It’s tough out there in the culture wars and Jim Daly has the
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly
But does the top executive of Focus on the Family believe he can ever successfully declare a truce with forces that seem determined to discredit his ministry? Can Daly ever dilute Focus on the Family’s message enough to win his opponents’ approval?
There are radical groups declaring vehemently that the Colorado Springs-based ministry founded in 1977 by Dr. James Dobson is a “hate group” because it opposes same-sex marriage.
Focus on the Family historically also has opposed abortion, divorce, gambling, pornography, pre-marital sex and drug abuse. It promotes teenage sexual abstinence, corporal punishment and
“We must speak truth,” says Daly, “but do so in a way that represents the Gospel.”
And that’s the theme of his new book ReFocus: Living a Life that Reflects God’s Heart.
Speaking the truth does not include diluting the Focus on the Family message, he insists. “We must speak truth in such a way that people can hear what we have to say. They can disagree with us without being in violent disagreement with us. We can do things on our side to avoid hostility even though there’s great disagreement. I believe that.”
Daly’s new book — Refocus: Living a Life that Reflects God’s Heart
That’s a tough assignment in today’s cultural environment, which conservative author Andrea Tantaros describes as one in which anyone standing up for traditional morality and speaking out against such issues as same-sex marriage “cannot voice a dissenting opinion without being assaulted” by vitriolic opponents who are “not interested in debating, only suppressing debate. Destroying your life and career is the sentence for anyone who dissents on these issues. The activists will carry out the sentence with the willing assistance of a compliant media.”
Daly’s not so sure the situation is so hopeless. “God knows how the human heart is constructed emotionally,” he says. “He knows if people talk to each other with respect and sincerity, guess what happens, a person’s heart begins to open up. So, I don’t think it’s about diluting the message in order to gain acceptance.”
Our culture is in turmoil, admits Daly. “Part of the difficulty today is that in the past, there was a cohesiveness when it came to our moral code. It was built on Christian principles. Our culture generally understood those principles and agreed with them, even through they knew they couldn’t live up to them. So, people knew they were not supposed to lie. There was a social stigma to stealing, to divorce and to cheating. Many of our institutions were built on the idea of the golden
rule and principles of honesty.
“But as the decades have slipped by, we look around and wonder what has happened. How did we get to such a place as we find ourselves today? There’s a bit of panic.
Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson
“For example, marriage is an example of God’s character in us,” says Daly. “God starts with Genesis and goes all the way through Revelation using marriage as a metaphor of His relationship to us.”
But today marriage is under attack. “I think one reason today’s culture is so hard on marriage today,” says Daly, “is because it reflects God’s image of humanity – that we’re made in His image, male and female. But to create children together, we become one flesh. Paul says it’s a mystery. And I think it’s a great offense to the enemy of our souls.”
Strengthening the family – long a primary mission of Focus on the Family – remains unchanged, says Daly. “Research shows that today still the best place for the well-being of children is in their biological mom and dad’s home. There’s no other family unit that rivals it. Sure, no family’s perfect because it’s made up of imperfect people. But when a family is functioning well, there’s love in the home and those children are going to do well.”