merchandise. (ok, back on track). I live in SoCal and you have to admit it is funny that we all go do our Christmas shopping at stores with Jewish names on the door – and insist that salesclerk Noah Goldstein wish us a Merry Christmas.

    As for civic institutions ceasing their religious celebrations, I get it. I think it’s silly, but I can understand how they don’t want to be accused of favoring one religion over another. Personally, I think you should put both the creche and the menora in the town square – or whatever religious symbol represents some sizable segment of your community. But I don’t get incensed about it.

    But the thing is, Eddy, that if you are discriminated because of your religion you have protections.

    But in most states an employer or apartment manager or sales clerk can simply say, “we don’t hire (or rent to or sell to) no faggots” and there’s nothing I can do. That’s a fact. And let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen.

    And for those of us who are old enough to remember the “faggots not allowed” signs, we aren’t likely to be convinced that discrimination against Christians is somehow worse than discrimination against us. In fact, we are inclined to believe that such claims are little more than self-justification and obfuscation tactics (I’m not accusing you of this personally).

    Until the day that Christians say that gay people should have the same protections that Christians recieve, they just aren’t going to win the moral argument on this one. It’s hard to claim the high road when one demands protection but denies it to others.

  32. Ann –

    It somewhat depends on what type of Christianity we are talking about. Historic and Traditional Christianity like that practiced by Catholics and Orthodox have MANY Holy Days, sometimes called Feast Days, in them. Protestant Churches often don’t recognize these same days – so it just depends. But you’re right – that is hypocritical

  33. I believe the Jewish religion has many more holidays, celebrations, holy days and traditions than Christianity. It is also interesing that so many of the people who bash Christianity also enjoy taking off all the Christian holidays. Isn’t that somewhat hypocritical?

  34. Eddy,

    I’m not saying our governments aren’t making laws that impact Christians, but when it comes right down to it, Christians still enjoy FAR more benefits, time and respect than most other religions. The majority of religious holidays that people are allowed to take off or which are recognized with time off work are Christian.

    And Saint Nicholas was a Christian – I’m sure he isn’t the jolly figure we see everywhere today, but that icon has strong Christian roots, so its funny that you try and paint it as something non-Christian.

  35. Eddy,

    Just so we’re clear here – the attributes “honest, hardworking and truthful” don’t just apply to Christians, or even one type of Christian 🙂

  36. You know – what’s really sad about this, is that the so-called liberal churches stepped in and started doing things like this 25 years ago. Why has it taken these conservative churches, that so many people on here seem to endorse, to step up, make these claims and finally do what is right? It baffles me sometimes.

    I’m not meeting this change of heart with suspicion, just with amazement that these churches who claim they hold the “Truth” regarding Christ and his church, were the LAST ones to step in and help with a disease that has claimed millions of lives.

  37. But I would not want a homogenized culture either. I want Merry Christmas, Happy Hanakah, Chinese New Year, etc… I enjoy the differences.

  38. Workplace discrimination is rampant. Age, gender, cultural background (either religious or nationality) have prevented many well qualified individuals from advancing. It’s not just gays and transgendered individuals who are feeling and experiencing this predjudice. Obese people, disabled people, etc… anyone who does not fit into some majority normative set of the population is unjustly judged. I think we are all trying to work towards a more level playing ground in this regard.

  39. The notion that religious individuals aren’t the victims of job discrimination is pure poppycock. The first thing my State of Minnesota job counselor told me when I showed him my official resume was that I should delete my bible schooling from my education history and that I should be ‘very careful’ when discussing my employment in a Christian ministry.

    It’s a bit ironic that the workforce really loves a ‘closet Christian’…honest, hard-working, truthful…but reacts negatively to a Bible visible on a desk. It seems in many workplaces, open Christians seldom rise above mid-management.

    Timothy: Thanks for the reminder about the “four or fewer units” exclusion. I’ve simply refused to discuss politics with anyone for more than a decade but I remembered that I did have one challenge to the housing concern. I promise I’ll toss that into the discussion and see whether it satisfies a concern or exposes a bigot. 🙂

    JAG: You wondered if only those conservatives would be willing to discuss these things? Do you mean with you? To be brutally honest, my friends think I’m crazy to blog here. Sometimes, when I read a sentence like “Don’t worry Eddy…Churches are allowed to discriminate now, and be bigoted…and don’t worry, they will still have that right”…well, I wonder too.

    Timothy: The state and federal governments ARE making interpretations of the law that are impacting Christians. In the idealistic viewpoint of ‘religious freedom’, anyone could demonstrate their religious beliefs as long as it didn’t, in some way, infringe on the rights of another. So, now, in many state office buildings throughout the country and in many community holiday parades, you can have ‘holiday decorations’ but NO religious imagery. Santa Claus (offensive to many Christians) is not only allowed but given the place of honor.

    Store clerks are prohibited from saying “Merry Christmas”–the ‘Christ’ part might be offensive.

  40. Warren,

    I’m sorry but I do reject that assertion about Focus’ motives. It flys in the face of their actions.

    Given the opportunity to say, “let’s protect small family businesses and duplexes so they can reflect the owners’ wishes”, instead Focus has spent fast sums spreading truthless accusations about non-discrimination laws. The laws they protested did exactly what you say that they want. If this truly were their concern, then they would have supported such laws.

    So it is extremely difficult to believe that this was their motivation. It logically doesn’t hold.

    And as for your example, I don’t find much relevance in fears about religious freedom based on incidences in countries that do not hold as sacrosanct the protections of religion. Remember, it was Britian’s lack of religious freedom that played a great role in the founding of this country. So worries about Sweden or the UK or Canada or Iran or Mozambique really aren’t convincing when talking about the US.

    And I doubt we are going to be overthrowing the first amendment of the constitution any time soon. Pro-gay people have a great respect for the constitution and don’t seem inclined to use it to impose their religious beliefs on others…. or so it seems to me.

  41. “Opinion surveys consistently show that the American public opposes workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. In a 2007 Gallup poll, for example, 89% of US adults agreed that “Homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities.” This percentage represents an increase of more than 30 points since the question was first asked by Gallup in 1977, when 56% supported equal employment opportunity.

    Despite this near-consensus that sexual minority individuals shouldn’t face job discrimination because of their orientation, federal law still doesn’t protect workers in this regard (although 20 states and the District of Columbia do, according to the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.)

    Is job-related bias a problem? A new study by economist Dr. Lee Badgett and her colleagues at UCLA indicates that it is. Their report, Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, was released last week and is available from the Williams Institute’s web site.

    Dr. Badgett and her coauthors reviewed findings from more than 50 studies that addressed employment discrimination among sexual and gender minorities. As would be expected in any such review, the methodologies and results varied considerably across the studies. The data clearly show, however, that workplace discrimination is disturbingly widespread.”

  42. Warren –

    Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts, conservative groups have not supported anti-discrimination laws against GLBT individuals. Which, leads others to perceive them as, well, bigoted.

    If only conservative groups actually wanted to have a discussion about such things rather than dismissing them or promoting misinformation like those such as Eddy actually believe.

    It’s really quite sad. The churches are not promoting truth, but fear. Warren, as you are well aware, the majority of cases are not as you described above. Try to be accurate in your representations. We can give exceptions to any law passed in good faith.

  43. Timothy, I do think Focus cares about duplexes and church employees. I believe they would like to prevent instances such as this.

    Agree or not, predict things will be different in this country or not, it is this kind of thing that should be addressed to have a dialogue with conservative groups on these matters.

  44. Eddy,

    There’s also the fear that gay people will eat your children!! Oh no!!

    OK, so that’s not really a fear. But neither are the others.

    Non-discrimination laws make exceptions for one’s own home and generally the rule is four or fewer units are excluded from the law.

    So too are religious groups generally excluded from non-discrimination rules.

    If those are actually the issues, one can be certain that such concerns are considered. And if Focus supported a non-discrimination law I am absolutely convinced that its authors would be more than glad to work with Focus to make certian that there are no infringements on the rights of churches.

    But really none of us here truly believe that Focus’ sole concerns are about duplexes or about church employees, do we?

  45. Marty –

    I’m sorry that your child was raised to believe the only function of marriage is to reproduce. I sincerely hope that as they age, they can see the benefits of faithful companionship, emotional intimacy, sexual pleasure, and lifelong monogamy. The list goes on and on…

    It just doesn’t hold up. Inmates who will never have the possibility of sexual relations marry, the elderly, disabled who cannot perform sexually, etc…

    It’s an old outdated argument…perfect for an 8-yr-old, but I hope that we move beyond such simple reasoning….

    maybe into arguments that involve the consistent same-sex pairings found in nature (bears, giraffes, dragonflies, etc..), and the continuum and plasticity of human sexuality that we know scientifically.

  46. Eddy –

    Your arguments are not well informed. Read the law.

    If you are a church, you can discriminate against hiring someone gay if you like…but if you are a large corporation, you are not allowed to discriminate against someone just for being black, or muslim, etc.

    I just think “GLBT” should be added to that list. You wouldn’t want someone firing you because of your choice of religious beliefs…

    Don’t worry Eddy…Churches are allowed to discriminate now, and be bigoted…and don’t worry, they will still have that right.

  47. I agree as well. Also, I don’t think one has to be a conservative Christian to have these concerns – there are people with varied cultures and religions all over the world who have the same concerns and are not comfortable with any answers yet.

  48. I’d say that’s well put EDDY, and I agree 100%.

    When I first told my 8 year old daughter that some men out there wanted to get married to other men, her immediate question, asked with a sense of amazement, was “you mean two men can have a baby????”

    It’s a question that begs itself, and not one I’m ready to have to explain in graphic detail to an 8 year old.

  49. I can’t envision FOTF EVER sponsoring legislation that would prevent discrimination in housing or employment due to sexual orientation.

    HOUSING: Let’s say you’re a fundamentalist Christian wanting to rent out the other half of your duplex. No laws yet compel them to rent to drinkers, partyers, unmarried couples but they fear that such laws will force them to accept homosexual individuals or couples. Now, let’s give that fundamentalist Christian a few children (focussing on the family). Do they want to be explaining the gay birds and bees at age 6 or 7?

    I firmly believe, that until such a scenario is addressed to their satisfaction, FOTF could NEVER support most of the anti-discrimination legislation as it’s currently worded.

    EMPLOYMENT: The feared scenario is this: You’ve got a conservative or fundamentalist church or organization and a staff member comes out or is discovered to be gay. Believing homosexuality to be sinful, they cannot accept the fact that they’d HAVE to keep such a person on board if the person chose to stay. The confusion and turmoil this could cause for a church or ministry would be tremendous. Many of these churches believe that ‘if there is sin in the camp’, they’ll be cut off from God’s voice and blessings. I can’t see them supporting anti-discrimination legislation in this arena either until they feel that they can preserve the right ‘to be holy in the sight of God’.

    BTW: I’m not arguing for or against such thinking. I’m simply saying that these are the types of issues I’ve heard conservative Christians bring up when I try to expore their political views. I haven’t had an answer to give them.

  50. It was a smart move for FOF. They are, and are seen as, a very hostile group – not only toward what they perceive as the “sin,” but also the “sinner” – in the case of homosexuality.

    For example, They do not sponsor legislation that would prevent discrimination in housing or employment due to sexual orientation…and I’d love to see them get behind those things. By being against these types of basic civil rights – they always come across like a bigot.

    Kudos for them, regardless of reason, for doing what’s right. My guess as to why?

    More and more, intolerance toward homosexuality is seen as a “faux-pas,” and if they want to keep any viability whatsoever, they’d better at least appear to – on the periphery – be supporting an affliction that is sweeping the world…not just pinning it on the group that they oppose. It’s a smart political move that only cost them $1000.

    Heck, I gave more than that to AIDS research last year…but, it’s a start.

  51. About time and it is a step in the right direction. However like many I remain suspicious of Focus’ motives given their past behavior, stance and commentary.

  52. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I believe Focus on the Family to be actively engaged in evil and to have purposes contrary to every principle expressed by Christ. Nonetheless, I commend them for this act of kindness, as nominal of a pittance as it may be.

    In any case, I am certain that the person whose meds are paid won’t care that the money came from Focus. And on his behalf I say, “Thank you, Focus”.

  53. “We have had some complaints,” Boedeker said. “There are a lot of people (who) think that Focus on Family must have an agenda. … I think they are trying to do what’s right in their community.”

    Maybe…. but that $1000 just bought them more than that in goodwill and publicity.

  54. A very good move, one that I’m sure will be met with a great deal of suspicion. After all, with a thousand dollar sponsorhip out of Focus’s $135M budget 26 years after the problem was first noticed, it’s easy to suspect that it is done more for publicity than anything else.

    But a good first step often begins small. Hopefully this will be the first of many, many more. As Joe Dallas always says at Love Won Out, there’s an awful lot of atonement to do on this. Maybe Focus will take his words to heart.

  55. This is awesome. When AIDS has infected one person of a family there are collateral consequences to the other members. Helping out is very much keeping in with a mission statement of promoting family well being.

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