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In a recent blog post at Plugged In, the entertainment review site of Focus on the Family, Adam Holz claims that “maturity matters” when it comes to media consumption:

For decades now — stretching back at least as far as political scandals in the ’80s and ’90s, and maybe further back than that — many cultural observers have been quick to try to separate someone’s personal life from his or her public persona and performance. Yes, someone might make not-so-great (or blatantly immoral) choices behind close doors. But he’s such a great actor! She’s such a great musician! He’s such a great athlete!

The underlying message: If you’re talented enough, character doesn’t really matter. You can do whatever you want, and you don’t have to play by the established rules. Or, in some cases, the established laws.

But I wonder if we’re finally beginning to reevaluate the foolishness of that cultural stance. From the Lance Armstrong doping scandal several years ago to the current #MeToo movement, the idea that the rich, famous and successful can do illegal and immoral things with impunity seems to be eroding. It turns out personal maturity and decency do matter.

This is a rare moment that I find myself agreeing with something from Focus on the Family. Character should matter, no matter what your profession, even if having poor character doesn’t necessarily affect your ability to do your job well. Bill Cosby‘s comedy should be reconsidered given his sexual assault conviction. Harvey Weinstein‘s movies should be re-evaluated given what he did to actresses.

It’s curious, then, that the name Donald Trump doesn’t appear anywhere in the post. Maybe that’s because 81% of white evangelicals voted for him and Focus on the Family doesn’t want to alienate its base.

Even if the non-profit church doesn’t officially endorse candidates, and even if he doesn’t represent the company anymore, Focus founder James Dobson is an ardent Trump supporter. No blogger at Focus, as far as I’m aware, has taken the time to put more distance between him and the organization’s current values.

Nor are they very “mature” about issues they’re flat-out wrong about. They continue promoting gay conversion therapy even if there’s no scientific backing for it. They promote “fake news” stories of so-called Christian persecution in the United States, which many a Snopes article has disproved.

Maturity involves correcting your past mistakes. When has Focus ever apologized for all the harm it’s caused and lies it’s spread?

If character matters so much to Holz, he should hold his own organization to a higher standard. Instead of learning from mistakes, Focus on the Family doubles down on theirs.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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