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What ‘Neutrality’ Means to Bigots

It’s endlessly amusing to see the anti-gay bigots repeatedly claim that boycotts by those who support equality are “economic terrorism” akin to the Nazis, while their constant boycotts are perfectly fine. But there’s a second level of hypocrisy here and it involves the idea of “neutrality.” Here’s arch-bigot Peter LaBarbera talking to Janet Mefferd.

LaBarbera: I think our next step is going to a place like General Mills and saying why are you doing this? You can’t even maintain a neutrality? Can’t you at least be neutral? Not give to the homosexual activists? If you’re not going to give to Americans for Truth, OK that’s fine, but don’t give to the homosexual lobby because the mass, silent majority of Americans does not support radically redefining marriage to include two men or two women, they just don’t support that.

Mefferd: I agree, one of the other companies that has really started supporting it too is Target. I was made enough, I don’t go out and tell people what to do, but I was mad enough personally as a mother when this has been such a family-oriented company over the years, they had Amy Grant doing their publicity years ago, now they are selling same-sex wedding cards, they had two men on an ad for a wedding registry. I finally just said, you know what enough is enough, enough is enough, I’m not shopping here anymore, and I emailed them and I said I’m not shopping here anymore and I spend a lot of money at Target, I’ve just had enough.

LaBarbera: I’m with you on boycotts. We can’t boycott everybody. At Americans For Truth our policy is we pick specific boycotts, for example we’re boycotting Chili’s restaurants and Maggiano’s. They’re owned by a company, Brinker International, that supports the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force which is one of the most extreme and radical homosexual organizations in the world. So we are targeting certain corporations. The message here is we need to defend Godly values, if you’re in a culture war and only one side is doing all the fighting, spending all the money, bieng aggressive, while the other side is ambiguous about whether they should be in this battle at all, guess who is going to win? There is nothing Christian or noble about disengaging from the culture war, that’s for sure.

See, when General Mills supports equality, they’re engaging in a “culture war” and must be stopped; when Chick Fil A gives millions to groups that still want to put gay people in jail or into forced reversion therapy, that’s being “neutral” in the culture wars. Convenient, don’t you think? It’s the same hypocritical use of language that we see when they talk about “special rights” — a “special” right being any right they already have and want to deny to others.

Comments

  1. festersixohsixonethree says

    I think it’s hilarious that LaBarbera can ask questions of a corporation but cannot ask them of himself. For example, “Why are you doing this?” and “You can’t even maintain a neutrality?” and “Can’t you at least be neutral?” and “Not give to the anti-homosexual activists?”
    He needs to stand himself up in a corner and take a look at himself.

  2. Larry says

    We can’t boycott everybody.

    Sure ya can. Its just that they’ll be as ineffective and useless as your boycotts of Disney, J.C. Penny, Target, Chili’s, et. al.. When your position starts with hatred and inequality, you are bound to fail.

  3. dingojack says

    “… because the mass, silent majority of Americans does not support radically redefining marriage to include two men or two women, they just don’t support that”.

    FAIL.

    next.

    Dingo

  4. matty1 says

    @1 Be fair, if LaBarbera ever seriously thought about ‘why are you doing this’ he would curl up in a corner in self disgust and never be heard from again. Actually – that’s good isn’t it?

  5. carlie says

    I find it funny that Mefferd referred to Target having Amy Grant as a spokesperson as a time when they were “family-oriented”; I guess Janet is either too young to know or doesn’t remember how Amy Grant was completely kicked out of the Christian media scene for recording secular (gasp!) songs and then leaving her husband for Vince Gill.

  6. Michael Heath says

    Bigot Janet Mefford states:

    . . . one of the other companies that has really started supporting it [neutrality towards gays] too is Target. I was made enough, I don’t go out and tell people what to do, but I was mad enough personally as a mother when this has been such a family-oriented company over the years, they had Amy Grant doing their publicity years ago . . .

    How many conservative Christians heads would explode if Amy Grant and current Target spokesperson Ellen DeGeneres were Target’s joint spokespeople?

  7. says

    I think the surprisingly large numbers of companies that openly support gay rights shows us the true litmus test of the American Opinion on he matter. If support for LGBT issues was detrimental to business they would not openly support it. I think they realize that as the baby boomers start knocking off, a much more progressive young demographic will be taking it’s place

  8. Stevarious says

    I guess Janet is either too young to know or doesn’t remember how Amy Grant was completely kicked out of the Christian media scene for recording secular (gasp!) songs and then leaving her husband for Vince Gill.

    Nope. Amy Grant is one of the fundagelical’s favorite people. She WAS big on the fundy scene, and has never renounced her christianity, so she can be dragged out any time a fundy wants to mention a famous christian or attribute a popular opinion to a christian.

    But she’s ALSO a cautionary tale of a ‘fallen’ christian they can drag out whenever they want to rail about how bad secularism is.

    So no matter what position Amy Grant holds on a subject, the fundy’s can use her.

  9. carlie says

    Stevarious – interesting. I was deep into Christianity when she was first popular, and then became a pariah; I didn’t realize she had come back into the fold at some point. Funny how all the strictures against divorce quietly fell by the wayside as a critical mass of Christians found themselves divorced…

  10. thisisaturingtest says

    …don’t give to the homosexual lobby because the mass, silent majority of Americans does not support radically redefining marriage to include two men or two women, they just don’t support that.

    There’s an unjustified (and conveniently non-falsifiable) assumption contained in the appeal to a “silent majority”* to support your position that’s puzzled me since the phrase started being so loosely bandied about in the late 60′s (and since)- how do you quantify an opinion that, by definition, you haven’t heard?
    *Quick trip to Wikipedia tells me that “silent majority” was also (in the 19th century) a euphemism for “the dead.”

    Phrases such as “gone to a better world”, “gone before”, and “joined the silent majority” served as euphemisms for “he died”.

    Tangential, but interesting.

  11. greg1466 says

    if you’re in a culture war and only one side is doing all the fighting, spending all the money, bieng aggressive, while the other side is ambiguous about whether they should be in this battle at all, guess who is going to win?

    Which is exactly why secularists, humanists, atheists, etc have finally said “enough is enough” and started fighting back against the right wing.

  12. eric says

    There is nothing Christian or noble about disengaging from the culture war, that’s for sure.

    Yeah, its absolutely unchristian to turn the other cheek. As Jesus said, “do unto others before they do unto you.”

    Oh wait.

  13. Rieux says

    General Mills? Target? Hooray for Minnesota!

    (Oddly, just two years ago Target got in quite a bit of trouble with us liberal Minnesotans for giving several million dollars to a political fund that supported notably anti-gay politicians such as 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Odd to see that these guys think (and maybe they’re right; I don’t know) that Target has changed its political tune.

    As for General Mills, wasn’t their support for LBGT rights the impetus behind that recent screamingly funny online video capturing a homophobe setting fire to Honey Nut Cheerios on GM’s corporate front lawn?)

  14. F says

    greg1466

    Well, it depends. If everyone is ignoring your culture war, you aren’t going to get anything accomplished. No one will vote for your junk, and no one will join with your social pressuring.

    It’s problematic when your bad culture war already has over-representaion in the halls of power, though. Or when you manage to get something on a ballot, but the silent majority doesn’t turn out to vote. (Uh, WTF is this? No thanks.)

  15. vmanis1 says

    Does this mean that next time I’m in the U.S., I have to eat at a Chili’s? Please say it ain’t so!

    Incidentally, I have lived in various U.S. cities for longer or shorter periods of time, and, until a couple of years ago when I started noticing blog posts about Chik-Fil-A, the company has never managed to impinge on my consciousness.

  16. chrisdevries says

    More hypocrisy and contradiction from those with authoritarian ideals. We need to call a spade a spade here and make sure that the actual 70-75% of Americans who are actually totally cool with secularism (the REAL majority) know just how extreme the authoritarian minority is. Their argument from authority is that traditional beliefs and practices (or those they deem “traditional”) should not have to participate in a fair fight in the marketplace of ideas. Since they are “traditional” beliefs, formed by the original Americans (funny how they leave out the Native Americans in this), they should be the default position for any American to take. Change is scary; these ideas and practices worked great for over 200 years, didn’t they?

    The absolute worst thing rational people can do in response is to rationalise their progressive ideas with appeals to the authority of the more liberal framers of the Constitution. Unlike Antonin Scalia, we shouldn’t really care what the framers intended when they wrote the Constitution, and later, the Bill of Rights. Times change, ideas are tested and can fade from the public consciousness or evolve into new beliefs; we need to stress that we want ideas and practices that benefit most people in our society. And above all, we need to stress as atheists and even anti-theists, that we remain committed to secular ideals, the exact same ideals that the founders imposed on the country in the First Amendment (and that our support for the 1st is founded on its strength in protecting people, not on our respect for its originators). People should have the autonomy to make choices about their own lives – what they should think, what they should do, how they should worship, or not. There are a whole lot of Christians who are potential allies on this front and we need to make it known that as much as we wish religion will gradually disappear or turn into a kind of shell of itself with no real power, we won’t inhibit people from practicing their own faith in their own way (as long as only they are affected by those practices).

    Real neutrality is making sure individuals can say whatever they want, believe whatever they want, and fight to change the country in whatever way they want, without jeopardising their livelihood or relationships, and definitely without getting the right to silence those with whom they disagree. Just as the mayors of Chicago and Boston were wrong to claim that they’d try and ban Chick-Fil-A from their cities, so too are the authoritarians wrong when they claim it is their right to suppress or hinder speech that doesn’t conform to their values. Let the bigots be bigots and the non-bigots answer their claims with the truth, based on empirical evidence – the ideas that are proven to make societies better, and people happier. Let’s make sure that the average, religious, pro-secularism men and women in our societies know what the authoritarians really think, what they really want to do, and just how absurd (not to mention immoral and illegal) their ideas are.

    In short, let’s make sure that we talk about authoritarianism so much (in the mainstream media, if possible) that it enters the consciousness of the average secularist believer. Let us engage in some good old fashioned “consciousness-raising” (thank-you Richard Dawkins) so that those who hold values that are dangerous to democracy can no longer hide and plot in secret. Let their ideas be scrutinised in the daylight of reason. The war against religious interference in public policy will be won or lost on whether we successfully identify, compete with, and decimate authoritarian ideology in the mainstream American’s mind.

  17. dingojack says

    thisisaturingtest (#11) – So the Fungimentalials are appealing to, or counting, the dead as being part of their ranks. Smells like the (right’s) much vaunted voter fraud to me.
    Dingo

  18. Stevarious says

    Stevarious – interesting. I was deep into Christianity when she was first popular, and then became a pariah; I didn’t realize she had come back into the fold at some point. Funny how all the strictures against divorce quietly fell by the wayside as a critical mass of Christians found themselves divorced…

    It’s a bit more nuanced then that. It’s not that she was ‘welcomed back into the fold’ because she never actually left – every single one of her albums contains explicitly christian songs and she stayed with her original label – Word Records – from when she was 17 years old in 1977, until 2007.

    The controversy surrounding her divorce and remarriage made a lot of fundagelical christians write her off, and some remarks she made about the christian music biz (which was and still is run by some people who care nothing about christianity but a great deal about their brand image) made it easy to spin the situation as if she was getting out of the christian music biz completely. But her albums contained both secular and christian songs, and were promoted (and sold quite well) in both markets.

    It put her in a nearly unique spot, straddling the line between christian music and mainstream (which is exactly what she intended). So whether she is ‘back in the fold’ is a matter of convenience for the fundagelical who’s using her to make a point. If you want an object lesson about a christian who got too secular and ‘fell’, you bring up Amy Grant, and then remind everyone that Mary Magdelene was also a slutty whore (without actually saying it) and jeebus forgave her too. But if you want an example of a famous person who made a few mistakes, but never let go of their christian roots and managed to be both a devout christian and have mainstream popularity, you bring up Amy Grant, and remind everyone that as long as you have faith in jeebus, you can accomplish anything.

    So, much like the verses of the bible that don’t have a clear meaning, Amy Grant references are quite versatile. Just make sure you don’t do both in the same sermon and you’re fine.

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