Friday, June 03, 2005

Focus on the Family

Garden of the Gods
Originally uploaded by p2son.
I just returned from a strange and wonderful trip to Colorado Springs. Through a series of mechancial breakdowns and plane reshufflings, I ended up sandwiched between a delightful elderly couple, Ken & Sarah, also enroute to Colorado Springs.

Turns out, Ken has worked at Focus on the Family for years and is one of James Dobson's friends. They even attended seminary together.

For those of you who don't know, Focus on the Family, is one of the number one sources of misinformation and anti-gay rhetoric for the church in America. Dr. James Dobson, the founder and director, routinely tells people that homosexuals are out to recruit children and that we each have thousands of sexual partners.

Dobson uses fear and lies to motivate conservatives to oppose homosexuals through legislation and intimidation on school boards and in the church. They also are apparently the biggest funder of the ex-gay movement.

After three hours of conversation with Ken and Sarah, where we dialoged about homosexuality and I answered their many questions, I was able to get an appointment with someone at Focus on the Family.

I don't feel free to go into details, but I met for three hours with a senior person in the public policy department. He works exclusively with homosexuality and gender issues. Again, we dialoged.

That evening a man from the public policy division from Focus on the Family came to my show. (Sarah from the plane ride came too!) We spoke briefly after my performance.

Amazingly the next day as I changed planes for the second leg of my journey home, I bumped into the director of Love in Action (yes, the Homo No Mo Halfway House) and we chatted for about 10 minutes.

In one short trip I conversed with folks who can make a difference for good if they choose to do so. They genuinely believe that they do no harm through their efforts. I told them I believe otherwise.

What they do (and I do) with the information shared, is for us to decide, but I am thrilled that doors to dialog can open. Ultimately we are talking about people on both sides of the issue who have the potential to do much good in this world.

"Come now, let us reason together..."


At 7:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Godly coincidence.
Hopefully much good will come of it.

At 9:17 PM , Blogger Joe G. said...

Wow, you have so many opportunities to share like this: your show, your travels, and now this. Perhaps there's a bit of a "calling" here? Or do you already know that?

At 2:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm so glad to hear this. Amazing, isn't it?

Sorry I missed seeing you this time 'round. Hope you get back this way soon...

At 4:56 PM , Blogger Liz Opp said...

Keep the stories coming, Peterson! It seems as if you are being used well, and that you are being faithful. ...I hope you also continue to lean on a support committee of some kind: this work, education, and ministry can be draining.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

At 10:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool, glad that your time was good with them.

At 11:23 AM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

Liz wrote
"I hope you also continue to lean on a support committee of some kind: this work, education, and ministry can be draining."

Indeed! Yes, I meet with my support committee on a regular basis and e-mail and call them regularly. I don't know how I could do this work without the support from the and the Queer Quaker community.

At 10:20 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Sometimes you meet the most interesting people in the strangest places. It happens to me every so often. I just recently bought a rainbow gay ally sticker in Northampton (yes, of all places!) and I have yet to put it on my car with the various other bumper stickers. I also encountered several individuals in Colorado who had exact opposite ideas about homosexuality that I have. That was at Youth Quake in 2003 and Emily Neumann was my fellow comrade in this heated discussion among others (evangelical Quakers) who we were talking about this topic with.


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