The American Independent’s Andy Kopsa reports on what has been a substantial problem for years: the dispersement of federally-funded grants — some to the tune of millions of dollars — to religious organizations engaged in anti-gay political activity.
Kopsa, who has significantly covered this topic before, reports:
The anti-gay, politically influential Christian organization the Indiana Family Institute (IFI) has been endorsed by the State of Indiana as “collaborative partner” in administering the state’s federally funded Healthy Marriage program since 2008. This arrangement provides IFI with federal support through the Indiana Department of Child Services through 2013.
The group, a state affiliate of Colorado-based Focus on the Family that has been the leading political force behind the anti-same sex marriage amendment –- House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6) — that passed the Indiana Senate this week, got a $50,000 grant from a subsidiary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services called the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in 2005.
Kopsa notes that the Indiana Family Institute program is funded through 2013.
Other groups have also received funds:
In South Carolina, the Palmetto Family Council was awarded $1.2 million through Healthy Marriage and Abstinence Only grants from 2004 to 2009. According to its blog, the “top priority” for the group in 2006 was South Carolina’s anti-gay marriage amendment. Palmetto’s president, Oran Smith, condemned public funding of a gay and lesbian group’s annual statewide festival, citing concerns about using “public funds for a festival that is political or indecent or both.”
The Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) received more than $3 million in federal funds to pay for a marriage-mentoring program. The program, called Marriage Matters, was found not to be a third-party contractor but rather a trademark of the outspoken anti-gay group. IFPC has garnered headlines for its opposition to same-sex marriage, including public allegations that homosexuality poses a greater public health risk than second-hand smoke. IFPC recently changed its name to The Family Leader and is now a major player in Iowa politics.
A 2008 release on the South Carolina Palmetto Family Council website says the group received $3 million, to be funded over a period of five years.
Other groups have also, at one time or another, had their hands on federal grants. The Oklahoma Family Policy Council, for example, writes:
OFPC’s funding for KEEP [Kids Eagerly Endorsing Purity] comes through a combination of privately donated funds, substantial in-kind contributions from caring Oklahomans, and via the federal government through either a SPRANS Community-Based Abstinence Education implementation grant or a §510 grant, both authorized under Title V of the Social Security Act.
On her personal blog, Kopsa also records other organizations receiving federal funding:
Rocky Mountain Family Policy Council received at least $55,000 for services through federally funded abstinence education program WAIT Training in Colorado. WAIT recently changed its name to The Center for Relationship Education. WAIT had its share of problems when it became known they had endorsed and assisted Ugandan Pastor Martin Ssempa of the disgusting “Kill The Gays” bill – here and here.
The Georgia Family Council is listed as recipient of the Georgia Department of Human Resources $960,000 Healthy Marriage waiver. However, when I called the state of Georgia they claim to have no record of this.
Such federal funds have also been administered to North Carolina government, though a quick scan of available financial documents revealed no immediately apparent connection with the North Carolina Family Policy Council.
Perhaps now Focus on the Family will become as toothless, ballsless and as silent as Liberty U. after Falwell died.
Statement published by Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Feb. 27, 2009
Contact: Wayne Besen
TWO Comments On James Dobson Resigning As Focus on the Family Chairman
Truth Wins Out (TWO) expressed its hope today that James Dobson resigning as chairman of Focus on the Family would eventually lead the anti-gay organization in a new direction. Dobson has created an entire industry that distorts the lives of gay and lesbian people for political gain, says TWO.
“James Dobson’s legacy of lies has caused significant pain for gay and lesbian people and their families,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “We hope his departure will eventually signal a shift in tone and end Focus on the Family’s destructive attacks against gay and lesbian Americans.”
The Associated Press reports that Dobson, 72, will still be a powerful presence. He will continue to host his daily radio show, which reaches 1.5 million listeners in the United States. A Focus on the family spokesman also said he will “continue to speak out as he always has – a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded.”
“It is time for Focus on the Family to abandon the politics of polarization and choose moderate leaders who are not fixated on culture wars,” said Besen. “This would also be a good time for the organization to consider abandoning its failed ‘ex-gay’ ministry, Love Won Out.”
In Nov. 2008, Truth Wins Out protested Dobson’s selection into the Radio Hall of Fame. In the past two years, TWO has found eight researchers in three countries who say that Dobson has distorted their work. Videos and letters that these scientists sent to Dobson can be viewed at www.Respectmyresearch.org.
Dobson’s rhetoric is so divisive that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) said that, “Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies.” Focus on the Family co-founder Gil Alexander Moegerle said that, “I believe Dobson-style politics have been inept, simplistic, exclusionary, divisive and alarmingly sectarian…James Dobson’s political style has been one of relentlessly demonizing his adversaries.”
Dobson told The Daily Oklahoman on Oct. 23, 2004 that, “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.” Dobson also told the Daily Oklahoman that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is “a God’s people hater. I don’t know if he hates God, but he hates God’s people.”
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people against anti-gay misinformation campaigns. TWO also counters the “ex-gay” industry and educates America about gay life.