Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Does Focus on the Family only care about abortion and homosexuality?

from the Center for Arizona Policy -


ByTom Minnery
Vice President, Government and Public Policy,
Focus on the Family

Over the years God has blessed Focus on the Family with an ever-broadening reach via radio, Internet, mail, books and magazines. Soon we’ll be adding even newer technologies. With that expanding reach comes a growing list of issues that people want us to tackle, and they are all worthy and serious concerns: religious persecution, starvation, the environment, the tax burden, poverty, racism, immigration and war.

Our Calling

Some people have become upset because we haven’t taken up particular causes, and they have suggested to the news media that our concerns are “narrow,” that we seem to worry only about two volatile topics: abortion and homosexuality.

So why do we focus on a few crucial issues rather than embracing all worthy causes and concerns?

First of all, our mission is to strengthen and nurture families and to spread the Gospel. When we address controversies, we don’t stray from this mission. Second, in reality, we don’t spend that much time talking about public policy issues. About 92 percent of our effort is devoted to building stronger marriages and equipping parents to raise children. The small remainder of our time is spent defending the family, in the halls of government and against the corrosive effects of culture. The news media pay attention only to that 8 percent because often it involves conflict and controversy.

About controversy: We don’t believe that the hot topics of abortion and homosexuality are narrow issues. Abortion kills preborn children – more than 43 million in the years since Roe v. Wade. That represents a tragedy so large it is hardly comprehensible, and it is difficult to understand how anyone can call this “narrow.” Abortion is a stain upon the nation, and thankfully (partially because of Dr. Dobson’s leadership) the American people are turning against abortion.

Earlier this year, for the first time the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban on partial birth abortion. That is the direct result of the people electing an openly pro-life president.

The second of those “narrow” issues strikes at the heart of the family. Homosexual activists are determined to erase the very definition of the family that has served civilization throughout history. The definition of family is, simply, a mom and a dad raising kids. Obviously there are many exceptions: single moms, single dads and even grandparents who heroically get the job done. For many reasons, there are also families without children.

Overwhelmingly, social science research underscores wisdom of the Bible – that one man and one woman, joining together in a permanent union, is the best environment for raising healthy, productive children.

Beyond our Scope

Another question we get, most often from those who don’t understand our mission and core principles, is about poverty – since the Bible speaks often about the poor and the oppressed.

When considering those who are oppressed, one of the most haunting passages in Scripture is Matthew 25:31-46, in which Jesus states that one of the examples of genuine faith, which leads to the separation of “sheep” from “goats” at the end of the age is how one treats “the least of these brethren.” Can anyone point to any class more oppressed than preborn children in this age of abortion? Absolutely not.

David Ellwood, professor of public policy at Harvard University, has said it well: “The vast majority of children who are raised entirely in a two-parent home will never be poor during childhood.”

Author and broadcaster William Bennett once said that the nuclear family is the original and the best “Department of Health, Education and Welfare” that ever existed. His words have been proved true time and again. And that is why, when we address controversies, we stick to the issues that have a direct consequence for the family.

(The Center for Arizona Policy also receives inquiries on why it does not address a variety of issues. Tom Minnery’s piece, reprinted by permission of Focus on the Family, mirrors CAP’s reasons for focusing on the issue areas that it does. — Ed.)

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