Monday, November 17, 2008

'Doctor' Dobson and His Demons on the Dole

(H/T, the fabulous Lisa Derrick and

Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family, which supported California's Proposition 8 to the tune of $539,000 in cash and another $83,000 worth of non-monetary support, is poised to announce major layoffs to its Colorado Springs-based ministry and media empire today, according to the Colorado Springs Independent. The group was the seventh largest donor supporting the initiatve to eliminate same-sex marriages. Focus on the Family boardmember Elsa Prince donated an additional $450,000 to Yes on 8.

These layoffs, which come just two months after the organization’s announcement of dismissals--and weeks after the Focus on the Family's major infusion into the Yes on 8 campaign--reveal Focus on the Family's misguided focus.

It all boils down to the bottom line with Focus on the Family, which seems to be Mammon, not Mom and Dad and Buddy and Sis. Along with promoting socially conservative, fundamentalist issues such opposition to abortion and gay rights, and supporting abstinence-only education (ask Gov GILF how well that worked for Bristol and Levi), the evangelical Christian ministry is a purveyor of Christian books, CDs and DVDs.

James Dobson has never drawn a salary from the organization, but uses it to promote his related books and publications, yielding him royalties only for sales through other venues. As Wal-Mart and other online retailers have cut into its product market, Focus announced in September were going to lay off 46 employees from its distribution department.

This is third year of layoffs for the evangelical group. In September 2005 nearly 80 employees were laid off and over 80 positions left unfilled. September 2007 saw a reported 8 million dollars in shortfalls for Focus on the Family; layoffs affected 30 people and another 15 were reassigned in the compnay. The cuts came in the mail room and customer response departments.

Today features a new round of pink slips, adding to the 2008 layoffs. Commenting on the September cuts to staff, the Family's COO Glenn Williams said:

It is certainly heartbreaking that in this case fulfilling that duty means having to say goodbye to some members of our Focus family, but industry realities really leave us no alternative. We are accountable to our donors to spend their money in the most cost-effective and productive manner possible.

Spending over half a million dollars--equal to the salaries of 19 Coloradans earning the 2008 per capita income of $29,133--to destroy the family lives of millions of people you don't know in another state is an effective use of donor money. But jobs to help your local families who are your fellow Christians, providing them with the means to stay intact as families is no.

Wow, glad we got that cleared up. Because um, it seems sort of un-Christian and not very focused on the family to me.

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