So I took the day off today (or perhaps, it being a Saturday, one might say that I worked on something non-job related…?) and did a bit of research for some of the material I’m writing; as often happens when I get started in this, I branched into a thousand different directions. Lots of different topics, all of which I’m interested in; and for all of which I have to confirm perspectives and quotes. For me, in my writing, it’s important to get as close as I can to “facts” and steer away from “opinion” (unless I’ve actively stated the difference: this piece, for instance, is mostly opinion). I know, for all my Penn State friends, that I live in a post-modern age where nothing can be stated that is not influenced and changed by the one who states it: but recognizing that fact does not mean I give up and just vomit opinion as fact. It means that I do my best to strip as much of myself from my writing as I can. It is not perfect (the result always holds some of my perspective) but at least I recognize the danger.
I get frustrated when people just write things off the top of their heads and give their impressions rather than firmly researched background: especially when those impressions are geared toward hurting someone else in the eyes of others. (Then again, these days, there are sufficient opinions masquerading as facts that it’s almost impossible to dig to the bottom of such pits. But again, that doesn’t mean I don’t try.)
Anyway, at one point I wanted to quote something from the “Focus on the Family” group of ministries (I find it hard to call them “researchers”) and I went to visit their site. Yes, I know, it turned my stomach a bit; I hate to give them more traffic than is appropriate (which would not be any) but because their hate-filled messages are open for the world to see, I steeled my loins for a trip to their webpage. (There, you see? I know this page holds lots of my opinion and perspective. Lots of people like going to their webpage. Few of them are my friends, but that’s also my opinion. Or is it a fact?)
Anyway, I went to the site. And I got a page like this, at right (click for a larger view). Now I’ve certainly seen websites pull this kind of thing; you have to go through a “donation page” in order to reach anything useful. It’s usually when they need money, or some funding has dried up. Fine and dandy: so I decided to quickly to give them exactly what they’re worth. (Unfortunately I don’t think they’d give me anything, so I was kinda stuck…) There’s a “Skip” link in the upper left; I tried that and waited, nothing happened. There’s also a “Continue to Focus on the Family.com” link that the bottom. Same thing. So I thought maybe there was problem with the page or my browser. I clicked the “Donate” link. It worked quickly and easily without a problem.
This is the kind of manipulation that I dislike about “Focus on the Family”. To not let a person get to their website unless you donate… well, I’m not sure I want people going to their website, but hey: typical. I can only hope that this is a bit extreme: perhaps they need to force people to donate and waste their money. Perhaps.
So there’s no way to get to the information I was actually looking for. Sigh: typical. It’s probably just a one-day blitz, and everything will be back to normal tomorrow. Sunday. They’ll still be preaching hatred behind the golden mask they’ve made for themselves, and people will still listen. They’ll continue to be divisive, putting brother against brother: they probably even think that’s what God wants them to do, as in Luke 12:53. But that is only their opinion.
I suppose I was just lucky, stumbling across them today. Tomorrow will be normal.
Lucky. And normal.