Focus on the Family gets it spectacularly wrong

Exactly four years ago today, on 22 October 2008, with just a few days to go in the US presidential election race between John McCain and Barack Obama, Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group in the USA, released what they called a “letter from 2012”. This was a letter written from the perspective of the future, intending to highlight what might happen if Barack Obama became president.

The letter listed 34 specific things that would change in America, as well as hinting at about 10 more. You can read it for yourself here (PDF file). It’s now 22 October 2012, the date that the letter was “written”. I wonder how they fared with their predictions?

Remember that this is a Christian organisation, representing Christians and claiming to represent God Himself (as an aside, isn’t it interesting that every single candidate for the US presidency that said God told them to run for high office has failed in the attempt this year? Is that God’s fault, I wonder?). The reason I say this is that if they have done a very bad job of predicting the future, then this will show up Christians – and God – in a bad light. It sets us all up for ridicule, and gives an unbelieving world just one more reason to dismiss us.

Let’s see how they did.

OK, let’s jump to the end quickly. Let me just tell you that of the 34 specific predictions they made, not one (yes, read that again: NOT ONE) was correct. Of the other statements they made, not one (yes NOT ONE) was correct. Here’s a highlights (I mean lowlights) package of their “predictions”:

  • The Boy Scouts would be disbanded (because they didn’t want to be forced to employ homosexual scout masters and have them sleep in tents with boys; and because Barack Obama had them all removed from all federal buildings in 2009).
  • All Grade 1 students would be forced into gender identity classes to be taught how great homosexuality is.
  • There are no more Roman Catholic or evangelical Protestant adoption agencies in the United States. (Bizarrely, this has almost happened in the UK, under the Conservative party’s policies).
  • The Bible can no longer be freely preached over radio or television stations when the subject matter includes such ‘offensive’ doctrines as criticizing homosexual behavior.
  • Church buildings are now considered a “public accommodation” by the Supreme Court, and churches have no freedom to refuse to allow their buildings to be used for wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples.(You’ll be noticing a pattern here about an obsession with homosexuality).
  • They could have had one right: They predicted that President Obama would repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”. But they went further and said that in addition “he signed an executive order directing all branches of the military to abandon their ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and to start actively recruiting homosexuals. As a result, homosexuals are now given special bonuses for enlisting in military service (to attempt to compensate for past discrimination)…” and another paragraph of things for the gays.
  • Tens of thousands of young churches suddenly had no place to meet when the Supreme Court ruled that public schools in all 50 states had to stop allowing churches to rent their facilities — even on Sundays, when school was not in session.
  • They predicted that no teachers could say the Pledge of Allegiance, and that “under God” would be removed. Bizarrely, just a few months ago, the Republicans brought a motion to Congress to “protect” this phrase when it had not been under threat at all. It was not opposed at all.
  • The number of abortions has increased dramatically. In reality, more anti-abortion restrictions have been enacted in the last four years than in any other President’s tenure. Abortion rates are down too, as far as I can tell. Obama may be “pro-abortion”, but he hasn’t forced this onto everyone and no floodgates have opened.
  • “The Supreme Court in 2011 nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and television broadcasts. As a result, television programs at all hours of the day contain explicit portrayals of sexual acts.” NOT true: As a frequent visitor to the US, I can tell you that it continues to be one of the prudish nations in the world (topped only by struct Muslim countries).
  • “It is illegal for private citizens to own guns for selfdefense in eight states, and the number is growing with increasing Democratic control of state legislatures and governorships.” Sadly, very untrue, as guns still proliferate, and shootings don’t seem to change people’s minds.
  • Parents’ freedom to teach their children at home has been severely restricted.
  • Obama withdrew troops from Iraq and then “in May 2010, Al-Qaida operatives from Syria and Iran poured into Iraq and completely overwhelmed the Iraqi security forces.” (Note: al-Qaida in Iran? Do these guys even own a world map? Do they know the difference between Arab and Muslim?)
  • “Since 2009, terrorist bombs have exploded in two large and two small U.S. cities, killing hundreds, and the entire country is fearful, for no place seems safe. President Obama in each case has vowed “to pursue and arrest and prosecute those responsible,” but no arrests have been made.” Really? Sadly, in my view, Obama has been one of the most blood thirsty “we’re comin’ to get ya” US Presidents of all time.
  • In order to “test” President Obama, Russia re invades the Baltics. (Really, seriously, do these guys ever get out of their home State?)
  • In mid-2010, Iran launched a nuclear bomb that exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv.
  • They came close when they predicted President Obama would pass a healthcare bill. Once again, though, they over reached with the consequences, and since it hasn’t come into effect we can’t judge this one just yet. No-one, though, is expecting the catastrophe they outlined in their letter.
  • “Because medical resources must be rationed carefully by the government, people older than 80 have essentially no access to hospitals or surgical procedures. Their ‘duty’ is increasingly thought to be to go home to die”.
  • They predicted all forms of tax would go up. That might still happen. But it hasn’t yet.
  • They predicted that there would be protests against Christian books (you guessed it, those ones talking against same sex marriage), and that bookstores would refuse to carry them.
  • In his first week in office, Obama followed President Clinton’s precedent and fired all 93 U.S. attorneys, replacing them with his own appointments.

  • They predicted President Obama would easily appoint three Liberal justices to the Supreme Court. He has only appointed two justices: Sonia Sotomayor (considered liberal) and Elena Kagan (considered a moderate to liberal). So, maybe this is one they got nearly right. But their fears of an outright take over of the Supreme Court by liberals is unfounded.
  • They concluded: “Christians did not realize that by electing Barack Obama — rated the most liberal U.S. senator in 2007 — they would allow the law, in the hands of a liberal Congress and Supreme Court, to become a great instrument of oppression.” That’s right, America is now a hugely oppressed land!

Luckily for Focus on the Family, they weren’t claiming to be prophetic. With a track record like theirs, and using their own literalistic approach to Bible interpretation, we’d have had to stone them to death today. They got every single prediction wrong. Even being very charitable, we could remove three of their predictions and reserve judgement and say that they might be right. But right now – today – they have a 100% inaccuracy record. That’s impressive it’s that bad. You have to be really trying – and not just lucky – to be so wrong.

Maybe they’ll just apologise. That seems to be the right thing to do. That seems to be the Christian thing to do. I hope they do.

But I doubt they will.

Either way, let me be clear: they do not speak in my name. They cannot now claim to represent Christians, because Christians stand for truth. Their version of God is not one I recognise or like. They do not speak for Christians. They clearly do not speak for God. They do not speak for me.

Focus on the Family: back to you…

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