As he attempts to rebrand himself as a spiritual leader, Glenn Beck has surrounded himself with religious and secular figures who share a fervent opposition to the "homosexual agenda."
On his radio show today, Glenn Beck identified one of the figures who played a key role in supporting his attempt to revive the Black Robe Regiment, a group of clergy that endorse Beck's vision of the role of religion in American life: James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. Beck, a Mormon, noted that while he and Dobson "have our theological differences," he credited Dobson's "integrity and power" with helping to get other pastors behind the regiment idea.
Dobson's presence seems to further confirm that, contrary to Beck's suggestion that a broad ideological swath of clergy support his Black Robe Regiment, it's largely limited to those holding conservative evangelical views of Christianity.
Dobson's history of inflammatory and politically charged statements, meanwhile, seems to run counter to Beck's efforts to separate politics from his religious efforts:
On Faith, the Washington Post religion web site edited by Sally Quinn and Newsweek's Jon Meacham, currently features guest post by Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, writing on behalf of something calling itself "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry." Bozell and his ostensibly-anti-bigotry buddies are upset about some animated show Comedy Central may or may not produce and may or may not air.
What's striking about the Post's decision to grant Bozell and "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry" this forum is not the substance of their criticism of Comedy Central, but the fact that the coalition is made up of some of the most irredeemable bigots you'll ever encounter.
Take, for example, Catholic League president Bill Donohue. Donohue is a rabid anti-gay bigot with a long history of highly questionable commentary about religions he does not practice. He has said, for example, that "[p]eople don't trust the Muslims when it comes to liberty" and that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular." Donohue has also demonstrated selective outrage when it comes to the religious bigotry of others, defending conservative writer Jerome Corsi's attacks on the Catholic Church and conservative actor Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic rants. (Donohue has previously been granted a guest post at On Faith.)
Or Tony Perkins, another anti-gay bigot who is a member of the "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry." Perkins has said "the soil of the Islamic faith just does not work with democracy" and has spoken to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group that "oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind … and to force the integration of the races."
Or Michael Medved, another member of the "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry." Medved has said that "Islam, as a faith" has "a special violence problem." (Medved also seems to have more problems with gay people than you might expect from a member of an anti-bigotry coalition.)
Tim Wildmon, another member of Bozell's band of self-described opponents of bigotry, has praised a far-right author who has advocated the execution of gays, adulterers, and doctors who perform abortions.
I'm sure there are plenty more examples, but you get the point: Bozell's "Citizens Against Religious Bigotry" is made up of some of the most notable bigots in American public life. And yet Sally Quinn and the Washington Post allowed them to portray themselves as opponents of bigotry, without any indication of their own enthusiastic bigotry towards a wide range of people.
From the October 16 edition of Focus on the Family Daily:
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Revealing his "moral dilemma" about the 2008 presidential campaign, Focus on the Family's James Dobson said that while "neither of the candidates is consistent with my views," Sen. John McCain "comes closer to what I believe" than Sen. Barack Obama, adding that McCain "seems to understand the Muslim threat."
In his July 7 Focus on the Family broadcast, James Dobson insisted that he and co-host Tom Minnery were "not throwing stones at Senator Obama for his faith" during an earlier show. However, later in the same broadcast, Minnery questioned if Obama is "even sincere with the way he talks about religion."
On his radio show, James Dobson falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama claimed Dobson "wants to expel people who are not Christians" from the United States. Dobson was referring to a 2006 speech in which Obama actually asked: "And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's?"
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Two researchers cited by Focus on the Family's James Dobson have both accused Dobson of misusing their research in a Time magazine guest column arguing that same-sex parenting is harmful to children.
In a Time magazine guest column, James Dobson baselessly claimed that "the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father." In fact, studies have consistently found that children raised by gay or lesbian parents suffer no adverse effects in their psychosocial development.
During the November 6 broadcast of Focus on the Family, James Dobson and a group of allies did not mention one of the allegations surrounding Rev. Ted Haggard: that Haggard has admitted purchasing methamphetamines from self-described male prostitute Mike Jones.