PeaceMakers presents this additional witness of the inner workings of Focus On The Family and Dr. James Dobson for the following reasons.
1. The continued need for prayer, repentance and Biblical reconciliation for Dr. Dobson & Focus On The Family
2. Those in need of a Biblical reconciliation process with Dr. Dobson
& FOTF have no where to turn for help.
a. They can't appeal to Dr. Dobson's home church-Rev. Zell Woodworth of Nazarene Church Eastborough refuses to hear such cases.
b. So called "ministries" like PeacemakerMinistiries.org / HisPeace.org promote that FOTF has been trained in their peacemaking principles-while knowing of reported abuse others have suffered and they remian silent. And as reported in this witness The Rutherford Institute was of no help. "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Revelation 21:8 (NIV)
3. Focus On The Family prides it's self on NOT being a Church, NOT being a Christian organization, but rather a secular corporate business, run by "Christians" doing "Christian work"...I first heard this personally from Jim when he called me, and have heard it many times since while attempting Christ's reconciliation in Matthew 18.
4. This witness became a FOTF employee a few years after the first accounts of Dr. Dobson's and Focus On The Family rejection of Biblical reconciliation, and for what ever their intentions they've put themself in Satan's path. 1Corinthians 5:5...to everyone associated with Dr. Dobson and Focus On The Family...It seems 2 Timothy 3 applies-those having the form of Godliness, have nothing to do with them.
to begin at the beginning of Dr. Dobson's refusing Biblical reconciliation click this link. http://www.peacemakers.net/peace/dobsonnobeliever.htm
An Additional Witness of the Inner Workings of
Focus On The Family and Dr. James Dobson
Brian Cooper is now suspended without pay by FOTF...also see:
Focus On The Family Joins Forces with Muslims, Mormons & Catholics
My hope and my prayer is that someone will be able to reach the hearts of the Focus elite... but that is in God's arena now, I have done about all I can. Here is my story from last year:
This report consists of thoroughly documented, factual data. It is also
the story of my own gut wrenching struggle to restore my tarnished reputation
as an employee of the worldís largest media ministry, Focus on the Family.
But at the onset, I would like to establish some parameters. This is not
an indictment against Jesus Christ, or His Church, or even Focus on the
Family in general. The individuals that have committed the sins and crimes
will become apparent as you read this report. Most of the employees of
Focus on the Family seem to be "salt of the earth" type of people. Hard
working, dedicated, sincere, Christian people. I have thoroughly enjoyed
most of my time there, other than the experiences about which you will
read. The problem appears to be that Focus seems to have a habit of hiring
or promoting people that attempt to manage their "department" instead of
their "people", which is a recipe for disaster. This type of management
philosophy encourages intimidation instead of communication. I have been
able to tolerate this phenomenon until recently, when it violated my civil
rights, allowed false accusations to be placed in my personnel file (and
those that place them there, knew they were false), and triggered a disease
that has virtually wiped out my immune system. The purpose of this report
is to attempt to bring about change. If you are a Focus employee, you know
how hard it can be sometimes to get management to listen to your ideas.
This report was done as a last resort to get someone, anyone, to listen
to my plea for help. This report will be given to Dr. Dobson, all Focus
on the Family Vice Presidents, and a select few other employees. If Focus
decides to right their wrongs and repent, then this will be read by virtually
no one else. As for now, the ball is in their court.
It all started on October 7, 1999. I heard from a friend in Illinois, that Fred Phelps was coming to protest Focus on the Family. My response was, "Who is Fred Phelps, and why is he going to protest Focus?" My friend explained that Fred Phelps was a self proclaimed Baptist pastor that was hyper anti-homosexual. He was the guy that protested the Matthew Shepherd funeral with signs that said, "GOD HATES FAGS" and "FAGS CANíT REPENT" and "FAGS DIE, GOD LAUGHS." The reason that he was coming to Focus was to protest that Focus has ex-gays on staff. In his opinion, you cannot "come out" of the gay lifestyle. He put a spin on "Once saved, always saved", by saying, "Once a fag, always a fag." As soon as my friend told me why Phelps was coming, I felt the Lord telling me to counter his protest. I found Phelpsí hate-filled website and studied the enemyís tactics. It seemed that the best way to counter his protest was to "fight fire with fire." If he was going to show up here with signs filled with hate, I would show up with signs filled with love. So I prayed and asked the Lord as to what I should put on my signs. He directed me to His Word, the Bible. Of course! What better way to counter the words of man, than with the words of God! So I asked the Lord in which book should I look. He directed me to I John. That seemed like a strange choice to me. I John has never been one of my favorite books in the Bible. I am more of a black and white doctrinal type of person. I John always seemed to be too poetic, too ethereal. But God knew what He wanted on the signs.
He directed me to I John 1:9, which says, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He then directed me to I John 4:20, which states, "If a man claims that he loves God, but he hates his brother, then that man is a liar." I now had both sides of my sign. Now to tell my co-workers.
Here Am I Lord, Send Me
Most Christians just want to live a quiet life and not "stir up any trouble." But unfortunately some end up turning a blind eye to social oppression. Thankfully, most of my co-workers did not respond in this manor. Some were actually supportive. But others were horrified. When I knew what I was going to have printed on my sign, I made a mock-up and gave a copy to my supervisor, Jimmy Peck; my director, Bob Ditmer; and to two of the ex-gay members of the Public Policy staff: Amy Tracy and John Paulk. I wanted them to know exactly what I was going to do and say when Phelps showed up. To my surprise, John Paulk, one of our most vocal ex-gays, went straight to Bob Ditmer and tried to get him to keep me from showing up at the protest. As providence would have it, I just happened to be on my way past Ditmerís desk to get a soda, when I overheard Paulk say, "But you have to say something to him. He could ruin everything!" I thought to myself, "Hey, John, try the decaff the next time." I never vocalized the comment, mind you. But wait a minute, what if he was talking about me? "Get real, Brian!", I thought. After snagging my Diet Pepsi, I went on into the studio to prepare for that dayís recording session. I even comment to my supervisor, Jimmy Peck, that I must be getting paranoid in my old age, because I thought that maybe John Paulk was talking to Ditmer about me! Moments late, Ditmer came in to see if we were ready, and I ask him what did Paulk want? He very casually said that, "Paulk wanted me to tell you not to show up at the protest this Saturday." I asked him what did he tell Paulk? He said, "I told him that I canít tell you what to do on your own free time. Itís on a Saturday!" After the session I figured that I had better write a letter to the ex-gay staff members to put their mind at ease. I received no response from Paulk, but I did get a personal note from Amy Tracy in which she stated, in essence, that she, too, didnít feel it was any of her business to tell a co-worker what to do on their own free time.
The next day (Friday October 8,1999) upper management got wind of what I was going to do (probably through John Paulk) and fear raised itís ugly head and gripped their hearts, too. I suspect the phrase "He could ruin everything" blew through the Executive West Wing like a summer breeze in Kansas. Then, before you could say, "Tornado!", Amy Tracy was told to put out a ministry wide e-mail asking that no one show up at the protest. The memo was a request, mind you, not a command. They knew that they could not demand that no one show up, because the protest was to take place off of Focus property, and it was going to be on a Saturday when everyone was off the clock. It was similar to the request to boycott Disney; no repercussions if you decide not to honor the request. And yet there was something strange about the e-mail. First of all, it was from the same person that had sent me a memo the day before, stating basically the op! posite of the e-mail. Secondly, the e-mail said that they wanted to call as little attention to the protest as possible, even though they had invited the media to come. The e-mail also stated that they wanted to "respect Fred Phelpsí right to protest!"
Are they serious? They want to respect Fred Phelpsí right to protest, but not anyone elseís rights! I was somewhat flabbergasted by the e-mail, so I fired a response back to Amy Tracy within minutes. I let her know that I was still going to go, and not to worry about me. I also reminded her that I was not going to defend ex-gays or even Focus on the Family. I was going to defend the Truth. The Gospel! Phelps says that "FAGS CANíT REPENT", but God says that anyone can repent, and if they are sincere, He will honor it (I John 1:9).
The fateful day finally arrived (Saturday, 10-9-99). I had prepared some leaflets to hand out, discussing the Biblical perspective on homosexuality (it is sin), and also that it can be overcome and forgiven. I had also picked up my sign the night before. It wasnít the size I had ordered, but the words were correct, so I accepted it. Phelps showed up around 12:45PM and left at about 3:00PM. "This is a protest?", I thought. It seemed more like a photo op, which as it turns out, it was. A real protest should be an all day event. A photo op is where you "protest" until the media arrives, give a speech while the media is present, you then "protest" again for about 30 minutes after the media leaves, then you get in your Lincoln and go home. Phelps and about six of his cronies showed up with their trademark signs. They had even gone to the trouble of making some special signs for this particular protest. One said, "Dr. Dobson Has Anal Intercourse With Fags" Well, isnít that special? But other than a few incidents with a "She Bear" (her own words) with a foul mouth (she kept saying, "[pmi:we deleted this portion]") and a cop with a chip on his shoulder (the size of Pikeís Peak), everything went fairly smooth. We got some really great press. The local ABC affiliate, Channel 13, gave us a five minute lead story. They zoomed in on my sign several times and listened in on a conversation that I was having with a bystander that the protesters were trying to "educate". They also interviewed Amy Tracy. She did a wonderful job of sharing Godís Love and Grace. I had expected to have more of an opportunity to talk with Phelps himself. But unfortunately, every time I walked up to him, he would immediately turn his back on me and say, "I WILL NOT talk to YOU!" I went home feeling that we had done a pretty good job, but a little disappointed that it was so brief.
The Wheels of Injustice Begin To Grind Slowly...
The next day, Bob Ditmer tells me that someone from Focus Security is going around telling the VPs that I was asked by the police to leave the premises (during the protest), but I refused! I called security guard, Mike Benzie, on the phone and he denied the allegation but went off the deep end because I called him "Benzie" instead of "Mike." He said he might have to talk to Mike Soboleski from Human Resources about my "bad attitude." Me thinks that thou protesteth too much! But I told him to set up the meeting and let me know where and when. I then went in to talk to Tom Minnery about the false allegations that were floating around. I didnít want him to think that I had done anything wrong at the protest. To my amazement, Minnery was furious! I had never even seen him mad before, let alone this mad. I was in the process of trying to convince him that the allegations were baseless, when Benzie appears at the door and sheepishly confirms my testimony. At no time did the police ask me to leave. Minnery seemed to calm down a bit. With that settled, I figured that all would be fine. But noooooo! Minnery seemed to then just blow it off and move on to the fact that I had the gall to show up after receiving the e-mail that asked us not to show up. I tried to explain that I told everyone (Jimmy Peck; Bob Ditmer; John Paulk; Amy Tracy) that I was going. Gee, I even gave them a copy of my signs! But this did little to calm the storm. I eventually left after a tongue lashing that I will never forget. I remember feeling like I had just been betrayed by my best friend. I am a big fan of the semi-biographical movie "Braveheart". It inspired me to see how one man could make such a difference by just standing up for what he believes. There is a scene in the movie where one of the Scottish Nobles that William Wallace was trusting to help defeat the tyrannical King Longshanks, betrays him. Ironically, with the battle still raging, that particular Noble is also sent by the King to assassinate Wallace. In the ensuing duel, the hitherto unknown Noble looses his armored helmet and his identity is revealed to Wallace. I cannot describe the look of utter despair and disappointed that shown on Wallaceís face. I cannot describe it... but I experienced it that day. Friendly fire is a tragedy. Intentional friendly fire is a travesty.
About two weeks passed before I heard anything else from upper management. I hadnít expected to hear from anyone. As far as I was concerned, Fred Phelps was old news. But not to upper management at Focus. They had spent the last 14 days trying to devise a plan that would both intimidate me and teach me a lesson. And on Wednesday October 20th, they set the plan in motion. My director Bob Ditmer said that Tom Minnery wanted to meet with me later in the day. I asked, "What about?" He said that he didnít know, but that he (Ditmer) would be there, too.
...But Exceedingly Fine!
I went to the meeting at the appointed time. There sat Tom Minnery, Bob Ditmer, and Mike Soboleski. Mike Soboleski? Isnít he from Human Resources? Oh, great! This is some kind of disciplinary meeting! Bob Ditmer immediately hands me the "Written Warning". He asks me to read it, then sign it. After I read it, he asked me what did I think of it? "Permission to speak freely?", I quipped. "Of course", replied Tom Minnery. I said, "I think itís a bunch of baloney!" The warning charged me with "treating a guest improperly." The guest? Fred Phelps! They had spent the last two weeks mulling over the employee handbook, desperately seeking something with which to charge me. They couldnít find a valid violation so they settled for libel.
I tried to explain that I was on my own time and off of Focus property. I began to ask over and over, "Are you seriously calling Fred Phelps a "guest"? He never stepped foot on Focus property!" But whenever I brought up the subject, no one would look me in the eye, or give me an answer. It was as though they were ashamed of having to charge me with the bogus allegations. The only charge leveled against me verbally that day came from Tom Minnery. After I kept pressing the issue about Phelps not being a "guest", he finally blurted out, "Letís face it. You showed very poor judgment by showing up, after we told you not to!" I reminded them that we had been asked not to go, not told not to go. And for good reason, you canít tell your employees what to do on their own time, as long as theyíre not on your property. That is why it was formed as a request. I was then reminded that as a Focus employee, I signed a paper stating that Focus could fire me at any time for no reason. It states, "You may be terminated at any time without notice or without reason." It is something that all employees have to sign! I was basically told to sign the "Written Warning" and shut up. I said that I would sign it only if I could include a rebuttal that would go with it into my personnel file. They agree to the stipulation. The next day, I fired off my rebuttal. I spent that next several days in a stupor. How could I continue to work at place that calls themselves a ministry, but treats their employees like chattel? They claim to be fighting for RLPA (The Religious Liberties Protection Act), but are willing to violate their own employeesí Civil Rights! I almost tendered my resignation, but I knew that I couldnít, because I had a wife and three grade school children to feed. I decided that I was going to stay and fight. If Tom Minnery, Bob Ditmer, or Mike Soboleski werenít going to do what was right, I was sure that someone in the West Wing would! I would find out later that I had a bad case of terminal optimism.
Over the next four months I proceeded to write letters to everyone that I thought might be able to help. I wrote two heart-felt letters to Dr. Dobson that went with absolutely no response. I sent a letter to Dr. Dobsonís cousin, HB London (Director of Pastoral Ministries at Focus), and he said he couldnít get involved. On 11-29-99, I wrote to Ron Wilson, Head of Human Resources, and even met with him a couple of times. Even though he seemed sympathetic to my plight, he said that it had even escalated over his head, and was being dealt with by the Executive VPs. He recommended that I go directly to Del Tackett. I eventually had another meeting with Tom Minnery and Del Tackett where they proceed to, oh, so politely tell me to accept the punishment and shut up. They said that they were basing their final decision on the testimony of the police officer that was at the protest. Corporate attorney, Steve Reed, had supposedly interviewed the officer. In the interview Reed claims the officer said that I was very aggressive towards him and that "if I would have taken another step towards him, he would have had to arrest me." I was in shock! I was aggressive towards him? He was extremely aggressive towards me, not the other way around. But they decided to take the testimony of an uncircumcised Philistine over the testimony of one of their own. I was told to, "Go, and sin no more!" But they still refused to tell me what I had done wrong! What specific Focus rule had I broken? For reasons unknown to me, that seems to be the only subject that is off limits. How am I suposed to keep from making the same mistake (which you made very clear could lead to my termination), if you wonít tell me what I did wrong?
Rodney King; Part II
The next day as I sat at my computer, it hit me like a ton of bricks! Focus had Paul Murphy video tape the entire protest! Itís on tape! Iím exonerated! I have proof that I was not aggressive towards that cop. It will show that in fact, he was the aggressor. I called Paul and asked if he could get me a copy of the tape. He said that I would need permission from Tom Minnery. Tom was out, but Del Tackett authorized the duplication. As soon as I got my copy of the video, I sent a letter to Del Tackett, encouraging him to view his copy of the video. They had stated in our last meeting that they based their decision on the testimony of the cop that I was "very aggressive towards him." Since the video provided the evidence to prove that the officer had lied, surely they would have to overturn their decision! Not so fast, oh, Gullible One. You are using something foreign to these proceedings... LOGIC! A week went by with no response. In my frustration, I decided to call The Rutherford Institute, to see if they could give me any legal counsel. I might as well have gone to Bobís Screen Door and Legal Advice Store. They seemed, to me, to be afraid of Focus. I canít really blame them. Who wants to go up against the most respected media ministry in the world... or fight their 130 million dollar budget?
Deliver Me From Mine Enemies
In desperation I called the only people I knew that would not be afraid of Focus... the ACLU. Now I know what youíre thinking, "How could you go into the enemies' camp?" I had no choice. Focus funds virtually every Christian legal type of defense fund, and last I checked, I hadnít heard of any of them that were willing to bite the hand that feeds them. The ACLU said that I needed to talk to the EEOC. The EEOC said I needed to talk to the Civil Rights Commission. The lady that I talked to there (sorry I donít remember your name!) said that Focus had definitely violated a specific Civil Rights Statute: Title 24-Section 34-402.5. It stated that an employer cannot dismiss (or threaten to dismiss, I found out later) any employee, for something that he or she did while on their own time off of the employerís property, as long as the activity was legal! Finally, the trump card. A Civil Right Statute that would prove that Focus legally violated my Civil Rights! If they would have been a governmental agency, this would also have been a Constitutional violation of my Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Religion!
So on 12-29-99, I sent another letter to Del Tackett, along with a copy of the Civil Rights Statute that Focus had violated. To my utter amazement, I went two weeks with no reply. So I sent another letter. I finally received my first response from Del Tacket on 1-12-00. He said had received my three letters and that he was working on the situation, but that he "will need more time". Nine days later I got his final response. He said that in the Chapel meeting that day, he had "an experience with God", and this "experience with God" had led him to the conclusion to tell me to "honor the discipline from those in authority over you." He then went on to say that I should ask God, "if there is an attitude or a spirit within you that God wants to change."
I was numb... but I managed a written response (see attachment #19). I was pretty dumbfounded by his letter, and it showed in my response. I asked him how I was expected to "honor" those in authority over me, when they refused to honor those in authority over them? Godís Word commands that we do not "bear false witness against our neighbor", but they falsely accused me of "treating a guest improperly." The Scriptures also say to obey the Laws of the Land, and yet they thumbed their noses at the Civil Rights Statutes. They even violated the Focus Employee Handbook which says you cannot bear false witness against another employee. But Focus implores me to submit to their authority? At this point, Jesus might reccommend that I see my Eye Dr., but Iím sure that he would tell you to head for the nearest lumberjack! It can be very dangerous walking around with a pair of tweezers when you have a log in your eye!
Time To Run With The Big Dogs
On 1-24-00, I sent Del Tackett another letter. In this letter I asked him if he could send me the "legal and organizational" comments that he had referred to in his letter. The following day I also sent another letter to Tom Minnery, after hearing from my supervisor, that Tom said he was still willing to discuss the situation. Along with that letter, I included a copy of this report. I also sent copies of this report to Dr. Dobson, Mike Trout, Del Tackett, Tom Mason, Diane Pasno, Paul Hetrick, and Ron Wilson. On Friday, 1-28-00, Minnery asked to see me. He wasnít too thrilled at my portrayal of his anger (at our initial meeting) in my report. My original report said that he was "livid." It now says he was "furious." Semantics? Maybe... but I want to be flexible. He said that the reason that he called me into his office was to let me know that not only would I be receiving a response from Del Tackett, but also a letter from corporate attorney, Steve Reed. I thanked him for the information and returned to work.
The next day, Saturday 1-29-00, as I drove into Colorado Springs from my rural home, the Lord started to, kind of lean on me a bit. He helped me to understand that I had left out an important ingredient in my pleas for help. So far, my letters to everyone involved, had been an attempt to appeal to their logic and to appeal to the Laws of our land. He made me realize that I needed to appeal to Scripture, too. I hadnít fervently attempted that perspective, because I didnít feel that they would listen to Scripture. I felt that after the way that I had been treated that there probably werenít any true Christians in the Executive Wing. Who in their right mind... who with a true relationship with the Lord, could commit or condone such behavior? Nevertheless, the Lord convinced me that I was being unfair in my assessment of their spiritual condition. He also told me that I needed to confess that sin to them in the letter. I also felt that He wanted me to share my human side, too. Why this issue was so personal to me. Why I felt so strongly about protecting my reputation and my family name. I followed the Lordís guidance and wrote, and delivered, that letter on Tuesday, 2-1-00.
Finally, after all of the posturing and spiritual manipulation, on Friday 2-4-00, I received my "legal and organizational" response from Del Tackett. Now we will be able to get moving. Now we will be able to make some progress, right? Wrong again, my optimistic friend! It was the same old song and dance. But this letter had a new ingredient. New for Del Tackett, anyway. A threat! A threat that my "behavior" (passing out this report to the VPs), would not be tolerated. He labeled the report, "Confidential", in the hope that it would not be published. Del, what are you afraid of? Or better yet, what are you ashamed of? Maybe it was your ludicrous explanation of why you believe that Fred Phelps was a "guest" of Focus on the Family, when he came here as a protester. Or maybe it was your threatening, authoritative tone? Donít want anyone to see the Dark Side? He also included a threatening letter from corporate attorney, Steve Reed. In that letter, Reed gave his legal opinion as to why Focus on the Family is exempt from the civil rights statute that I had appealed to. I am in the process of researching his information. So far, it appears to be typically defense attorney type of smoke and mirrors. Some attorneys seem to think that if they speak long enough and loud enough, it will appear as if they actually know what they are talking about.
I fired off a response to Del Tackett, immediately. I once again had to refute his "logic" as to why Fred Phelps was not a "guest." He said that because the protest had become a "Focus event", that qualified all attendees as "guests." Never mind the fact that it was off Focus property and that the event was initiated by Fred Phelps! I once again had to point out that his "logic" was seriously flawed. That type of thinking would classify abortion protesters as "guests" of the abortion clinics. But this is the type of strawman arguments and circular logic that I have been battling since this whole fiasco got started. I went on to reiterate my resolve to get the false accusation out of my file.
Iím sorry Focus on the Family, but you cannot treat people as slaves. I have not been treated this poorly at even the most secular corporations. I have worked for companies that employed over 65,000 people, but they still treated their employees with respect. The strain of this four month ordeal has triggered a stress related disease in me that has virtually destroyed my immune system. I even told you this in some of my letters. Thank God I was properly diagnosed and am on a strict diet and medication that should restore my health in three to nine months (as I write this on 1-22-00). I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in your behavior, from a spiritual perspective and a legal perspective. Your total disregard for your individual employeesí well being is a shame. If you think that you can tell people what to do on there own time, whatís to stop you from telling all of your employees where they have to go to church? A friend of mine made the comment that you owe all of your employees a lot of backpay. I gave him a puzzled look and asked him to explain his statement. He said, "Well, if Focus thinks they can tell you what to do anytime of the day; any day of the week, they must think youíre on the clock twenty four hours a day... but theyíre only paying you for eight!" Another friendís wife said that there is no justice in punishing me, if they donít punish everyone that didnít honor Focusí request to boycott Disney. Good point, I thought. Both boycotting Disney and boycotting Fred Phelps were presented as requests. I know people in upper management that went to Disney for their vacation in 1999, but they were not given a Written Warning. Where is the justice? They turned down your request, for pleasure. I turned down your request, for principle. But look at the different consequences. To quote one of our leaders here at Focus, "One neednít sacrifice principle to treat people kindly."
Where we go from here, is up to you, Focus on the Family. I have no
intention of giving up this fight until you take that false accusation
out of my personnel file. You have falsely accused me, and you know it.
You have violated my civil rights, and you know it. I do not want to hurt
the reputation of Focus On the Family in any way. All I am doing is simply
trying to get someone at Focus to do whatís right. The level of hypocrisy
has reached the flood stage. What do you think your listeners and supporters
will say if they find out? In public you are fighting for the Religious
Liberties Protection Act, but behind closed doors (off the air) you are
violating your employeesí deeply held religious beliefs and their Civil
Rights. Not to mention the lengths to which you are willing to go, to oppress,
intimidate and libel your employees, in order to protect your image to
the press. The time has come for you to confess your sins and repent. Godís
forgiveness is just a prayer away! Galatians 5:1
Focus On The Family Joins Forces with Muslims, Mormons & Catholics
[pmi will keep this account as current as possible-we continue to pray for Dr. Dobson and Focus On The Family staff.]