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12

Sep

2008

A Hallmark Moment: America’s Christianist Fascist Attack Greeting Cards
Friday, 12 September 2008 01:22
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

The leaders of America’s Christianist Right have been whirling and twirling lately. First, the California Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriage was discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional. Then the Court ruled unanimously that medical doctors could not use personal religious beliefs as ground for not treating gay and lesbian patients. Landmark decisions, to be sure. But what really irked the increasingly bizarre leaders of the Christianist Right – were some new greeting cards issued by Hallmark, the country’s largest greeting card company. The cards can be seen here.
Come rain and floods to drown out Obama, pray Christians

August 13, 2008

A Christian fundamentalist group is praying for a deluge to drown out Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in two weeks’ time.

[James Dobson’s] Focus on the Family is asking for “abundant, torrential” downpours to flood Denver and silence Senator Obama when he accept[ed] the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination on August 28.

“Would it be wrong to ask people to pray for rain of Biblical proportins,” asks an umbrella wielding Stuart Shepard in a video put out by the ultra conservative evangelical group.

 
It didn’t take long for Don Wildmon at the American Family Association to issue one of his hysterical Action Alerts:
Hallmark pushes same-sex marriage

Ask them to stop promoting a lifestyle that is not only unhealthy, but is also illegal in 48 states.

Hallmark Greeting Cards has announced it will begin selling same-sex wedding cards, even though same-sex marriage is legal in only two states. The purpose, they say, is to satisfy consumer demand. It appears that their purpose is also to push same-sex marriage. …

We’ve all given or received Hallmark Cards – remember their slogan – “when you care enough to send the very best.” But promoting same-sex marriage for profit is not the very best for families or our nation. Hallmark is a private company obviously driven by greed. Let them know you do not appreciate Hallmark promoting a lifestyle which is illegal in 48 states. American Greeting Cards, Hallmark's competitor, does not offer same-sex marriage cards.

TAKE ACTION


Send an e-mail to Hallmark. Ask them to stop promoting a lifestyle that is not only unhealthy, but is also illegal in 48 states.
Wildmon and the AFA are notorious for twisting and perverting facts in their Action Alerts, but this one begins and ends with blatant lies.

Lie 1: “Hallmark pushes same-sex marriage.” Is Hallmark “pushing” birthdays with their birthday cards? Are they “pushing” anniversaries with their anniversary cards? Wildmon and the AFA see any recognition of the fact that gay and lesbian Americans exist, love and have the same needs and desires as everyone else as “pushing” the homosexual agenda. Dour Don and his organization give new meaning to “paranoid homophobia.”

Lie 2: “Hallmark [is] promoting a lifestyle which is illegal in 48 states.” Hallmark is not “promoting” homosexuality any more than it’s promoting death with their sympathy cards or Christianity with their religious cards.
Wildmon’s intentional misrepresentation and twisting of facts is obvious in his implying that the homosexuality “lifestyle … is illegal in 48 states.” Dour Don’s use of “lifestyle” is chicanery at its worst. Christianists often use the term in an attempt to try to claim that homosexuality is purely a “lifestyle” choice. Apparently Wildmon is as ignorant of the facts about homosexuality as he is about its legality.

Neither homosexuality or the “homosexual lifestyle” are illegal in any state. The married “lifestyle” may be legal for gay and lesbian Americans in only two states, but quite a few other states recognize same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships (for which the Hallmark cards would be equally appropriate). They are not “illegal lifestyles” in those states. And the “living-together lifestyle” is not illegal in any state. The Hallmark cards would also be appropriate for those partners living together who wanted to express their affection.

Mr. Wildmon asserted that Hallmark is a “company obviously driven by greed.” Poor Don, his rabid homophobia keeps exposing his ignorance in so many other areas. “Greed” is the fundamental principle underwriting capitalism: find new markets and exploit them for profit. In this case, there already is an existing market::

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that more than 85,000 same-sex couples in the United States have entered into a legal relationship since 1997, when Hawaii started offering some legal benefits to same-sex partners.

It estimates nearly 120,000 more couples will marry in California during the next three years – and that means millions of potential dollars for all sorts of wedding-industry businesses.

If he objects to a capitalistic company doing what, by definition, capitalistic companies do, perhaps Wildmon is a closet communist. In any case, he is intimately acquainted with greed. From Bill Berkowitz’s article “Still Cranky After All These Years”:

Funding the Wildmon family

According to AFA’s 2005 IRS 990 (its tax return), founder Donald E. Wildmon received about $110,000 with benefits, plus over $30,000 in expense account and other allowances – including a housing allowance of over $31,000. AFA president Tim Wildmon got about $100,000, and the organization’s secretary, Forrest Daniels, received slightly more than $80,000.

The organization gives ‘scholarships’ to any full time employee at ‘any accredited college or university,’ which added up to about $54,000 in scholarships. As the blog Kevin’s Space pointed out on March 30, “the kids of these people get their university education paid for, with funds that are donated, supposed to fight for the family. But it is clear the people who benefit are the Wildmon family.” [italics added]

One can only assume the Wildmons’ salaries and perks have increased substantially since 2005… thanks to all those “donations” AFA is always soliciting.

Joining Wildmon in preposterous claims about Hallmark, gay Americans and their families was Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America: “Hallmark is jeopardizing its brand as a family-friendly company. … Customers used to be able to trust Hallmark to produce quality products that were safe for all ages. … Now parents will need to steer their kids from Hallmark’s section of the greeting card aisle and away from its previously heart-warming movies for fear that they too will push homosexual messages.”

Ms. Wright is as irrational and hysterically homophobic as Wildmon, and obviously does not consider some parents who love their children and those children who love their parents “families.” How truly bigoted. How truly perverted. How truly pathetic.

She claims “parents” – those good Christianist parents who ignore Romans 15:7, “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” – will “need to steer their kids from Hallmark’s section of the greeting card aisle.”

Of the cards Hallmark is offering only one bears an image – two cartoonish tuxedos (with no text) – that might be “offensive” to those Christianist parents who intend to teach their kids bigotry. The other cards have images of hearts, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers and messages such as “Two hearts. One promise.” and “Partners in life and love.”

Even if some little kiddies did open the card (and were old enough to read), “the language inside the cards is neutral, with no mention of wedding or marriage.” Ms. Wright’s hysterical exaggerations and blatant fear-mongering are as obvious as Wildmon’s.

More hysterical statements loaded with blatant bigotry – and the desire to propagate it – came from Janice Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s “research” unit, the Beverly LaHaye Institute (named for the wife of Left Behind guru and founder of the Council for National Policy, Tim LaHaye):
By latching onto the latest fad generated by the homosexual special interest groups, Hallmark is negating its image as a wholesome company that promotes American values and pro-family principles in its products. … American businesses have a corporate responsibility to the public that buys their products. … Instead of bolstering campaigns by special interest groups like the homosexual activists, corporations like Hallmark should be protecting American culture from those forces that would destroy the family and create a public environment that is detrimental to general well-being, especially children’s well-being. [italics added]
“Fad”? A fad is something trivial and short-lived, like hoola hoops and mood rings. Is Ms. Crouse saying that love is a fad? Is Ms. Crouse saying that commitment is a fad? Is Ms. Crouse saying that marriage is a fad? Is Ms. Crouse saying that civil equality is a fad? Or is Ms. Crouse just being ridiculous? Everyone with any intelligence understands that, although it may take years or decades, marriage equality is inevitable. Civil equality always wins out over bigotry and discrimination.

“A wholesome company that promotes American values and pro-family principles.” Civil equality is a wholesome American value, and marriage is a wholesome “pro-family” principle. Ms. Crouse is using the standard twisted logic and language all Christianist organizations use. They claim the gay and lesbian Americans fighting for the right to have their families recognized are somehow “anti-family.” Wildmon’s organization claims it is “America’s Largest Pro-Family Action Site,” yet they do everything they can to hurt the families of gay and lesbian Americans.

Many committed same-sex couples have children. That was clear from the statistics on the first day all citizens had equal access to the civil institution called “marriage” in Massachusetts:

• 50% of the same-sex couples who applied for marriage licenses had been together for at least a decade

• The most predominant age group was 40 to 49 years-old; the median age was 43

• 40% of those female couples said they had children in their households.

More and more same-sex couples are adopting, something else the American Family Association and Concerned Women for America oppose. They’d rather see children remain parentless.
“Protecting American culture from those forces that would destroy the family and create a public environment that is detrimental to general well-being, especially children’s well-being.”
This statement is more than preposterous. It’s downright evil in the same way Nazi propaganda was.

Fascism has two interlocking, rudimentary needs: concocting an anti-intellectual mythic ideology and identifying a group of people who, based on that ideology, can be blamed for all society’s ills. The Nazis used Aryan myth and bogus science to support their claim that Jews, homosexuals and gypsies were the “sub-humans” responsible for all of Germany’s problems. The “master race” must, therefore, ostracize, marginalize and eventually eliminate them if society was to return to righteous ways.

At the 1985 Conservative Political Action Conference, [Paul] Cameron announced to the attendees, “Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.” According to an interview with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as early as 1983.

– Mark E. Pietrzyk, News-Telegraph, March 10, 1995

Don Wildmon’s American Family Association, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Louis P. Sheldon’s Traditional Values Coalition, and Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council have all been known to cite the “research” of discredited “psychologist” Paul Cameron.

What Ms. Crouse is attempting to do is use gay Americans and their families the same way Hitler used Jews and their families. Such “thinking” and its poisonous propaganda have historically been the root of evil. They still are.

The “protect the children” ruse is ubiquitous in the rhetoric of Christianist fascists. The August 8, 2008 Los Angeles Times editorial exposed the deception in relation to how Proposition 8 supporters are using it:

It’s the same sentence as in 2000: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Yet the issue that will be put before voters Nov. 4 is radically different. This time, the wording would be used to rescind an existing constitutional right to marry. We fervently hope that voters, whatever their personal or religious convictions, will shudder at such a step and vote no on Proposition 8. …

What voters must consider about Proposition 8 is that, unlike Proposition 22, this is no longer about refining existing California law. In the wake of the [state supreme] court’s ruling, the only way to deny marriage to gay and lesbian couples is by revising constitutional rights themselves. Proposition 8 seeks to embed wording in the Constitution that would eliminate the fundamental right to same-sex marriage. …

Supporters of Proposition 8 insist that the measure is in no way intended to diminish the rights of gays and lesbians, but instead means to encourage ideal households for the raising of children and to put a stop to activist judges. Besides, they say, domestic partnerships provide all the same rights as marriage.

In a meeting with The Times’ editorial board, supporters argued at length that children are best off when raised by their own biological, married mothers and fathers. Even if that were true – and there is much room for dispute – this measure in no way moves society closer to such a traditional picture. Gay and lesbian couples already are raising their own children and will continue to do so, as will single parents and adoptive and blended families. Using the supporters’ own reasoning, it would be better for same-sex parents to marry. the very act of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry – traditionally the highest legal and societal recognition of a loving commitment – by definition relegates them and their relationships to second-class status, separate and not all that equal.

To be sure, the court overturned Proposition 22, a vote of the people. That is the court’s duty when a law is unconstitutional, even if it is exceedingly popular. Civil rights are commonly hard-won, and not the result of widespread consensus. Whites in the South vehemently rejected the 1954 Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools. For that matter, Californians have accused the state Supreme Court of obstructing the people’s will on marriage before – in 1948, when it struck down a ban on interracial marriages.

Fundamental rights are exactly that. They should neither wait for popular acceptance, nor be revoked because it is lacking. [link added]

The equality of all citizens is what fascists have always feared. Christianist fascists are no different. They just hide behind perverted religious dogma. The Nazis focused on Jews, gypsies and homosexuals. Given today’s political realities, America’s Christianist fascists focus their malevolence solely on gay and lesbian Americans and their families.

There are no cogent, rational or legitimate reasons for denying gay and lesbian Americans the civil right to the civil institution called “marriage.”

The institution of marriage will not be threatened, quite the contrary. It will be made stronger by welcoming a new group that firmly believes in it.

The institution called “the family” will not be threatened, quite the contrary. It will be made stronger by recognizing more families who share the same hopes, dreams and goals and work together with other families toward their realizing their common hopes, dreams and goals.

Fundamental American values will not be threatened, quite the contrary. They will be made stronger by the reaffirmation that all citizens have equal civil rights.

Hitler used “Christianity” to justify his sinister agenda. America’s Christianist fascists are following in his foot, or rather goose-steps.

When will we learn?
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Chino Blanco said:

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Ron Prentice Gets Rich Fighting Gay Marriage
Ron Prentice Gets Rich Fighting Gay Marriage

Ron Prentice is CEO of the California Family Council and Chairman of ProtectMarriage.com, the committee behind Prop 8 (the folks working to ban gay marriage in California).

Ron is set to be be honored at the Values Voter Summit 2008 (September 12-14) with Focus on the Family Action's Family Champion Award.

Justin McLachlan has broken a major story in the Proposition 8 battle: California Family Council contributions have mostly been spent on the generous salaries that Ron pays himself and his staff.

So far, there’ve been about a dozen news and blog pieces that have appeared online referencing Justin’s research into Ron Prentice and his shady management of donor funds.

Folks volunteering for and making contributions to the “Yes on 8″ campaign should be aware that the operatives running the show have a track record of using contributions to generously reward themselves.
 
September 12, 2008
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