Introduction: In 1997 at The Gathering [see Twocare.org report], a team led by Don Schmierer and Herbert Schlossberg (who would later become a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center) outlined to the deep-pocketed funders of The Gathering a multilevel plan for combating “organized homosexuality”.
At the time, both men were working as program managers for Howard Ahmanson’s Fieldstead and Company, the main vehicle for Ahmanson’s charitable giving and his anti-LGBT rights political and social activism.
On hand to solicit funds to finance the plan was Maclellan Foundation program manager Daryl Heald, who told The Gathering that funds contributed to the project could be anonymized to prevent “ACT-UP ending up at the door of your foundation or your house”, a possibility that Heald described as “everyone’s worst nightmare”.
The significance of Heald’s covert funding mechanism is hard to overemphasize, because it indicates that as early as 1997 many of the biggest anti-LGBT rights funders in America – the conservative evangelical Protestants of The Gathering – were going into “stealth” mode, to hide their anti-gay funding patterns.
It is likely that Heald was simply borrowing from the donor advised fund model pioneered by the National Christian Foundation – a model which allows donors who give anonymously through NCF to specific a range of causes their money should, through NCF, flow to. In its early years NCF had even obtained a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that allowed an anonymous donors to NCF specify a single cause their money should support.
Until now, the true magnitude of Howard Ahmanson’s role as one of the most significant and dedicated funders bankrolling anti-LGBT rights groups and initiatives not only in the domestic U.S. has not been fully understood.
The Fieldstead and Company-led effort that conceived the multilevel plan presented to The Gathering in 1997, to fight “organized homosexuality”, was only one part of Fieldstead’s globe-spanning anti-LGBT rights efforts.
One major component of the Fieldstead anti-gay plan was launched in 1998 as the “Truth in Love” campaign – with full-page ads, that celebrated the alleged success of “ex-gay” therapy and ran in the New York Times and other leading American mainstream media outlets.
While the strategy has generally failed within the domestic U.S., plan elements have been applied – with devastating success – in Russia and whole African nations, notably Uganda.
Twelve years after the 1997 The Gathering presentation, in 2009, Don Schmierer – a longtime program manager for Howard Ahmanson’s Fieldstead & Company – was, along with internationally notorious anti-gay agitator Scott Lively – one of three featured American speakers at the March 2009 “Exposing the Truth about Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda” conference widely credited with dramatically escalating anti-gay hatred in Uganda.
By Schmierer’s own telling, his first trip to Uganda had been in 1994 – fully eight years before Scott Lively set foot on Ugandan soil, and three years before Schmierer would co-present to The Gathering his and Herb Schlossberg’s plan for combating “organized homosexuality”.
[here is audio of the 1:21:00 presentation at The Gathering 1997]
[Don Schmierer, Program Manager for Howard Ahmanson’s Fieldstead and Company, from the early 1990s and up to, at least, 2011, begins presentation]
[Schmierer] “…what it will mean to your children and grandchildren, part 2.
We couldn’t think of a better title, and stuff, and we wanted to go and continue on that type of thing because a lot of things have happened since then – we’ve been able to do some things – and,. anyhow, we kind of wanted to share that with you now.
Kind of the overall picture, today, is going to be that we’ll have each one of the panelists share about ten minutes on a particular topic, and I’ll introduce them and let them do their preassigned thing. And then we’re gong to open it up for questions and answers from you. And the sky’s the limit- you can ask anything you’d like. We don’t guarantee any answers but we sure enjoy the questions. But we’ll try to accommodate you and to refer back to whatever we can on the subject.
Yesterday morning, H.B. London spoke on the Good Samaritan, and he talked about something that I thought was so apropos to what we’re doing about today. Remember how he talked about the hospital, and the fences ? And how that – when, you know, everybody builds a house, well everybody gets excited and there’s a ribbon-cutting and people come out, you know, and all kinds of great stuff.
And then there’s us who – you know – build a fence to keep the kids from falling off this cliff, that happens to be down where the hospital is, down in the valley down below. But people who build a fence don’t get any recognition. There’s – fact, nobody knows they did. And, fact is, usually people don’t like a fence, because it’s rules, so maybe they’ll go cut it so they can still get through.
That’s almost the comparison between this type of thing which we’re going to be talking about – [what] we’re going to be talking about is that Fence. People who try to build a fence to keep people from falling into trouble. Now there are times – you know, reality tells us that we do need hospitals.
And I don’t want to put down hospitals. I’ve been in them, was glad they were there. Very thankful. And reality tells us that people are going to crawl over the fence, reality tells us that some people are going to – everybody’s going to throw somebody else over the fence, they’re going to be enticed over the fence, or the wire’s going to get cut, they’re going to get hurt, and we’re going to need the hospitals.
But today, if you can kind of get that picture view in your mind, what we’re talking about is building that fence. Now, one thing about things, and I’m going to warn you ahead of time, some things that we’re going to be getting around to – it’s easy to get donors to get excited about building a hospital.
Fact, I just – we just, wife and I just got back from China, and we were traveling with a group of funders, and there was some hospitals, and some medical work going on, and it was exciting. It was really great.
But it’s not too exciting to get involved in building fences.
And you’re going to see a direct correlation – as we get into it and share a few facts with you, about this – you’ll see the differences between the fences and the hospital.
We’re going to take a while, and we’re going to shock you. And we’re going to tell you some very negative things. And we’re limiting it to ten minutes. OK? So if you can survive through that you’ll be in good shape.
There’s some things that you need to know. [I’m] thinking of a portion of scripture in John 8:42, when Jesus says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We’ve debated about, sometimes, always telling the people about the real negative, shocking things that are happening. You ought to go back to scripture – and Jesus said, “You’ll know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
We’re going to tell you about some very positive things – we’re going to tell you about a strategy that we’ve come to, we’ve spent some time with, in trying to come up with, and particularly for this Gathering, and for people who are possible funders or maybe don’t know how to get engaged, at whatever level, in this particular subject, so we’ve come up with a strategy, and we’re going to be talking about that.
And then we’re going to be talking about, that you too can become a fence builder, and I’ll give you some things, and we’re going to open it up.
That shouldn’t take over thirty minutes, guys, is that right ? What we said ? They tell me before – for a moderator, you know I carry a big stick – when it’s ‘time up’ I just pull the plug on ‘em, shut off their mikes, you know [laughs].
Anyhow, first of all we’re going to have share on the topic is Jim Johnson, with Beyond Rejection ministries. Jim and I have been friends. In fact he’s been friends with my wife, myself for a number of years. We’ve gotten to know him and Jim is kind of our ‘man on the street’. He’s going to tell us what’s happening, what are the activists doing these days.
So Jim, you got your mike on, you can either stand up or whatever you want to do. You can’t speak from here and have your mike on both, we’ll have problems. You want – why don’t you just speak from here.
[Johnson – “Yeah, I understand”]
Stand! – They want to see you, Jim.
[Johnson ] OK. For your sake and for theirs, so that he can stop me on time, I’m going to read. And I did not write this but it basically is 99 percent from my heart. I was written for me because we found that there are people that have that gift – and I don’t personally have that gift – although I’ve been, called myself a journalist.
If anything – [turns on mike, Schmierer, “Yeah, there he goes”] I’ll be flipping it on and off – anything that I say that may sound insensitive to anyone, on either side of any issue or in between on the issue, it – remember that, please, with me, that what I do say is based on the lives that I have dealt with in my own life, empirical and firsthand evidence; I mean lots of evidence, not just something that I’ve conjured up in my own mind. And the deaths of nearly 700 people to AIDS in the last fifteen years. And the Lord was kind enough to utilize me in the pioneering development of hospice and home health care in the United States, from the very earliest of years. And so, my statements are based on that compassion for those persons that I had lived with, many of who – and most of who – are dead, now including my very closest friends and my own godfather.
[begins reading script]
Where we stand:
To date, our side has failed. Our side, the pro-family traditional conservative side, has failed in an attempt to hold at bay the advance of organized homosexuality. They have proceeded relatively unabated, in precisely the arenas where we have made a point to engage them.
We have not failed because we are any less intelligent, any less sophisticated, or any less committed to our opponents. We have failed because we lack a clear vision and effective leadership. In fairly assessing where we stand now we cannot ignore the fundamental and obvious reality that our side only has ground to give and theirs only has ground to gain.
Americans did, at one point, accept – nearly unanimously – the premise, quite literally, interpreted in our laws and culture, that homosexuality is wrong, unhealthy, should be illegal, and, frankly, is un-American — because of its inherent selfish character and obviously self-destructive tendencies.
Certainly, some erosion of that sentiment might have naturally occurred over time so it would unfair to suggest that any little bit of ground gained by organized homosexuality, do to the erosion, is a reflection of our side’s collective failure.
Even so, this natural give and take of public sentiment neither honestly explains nor justifiably excuses the fact that organized homosexual – homosexuality – has made deep inroads into our general culture. So if not this factor alone, then what has led to the collective failure to effectively counter the gains of organized homosexuality ?
The political approach – a proven failure. Simply stated, our collective failure is due to our collective political approach – an approach dominated by bureaucracy, personalities (and I underline that personally), money, and power.
But most of all, an approach which ignores, totally ignores, the fundamental nature of the problem – gay politics or, in other words, organized homosexuality, is a group manifestation of the homosexual’s pathological need to justify his existence. It’s nothing more.
The need — they feel guilty about what they do and all the time – all the time and that is why they are into everything and seemingly everywhere, right now – because wherever they turn in our traditional culture, they are reminded of their pain of conscience.
And they have mistakenly led themselves, and us, to think that these pains of conscience would disappear overnight if only all remnants of homophobia were done away with.
So they’re fighting everything and so are we.
And herein lies the problem – our side’s response to these outward manifestations of guilt has been to treat them symptomatically. Our whole approach has been to reduce – to reacting to the symptoms. By doing so we have successfully diverted our attention and resources away from more effectual solutions.
This redirection away from an effectual approach has led to many vain struggles on our part, and to a very confounding irony — the more we focus on political approach, the more we lose ground in the war, for the hearts and minds of people – which, in turn, leads to ever increasing political defeats, defeats even in the form of victories.
Like defending traditional marriage. We never dreamed we would ever be facing a situation – that was a loss. Having to defend marriage ?
The failed political approach is characterized by special institutional behaviors. Each are an example of external responses. First, the political approach is money-driven, and hence money-motivated. If a potential solution cannot raise money through grass-root or direct-mail campaigns, it’s not implemented.
Raising money then replaces sound solutions as a primary justification for the work.
Second, the political approach is personality based. The cult of personality grips the political approach because of our reliance on money. We addictively grip the political approach, embrace famous people, media hounds, as cultural ambulance chasers who themselves or who – others – allow themselves or their names to be used to raise money, through the exploitation of base public desires for gossip, alarm, and the misfortune of others.
Of course, aside from this fact, that personalities give our opponents someone to demonize, the problem with this reliance on personality is the most – that most of these individuals fall from grace, sooner or later. And when they fall, so does our cause.
Third, the political approach is a correction-centered approach.
While there is nothing inherently flawed with the fact of the political approach – after all, self correction, or repentance, is the basis for Christ-like progression – our sole reliance on it, in public forms, perverts its importance. We are ultimately led to rely on numerical strength for our success.
In other words, as it applies to homosexuality particularly, we pit the public’s perception of the number of our corrections-centered success stories against our number of failures.
Because of the inherent few repentant souls out there, the public perceives our woeful showing of the evidence as narrow minds, ignorance, and hate.
Emphasis on correction over prevention also precludes a focus on innocent misguided children and only invites further attention to the daily whims of consulting adults.
Fourth, and last, fourth, our political approach increasingly relies on government solutions. Ironically, our side has looked more and more to government for solutions to what has been traditionally been considered the arena of families and churches.
While acknowledging that our opponents are the ones who have obsessively confused private morality with public policy, the obsession provides little justification for our side to join in the confusion.
The thinking which destroys a culture is not the same thinking which restores it. Mirroring the tactics of our opponents only hastens our social and governmental demise.
And, lastly, the political approach leads to innumerable thoughtless strategic and tactical mistakes.
For example, we try to manage our side of the culture war from Washington D.C. when the real battle, all in all, held in local and state vineyards.
This strategic mistake, once again, ironically, mirrors those who – we say – we oppose: those who also try to orchestrate their plans from one centralized bureaucratic location.
An example of the tactical mistake in our penchant for line drawing – it would be line-drawing in the sand. We are forever tempting our opponents to cross that line. Every time we do so only creates a standard for our cultural enemies to shoot for and succeed in crossing.
[Schmierer] Jim, would you like to just show them, take one minute and just show them the stuff over here – your mike will work right over here.
[Johnson] OK. Show and tell is a little bit burdensome this year. It’s much more than last year, and this was the priority thing. Pretty much everything on these tables and in these bags over here is youth-centered. I met a number of pastors’ children over the years, primarily men, that have gone into a homosexual lifestyle, and there are several book that have come out, and this is the most recent – it came from a Baptist family, this particular one.
Most of this is ‘safe schools’ material. And the Safe Schools projects are increasing. And just to give you an idea of how much literature is coming out, this is gender material, in this catalog, these are all the new books, and this is actually two months old. And this is all the books that have come out recently, on gay and lesbian issues. I just couldn’t bring all the books this year, it’s – it wasn’t possible.
Everything is focused towards children. And the videos here, I brought half a dozen or so of the videos, there’s now eighteen primary videos focused at getting into schools, into public schools. And some private schools.
The ‘Safe Schools’ projects can be anything from a local project, or the national projects. One of the programs that, that we sat through this year was the first gay/lesbian teachers-straight teachers alliance in Salt Lake City – that was strategically used because of the Mormon Belt, which is Idaho, Utah, and Arizona.
We only have eighteen states with sodomy laws left in the United States and three of them are the Mormon Belt and the remainder are the Bible Belt. And most of the Bible Belt is over. And those losses, incidentally, have nothing to do with homosexuality. Those losses had to do with heterosexuals wanting the sodomy laws removed – although a lot of people blame the gay community for that.
“It’s Elementary” is one of the most famous of the videos. Also over here, if you want to look at it during “show and tell” time is the Versace book – if you really want to know what the man saw, how he saw the world. This book visually explained the way he looked at the world. And that story I’m not at liberty to discuss, that’s an ongoing investigation.
More ’safe schools’ things – these are all strategically laid out to indoctrinate, from all levels, from any year level all the way down to local schools, in gay and lesbian teaching and to develop groups of gay-straight alliances within those schools districts.
[addresses Schmierer] Was that enough documentation?
[Schmierer] That’s good. Here in this ‘big pile’ is, one minute please, the one thing that has been produced this year, and we had to get involved in producing it ourselves – it’s the training material for Jim Burns’ National Institute of Youth Ministries, to go along with what they’ve done, type of thing. We have it both in English and Spanish. It’s not completed yet, we just stole it from the printer, this week, and it was faxed to us in a hurry, just to get it here so we at least could have something to show you.
We’ve been working – we’ve had to work on this, our team had to work on this personally to get this material done. We’re working on a second book, that would be stand-alone, and the area that we’ll be addressing is “prevention”.
[person in audience wants to ask question/tell story] Can we save our stories – or, you got a question [question from audience, inaudible]
[Schmierer] Well [our]team: Jim, my wife Diana, myself, and our ghostwriter – who’s not, we’re not really – we took the ghost off of her. She’s written for many number of people, one being Chuck Colson, and one of the later books that she wrote, was a book that you may have read, about China, “Their Blood Cries Out” – it’s Lela Gilbert. So the four of us work together and doing it, and Lela’s very apt on writing, very good on writing.
[question from audience -“are the materials you’ve been, spoke about, are they Christian materials…”]
[Schmierer] These – those are our secular.
[Johnson, interjects] The only Christian materials are what Don has.
[Schmierer] This is it. And some of things – when we’ve done this, and given our pilot shoot, and just to see how, what the reaction was, everybody says, “Well, give us more materials”, you know, and stuff like that, and I said “You’re looking at it. We’re developing it.” And so hopefully a lot will follow after – but just to let you know that the Christian community has not done anything to address the issues.
[some more attempts from audience, to ask questions – Schmierer cuts it off]
[Schmierer] Our next fellow is Herb Schlossberg. And I’ve known Herb for a number of years, because he’s also worked at the same foundation, same people that my wife and I work for.
Herb has been a person who has – writes on the Victorian Era – and we decided to give him a challenging break and have him come in for 6 months and give us an inside, kind of an outsider look, and there’s some question that we wanted to have a fresh set of eyes look at, to see whether we were missing some things, in looking at this.
So Herb was a fresh set of eyes to look at it, and when he got six months to deal, which ends tomorrow (and he goes back to another job) but anyway, Herb – about halfway through – called me up, “Don,” he says, “what you’ve asked me to do”, he says, “everything that’s been written on this stuff from the other side, it’s all been written.” I said, “well, I knew that”. He said, “well, what did you give me this assignment for?” I said, “well, I had to prove whether I was seeing things right or not.” He says, “I don’t like that.” But anyhow, Herb says, “I got a better idea – something very positive that needs to be done, something I picked up.” I said, “well, let’s go with that.”
So Herb – Oh, I got a, one more thing. With that, Herb suggested, he says “We need to come up with this group” – we call it the stealth, “stealth group”. And it was, consisted of a real cross-section of people, and we wanted to run some things by them, interact with them, and come up with a strategy.
And not to tell you who these people are – but I’m just going to give you the profile of the twelve people. One was a program officer, we had a person there from the Catholic Alliance Action, a person from [the] Family Research [Council], one from the National Center for Fathering, a research writer. We had some more program officers, property managers, a person that’s been involved with the ministry of hospices, to AIDS. We had our writer there. We had an architect and who also has been involved in Christian ministry, and we had a person who is a special ed teacher – Christian ministry and an AIDS giver. And then we had a person who’s a Congressional aide. Not “AID” but “aide”, in Washington D.C. who’s, ah, we’ve known for a while.
But anyhow, we brought in this cross-section of people one day, down here in Colorado Springs and, as the guys would contest with, I drove them hard – “We’re going to come up with something”, and I had Herb prepare some things, on a strategy – which I’m going to ask him to share with us at this particular time. Herb ?
I don’t know if everybody really caught it – I guess most of you did – this material that Don was talking about is all material produced by homosexuals for use in the public schools. I know some of you got it [examples of the materials], some of you may not have. But that ought to be clear.
We’ve talked about “the fence” that we’re going to build in order to keep people from tumbling off the cliff and ending up broken at the bottom of the cliff. And my assignment is to tell you something about what that fence will look like.
I can’t tell you exactly what it will look like, because that will be a decision made by this group, that Don has just told you about – a group of really first-class people, that I am really quite proud to be associated with. And they’re going to be looking at the various strategies that we ought to be using to do something about this problem.
There are seven sections to this fence that we have identified, and I just want to tell you very briefly what these seven sections are.
The first section is a section which is intended to reverse the infiltration of the schools. We want to make sure that people understand that their children are being taught by teachers and counselors, in the schools, that homosexual behavior is normal – thus exposing them to grave moral and medical risks.
We want to do it with legislation and court cases which restrict the rights of homosexual activists to speak to children, in classrooms and in assemblies.
We want to make sure that there are alternative points of view expressed in the schools, so it isn’t just the homosexual position.
We want to make sure that legal help is available to school boards that want to stop the infiltration of homosexual teaching but have been threatened with court cases – sometimes with their own net worth at risk. We want to be able to provide help to them.
We want to see that laws already on the books, that provide for informed consent of parents, in gender counseling, really are enforced. They’re there, in some cases, but they’re not being enforced.
The second section, of the fence, will deal with training.
We want to train concerned citizens to testify in legislative meetings. Legislatures have meetings, committee meetings, they want testimony, and it’s often only the other side that has people to testify.
We want to provide short courses, to clergy and others, to counsel people with gender disturbances.
We want to train speakers and writers, to get their point of view across effectively.
We want to train public officials, helping them deal with homosexual activists in a way that’s responsible and also legal.
The third section of the fence deals with strategies for the churches. Many pastors of conservative churches know there’s something wrong with the homosexual advance but they don’t know how to deal with it. And they really would like some help in knowing what to do.
There are also struggling anti-homosexual organizations – often made up of former homosexuals in mainline denominations – facing a great deal of hostility from officials in those denominations. And it ought to be possible for us to figure out ways to help them, in those churches.
The fourth section of the fence deals with cultural strategies. We would like to have legal remedies, to enforce existing obscenity laws. Up until 1992 there really was a substantial enforcement of obscenity laws that had been on the books for a long time. Since 1992, the enforcement of those laws has gone by the boards in many cases, and I just saw in the newspaper last week that Cincinnati has now opened up the city to hardcore pornography – and that was one place where the anti-pornographic revolution began, about ten or fifteen years ago. Now the tide has come back.
But those laws are still on the books, and it ought to be possible to enforce them.
We want to raise public awareness, about pornography in public libraries. The American Library Association has established guidelines, followed by a great many librarians in public libraries, which admit material which has long been thought of as pornographic and, in fact, these librarians will often not allow the opposing point of view, because it’s supposed to be homophobic, or opposed to the civil rights, or – sometimes they say – “hate literature”.
[27:40] The fifth section of the fence we want to erect deals with family issues. Often parents, with the best intentions of the world, leave their children in the care of people which exposes the children to pedophiles. And many children have just been wrecked in this way. In fact, many adult homosexuals will tell you that they entered that style of life because they were abused as children. We want to publicize this so that parents understand the dangers.
We want to defend parent’s rights to teach their values and protect their children from the influence of opposing values. One of the people who is working with us has a very interesting way of putting this, this is a woman in New England, she puts it this way – every parent has the right to know that homosexuality is both preventable and treatable.
So it puts, it elevates the status of the parent as the one who is responsible for teaching the children, rather than the schools or government officials or librarians or others.
The sixth section of the fence we want to erect deals with research, research strategies. We are in the process of building a complete database on homosexuality that will be available to researchers and practitioners all around the world, and when this is finished we expect to put it up on the World Wide web so that it will be available to anybody.
We want to commission research projects that will be useful to help people come to a knowledge of the truth about homosexuality. Much of the research that’s been conducted in this area has been conducted by homosexual activists. And a lot of it has been exploded as un-repeatable and of no scientific validity, but it still gets put out.
We would like to commission scientific research that’s done more responsibly. We would like to be able to fund investigative reporting, by sympathetic magazines, which will bring to light the truth about what the homosexual agenda is and what the activists are doing.
And finally, the seventh portion of the fence deals with public relations strategies. We would like to prepare advertising that speaks to the particular issues that come up, when they come up, in a timely way. And this could be covering a number of areas, subjects, it will be family related, educational, statutory, medical, and any other aspect of the problem.
We want to be able to highlight the failures of the homosexual scientist to abide convincing research. What happens is, somebody comes up with a study showing that homosexual brain physiology is different from that of heterosexuals. That gets plastered all over the newspapers and know everybody knows that it’s really a matter of genetics. It’s not a matter of volition, it has nothing to do with morality. A year or two later, that research is exploded, it can’t be replicated, and it’s buried on page “16c” of the newspaper, nobody ever finds out about it. We would like to be able to publicize this sort of thing.
A lot of people run legal risks, in telling the truth about the homosexual agenda, and financial risks, and therefore they tend not to say anything about it. We would like to provide legal protection for them, to encourage them, to say what they know.
We’d like to publicize the fact that all of this material here, that Jim has collected, is in fact being used in the schools. People are shocked when they see that. Well;, there ought to be millions of people who are shocked, but they’re not going to be if they’re not told, and so we’re – what we want to do is make sure that they do know about that.
And finally, when homosexuals do come out, of that lifestyle, they do so with fear, of isolation, in some cases fear of retribution. They need support – we want to make sure they have support. And as more of them do come out that will help us in the public relations area.
Now this is not exhaustive. We expect that this stealth group that Don has told you about will take a very close look at various projects – it may be that some of the things that I have said will not be selected.
We’re going to use some of the same criteria that many of you use, in deciding what to fund. First of all — is it doable ? Is it cost-effective ? Is it being proposed to be done by the right kind of people or should there be other people that are doing it ? Is there a less expensive way of doing it ? And, finally, what criteria should be used in judging the outcome ?” [32:47]
[Don Schmierer] Thank you, Herb. One thing I put down there in my notes, I think you cn pick it up by now – we’re not clones, up here. We’re all different, and in fact, even as we get into the funding thing, some of us find we have different priorities, and different interests in different things, and that has not been a negative force, it’s been a positive.
We’ve been able to learn to work together and build off of each others’ strengths and also, hopefully, shore up each others’ weaknesses. So you – you’re not going to see the same type of thing – you know, Jim is different from myself, from Herb, and as you’ll get to know Daryl, here, in a minute. But we are different people and we do have different emphases in going about it.
I wanted to just read you one thing, came in the mail the other day, and just to give you an idea and kind of set the stage for Daryl, because he’s going to talk about funding, the funding possibilities and a number of things that we are doing. But this was written to me from a church that has been involved in this subject – both helping people who are dying of AIDS and people who are struggling with the lifestyle.
They have all the right criteria – very gentle, very good – and our group has been involved in funding them, and he wrote this note to me. I just got it just a week ago:
“This last year we inquired about grant information from 300 foundations and organizations. Of the 300, eleven stated that they would consider us. Later, of the eleven, all said that because of the sensitivity, [the] nature of our ministry, we were beyond their scope of funding. This type of thing we’ve encountered time, and time, and time again.”
When we talk about a fence, and nobody wants to come and see a fence building – well, we’re – it’s for real. So this is one of the reasons for having this meeting, again, and Daryl – I’m going to turn it over to you, to share however you want to do it.
[Daryl Heald, Program Director, Maclellan Foundation] [35:00]
“I wanted to share this with you, the testimony of someone that has been looking at this issue not as extensively as the three gentlemen here – I came into, about eight months ago, I just took a job at the Maclellan Foundation, the first assignment they gave me was this. I wasn’t quite sure if that was a test of whether I should stay around or not but I said, “If I get assignments like this, maybe I’ll leave myself.”
But, it’s a difficult issue. Very difficult issue. I was fearful of the issue. And I would guess that a number of y’all out there are fearful of it also. And as I began to look at the issue, I did become even more fearful. It is amazing how organized and strategic the other side is.
But at the same time as I had opportunities to go to different meetings and meet a lot of people from the political spectrum all the way to the counseling ministries, people that have come out of the lifestyle, and in my own prayer life asked God to give m,e a heart for this issue too, and a lover for the people.
I think, as we heard in some of the Bible teaching, H.B. London talking about, it’s very difficult to try and approach this from a Christian level, how would Christ approach this issue ? And it’s not one of hate against hate. I don’t believe that’s our response.
And so what I was looking for, and what I’d really been mandated to look for, on the foundation side, is – what is the proactive side of this issue ? – ‘What can we do to help ?’, not ‘what can we do to fight’. Not what we can do to push back.
There are, within our comprehensive strategy, there’s always this where you’d have a – those two components, kind of a proactive and a reactive side of it. And there are certainly some stopgap measures that needed to happen.
As I looked into it, very quickly I realized there is this tremendous disconnect between the evangelical funding community and the ministries out there. A lot of them had no idea what – who foundations were, or individuals. They were existing on total grassroots funding at a very low level.
I would – venture to guess – that not to many of y’all would be able to name a multiple, two or three ministries, evangelical ministries, in this issue. I certainly couldn’t. And that would just, you know, confirm the fact that there’s this disconnect.
We – the church – has been really silent and has just not wanted to address this issue. As I’ve talked with some of the people struggling with AIDS, and the lifestyle, they said they really believed that if the church would have responded as Jesus calls us to respond to what he’s saying, back in the 80s, early 80s when the AIDS crisis really came on the scene in a big way, that we probably wouldn’t be in the predicament we are now — where we feel totally overwhelmed with the other side.
I mean, just to give you some very raw numbers, of what the other side – has funding in the hundreds of millions. And that’s probably even conservative, on that. You can look at the Forbes 400, even their billionaire section, and see men who openly are in the lifestyle and support the lifestyle, at a huge level. That would overwhelm funding from the evangelical side.
So it’s not an issue of let’s get our money against their money. But we know that we have God on our side, and nothing is impossible for Him. So, really, the issue is – and I think, and I’m excited to see y’all here in the room – is, what’s your response ? To all of this ?
And I – what I try to do is, I dealt with, really, some hurt from these ministries, saying, ‘where is the evangelical side here, where’s the funding side ? We see – we know about all this money, we look at some of the ministries that have been talking up on a platform, and you see major money going into all those.’
And they’re saying, ‘what – how do we talk to these people ? Where, where does that happen ?’ And I just tried to put myself in y’all’s perspective – as someone that’s not looked at it, not wanted to look at it, it’s a – it takes a lot of time – there are probably a lot of other issues that you’d rather deal with and get to know better than this one.
And so what I’d like to offer y’all is a solution to that. I felt like there would be several barriers to entry, to even getting involved on a funding level in this. And one of those is, I’ve asked other funders, is the – is the sensitivity of the area.
There’s probably a lot of foundations that would not want to have grants made to openly known ministries in this arena to be on their 990s. A lot of individuals that wouldn’t want to write a check on their – because the opposition’s strategy is to really go after, very strongly, the people who are opposing them.
And they do that in a pretty nasty way, and I think the, what conjures up in the vision is ACT-UP ending up at the door of your foundation or your house, or – something like that would be everyone’s worst nightmare.
But we do have some funding vehicles that we can tell you about, for those who would be interested in making some grants, direct grants, and having control of those moneys but to do that anonymously. And, I think that’s a – that’s definitely something that a lot of people would have as a felt need.
[The] other side is to look at the issue on – again – what can we do that’s – ‘what are we for’, instead of ‘what are we against’ ? And as I’ve looked at the issue, the two major things that we can be for is ‘for our youth’ and ‘for healthy fathering’.
Those are two of the main issues that, if we can, on the preventative side, engage that, the likelihood of young men and women entering into the lifestyle drops dramatically.
And to take a look, and just be overwhelmed with what the other side has here, the battleground is the schools. They – the opposite, the opposition, totally – their success depends on recruitment. And they’re doing that in the schools.
It’s not in all the other places. You can see it in a very comprehensive strategy. But where they’re putting their money, and the greatest emphasis, is the schools. And we have no response to that. Do you realize what Don held up, which is still, in the prototype – which is still being finished right now – that there was not a Sunday school curriculum, for any Sunday schools, in the U.S. ? there is no training on this in any of the national youth ministries, on this issue. Nothing written.
That’s the level we’re starting at here. It’s just, almost, ground zero. And all the things that Herb outlined, you’d think, ‘well, surely we have some of those things in place.’ It’s like Nehemiah building the wall. Basically, we’re saying, ‘come help us build a wall.’ There is virtually no wall out there right now.
It’s a – but, not to be overly negative – the exciting thing is, we have identified potential projects, there’s already been significant funding from – again, not having a great base to start from – I think some significant funding already done in this, on this issue this year, in ‘97.
We have some handouts, just to give you an idea on some of the projects that have been funded, some projects that still need some funding, and, um, a list of just some other ministries – and this so not very comprehensive. We can get, we’re – again – just trying to put a lot of these things together right now.
We’d ask that you treat this material with sensitivity too, though. I think we’re all, we all would appreciate that. But we have some very exciting people, committed people, gifted people, in all aspects of the strategy that Herb outlined, that are anointed to deal with this issue.
And we’re seeing some great success, and so I don’t want to leave with, leave with a negative opinion on what’s going on out there. But I would just ask that there definitely be some prayerful consideration as to the response to what’s going on out here.
This is one of the issues that, as I’ve gone around and talked with a lot of the cultural thinkers and leaders you all would be familiar with, and said ‘what are the top three or four major issues facing America today ?’ Every one of them has this on their short list. It’s that big of an issue. So, we would prayerfully appreciate and seek y’all’s involvement in this at whatever level the Lord would lead you.
[45:00] We have – I know that Herb outlined a strategy, and he went through that pretty quickly. We have, we’re going to be working on that, it’s a draft in process, but we would be happy to – what we’re going to do is we’re going to ask Terry and Diana to pass back a participant’s listing – if you want to just check your name, to get a little bit more information on this. That way we can send you the strategy information and then, also, we have limited copies of some of the project funding too. Thanks.
[question and answer period begins, goes to 1:21:00]