Representatives from Focus on the Family would like you to believe they're not anti-gay. If you believe that, they probably have some swampland in Florida and a bridge to sell you.
The claim comes from its president, Jim Daly, in response to the backlash over their ties to NFL quarterback Drew Brees. Last week, Brees appeared in a video promoting Focus on the Family's "Bring Your Bible to School Day," which its founders say was started to "counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective."
After Brees was criticized for his ties to the group, he responded with a second video blaming "an article someone wrote with a very negative headline that I think led people to believe that somehow I was aligned with an organisation that was anti-LGBTQ."
Now Focus on the Family itself has responded, with a video claiming that "some in the LGBTQ community were offended by because obviously Drew Brees didn't know, according to them, that we were a 'hate group.'"
"Here's the bottom line," Daly says, "and this is what is so frustrating in the culture today: If you respect people but disagree with their opinion, somehow you're hating them. And that is so far from the truth!"
But nobody is accusing Focus on the Family of being a hate group because of their opinions. They're a hate group because they spend millions of dollars every year to inflict pain on LGBTQ+ people and their families, whether it's through so-called "conversity therapy," legislation that prevents LGBTQ+ families from thriving, or the advice littered all over their website that parents should reject their gay children.
Let's be clear about what the group stands for: They worked to oppose marriage equality. They believe that same-sex couples are unfit to be parents. They called trans people "mentally ill." They oppose job protections for queer people.
It's impossible to argue with a straight face that Focus on the Family is anything but a hate group.
If Daly doesn't want his organization to be called a "hate group," there's a simple solution: Stop behaving hatefully.
Instead in his new video, he laments, "if you simply say 'We believe in the biblical definition of marriage -- one man and one woman' -- somehow they perceive that as being hateful."
For his part, Brees is continuing to make excuses for his appearance in the video, without actually committing to supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the future. "I was not aware of any of the things they said about them lobbying for anti-gay, any type of messaging, or inequality, or any type of hate-type related stuff," he told reporters.