One of the biggest obstacles to progress and modernity in Virginia and certainly the largest obstacle to equality under the civil laws for LGBT Virginians is The Family Foundation ("TFF") based in Richmond, Virginia. With ties to both Focus on the Family and Family Research Council, few organizations in Virginia are as virulently anti-gay and a few other organizations have their finger prints on virtually every anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-minority initiative in Virginia like TFF. The leadership at TFF talk all the time about protecting religious freedom, but in TFF's view that translates to the freedom to inflict their extreme hate and fear based religious beliefs on all Virginians. Be it pushing for regulations to allow adoption agencies to discriminate against gay parents or those of differing religious faiths, laws requiring invasive ultrasounds for those seeking abortions, to restrictive voter ID laws, The Family Foundation can always be found in the forefront of regressive and anti-liberty measures that impose TFF's Christofascist views on all Virginians. The image above is, in my opinion a good representation of the TFF agenda and the mindset of its followers.
How is one organization able to wield such toxic power and intimidate every Republican legislator across the state? Because TFF has an organizational hierarchy that would make the Nazis of the 1930's envious. First, it has regional chapters across the state which it itself describes in part as follows:
Chesterfield Family Forum
Fairfax Family Forum Covers Fairfax County but encourages people from NOVA to take part in all activities.
Family Forum of the New River Valley Covering Southwest Virginia from Washington County to Montgomery County.
Lynchburg Family Forum Covers the city of Lynchburg and Bedford County. The Lynchburg Family Forum was recently established and worked very hard during the marriage amendment.
Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance Covering Prince William and Manassas.
Rappahannock Family Forum Covers Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fauquier, Culpepper, Madison and Caroline Counties and Fredericksburg City. They were extremely involved in the marriage amendment.
Valley Family Forum Covers Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and the surrounding area.
Yes, every one of these chapters disingenuously has the word "family" in its name even though the only families they are concerned with are white Christianist families. But this is only the beginning of the insidious tentacles of the organization. Through its "Pastors for Family Values" effort, TFF reaches into right wing churches across Virginia and orchestrates turn out the vote efforts and fans the flames of bigotry and anti-gay animus in particular. The TFF website describes this effort as follows:
The Pastors For Family Values (PFFV) is a grassroots arm of The Family Foundation through which pastors connect to both The Family Foundation and other like-minded pastors. PFFV is denominationally, regionally and ethnically diverse, attempting to illustrate a unity in the body of Christ on pro-family issues. The PFFV is also sub-divided into regions so that local TFF chapters may interact with them as needed.
Disturbingly, many black pastors continue to line up as willing "Uncle Toms" to do the bidding of TFF even though TFF's fingerprints can be found on many anti-minority initiatives, including restrictive voter ID efforts and opposition to the restoration of voting rights for former non-violent felons. Frankly, in my view, it is tantamount to these pastors working to further the efforts of the KKK.
And then there is the "E-Alert" network and related efforts that allow the TFF leadership to message its Neanderthal followers across the state and rally them to threaten legislators who might otherwise realize that religious freedom extends beyond special rights for the Christofascists.
During the current session of the Virginia General Assembly and in the coming 2013 Virginia elections, The Family Foundation will be fully mobilized to work to keep Virginia in the 1950's if not 1850's. TFF is an insidious organization and LGBT rights organizations and anyone who yearns to see a progressive Virginia needs to understand the depths of TFF's extremism and its power to rally bigots and racists and those who want to see women kept as chattel under a white male dominated system. It is important to know one's enemies and to work to counter their toxic efforts to keep Virginia racist, anti-gay, anti-abortion under every circumstance, and a state where white privilege is enshrined. Today's Virginia GOP is willingly doing TFF's bidding.