Saturday, March 31, 2012

Janet Mefferd Interviews Candi Cushman of True Tolerance

During the second hour of the March 23rd edition of The Janet Mefferd Show, Janet Mefferd interviewed Candi Cushman, the head of Focus on the Family's True Tolerance project. Cushman spoke at 2012 CPAC and recently earned a place on the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project's list of anti-gay media figures. Much of the interview focused on the Day of Silence (a pro-LGBT student-led event sponsored by GLSEN) versus the Day of Dialogue (a counter-event sponsored by Focus on the Family). 

Mefferd voiced approval of the Day of Dialogue because "we do see so many Christian kids hearing gay propaganda and being deluged with this stuff," she said. At the 7:32 mark, Mefferd praised the Day of Dialogue as an antidote to pro-LGBT messages.
"I think this is a terrific idea because there are so many Christian kids in the public schools that are listening to some of this propaganda and have to have some response to it, and it really is all about dialoging, exchanging ideas, exchanging the biblical truth about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and how all sinners can find forgiveness."
Cushman joked with Mefferd about GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project list. Mefferd told Cushman that it was a "badge of honor to be cited for telling the truth." Cushman replied that "I felt honored to be on there with the likes of Al Mohler and Jim Daly, so I"m not going to complain."

At the 9:43 mark, Cushman claimed that the Day of Silence promotes "indoctrination" of young people into LGBT activism.
"Well they say it's all about promoting safe schools and anti-bullying, but if you look at what they actually encourage teachers and students to do, it crosses the line in a lot of ways beyond bullying into indoctrination, just promoting homosexuality, transgenderism. For example, they encourage teachers on this day to discuss LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender themes in the classroom, to have materials on homosexuality and transgenderism displayed, books about it in the classroom. They have encouraged students to lobby for things like, quote, a queer friendly prom. So it really gets into transforming students into being activists for adult gay and lesbian causes ... It's a problem when you have these things being endorsed by the school."
At the 10:42 mark, Mefferd insisted that the Day of Dialogue was not rooted in hate, but rather provides a voice to Christian parents and youth. The idea that not all Christians embrace homophobia was apparently not considered.
"It's not about hate. It's about the fact that the public schools draw people of all types. You have people who support homosexuality, and you have Christians, for example, who say this is sinful and we don't want to encourage this behavior and teach that it's correct. The public schools coming down on the side of promoting it in any way is a problem for Christian parents and for Christian kids who go to school. That's where the Day of Dialogue comes in."
At the 11:08 mark, Cushman claimed that modern teens are constantly exposed to messages encouraging "sexual confusion." She cited celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Josh Hutcherson as examples of figures promoting these messages. Cushman framed the Day of Dialogue as a means of encouraging Christians to "minister" to others.
"The teens really are surrounded by so many messages promoting sexual confusion. You know, I talked about Lady Gaga's now donating proceeds from her songs to GLSEN. Josh Hutcherson, one of the lead stars in The Hunger Games, is promoting gay-straight alliances and an organization called Straight but Not Narrow, so they're really getting this everywhere in pop culture and in their schools, and so we really do need to equip our Christian teens and our students to have confidence that they faith speaks into the most sensitive issues in the culture. We want them to have confidence that the gospel of Christ has power to speak into these issues, that they can reflect the model of Christ that he didn't shy away from speaking truth, but that he was also reaching out, ministering to hurting, vulnerable people around him."
During the rest of the interview, Mefferd and Cushman described the Day of Dialogue as a free speech measure, a means of giving time to both sides of the LGBT issue. As I listened to their arguments, I could only shake my head. Nothing constructive can come out of branding LGBT status as sinful, or by framing faith and acceptance of LGBT people as mutually exclusive. By calling LGBT status "sexual confusion," frowning on genuine efforts to support LGBT youth, and masking homophobia under the sugary language of "ministering," Mefferd and Cushman showed their true colors.

Hat tip to Right Wing Watch. To listen to the episode, click here.  


  1. This highlights the religious right's tendency to have litmus tests for "real Christianity." As in, "real Christians" aren't deceived by the LGBT movement (or, indeed, the ENEMY who is the author of it). As you note above, of course there are great Christian folks who are LGBT themselves or straight allies.

    1. Michelle -- Indeed. The Religious Right seems to think that it speaks for all Christians, when nothing could be further from the truth.

  2. "... and it really is all about dialoging, exchanging ideas ..."

    Um. Really? That's, like, my fantasy. Let it be so.


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