January 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
The American Family Association (AFA), a non-profit founded in 1977 that calls itself a Christian “pro-family” organization, continues a boycott against home improvement store Home Depot in reaction to what the AFA calls Home Depot’s “corporate support” of the “homosexual agenda” (1).
The boycotters’ petition labels Home Depot’s pro-diversity, anti-discrimination policies, as stated on their website, and the company’s support for LGBT political causes, like the Human Rights Campaign, “lascivious” and “disturbing” (2).
Thomas Buchanan, who signed the petition, said, “It goes against nature. Construction and manual labor are at the core of masculinity. Using lumber and power tools to convert people to into gays? It’s sneaky and horrifying!”*
“It was my worst nightmare,”* said Buddy Crantop, father and resident of Atlanta, Georgia, where Home Depot is based. “When I found out, I thought, ‘I take my son to Home Depot almost every weekend. Here I thought I was teaching him to be a man, but I’ve been letting the gays get to him!’ ” Crantop shudders. “I can’t even walk in the door [to Home Depot] anymore; all those pipes look so phallic to me now.”*
Originally launched in July 2010, the boycott gained publicity through LGBT and Christian fundamentalist news sources in June of this year when two AFA representatives gave a presentation of their grievances at the Home Depot annual shareholders’ meeting in Atlanta (3).
Company executives reacted to the presentation cooly. Home Depot Chairman Frank Blake thanked the AFA representatives — AFA Executive Vice President Buddy Smith and Randy Sharp, AFA’s director of special projects — for their participation in the meeting but rejected their analysis of Home Depot’s corporate values by reiterating the company’s support for diversity (4).
Several shareholders present at the meeting report that Blake muttered, “[Expletive] off, fundie freaks,”* under his breath after sarcastically thanking Smith and Sharp, but upon being asked to corroborate this alleged statement, a Home Depot spokesperson gave no comment. (Note: this spokesperson simply laughed before hanging up the phone on this article’s author*.)
OneNewsNow.org, the website of the American Family News Network (AFFN), which is owned and operated by the AFA and which purports to bring “news of the challenges facing Christians in today’s society,” reported Sharp’s perspective on the shareholders’ meeting (5). (Note: It has come to the editors’ attention that the AFFN website is titled “One News Now,” not “One New Snow.” The editors regret this article’s previous error in capitalization and have corrected it.)
” ‘We presented to the shareholders and to the chairman and the board of directors over 470,000 signature petitions asking them to remain neutral in the culture war, specifically when it addresses gay marriage and homosexual activist groups,’ Sharp tells OneNewsNow.” (6, emphasis added)
Established at the Treaty of Paris in 1815, Switzerland’s position of neutrality in foreign wars drew considerable attention during World War II — particularly the country’s legal distinction between political refugees (those under personal threat due to their political activities) eligible for asylum in Switzerland, and those in danger due to race, ethnicity, or religion (of special note: Jews) disqualified from asylum (7, pp. 107, 111). Since then, neutrality has been universally acknowledged as the most heroic stance in any war, and the preferable one.
“Though not ideal, as they are not American, in this case the Swiss serve as an example to be emulated,”* Sharp noted, when I broached the comparison of Switzerland to AFA. “During World War II, neutrality included discriminating against an undesirable group of people who would not submit to God’s plan, and Home Depot’s neutrality in the culture war would include the same positive byproduct.”*
Despite Home Depot’s cool response in June, the AFA continues to focus on their campaign against the home improvement giant.
” ‘AFA focuses primarily on one boycott at a time,’ Randy Sharp, the AFA’s director of special projects, said in an interview. ‘A successful boycott can take two or three years.’ ” (via Aol’s DailyFinance.com)
The AFA believes Home Depot to be taking sides in the “culture war” between “God’s People” and “The Gays” by advocating workplace diversity, working to eliminate discrimination in the workplace, and participating in activities such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors transgendered people killed in hate crimes (8).
On 19 December, a 17-year-old from Ventura California was sentenced to 21 years in prison for shooting a gay classmate twice in the head in their junior high classroom in 2008, when the victim was 15 and the perpetrator was 14. The shooter in this “execution-style” killing was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm (10).
Rather than the victims of hate crimes, however, the AFA believes LGBT Americans to be the perpetrators.
The AFA’s Director of Analysis for Government and Policy, Bryan Fischer, has identified gay activists as the “Number one perpetrators of hate crimes in America” (10).
The Southern Poverty Law Center, founded in 1971 by civil rights lawyers in Montgomery, Alabama, has labeled the AFA itself a “hate group.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center recently analyzed 14 years of federal hate crime statistics, from 1994 to 2008; the resulting report, published 22 November 2010, “found that homosexuals, or those perceived to be gay, are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos.” Indeed, the report concludes that “Gays and lesbians are far more likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in the United States” (11).
Fischer’s comments suggest that what constitutes a “hate crime” is up for debate.
* Note from The Snarkist: Any quote or opinion followed by an asterisk is fabricated/fake/made up. The person quoted never said this — indeed, the named individual may not exist — and such constructed “quotes” are used for effect. However, all quotes and information cited by a number are accurate to previous reporting from other news (or “news”) sources. Click each number for the relevant link.
November 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
In conjunction with the release of her memoir, GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann will also be selling, in partnership with Mattel, Inc., a Barbie doll modeled on her person. The “My GOP Nominee Barbie” comes complete with tasteful blazer, pearls, and corndog accessories.
Bachmann’s campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, acknowledged the marketing symmetry, stating, “I thought it was a brilliant idea to put an image of the Barbie doll rather than of Michele herself on the cover of the memoir. Republicans love the free market, and what better way to remind them of Michele’s commitment to America and to capitalism than with a blatant attempt to sell them something – in addition to the book they just bought?”
Feminist bloggers and journalists have criticized the concept that the only female candidate must be reduced to her physicality, also noting that making a Barbie doll in her image highlights the fake-seeming aspects of Bachmann’s actual appearance, such as her airbrushed makeup and apparently plastic hair.
“Bachmann’s presentation of her body has never been progressive,” writes Amy Gobsmack of thiscannotbehappening.com, “but on the cover of her book, the proportions of her body are obviously off. Her waist should not be the same width as her head.”
A similar critique was brought against Ralph Lauren in 2009 for its airbrushed advertising images, one in particular of model Fillippa Hamilton.
Ralph Lauren apologized for distorting the model’s body from it’s normal state.
Nahigian notes that the Michele Bachmann Barbie, however, is a different situation entirely. “Barbies have been distorting societal expectations of female beauty with their unrealistic proportions since they first came out in 1959,” he commented.”We at the Bachmann campaign are simply taking advantage of existing desires within society – a purely capitalist impulse!”
Additionally, Nahigian confided, the Bachmann campaign is hoping to win points with parents, especially mothers.
“We want to get at the children,” he noted, “so that they can convince their parents to vote Michele. Additionally, the Republicans want to get at future voters as early as possible.”
In response to the “My GOP Nominee Barbie,” the Romney campaign is considering debuting a “My Mitt Styling Head” along the lines of Mattel’s existing “Barbie Totally Hair Styling Head.”
The Gingrich campaign briefly considered a Newt Gingrich Mr. Potato Head, but decided one would be superfluous.