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Family News in Focus Bears False Witness about Polygamy Movement

Date: Apr 07, 2006
Word Count: 1000 words
Cross-Reference: Focus on the Family, Family News in Focus, polygamy rights

Both, the published transcripts and the available audio-recordings, of the interviews with's founder, Mark Henkel, prove that the corresponding report by Focus on the Family's news division directly bore false witness by claiming he said something he would never say about polygamy rights.

On   March   14,   2006,   Mark   Henkel,   the   established   national   polygamy   advocate   and   founder   of   the   evangelical   Christian   Polygamy   organization,,   granted   two   interviews   on   the   same   day   with   a   reporter   named,   Kimberly   Trobee.     She   was   preparing   a   March   16th   report   for   Family   News   in   Focus,   the   news   division   of   James   Dobson’s   Focus   on   the   Family.     Despite   those   friendly   interviews   with   the   reporter,   however,   the   leadership   at   Family   News   in   Focus   subsequently   edited   her   piece,   ultimately   bearing   false   witness   about   what   Henkel   actually   had   said. 
Admittedly,   a   positive   quote   made   by   Henkel   was   presented   in   the   piece.     However,   the   quote’s   essential   concluding   clause   was   cut   off   -   effectively   hiding   it   from   the   audience.     Describing   the   organization,   Henkel   had   more   completely   said,   “We   are   a   cross-denominational,   para-church   support,   supporting   individuals   and   pastors   that   come   to   this   realization   that   the   Bible   does   not   support   the   Catholic   invention   of   ‘one   man,   one   woman’   as   a   doctrine   -   especially   using   the   false   god   of   big   socialist   government   to   define   the   doctrine   of   God.”     But   the   report   interrupted   that   entire   sound-bite   after   the   word   “doctrine.”       Thereby,   the   very   important   idolatry-warning   clause   was   removed. 
Indeed,   Henkel   has   long   cried   out   for   fellow   Christians   that   many   Christian   leaders   have   “gone   the   way   of   Jeroboam   son   of   Nebat”   -   the   Biblical   reference   to   leaders   politically   luring   God’s   people   into   idolatry.     As   many   Christian   leaders   are   turning   to   the   false   god   of   big   socialist   government   for   an   unbiblical   big   government   marriage   amendment,   Henkel   has   warned   that   they   are   misleading   God’s   people   into   that   idolatry.     Simultaneously,   as   he   has   explained,   they   are   misleading   God’s   people   away   from   trusting   in   the   one   true   God   Who   never   once   used   government   to   define   doctrine.     Truthfully,   not   one   person   in   the   Bible   was   ever   married   “by”   any   government. 
Not   only   did   Henkel’s   unreported   final   clause   in   his   quote   actually   expose   the   sinfulness   of   that   idolatry,   but   it   also   demonstrated   the   indisputability   of   his   genuine   political   Christian   conservatism.     The   man   is   no   liberal. 
Yet,   the   leadership   at   Family   News   in   Focus   chopped   off   that   clause,   hiding   that   fact   from   their   audience.     The   report   was   edited   to   instead   imply   that   Henkel   was   somehow   copying   liberalism   and   that   polygamy   rights   were   somehow   in   line   with   “same   sex   marriage.” 
However,   in   his   interviews,   Henkel   had   unambiguously   stated,   “we're   definitely   not   trying   to   push   or   promote   on   the   homosexual   agenda   whatsoever.   The   point   being,   we   say   that   actually   our   argument   is   the   answer   to   the   problem   of   ‘same   sex   marriage.’" 
Henkel   has   repeatedly   stated   in   many   media   interviews   that   the   entire   debate   about   legalizing   “the   biological   impossibility   of   same   sex   marriage”   -   as   he   terms   it   -   can   be   finally   resolved   by   heeding   true   conservative   arguments.     Namely,   protect   real   marriage   by   abolishing   the   unbiblical,   unconstitutional   frankenstein-monster   of   “government   marriage.” 
Yet,   despite   Henkel’s   obvious   Christian   conservatism,   the   leadership   at   Family   News   in   Focus   chose   to   leave   their   audience   with   the   exact   opposite   inference. 
In   the   report,   Henkel   was   the   only   source   cited   as   the   polygamy   rights   supporter.     An   anti-polygamist   was   also   cited,   stating   nothing   more   than   what   she   wants   people   to   imagine   that   polygamists   supposedly   do   and   believe.     Yet,   what   an   anti-polygamist   imagines   in   her   unfounded   opinion   cannot   be   factually   identified   as   being   what   a   pro-polygamist   actually   said.      
Even   so,   the   leadership   at   Family   News   in   Focus   superimposed   that   anti-polygamist’s   incorrect   opinions   as   if   they   were   Henkel’s   own   views.     They   published   a   false   teaser   line,   claiming,   "Polygamists   are   demanding   right   to   marry.     They   say   homosexuals   showed   them   the   way." 
Since   Henkel   was   the   only   pro-polygamy   source   cited   in   the   report,   the   reference   there   to   “what   polygamists   say”   can   only   be   interpreted   as   referring   to   what   Henkel   supposedly   “said.” 
But   as   polygamy   activists   know,   Henkel   would   never   say   such   a   thing.     While   the   cited   anti-polygamist   propagandized   that   untruthful   opinion,   it   is   obviously   untrue   to   say   that   Henkel   -   as   the   only   cited   source   representing   polygamists   -   would   “say   homosexuals   showed   them   the   way.” 
Thereby,   the   leadership   at   Family   News   in   Focus   committed   the   sin   of   bearing   false   witness. 
Making   that   sin   even   worse,   they   also   hid   the   name   of   Henkel’s   organization.   was   never   mentioned   in   the   report.     Hence,   the   audience   was   hindered   from   easily   verifying   facts   for   themselves.     Verification   would   quickly   disprove   the   false   witness.   Therefore,   not   mentioning   the   name   of   is   a   very   serious   breach   of   journalistic   ethics,   indeed. 
Finding   these   errors,   Mark   Henkel   has   reported   that   he   telephoned   Family   News   in   Focus   on   March   16th.     He   patiently   applied   the   Christian   principle   of   Matthew   18:15   to   bring   such   “ought”   to   their   private   attention,   genuinely   willing   to   allow   them   to   repent   and   self-correct.       Yet   the   leadership   was   not   willing   to   be   repentant   or   to   correct   themselves   at   all.     Apparently,   they   were   comfortable   with   bearing   such   false   witness   and   with   hiding   the   organization’s   name   from   their   audience.     Henkel   reported,   there   was   no   remorse   for   the   sin   at   all. 
Even   so,   Family   News   in   Focus   was   still   granted   even   more   time   to   resolve   the   matter   righteously.     As   time   passed,   however,   nothing   changed   -   no   repentance,   self-correction,   or   even   retraction. 
Such   hard-hearted   refusal   to   repent   and   self-correct   made   it   necessary   to   bring   the   matter   to   the   open.     Accordingly,   all   the   details   and   the   entire   transcripts   of   both   interviews   were   completely   posted   to   the   web-site.     The   audiocassette   recordings   of   those   interviews   were   likewise   made   available   too. 
But   such   public   display   was   not   done   with   vindictiveness.     Rather,   Christian   principles   make   such   openness   necessary,   having   the   sincere   Christian   hope   that   the   leadership   at   Family   News   in   Focus   would   heart-fully   see   that   their   “sin   had   found   them   out,”   that   they   would   eventually   repent   for   their   own   souls’   sake. 
At,   Henkel   has   asked   his   organization,   its   members,   supporters,   and   all   Christians   to   pray   for   the   leadership   at   the   Focus   on   the   Family   organization’s   news   division.     Perhaps   this   unfortunate   situation   might   one   day   lead   to   a   combined   testimony   of   both   evangelical   Christian   organizations   together,   showing   the   world   the   very   real   power   of   love   and   forgiveness   in   Christ   -   and   the   fellowship   of   lovingly   bearing   only   the   truth. 


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