The Ku Klux Klan called itself �the
invisible empire.� Reagan called the Soviet Union �the evil empire.� In America
today the highly visible Evil Empire is the phalanx called �the evangelical
Lead by boycott
king Don Wildmon of the American Family
Association (AFA), the Evil Empire is again threatening Ford Motor Company.
This is the January 10 letter
AFA and 42 other so-called �pro-family� groups sent to Ford.
The AFA letter began with the statement �On November 28,
Ford Motor Company and American Family Association worked out a representation
concerning Ford�s support of groups promoting the homosexual agenda including
homosexual marriage.� The letter�s conclusion included the threat, �We can not,
and will not, sit by as Ford supports a social agenda aimed at the destruction
of the family.�
As usual, the American Family Association and the rest of
the fraudulently �pro-family� Christian Right simply do not recognize the
existence of or the legitimacy of, much less care about, families -- that include hundreds of thousands if not millions of
children -- headed by same-sex parents. How much more hypocritical can you get?
And what could be more blatantly evil than proactively working to hurt those
families as much as possible? As the Christian news service Agape Press reported,
one of AFA�s original demands was that Ford cancel �its policy of offering
benefits to same-sex domestic partners.� In other words, AFA wanted Ford to
stop being truly pro-family and join the Evil Empire�s anti-family campaign.
Glenn Stanton is the director of social research and
cultural affairs for Focus on the
Family. Mr. Stanton claimed
�Same-sex marriage only serves the interests of adults and provides no
necessary benefits for society.� Since when do �the interests of adults� --
also known as �citizens,� �voters� and �taxpayers� -- not matter? Marriage
confers 1,138 federal benefits on partners and
their families. Apparently Mr. Stanton believes gay and lesbian Americans
who form families and rear healthy, happy children are of no benefit or value
to society. Not surprisingly, Stanton�s boss, the anti-gay founder and chairman
of Focus on
the Family, James Dobson,
was a signatory of AFA�s letter to Ford.
The AFA letter threatened that �We can not, and will not,
sit by as Ford supports a social agenda aimed at the destruction of the
family.� Same-sex civil unions have been legal for several years in Vermont.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for a year and a half.
Neither has caused the �destruction� of the �families� Wildmon and the letter�s
other signatories -- a veritable Who�s Who of American Homophobes -- claim to
care about. If those �families� have
been affected at all, it�s probably because of the bigotry and homophobia
Wildmon and the rest of the Evil Empire spend every day encouraging,
nourishing, expanding, and propagating.
It goes without saying that the Christian Right is on the
far-right politically and staunchly supports all things Republican. It should,
therefore, come as no
surprise that Florida �state campaign finance records show that of the
$193,000 that has been raised by Florida4marriage.org, the political committee
working to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage, $150,000 of it
came in a single donation from the Florida Republican Party.� The Evil Empire
wants nothing less than to destroy gay and lesbian Americans, their families
and their children, and anyone else who supports civil equality. The �representation�
AFA claimed to have reached with Ford Motor Company attested to that:
1. Ford would not renew current
promotions or create future incentives that give cash donations to homosexual
organizations based on the purchase of a vehicle.
2. Ford would stop giving cash and vehicle donations or endorsements to
homosexual social activities such as Gay Pride parades.
3. Ford would not make corporate donations to homosexual organizations that, as
part of their activities, engage in political or social campaigns to promote
civil unions or same-sex marriage.
4. Ford would cease all advertising in homosexual websites and media outlets
(magazines, television, radio) in the U.S. with the exception of a small amount
to be used by Volvo. The Volvo ads would be the same ads used in the general media
and not aimed at the homosexual community specifically.
How many more Americans and their families would be hurt --
directly and indirectly -- by AFA�s theofascist demands?
One has to wonder from whom AFA and the other agents of the
Evil Empire get their funding to propagate hate, bigotry and discrimination.
According to People
for the American Way, AFA�s �finances� in 2000 were listed at $11.4
million. Wildmon�s Tupelo, Mississippi-based organization employed a staff of
�about 100 employees and five full-time lawyers.� It�s highly unlikely those
five full-time lawyers work pro bono ad
infinitum, especially given the number of lawsuits in which they�re
So let�s see. �Finances� of $11.4 million, 100 employees,
five full-time lawyers, multiple on-going lawsuits, a glossy monthly
publication (AFA Journal) with a circulation of 180,000, a nationwide radio
network of 200 station, an extensive website, the normal overhead of office
space, services and supplies, the production and distribution of several
videos, including �Excess Access,� �It�s Not Gay,� and �Suffer the
Children.� Do those �finances� and expenditures add up to you?
The American Family Association, like many other groups in
the Evil Empire, hide behind �non-profit� and other legalities to avoid
disclosing who contributes to and funds their political campaigns of hate and
discrimination. But every so often, the truth comes out. An article entitled �How
Abramoff Funded The Anti-Gay Agenda� appeared on the website of
InfoShop.org. (Similar articles also appeared in the Washington Post and San
Francisco Chronicle.) The article�s opening was just the beginning of the
One aspect of the corruption and
bribery mega-scandal shaking Washington that is swirling around conservative
lobbyist Jack Abramoff . . . and which hasn�t gotten much mass media attention:
how a lot of dough from Abramoff-controlled slush funds went to leading
homophobes from the religious right.
Some of that money went to America�s premier homophobe -- and
Internet gambling -- Rev. Lou
Sheldon, founder and chairman of the Traditional
Abramoff did more than hire anti-gay
luminaries as Rev. Lou Sheldon (head of the Traditional Values Coalition) and Ralph Reed
(former head of the Christian Coalition [and current candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor])
with money from Abramoff�s clients and front groups to lobby for special
interests. Abramoff also funded an anti-gay group close to the lobbyist�s best
buddy and biggest water-carrier, Rep. Tom
Delay -- the U.S. Family Network
-- with laundered money that has been traced to Russian oil interests. [links
According to the InfoShop article, �Sheldon�s Traditional
Values Coalition received at least $25,000 from an Abramoff client, eLottery --
an online lottery company.� Abramoff called Rev. Sheldon �Lucky
Lou.� The moniker �hypocrite� also comes to mind.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin has been
linked to Ralph Reed, Karl Rove and, of course, Jack Abramoff. As the InfoShop
article noted, �Lapin�s 1999 book, �America�s Real War,� is a Pat Buchanan-like
diatribe about the �culture wars� in America that is dripping with homophobia
and targets gays.� Lapin has been drumming up anti-gay sentiment in the Jewish
community through his organization Toward Tradition, despite the overwhelming
support for equal civil rights from the
Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). The president of URJ, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, recently
labeled the Evil Empire �zealots� who claim a �monopoly on God� while promoting
anti-gay policies akin to those of Nazi Germany: �We cannot forget that when
Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay
organizations.� Lapin�s Toward Tradition organization got $25,000 from
Abramoff and $50,000 from two Abramoff clients, including eLottery.
Let�s be honest and blunt. The only things the organizations
of the so-called �pro-family� Christian Right, their allies and sycophants
really care about are increasing their social, economic and political power,
hurting gay and lesbian Americans, their children and their families, and
anyone else who believes in equal rights for all Americans. I can think of no
better definition of �Evil Empire.�
But �evil� always ultimately fails, and political �empires�
always fall victim to their own corruption, as CNN
House Speaker Dennis Hastert is
trying to force out Ohio Rep. Bob Ney as chairman of the House Administration
Committee, a week after Justice Department documents linked Ney to a bribery
scheme involving convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Ney�s committee has jurisdiction over
the Republican reform agenda in the wake of the Abramoff scandal, and Hastert
believes it is inappropriate to let Ney run it, said a GOP leadership aide, who
spoke on condition of anonymity because of the negotiations between Ney and the
Ney, while claiming he did nothing improper, relinquished
his committee chairmanship last Sunday.
It remains to be seen how the AFA-Ford confrontation will
play out, but previously
targeted companies are taking a stand against the Evil Empire as Andrew
Garber�s Seattle Times article,
�Major companies back gay-rights legislation,� noted:
A group of some of the biggest
companies in Washington state, including Microsoft and Boeing, sent a letter
this week to Republican and Democratic legislative leaders supporting
Although many companies have backed the
measure individually or in groups in the past, supporters say this is the first
time so many prominent businesses have jointly signed a letter endorsing the
The letter supports House Bill 2661,
which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. �It remains
legal in 38 states to fire someone because of their sexual orientation,� the
letter, dated Jan. 10, states. �This is not only bad for business, it is bad
That letter was also signed by representatives of Corbis,
Hewlett-Packard, Nike, RealNetworks, and Vulcan.
In a report released May 6, 2004, the
Human Rights Campaign documented that:
employers are instituting domestic-partner health insurance benefits for gay
employees at the rate of three companies a day. . . . The analysis by the Human
Rights Campaign Foundation found that more than 1,000 private employers and
colleges and universities added domestic-partner benefits in 2003, 18 percent
more than the year before. Some 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies now
offer domestic-partner benefits, including nearly 70 percent of the 50 top
businesses. . . . The report says providing such benefits enhances morale,
productivity, recruiting, and competitiveness. One of the study�s authors, Kim
Mills, said the 18 percent rise is an indication that employers are deciding
that such benefits are good for business.
Since then things have only gotten better
for gay and lesbian Americans in corporate America, despite the malicious
efforts of America�s Evil Empire. One has to wonder if the American Family
Association will take on CNN and the Arcus
CNN has announced a $100,000 donation
to the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Scholarship Fund
endowment for students seeking a career in journalism. . . . a combined gift of
$3 million to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force made by the Arcus
Foundation and its founder and president, Jon Stryker. (story)
education, truth in journalism, and equal civil rights are, after all, the
natural enemies of the Evil Empire.