Sunday, April 19, 2015

Focus - on the truth not fearing the lie

Background: The last week has brought another micro-controversy regarding vaccination, this time (primarily) inside the sub-culture of evangelical Christianity, specifically the niche of those who follow the para-church organization, Focus on the Family (founded by Dr. James Dobson). Thriving Families is one of their publications. In the April/May 2015 edition of their Thriving Families one of their medical advisers answered a question about vaccination.  A blogger, Megan Heimer ( published this response, "Dear Focus On the Family, You're On the Wrong Side of the Vaccine Controversy". It has gone viral and has been shared >10,000 times. According to Ms. Heimer, Focus on the Family (FOTF) has been deleting references to her post that have been shared or posted on FOTF's Facebook page - and that is the topic of today's post.

This post was written Sunday April 19, 2015 at 1830 (6:30pm EST) and I was able to find several links (at least 6 as of when this post was written) to Ms. Heimer's blog post - all posted by the same person (Charissa Kelly), each post with ~3-5 "likes", all posted on April 17 at 1435 (2:35pm), so the links have been up for at least 2 days - and all posted under a topic posted by FOTF, and unrelated to vaccination or the Thriving Families column to which Ms. Heimer initially responded. At least one of them was on a FOTF post that pre-dated Ms. Heimer's blog post! For the record - I did not contact either Ms. Heimer or FOTF prior to writing this blog post. I did post a comment in her private group (of which I am a member) in in response to her post reporting her allegations about FOTF's response to her blog post.

I'm entirely willing to give Ms. Heimer the benefit of the doubt in regards to her allegations about FOTF's response to her post (that they deleted references/links/posts to her blog about their column) - and it may be they have not yet scrubbed the links I found as I did some basic research/fact checking to write this post. Or perhaps they (FOTF) have received feedback about this tactic and have decided to abandon it. It's also inappropriate to post a link unrelated to the primary topic - though people might not feel the need to do that if posts were not being deleted.

While FOTF has every right to control the content of their page it is disingenuous to delete comments in response to something they published! I could find no guidelines on their Facebook page regarding any comment policy. Ms. Heimer's post was not disrespectful, nor inflammatory - she was clear and specific in how and why she disagreed with Dr. Hinthorn's column, and she provided links for supportive documentation/back-up for what she wrote.

Jesus did not shy away from any controversy and He does not fear our questions, instead He welcomes them. The truth has nothing to fear from the lie, and resorting to this sort of tactic (if true) reveals an insecurity about their position. He designed us to live in freedom and He respects our decisions even when they cause us pain and grieve Him - even if/when our decisions are sinful.

Christians are increasingly being scrubbed from public discourse (the marketplace of ideas) because positions conforming to a biblical worldview are contrary to the politically correct ideology that is increasingly dominant. It isn't surprising that non-Christians do not want their ideas challenged. It is surprising, and disappointing that a Christian organization is alleged to have resorted to suppression of an opinion challenging their own.

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