Gay marriage is on the ropes and you may be feeling despondent about the tedious process and dim prospects for any kind of meaningful change in the near future. And why wouldn't you? There are a total of eight states in the U.S. that don't have Defense of Marriage amendments either on the books or in the works, and Massachusetts is still the only state that permits same-sex marriage. The Washington State Supreme Court handed down its anti-gay-marriage decision several weeks ago and Washington's gay community is licking its wounds and contemplating an incremental push for civil unions.
When I'm feeling despondent over the state of gay rights in America—or the concurrent assaults on reproductive freedom, science, and rational thought—there's just one thing that helps me overcome my feelings of despair: getting free shit from Focus on the Family!
Few people know that Focus on the Family—the powerful evangelical Christian para-church based in Colorado Springs—will give you, absolutely free of charge, books, CDs, and DVDs. Usually people pay for these products, and the millions of dollars raised helps Focus on the Family produce yet more books and CDs featuring Dr. James Dobson and other Focus "experts." (Focus on the Family's experts, when they're not chatting on the phone with Karl Rove, run around the country teaching people how to stop being so gay and when it's appropriate to kick their kids' asses.)
Not only does ordering free stuff from Focus on the Family—sent to myself or people I don't like—satisfy a deeply juvenile impulse, it has the added benefit of taking money directly out of homo-hater Dobson's pocket. The one drawback is that getting free shit from Focus on the Family is a tad time consuming and a bit tricky, but it's well worth the effort.
[Ed. note: As of September 8, 2006, Focus on the Family's website no longer allows you to make a zero donation.]
Here's how to do it:
1. Go to www.family.org and you will see their home page.
2. Once you're at the home page, look for the "Resources" link in the blue bar on the left-hand side, right above the "Search" box, and click it.
3. Under the "Resource Category" menu on the left-hand side, you'll notice categories such as "Homosexuality." Go ahead and click that for shits and giggles.
4. It's time to start shopping! Scroll down a little bit and feel the homophobia flow. How about a nice copy of A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality? Go ahead and click the "Add to Cart" button.
5. Now comes a tough decision: Do you have the book sent to yourself so you can sell it on eBay for cash (my personal favorite) or do you keep it on your mantel as a high-larious conversation piece to point at and laugh when your friends and family come over? Or do you send it to a jerk? I always opt for sending it to myself. Yes, you may end up on the Focus on the Family mailing list (though I've been doing this for some time and have never received anything beyond what I ordered), but reading Focus on the Family's junk mail is a good way to keep tabs on their activities and it will cost them even more money in postage.
Please note: Focus on the Family won't send you more than $100 worth of materials for free in any given shopping trip, so be sure to keep it reasonable and return often.
6. Select "Add New Shipping Address" and click "Proceed to Checkout." Or, hell, continue to shop and pick up a box set of The Chronicles of Narnia on CD.
7. The next screen will ask you to sign up for an account and give your information. Don't worry, they don't ask for your credit-card number. Enter whatever name and address you like, because you won't be paying. You might want to make up a phone number, too.
8. Once you've filled out all the required fields (you can also create a fake e-mail account if you're super paranoid), click "Proceed to Checkout" one more time. You'll now find yourself at the "Here Is Your Cart" field. Annoying thing alert: You may have to reenter your info again after this field to actually set up your account. But just keep going until you get to the "How Much Would You Like to Donate?" page.
9. So, how much would you like to donate? Zero dollars, obviously. Don't be fooled by the field in the lower-right-hand corner that shows you the suggested donation amounts. Simply select "Enter other total amount" and enter 0.00 as the amount you would like to pay. (Don't put in a dollar sign or it will ask you for credit-card information!) Proceed to checkout.
10. You'll now be led to a screen that will try to make you feel guilty about the amount you haven't donated. But don't feel bad! Just proceed to checkout again.
11. Jesus! Here you are on the twelfth step and you still don't have your self-hatred materials! And you thought preventing homosexuality was supposed to be easy! Click "Checkout Now" and you're done.
You have just removed a few dollars from the coffers of a major anti-gay organization. You can further capitalize on your brief investment of time by selling the item/s on eBay. You'd be surprised how much money you can get—a friend of mine makes a few hundred extra dollars every few months on this perfectly legal activity.
And if your conscience begins to bother you, think of it this way: Focus on the Family would probably like for you to have the materials anyway, because there's that minute chance that, once in your hands, the materials may inspire you to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Finally, don't forget to pass this information on to all your friends. Proselytizing isn't just for Christians, you know. Go gay!