TOMS shoes founder tries to distance himself from Focus on the Family furor
Washington, D.C. —
Blake Mycoskie, the founder of trendy TOMS Shoes, is now trying to back off from the right-wing, anti-gay group Focus on the Family, after headlining one of their events last week.
Mycoskie's shoes are very popular among urban hipsters and parts of the gay community, so being the featured speaker at a Focus on the Family event was not exactly good marketing, Mycoskie admits on his blog:
"Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family's beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event," he said. "It was an oversight on my part and the company's part and one we regret. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly."
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly said his group was just trying to help TOMS' efforts to help poor kids:
"This is an unfortunate statement about the culture we live in, when an organization like ours is deemed unfit to help children in need simply because we hold to biblical beliefs about marriage and family," Daly said. "It's also a chilling statement about the future of the culture we live in. We have to wonder: What will someone decide we're unfit to do next?
"Fortunately, as Christians we have the greatest example of all to follow in situations like this -- Jesus," he said. "The things He stood for were not always popular, either. He was ostracized and much worse for doing the work of His Father. And through it all, He loved those who did not love Him and never stopped hoping they would come to know the Truth."
Ironically the Colorado-based Christian group, especially under founder James Dobson, has long promoted intolerance of varied beliefs and groups including the LGBT community.
Focus has been especially critical of GLSEN, a nationwide group that supports gay and lesbian students.