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July 11, 2008

American Family Association Once Again In Hot Water

Yesterday, SentinelSource.com, which is the online edition of New Hampshire's The Keene Sentinel, posted a story about the embarrassing ineffectiveness of American Family Association's (AFA) boycotts. I've written about the AFA in several of my own postings and I'm really happy to see such a prestigious publication (the country's fifth oldest continuously published newspaper since March, 1799) take this absurdly fanatic group to task.

The article says, in part:

The American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi, is always up to something. Usually something related to sex. Often it involves a boycott.

Time was when the AFA seemed most incensed about nudity, pornography, suggestive clothing and the like. We remember a decade or so ago when it mailed news organizations still photographs of what might have been a bare breast flashing by in a CBS promotional film. People in newsrooms around the country no doubt studied that mailing very carefully.

The AFA still objects to nudity. Its Web site features a complaint that the Department of Defense is allowing Playboy publications to be sold on military bases. It’s promoting a House bill that would end that practice. But in recent years, homosexuality has become the AFA’s greatest preoccupation. Currently, it’s urging people to stay away from McDonald’s because, it says, the company promotes “the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.” To which a McDonald’s official replied: “We have a well-established and proud heritage of associating with individuals and organizations that share our belief that every person has the right to live and work in their community free of discrimination.”

The AFA’s effectiveness is in some doubt. McDonald’s stock is up more than 10 percent during the past year, and sales are steady. Earlier AFA boycotts did not go well either, including those against Procter & Gamble, Disney, CBS and Kraft Foods. The AFA claims it did better with its Ford boycott, but the energy crisis may have had something to do with any success in that arena. The AFA corporate Hall of Shame (also called “the dirty dozen”) lists other companies that seem to be doing okay: Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Comcast, Johnson & Johnson, Viacom. The dirty details are at www.afa.net.

The AFA has recently made bigger waves with a software program it developed that automatically replaces the word “gay” on its news Web site with the word “homosexual.” The idea is that “gay” leaves a more positive impression than “homosexual.” (see my July 2nd posting "Christian News Group Embarrasses Itself With It's Own Homophobia")

Hooray for reason and logic. When I lived in New York I used to go to Vermont and New Hampshire a lot! It's an absolutely beautiful area with really great skiing and picture-perfect little towns. It's well worth visiting.

If you'd like to read the whole article (which was published both in print and online) go to: SentinelSource.com