Several hundred protesters braved a
cold Chicago wind to protest Saturday's induction of Focus on the
Family founder James Dobson into the National Radio Hall of Fame at
their annual induction ceremonies.
Protesters lined themselves outside the
Renaissance Hotel at the corner of Waker and State in downtown
Chicago. While Dobson was being inducted inside, protesters outside
shouted, “What do we want. Equal rights,” and carried signs that
read, “Hall of Fame not Hall of Shame.”
Wayne Besen, president of Truth Wins
Out (TWO), a group dedicated to exposing the lies of the ex-gay
movement, was one of the first gay activists to speak out against the
Radio Hall's decision.
“It is simply unconscionable that the
museum is giving its imprimatur to a demagogue who has profited from
divisive and discriminatory rhetoric,” said Besen on the group's
“It is mind-blowing, that the Radio
Hall of Fame honored a leader of Proposition 8,” the TWO website
said. “Dobson put his media empire and vast amounts of money into
the service of denying equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.
And, the Radio Hall of Fame reacted by giving this demagogue a
The Chicago-based Gay Liberation
Network (GLN) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
(GLAAD) also say Dobson is unworthy of the honor.
“Museums should be places that
celebrate the best of human endeavor, not the worst,” wrote GLN
Co-Founder Andy Thayer in an open letter to Bruce DuMont, president
of the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
Dobson's anti-gay rhetoric goes far
beyond intolerance, the protesting groups say.
Besen, an outspoken critic of the
Colorado-based ministry, said Dobson's group was “responsible for
much of the hate against gay and lesbian people in America, because
they pump out huge amounts of anti-gay propaganda that demeans our
lives and devalues our families. ... What they do is Orwellian.”
“Dobson has set up a fib factory that
portrays gay people as perverted, dysfunctional and sick. When these
lies filter down into society it causes discrimination and even hate
crimes,” Besen told On Top Magazine in September.
In his daily radio program and in
interviews, Dobson has said that gays cannot contain themselves to be
monogamous and that they would destroy marriage and “[gay marriage]
will destroy Earth.” Focus on the Family along with evangelical
Christian groups American Family Association and Concerned Women for
American gave a combined $1.4 million in support of California's
newly-passed gay marriage ban – Proposition 8.
Dobson is also the primary sponsor of
Love Won Out, a multi-city conference tour that seeks to “cure”
gays of their sexuality.
Besen calls the ex-gay ministry
profiteering and “dishonest.” “Dobson continues to promote
dishonest psychological theories about gay people that are rejected
by every respected medical and mental health association in America,
including the American Psychological Association and the American