The Intimidation Factor

Author:
Dr. James Dobson
Homosexual activists know that most Christians are uncomfortable in today’s highly charged political arena. We are, for the most part, peace-loving people who do not like angry confrontation and bitter debate. Our philosophical opponents understand this, which explains why they often react with in-your-face rhetoric and behavior. Their purpose is to intimidate those who oppose their agenda.

One of their most effective tactics is to depict Christians—and others who uphold traditional values—as “hateful,” calling us “bigots” and the dreaded (and nonsensical) “homophobe.” No one wants to be called names, and the intimidation factor keeps many from speaking out on this topic. The shouting and blustering of homosexual activists is not unlike that of a rebellious teen who slams doors, throws things around, and threatens to run away. Most parents have had to deal with this kind of behavior and have learned that giving in at such a time can be disastrous for both parties. What’s needed is loving firmness in the face of temper tantrums and accusations.

Another common tactic of activists today is to hurl the charge of “homophobia” at anyone who disagrees with the movement in the slightest detail. Everything we contend is called “hate speech” or “gay bashing.” Christians are very vulnerable to these accusations, because hate is the antithesis of what Jesus taught. It cuts us to the quick to be charged with hypocrisy for departing from the tenets of the faith. But before we accept the name-calling as valid, we should recognize that in many instances those who hurl accusations at us don’t even believe the charges—they are merely ruses conjured by the movement to silence those with the courage to speak. How do I know these are trumped-up accusations? Because I have been victimized by them.

In 1998, when a young homosexual named Matthew Shepard was murdered by two thugs in Wyoming, the media immediately accused some of us in the pro-family movement of creating a hateful environment that encouraged this kind of violence. It was a ridiculous claim, but I got tagged along with several colleagues. Katie Couric of NBC’s Today Show asked a guest one morning if he thought the leaders of Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition, and the Family Research Council were indirectly responsible for Shepard’s murder because of the venom we espoused. This was an outrageous suggestion that, frankly, I resented. There is no evidence that the killers had ever heard of me, read any of my books, or visited our campus. In twenty-seven years I have never said anything hateful about homosexuals on our broadcast, and I do not condone violence or disrespect for anyone. Yet, in asking the question, sweet little Katie planted the notion that Christians are somehow responsible for the hatred that allegedly stalks our land.

Of course, Couric cited no evidence to validate her question, because there isn’t any. Every word I have publicly spoken in more than two decades, as well as everything I have written, is on record. You would think that Couric would feel obligated to come up with a single hateful phrase or idea we’ve put forward that has been hurtful to homosexuals. She didn’t. She simply impugned the reputations of conservatives who were innocent of wrongdoing.

This kind of Christian bashing has become routine in the secular media. Why? Because the personal attacks on us are part of a liberal strategy to silence the opposition. For instance, Hillary Clinton blamed the “vast right-wing conspiracy” when her husband was accused of sexual misconduct with an intern. The president later admitted he lied to the country about Monica Lewinsky, but the first lady never apologized. 

New York Times columnist Frank Rich is a member of the media who routinely bashes Christians. Immediately after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Rich speculated that the bombers were probably right-wing Christians. He did not—nor could he—support such speculation. After Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were tried and convicted of the crime, I wrote to Rich and asked him to admit that he had falsely accused Christians. He sent back a short note saying he would answer me when he had time. Of course, I never heard from him again. He still regularly thrashes Christians, including yours truly. He once called me “the Godzilla of the Right.” Nice guy.

If there is hate existent in this debate over homosexuality, it appears to be coming from the other side. During the conflict in Colorado over the Amendment 2 initiative, I was the target of great venom. (Adopted by Colorado voters in 1992, the legislation forbade local governments from classifying homosexuals as a protected class of people in regards to employment and housing. Amidst bitter debate, it was struck down in 1996 and deemed unconstitutional in a condemning and outrageously worded opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court.) During that period, our buildings were spray-painted with bigoted slogans. We received death threats and telephone bomb warnings. Bloody animal parts were brought to the front of the headquarters building, and a mock funeral found its way onto our property. Vicious lies were told about us and publicized widely in the press. Throughout Colorado Springs and Denver, talk show hosts and newspaper reporters told local citizens that I had called each of the school superintendents in town and demanded the names of all homosexual teachers—so I could run them out of town. Any thinking person would know that this was untrue, because schools cannot give out personal information about a teacher, much less details of his or her sex life. It didn’t matter because the story had “legs.” Finally, the three superintendents here in Colorado Springs issued statements vindicating me. But still the lies continued to spread.

These are the tactics, mind you, of the folks who accuse Christians of being hate-filled and intolerant. I will say it again: It is a game of intimidation and threats.

I share these stories to help you withstand the criticisms when they come your way, because they will come. If you have the temerity to confront the homosexual juggernaut, someone will attack your integrity. And when they run out of ideas, they will begin to shout. I’ve gotten used to the unfairness of these tactics (sort of) and have decided it goes with the territory. Do not get discouraged when it happens to you. Just hang in there and keep doing what is right. Remember, Jesus was unjustly accused, too.

From Dr. Dobson’s book Marriage Under Fire. Order You're Copy Here!

Donate today and
support our mission

Donate