As president of Focus on the Family, one of the largest religious right groups in the country, Jim Daly should be rallying his troops against the lavender menace to religious liberty. But Daly seems to be infected with some kind of truth virus that keeps erupting at inopportune times, like a particularly embarrassing cold sore. He keeps blurting out that the right-wing’s battle against marriage equality is a lost cause—a good analysis politically, but not a smart motivational move.
Daly first found himself afflicted with a sudden outbreak of truthfulness last month. In an interview with a Christian magazine, he rightfully acknowledged that the demographics doom the antigay marriage cause. “We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage,” Daly said. “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.”
Of course, the last thing the president of Focus on the Family should not want to be is extremist, and Daly soon found himself backpedaling. Two days after that interview appeared, Daly wrote in a column that “I am not waving a white flag.” (No, it’s just an extra large hankie.) And he proceeded in another column to justify the cause against marriage equality on the basis of “the simple but profound reason that it violates and contradicts the sacred text of the Bible.”
Okay, damage control done. Then, earlier this month, Daly couldn’t help himself. In an interview with the Colorado Springs Independent, an alternative newspaper (!), Daly revisited the comments that got him in hot water in the first place. “What I was trying to say in that interview, when the question was asked about the younger generation, is you can’t deny the stats,” he said. “So when you’re looking at that and they’re saying 65 to 70 percent of those under 40 or 35 — I can’t remember exactly — support same-sex marriage, if that does not change within that community as they become 50 and 60, yeah it’s over.”
Perhaps just as bad, Daly acknowledged that heterosexuals haven’t exactly been great custodians of the marriage institution, a point brought home to him by—gasp!—gay people. “When I was talking to two or three gay activists, it’s a fair comment … ‘You guys haven’t done so well with marriage — why not give us a try?’ And it’s true.” Of course, Daly’s solution is to have Christians become better “models” of marriage.
But could it also be that just some small part of him recognizes that marriage equality may not be the end of the world?
H/t to Zack Ford at ThinkProgress.