Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst for Focus on the
Focus on the Family in row with Express-News
over rejected ad
QSanAntonio, April 14, 2009
Focus on the Family held a demonstration disguised as a news conference
at 2 p.m. today to confront the San Antonio Express-News over an ad the
newspaper rejected for the Love Won Out Conference in San Antonio on April
18 at Westover Hills Assembly of God. The protest was held in front of
the newspaper's building at 310 Avenue E.
Love Won Out teaches that people can overcome their same-sex
attractions through prayer and determination.
A Focus on the Family press release sent to local media today at 10:45
a.m. details their complaint: "Representatives of the Express-News,
including Publisher Thomas A. Stephenson, refused to explain the ad’s
rejection when asked. When pressured by the community to publish the ad,
they asked Love Won Out to completely change the ad, taking out all mention
of homosexuality because it may be ‘offensive’ to the homosexual
The press release goes on: "The paper’s advertising guidelines
list as reasons for rejecting ads that they are ‘not in the public
interest, not in good taste (and) not in keeping with the Publisher’s
standards,’ yet in the couple of weeks before the rejection, the
newspaper ran ads for strip clubs and cosmetic vaginal reconstructive
surgery, among others."
Commuity pressure, in the form of emails and phone calls to the Express-News,
has been managed by Focus on the Family’s corporate public relations
department in Colorado. They have augmented their own vast e-mail list
with the ranks of KSLR AM Christian Radio listeners across South Texas.
On April 13, the afternoon talk show host at KSLR read the ad to his listeners
and made the plea for them to start bombarding the Express-News with protests.
According to an article
at CitizenLink.com, a Focus on the Family web site, after the Express-News
rejected the original ad it offered to work with Focus on the Family on
crafting an ad with altered language. There apparently was a lot of push
and pull, with Express-News finally offering them two ads for the price
of one if they changed the original. Focus on the Family refused all of
the Express-News' suggestions.
The rejected ad features a large color photograph of Jeff Johnston, gender
issues analyst for Focus on the Family. Under the clean-cut young man’s
photo is the headline: "I questioned homosexuality." The text
of the ad goes on in Johnston’s own words describing how he’s
changed his life.
Ex-gay seminar slated for San Antonio
QSanAntonio, January 23, 2009
Representatives of the Colorado-based, anti-gay Focus on the Family will
come to San Antonio this spring to conduct the group’s much-decried
Love Won Out Seminar. The seminar, which teaches that gay desires can
be negated through prayer, is scheduled for April 18 at the Westover Hills
Assembly of God.
According to Focus on the Family’s web site, the Love Won Out ministry
"equips the church to respond in a Christ-like way to the issue of
homosexuality. And to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions,
we offer the Gospel hope that these desires can be overcome."
At the one-day event, ministers, psychologists and counselors who say
they have left homosexuality behind them make the case for "reparative
therapy" — the hypothesis that homosexuality is not innate
and can be "repaired."
"It’s been proven that ex-gay therapy does not work and in
fact does more damage to an already-hurting soul," Rev. Mick Hinson,
pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church told QSanAntonio. "Churches
must teach and live the inclusive love found in nature and in the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. It saddens me greatly that our Christian brothers and
sisters at Westover Hills Assembly of God have chosen to host a seminar
that teaches hate disguised as love."
Gay and lesbian activists have denounced Love Won Out’s methods
as an attempt to manipulate science in the name of religion. Love Won
Out and other promoters of reparative therapy have come to be known popularly
as the "ex-gay movement."
In recent years, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling
Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological
Association and the National Association of School Psychologists have
all declared that homosexuality is not a mental disorder that can or should
The Westover Hills Assembly of God, the church that is playing host to
the Love Won Out seminar, is located at 9340 Westover Hills Blvd., San
Antonio, Texas 78251. Its Lead Pastor is Jim Rion.