Focus on the Family Chairman James C. Dobson is renowned for his animosity toward gays. He relentlessly opposes gay marriage, civil unions, job bias protections, hate crimes legislation and so on. Dobson once accused SpongeBob SquarePants of being a dupe for gay rights. He believes the Girl Scouts are a godless lesbian front. When he was in school, Dobson even tried to beat up (unsuccessfully) a kid he thought was a "sissy"!
FOF and other Religious Right groups constantly complain that popular culture is pro-gay – and that this is part of a plot. At FOF's recent "Values Voter Summit," no fewer than three panels were held on the role movies play in shaping people's attitudes. One speaker complained that Hollywood scriptwriters deliberately write positive portrayals of gays into sitcoms and other shows as a form of social engineering.
So it was refreshing to see a crack in this lifelong history of hard-shell fundamentalist bigotry at a Hilton Washington gala banquet honoring Dobson during the "Values Voter" event.
Odd couple: Elton John and James Dobson
Country artist Lee Greenwood serenaded Dobson with pop star Elton John's "Your Song" – even though the flamboyant John is a way out-of-the-closet gay man. In 1976, John told Rolling Stone that he is bisexual. John later announced that he is just plain gay. He is currently in a legally recognized relationship with filmmaker David Furnish.
What's worse, "Your Song" is, well, kind of a love song. Greenwood sang the following to Dobson:
I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on
So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen
A jumbo screen showed Dobson and his wife, Shirley, swaying and clapping during "Your Song" and the others tunes Greenwood performed. They were not necessarily in time with the music, but it was nice to see these two famous killjoys get a little funky.
Alas, the euphoria didn't last. When Dr. Dobson took the stage, he unleashed a speech that reiterated the same anti-gay rhetoric he has spouted for years. Those scheming gays, Dobson insisted, are determined to destroy marriage as we know it. (Dobson did not once mention the country's near-50 percent divorce rate that heterosexuals are responsible for or the growing tendency of opposite-sex couples to cohabitate outside of marriage.)
Dobson insisted that the gays' plan is to win legislative approval for same-sex marriage in a handful of states to break the logjam. "Then you're going to have same-sex marriages spread all across the country and establish families, and it will be gone," Dobson warned. "Marriage as we have known it will be gone."
Oh, well. It's clear Dobson still has a way to go before dropping his homophobia. Maybe we can help. I'd suggest that next year, FOF hire the Village People to sing "YMCA"!