John Oliver caught the ire of Focus on the Family, a religious group in Colorado Springs that advocates for such non-family-friendly things as gay conversion therapy, when the talk-show host mocked Vice President Mike Pence and his views on homosexuality on his March 18 edition of Last Week Tonight. Pence's wife and daughter are set to visit Focus this week to discuss their new book about the family's pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo.
After the Brit argued that Pence's association with FOTF reinforced the theory that he is a hypocritical homophobe, Focus hit back. President Jim Daly called Oliver "vulgar and vile."
But readers don't have much nice to say about FOFT, either. Pleads Nicole:
Oh, I wish Mr. Oliver would come here and lead a protest of sorts. Focus on the Family is one of the absolute worst things about my state!
Agreed! He should come to Colorado for all the people who agree with the message he put out! The majority of our state is pretty progressive.
Focus on the Family are a fascist cult. Insults from them are a badge of honor.
I'm delighted to read that John Oliver has offended the organization that gave impetus to Colorado's infamous Amendment 2. Talk about "vile"...
I fart in the general direction of #FOTF and #VPPence.
And Bill took action:
Speaking of focus on the family, I jumped on the Internet and ordered three copies of Oliver's book to give my great-nephews and nieces.
Keep reading for more stories about Focus on the Family.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Marijuana Deals Near You
To counter the Pence tome, Oliver's Last Week Tonight crew put together a book of their own — A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo — that portrays the bunny as gay. Proceeds from the book have been earmarked for the Trevor Project, a suicide-prevention project for LGBTQ youth, and AIDS United.
As Oliver noted on his show, Focus on the Family "has a history of promoting conversion therapy. For a decade, it promoted a 'conference addressing, understanding and preventing homosexuality' called Love Won Out, which could not sound any more like a euphemism for masturbating." Oliver also pointed out that FOTF founder Dr. James Dobson "wrote a book called Marriage Under Fire in which he stated that 'Focus on the Family promotes the truth that homosexuality is treatable and preventable.'"
Dobson has since retired, but in an email exchange with Westword, Paul Batura, FOTF's vice president of communications, confirms that conversion therapy retains favored status. The organization "is dedicated to defending the honor, dignity and value of the two sexes as created in God’s image — intentionally male and female — each bringing unique and complementary qualities to sexuality and relationships," Batura notes. For that reason, he goes on, "we support counseling and the availability of professional therapy options for unwanted homosexual attractions and behavior."
What do you think of Focus on the Family? Of John Oliver's segment on Marlon Bundo? Post a comment or share your thoughts in an email to email@example.com.