August 13, 2007

Focus on the Family Supporting AIDS Benefit Race

I don't get a chance very often to say something positive about the folks at Focus on the Family within the context of this blog, but I have that chance now and I'm happy to jump on it.

Focus on the Family is supporting a local bike race in it's home base of Colorado Springs that is raising money for AIDS relief.

"We are all thrilled to death," said Linda Boedeker, executive director of the AIDS project. "We were also a little bit surprised."

I bet they were.

There seems to be the perception that (because) AIDS is seen as typically associated with the gay community, that Focus on the Family wouldn't care for these people," said Devin Knuckles, a spokesman for Focus on the Family.

"It's kind of hurtful," Knuckles said. "It's our mission to help people who need help."
Boedeker said that Focus on the Family's participation belies its local reputation for not supporting the gay community or many local events.

"We have had some complaints," Boedeker said. "There are a lot of people (who) think that Focus on Family must have an agenda. ... I think they are trying to do what's right in their community."

Ryan Acker, executive director of the Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center, said Focus on the Family's involvement in the race raised some serious questions.

"There's no doubt that Focus on Family has harmed many individuals and families in the community with their anti-gay rhetoric," Acker said. "There are many who feel they don't have a role here.

"I think that Focus on the Family's stepping up to the plate to help is the right thing to do," Acker said.

"They're only friendly to certain kinds of families," Citizens Project interim executive director Barb Van Hoy said of Focus.

"They are often a divisive force here," Van Hoy said. "But I think any participation that is going to help people who are hurting is a good thing.

Obviously one small step forward by Focus on the Family won't heal the deep hurt they have inflicted upon the GLBT community, but I'm glad to see the Colorado Spring activists, while acknowledging that, taking the high road and accepting their involvement in this event.

When it comes to helping people, it's time to look beyond grievances, no matter how justified they are, and focus on bringing the greatest benefit possible.

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