Dobson: 'It's Coming Apart'
Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the last week.
The "homosexual agenda" took center stage this week for conservative evangelical groups as Congress worked on health care reform and other bills behind the scenes.
Kevin Jennings, "Safe School Czar"
In a half hour special edition of Focus on the Family sponsored by Focus on the Family Action, James Dobson and the other panelists discussed a series of policies and politicians that, Dobson said, "cause our hands to get sweaty."
At the top of this list was Kevin Jennings, President Obama's "safe schools czar" who has already been targeted by conservative groups (see previous column). Jennings condoned a sexual relationship between a high school student and an older man, a situation he said earlier this month that he handled poorly.
"Kevin Jennings has a very long track record of twisting the word 'safety' into a political tool to push homosexual activism into public schools," Focus Action Education Analyst Candi Cushman said.
Dobson noted Jennings's "lifelong commitment to children being taught homosexual propaganda."
Beyond the criticism of Jennings's past and fears of his future work, Jennings symbolizes Dobson's "greatest nightmare."
"I have been fighting for family values, and marriage, and family, and for schools that honor the values and principles that parents believe in for 25 years. And it's coming apart," Dobson said. "It's unbelievable what's taking place. And Kevin Jennings is the quintessential expression of that far left agenda."
Jennings is in the cross-hairs of other groups as well. Doug Carlson of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission also objected.
"Our children … need someone devoid of a history of purveying young people with a homosexual agenda, someone who instead points them toward healthy relationships," Carlson said. "By any objective reckoning, Jennings is not that man."
Family Research Council Action, which has spearheaded the push against Jennings and sponsors the website Stopjennings.org, pointed to a letter signed by 53 members of Congress asking that President Obama remove Jennings from the post. The Family Research Council praised the letter, saying that "Kevin Jennings has shown a disregard for parental rights and for our children's well being. … [He] has neither the temperament nor the ethical standards needed for public service."
Concerned Women for America, meanwhile, posted an interview with Rep. Steve King (R-Ia.),who initiated the letter on Jennings.
Gay Rights on the Hill
Gay rights legislation also made the Focus Action broadcast.
One bill was the hate crimes legislation that passed the House and was approved by the Senate yesterday. Focus's discussion ranged from the facts of the murder of Matthew Shepard (for whom the bill is named) to possible effects the bill will have on pastors condemning homosexuality.
Some evangelical leaders support new language in the hate crimes bill that protects religious liberty, but Focus and other groups are not satisfied. FRC Action claimed that the new religious liberty protections are "flimsy."
The bill lays "the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith," according to FRC.
But perhaps more important to Focus Action than the hate crimes legislation was President Obama's recent statement that he supports reversing the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA defines marriage as being between one man and one woman and protects states from having to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.