By Bob Uphues
The Brookfield Chamber of Commerce has taken down a Facebook post advertising an event at a local church on March 28 after it provoked outrage from people objecting to the conservative "family-values" organization connected to the event.
On the morning of March 23 the chamber posted the image of a flier it received from St. Paul Lutheran Church, advertising a program called "Faith and the Public Square," presented by Tim Goeglein, the vice president of external and government relations for Focus on the Family.
Focus on the Family, founded in the late 1970s by James Dobson Jr., has drawn fire for decades from political progressive for its hardline stances, particularly against abortion rights, homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
After the flier was posted Friday morning, it drew several responses from people who said that by including the flier on the Facebook page, that the chamber was "supporting," "sponsoring" and "promoting" positions espoused by Focus on the Family.
Chamber of Commerce President Steven Langworthy responded to the complaints with a statement, saying the views of its members do not represent the chamber and that the chamber takes no official political or religious stances.
"We are a group of business owners and community members who have come together for a simple purpose: create a medium to support and foster local businesses while actively giving back to the community we all love," Langworthy said. "As such, we offer our members many ways to advertise any special events they may have planned, like this Facebook page."
Langworthy acknowledged that the chamber could do a better job screening content before posting information for members.
"Admittedly, our process for screening what we post can be improved," Langworthy said. "We will address this process for screening advertisements as a board so our intentions are not misconstrued with that of any discrimination."
The headliner of the St. Paul program, Tim Goeglein, is touted in the flier as a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and the author of a book called "The Man in the Middle: Faith and Politics at the White House."
"Tim is among those championing the role of faith in the public square," the flier states. "He does so in a manner consistent with the historic role which faith and policy have played in America's public arena, beginning at the founding of the country."
Goeglein was hired by Focus on the Family about a year after leaving his job at the White House – forced out in disgrace after a journalist named Nancy Nall Derringer, who worked at the same Fort Wayne, Indiana, newspaper where Goeglein was employed as a columnist, outed him as a plagiarist.
The newspaper later discovered more than 20 instances of Goeglein's plagiarism in columns dating back to the 1990s.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on March 28 at St. Paul Lutheran School, 9035 Grant Ave.