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 TruthBearer.org'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, TruthBearer.org, 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 TruthBearer.org 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. TruthBearer.org 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 TruthBearer.org 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 TruthBearer.org 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 TruthBearer.org 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 TruthBearer.org, 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.