Update, 1:50 P.M., Friday, Oct. 26: Monica Schleicher, director of public relations for Focus and CitizenLink, sent this in a follow-up e-mail:
"CitizenLink does not contribute to candidates or coordinate with candidates or campaigns. Funds invested in this election were independent expenditures; not direct, in-kind or coordinated contributions/expenditures."
This Sunday, Oct. 28, is going to bring an interesting opportunity for the fine folks of Colorado Springs: a chance to hear conservative values juxtaposed with more liberal ones, as voiced by Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, and our own publisher John Weiss, respectively. It's called "A Civil Dialogue Regarding the Election: On the Disagreements Between Conservative and Liberal Values."
There are all kind of values to talk about, but odds are good that gay rights — marriage, medical benefits, etc. — will come up.
Now, I've got no idea what Weiss is going to say with regard to that. (And I've got nothing to do with the event.) But I'm fairly sure it'll be along the lines of values the newspaper espouses as a whole: equality in all things for every single law-abiding person, regardless of anything, including whom they're having sex with.
What we might look at is how Daly feels about the topic in this new era of respect. Luckily, he's just put out a book that hopefully "inspires and motivates Christians to transcend political agendas and partisan battles."
And how does ReFocus: Living a Life that Reflects God's Heart begin? Why, with the topic of gay marriage — sort of. It begins with a recounting of the potential partnership between Focus and TOMS Shoes, and an appearance that the shoe company's founder, Blake Mycoskie, made at a Focus event, and for which he later took heat.
Here's a statement Mycoskie put out on his blog afterward, as quoted in the Washington Post:
“Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family’s beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event. It was an oversight on my part and the company’s part and one we regret. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly.”
Well, as he writes in his new book, Daly just couldn't see why his organization's work to curtail the civil rights of millions of Americans should stand in the way of it helping a socially conscious company give poor kids shoes.
"What happened?" he writes. "How did we arrive at such a point that an organization like Focus on the Family is deemed unfit by some in our culture to help children in need simply because we hold to what we believe are biblical mandates about marriage and family?
"Something is wrong."
What does "simply ... hold[ing] to" those mandates look like in the real world?
It looks like everything else that's meant to make a difference these days: dollars and cents. Let's look at some of the political candidates to whom Focus' activist arm CitizenLink has donated a cumulative $2.2 million.
Well, we've got $1.4 million to Mitt Romney. He's a measured fellow who, in a 2006 event at Boston’s Tremont Temple Baptist Church said that when there's a ceremony to celebrate the love of two men or women, "the price of [it] is paid by the children." (Is that Jimmy Dobson I see on the guest list?)
We've got $203,000 to Ohio senate candidate Josh Mandel, who in 2009, as a state legislator, opposed a bill that would make discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity a crime.
And, hey, look at that: We've got $78,000 spent in support of a special Missourian who has the rosiest view of "legitimate rape" we've ever heard: Mr. William Todd Akin.
So, personally, I can't wait to hear all about the upside to conservative values. Maybe we'll even get a taste of Daly's plan for Christians to "once again be known by our love." I know I'm feeling it. Be there at 5:30 p.m. at Vanguard Church.