Editor's Note: Guest blogger Wayne Besen is an author, activist, columnist and public speaker. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Truth Wins OUT, an organization to founded to combat the 'ex-gay' myth and right wing propaganda.
In the past week, Focus on the Family's James Dobson has twice reared his head. The first time was to release a fictional "Letter from 2012" to warn of America's downfall if Barack Obama is elected. The paranoid letter claimed that an Obama presidency might lead to terrorist strikes on four American cities, Israel being hit by a nuclear bomb, gay marriage in every state and hospitals refusing service to anyone over 80 years old.
The second time we heard from Dobson was on his radio broadcast where he predicted that the sky would fall if California voters rejected Proposition 8, which would ban gay people from marrying. On his show, an audibly shaken Dobson, on the verge of tears, said he would trek to California this weekend to join Lou Engel, Tony Perkins and others for "The Call" rally of prayer and fasting in the name of saving "traditional marriage."
These are just the latest examples of a man who has dedicated his entire life to dehumanizing gay people, destabilizing gay relationships and demeaning our right to exist. Yet, despite this unholy record of reckless rhetoric, the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) will honor Dobson on Nov. 8th in its Radio Hall of Fame.
The idea of honoring such a notorious homophobe is outrageous and offensive. Let's face it, if Dobson had attacked another minority in such a discriminatory way, there is no way he would be honored. Unfortunately, when it comes to gay people, the Museum of Broadcast Communications employs a double standard, where the rules of civility and common decency do not apply.
To fight back, a coalition of state, local and national organizations has launched a website, www.DumpDobson.com. Our goal is to raise awareness about Dobson's lies and shame the Radio Hall of Fame for honoring a dangerous demagogue. Our efforts, which have included a robust ad campaign, will culminate in a protest against the Radio Hall of Fame on the night Dobson is to be inducted.
If you live in Indiana, we strongly urge you to come to Chicago and help send a message to the Radio Hall of Fame. The demonstration is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM, at the Renaissance Chicago Hotel. (1 W Wacker Drive). While the elections will be over, the hate speech and propaganda from group's like Focus on the Family will not go away. Indeed, if we score victories over the right's efforts to ban marriage equality and Obama wins, the angry and false words of anti-gay groups will only grow more desperate and shrill.
It is important to remember that Focus on the Family runs an "ex-gay" ministry, Love Won Out, to portray GLBT people, as immoral reprobates who could choose to change if they weren't too stubborn to accept God. By positioning homosexuality as a behavior that can be prayed away, Dobson is offering people a way to justify discriminatory and even violent behavior - all in the guise of loving the sinner.
What Dobson fails to tell his followers is that efforts to alter sexual orientation are considered damaging by the American Psychiatric Association, The American Medical Association, The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
One wonders why the MBC would honor Dobson before it had fully investigated serious allegations that he distorted scientific research. In the past two years, seven prominent scientists have demanded that he stop citing their work because he misrepresented their conclusions on homosexuality. New York University educational psychologist, Carol Gilligan, PhD., appeared in a video saying that Dobson "was not truthful" and that he should "refrain from ever quoting me again." Dr. Kyle Pruett, a professor of child psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine claimed Dobson "cherry picked" his conclusions. University of Minnesota's Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H. wrote a letter to Dobson that clamed he engaged in "a gross misrepresentation of our research."
Finally, Andrew Colvin, 16, contacted me two weeks ago. He had recently come out to his mother who he says listens to James Dobson's radio show. Instead of accepting her son, she gave Andrew Focus on the Family's anti-gay books. Thanks to Dobson, things became so tense that Andrew moved out of his mother's home in Colorado to live with his father in Arizona.
Sadly, America is littered with stories, such as Andrew's, where Dobson has taken his microphone and turned it into a club to bludgeon families. The pain is raw and the scars are real. Yet, this cruel reality will be supplanted by a Disneyfied version in the Radio Hall of Fame, where Dobson's viciousness will be euphemized as "virtues" and "values."
The MBC should stop pandering to the right wing and do the right thing by dumping Dobson from its Radio Hall of Fame. And, the media should start doing its job by holding Dobson accountable. Let's focus on the facts and stop peddling the fiction that James Dobson's actions are worthy of anything but condemnation.
However, standing up to these lies starts with you. We need you at our demonstration next week, to tell America the truth about James Dobson. Please join our efforts, and, if you need one more reason to go, I hear they have great pizza in Chicago.