Focus on the Family is Giving Up on Reaching Out to Millennials

In July of 2011, the new head of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, caused a bit of a stir in the evangelical Christian world when he answered a question about gay marriage in an interview this way:

[Question] We’re winning the younger generation on abortion, at least in theory. What about same-sex marriage?

[Answer] We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age — demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that. I don’t want to be extremist here, but I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture.

“We’ve probably lost that.”

Wow. Admitting defeat when it came to the issue of gay marriage. I mean, he was right, even though he later backtracked and then re-backtracked. (It was also a shocker to hear a Focus on the Family honcho finally say something true about gay marriage.)

Anyway, now Daly looks to be making good on that statement. Yesterday, he announced FotF was letting go of Esther Fleece, whose job it was to reach out to Millennials:

… after much prayer and discussion among the executive team, the difficult decision has been made to eliminate the position of assistant to the president for millennial relations at the end of [FY2012].

The FotF spin here is that they have “made great strides” in reaching their “strategic goals” but it’s hard to see how they’ve come out victorious no matter how you look at it. 70% of people 18-34 support gay marriage despite everything evangelicals have done to prevent that. 46% of people 18-34 consider themselves “pro-choice” (compared to 44% “pro-life”). And more millennials than ever before are doubting the existence of God.

Focus on the Family might as well hang a “Mission Accomplished” banner at their headquarters.

I’ve said this before, but I’d love to see FotF admit that they’ve lost the culture war battle with the younger generations. I’d love for them to focus more on getting kids adopted, which they’ve started to do under Daly. He won’t admit outright that FotF has lost anything, but the longer they hang on to outdated, abhorrent ideas, the faster they’re closing in on irrelevance (and new members). It can’t happen quickly enough.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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