boycotts

AFA Kicks Off 'War On Christmas' Season With PetSmart Boycott

Last week, the American Family Association kicked off the “War on Christmas” season with the release of its annual “Naughty or Nice” list rating major retailers on whether their holiday advertising uses the word “Christmas.”

Today, the AFA announced the company that it would be picking on especially this Christmas season, urging members to abide by a “limited one-month boycott” of the pet supply store PetSmart because of “the company’s censorship of the word ‘Christmas.’”

AFA is calling for a limited one-month boycott of PetSmart over the company's censorship of the word "Christmas."

For years, PetSmart has refused to use the word Christmas on its website, in television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions, despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas and in spite of repeated requests from AFA to do the same.

Sign the Boycott PetSmart Pledge Now!

Want proof? Go to www.PetSmart.com and type "Christmas" in the search bar. As of today, the website brings up zero results, although the company’s website is clearly marketing to "Christmas" shoppers.

At PetSmart, you'll find a "Holiday Shop," a "holiday" wish list and plenty of "holiday" items, but you won't find "Christmas."

Ironically, PetSmart had no problem with saying Halloween though. They promoted their "Halloween Shop" very heavily for weeks in October. So why are they so afraid of Christmas?

PetSmart is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores.

Until PetSmart proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio and television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted throughout this Christmas season.

AFA has successfully influenced almost all of the nation's largest retailers to embrace the use of Christmas in their advertising. But at PetSmart, it's "Bah, Humbug!"

Sprigg: "Nothing That We Have Done Can Reasonably Be Called Hate"

Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg appeared today on The Matt Friedeman Show on the American Family Association’s American Family Radio to discuss the budding controversy over the right-wing “charity” service CGBG. The progressive groups AllOut.org and Change.org have persuaded over 200 retailers to leave the CGBG, a for-profit group that allows customers to shop at companies online and direct part of their proceeds to right-wing organizations like FRC and Focus on the Family – success that, unsurprisingly, has got the Religious Right up in arms.

It’s rather ironic that the AFA is helping the FRC denounce the pressure campaign against the CGBG, as the AFA itself led boycotts against Ford, Home Depot, Old Navy, Pepsi, and Glee along with pressure campaigns against Burger King, Toyota, Lexus and Cellular South to stop running ads on Glee and Google and Disney to drop out of the It Gets Better Project. But this double-standard should come as no surprise, as the FRC endorsed the AFA’s boycott campaign against McDonalds and led its own campaign against Wal-Mart.

Sprigg and Freideman alleged that FRC is only facing a backlash from gay rights and women’s rights groups because the group oppose marriage equality. However, the AllOut.org petition urging companies to drop CGBC doesn’t mention the FRC’s position on marriage at all, instead focusing on FRC’s advocacy for laws criminalizing homosexuality, opposition to anti-bullying efforts and dishonest attempts to tie homosexuality to pedophilia.

Sprigg: People are afraid of the homosexual activists and they’re particularly afraid of this character assassination that comes in the form of the word ‘hate.’ Nobody wants to be accused of participating in ‘hate’ and so throwing that word  ‘hate’ around becomes a trump card even when nothing that we have done can reasonably be called  ‘hate.’ On the contrary, everything we do is motivated by love for the people who are hurt by this lifestyle.

Friedeman: Well, again I think what Tony Perkins has done and Peter Sprigg you by extension, you just say, we’re asking people, and AFA does this all the time as well, you urge retailers to remain neutral in the culture wars, the current cultural battles, particularly when you come down to something like homosexuality.

Such a claim is hard to believe coming from Peter Sprigg, who:

  • Argued that gays and lesbians shouldn’t be judges because a gay judge can’t “be held up as a role model.”
  • Opposed allowing same-sex partners or their adopted children from collecting their deceased partner or parent’s Social Security benefits.
  • Cheered on Lisa Miller after she kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America in order to evade court order granting custody to her former partner.

But the LGBT community, Sprigg says, should see all these as acts of love.

Donohue Likens LGBT Rights Movement To Apartheid, Denies Ever Leading Pressure Campaigns

The Catholic League has rallied to the defense of their anti-gay allies the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family as a reaction to a campaign by LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates to have corporations drop out of the Charity Give Back Group, which sponsors the FRC and Focus. The Charity Give Back Group (formerly known as the Christian Values Network) allows customers to shop in a virtual mall and direct proceeds to CGBG affiliated groups, which led to complaints as a number of the CGBG’s charities are actually anti-choice and anti-gay political groups.

Yesterday, Bill Donohue joined Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, on his radio program Washington Watch. “Radical proponents of gay marriage have taken the culture war to the marketplace,” Donohue said in a statement on the CGBG controversy, charging them with declaring “economic war against any organization that embraces the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage.” He told activists: “If these extremists get their way, they will silence the Christian voice. Which is why the bullies must be defeated.”

Of course, it is ironic for the Catholic League to accuse “extremists” of trying to “silence” the voices of their opponents, seeing as that Donohue led the successful push for the Smithsonian to censor their exhibit on LGBT-themed art.

But the irony doesn’t end there.

During his interview with Perkins, Donohue denied that Religious Right organizations like the Catholic League or the Family Research Council lead similar pressure campaigns, saying “our side doesn’t do likewise,” continuing, “I don’t want people to say, ‘oh well you know Catholics and Protestants and Christians in general when we don’t get our way we try to do the same thing through retaliation,’ we do not.” He asserted, “we’re not asking companies, corporations to take sides in the culture war…we’re not asking for reprisal against those people with whom we disagree, we just leave the marketplace to itself.”

Donohue also warned Perkins that just as South Africa’s white minority held power for decades under the racist Apartheid system, supporters of gay rights can do the same in America:

If people don’t realize what we’re up against here, they may be a minority but you know it was a minority of people in South Africa who took away the rights of Black people. You can be a well-organized minority in this country here such as those on the left, gay and straight alike, and have a tremendous amount of influence if you have this lust and appetite for power.

While we already know that the Family Research Council backed pressure campaigns against companies like Wal-Mart and McDonalds, the Catholic League under Donohue has led countless boycotts and pressure campaigns.

Here are some of the companies and programs that Donohue launched what he would call “retaliation” and “reprisal” campaigns against: Disney; 20th Century Fox; Wal-Mart; ‘The Golden Compass;’ Miller; Showtime, and CBS, which it promised to face the “biggest boycott in history” if CBS hired Howard Stern.

So remember, when LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates ask companies to drop out of a service that directs money to right-wing political organizations, it’s “economic war,” but when Religious Right groups lead boycotts and pressure campaigns against companies, they are simply standing up for their values.

Colson: Gay Equality Will Destroy Democracy

Chuck Colson is warning Americans that gay-rights supporters are on their way to destroying democracy. With their “un-democratic schemes” and “a scorched-earth policy,” Colson claims that the gay-rights movement is not only the most serious menace to religious liberty but is also the gravest threat to “the democratic process and the rule of law.” Colson points to the decisions by the Department of Justice and the law firm King & Spalding not to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to put the deportation of gay foreigners married to Americans on hold, and a Navy memo (which was withdrawn) to allow same-sex marriages on bases. Colson writes:

Gay-rights groups have begun a scorched-earth policy against anybody who opposes their agenda. And the ultimate victim may be democracy itself.

For two years now, I’ve warned that the drive for so-called “gay marriage” was the greatest threat to religious liberty we’ve ever faced. But I think I may have underestimated the threat, because now I fear the democratic process and the rule of law are endangered as well.



But hostile criticism and boycotts are one thing. Ignoring federal law is another. Case in point: The Obama administration stopped the deportation order for a gay immigrant because the Justice Department feels that the man could be considered a spouse of another man under U.S. immigration laws. This, of course, is nonsense, because under DOMA, the federal government can’t recognize same-sex marriages. But evidently, the law, the will of Congress, and the will of the people don’t matter anymore in the Obama White House -- if the issue at hand is so-called gay “marriage.”

And now the head of Navy chaplains has issued a memo that would permit Navy chaplains to perform gay “marriage” ceremonies in states that permit so-called same-sex “marriage.”

The problem with that, of course, as Tom McClusky at the Family Research Council pointed out, is that Navy chaplains are federal employees, and Navy chapels are federal facilities. Performing same-sex marriage ceremonies would violate DOMA.

But, as McClusky said, “When you have a president who doesn’t believe the Defense of Marriage Act is a law he needs to follow, it’s no surprise that the military would follow his lead.”

No surprise, but horribly dangerous. So-called gay “marriage” was rejected in all 31 states where the people got to vote! So the gay-rights groups, so far, are carrying the day by doing an end-run around the people, taking their case to the courts, coercing corporations, and now law firms, and finding a willing accomplice to their un-democratic schemes in the White House.

I can’t say this forcefully or clearly enough: Wake up, America! When the executive branch of government rules by fiat and chooses not to enforce the law of the land, the democratic process and the consent of the governed are no longer possible.

The Right's Freedom of Speech vs The Left's Campaign of Intimidation

As Brian noted yesterday, the Religious Right was unified in its support of Paul Clement for resigning from his position at King & Spalding after the law firm backed out of defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

To hear the Religious Right tell it, this decision by King & Spalding was the result of a campaign of intimidation by gay rights groups - in fact, that is pretty much what the Family Research Council said:

Looking for attorneys that won't buckle under pressure? Don't bother contacting King & Spalding. In a stunning announcement, the Atlanta-based firm just dropped the most high-profile client on its books: the U.S. House of Representatives. Barely a week ago, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hired King & Spalding to go to bat for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) when the Obama administration refused. Within hours, the homosexual community was up in arms. Led by the so-called Human Rights Campaign, activists promised to target the firm until its attorneys dropped the case. Five days later, they did. Unable -- and unwilling -- to take the heat, King and Spalding took the cowardly way out.

...

Once again we see how the activists who are trying to redefine marriage want to shut down any and all public debate. King & Spalding have proven that they are not advocates for the law -- but for a small but influential cabal that want to undermine policy and society.

Amazing, isn't it, how when gay rights groups dare to speak up, the FRC sees it as a campaign of intimidation ... but when Religious Right groups do it, FRC hails them for simply exercising their rights:

The Big Mac attack on family values is finally over! After a five-month boycott, Americans finally got what they ordered-McDonald's agreement to stop financing the homosexual agenda. Back in May, the fast food giant joined the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to the dismay of millions of customers who did not feel served. At the time, company Vice President Richard Ellis refused to back down, even calling conservatives "haters" in a public statement. The American Family Association launched a national campaign to force McDonald's to eat its words. And eat them, they did! This week, McDonald's announced that Ellis had resigned from the GLCC. In an email to franchises, the company said, "It is our policy not to be involved in political and social issues. McDonald's remains neutral on same-sex marriage [and the] 'homosexual agenda...'" We thank McDonald's -- and those of you who used your buying power to encourage values on the menu and in company policy.

Just last year, Tony Perkins was part of a group called Citizens Against Religious Bigotry that was formed solely protest a proposed Comedy Central program about Jesus Christ called "JC." The group preemptively targeted potential advertisers and warned them that if they did not promise never to advertise on the show, they'd be labeled as anti-Christian bigots ... and the group quickly declared victory:

Members of the coalition wrote to more than 300 potential advertisers for this show. The letters explained the nature of the program and stated how offensive the "JC" project would be, not only to the 83 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Christians, but also to many non-Christians including those who signed the petition. Coalition members then followed up with phone calls to the advertisers, speaking directly with representatives from most of the corporations that received the original letter.

Not one single sponsor indicated their intention to buy advertising time on the "JC" program if the program ever made it to Comedy Central's air.

"With literally zero advertiser support for this program, the only reason Comedy Central would put it on their broadcast schedule is in an effort to offend Christianity and Christians. There is no valid business reason for airing 'JC.'

"In light of this demonstration of overwhelming success, the Coalition's advertiser outreach will stand down. In the event that any advertiser changes its mind, that advertiser and its executives will be publicly called to account for supporting anti-Christian bigotry."

This group have the support of dozens of Religious Right organizations ... the very same organizations who are now complaining about a campaign of "intimidation" against King and Spalding.

The War on Christmas Lives On: Resolution to Ban References to “Holiday Tree”

It’s never too late (or too early?) to fight the “War on Christmas,” even in January. Five Republican members of the Rhode Island State House have introduced a resolution to protect the name of the Christmas tree by preventing the state from using terms such as “‘holiday tree’ or other non-traditional terms.” The First Amendment Center first reported on the efforts of the five legislators to make sure that Rhode Island’s state employees don’t refer to Christmas trees by any other name. The resolution declares:

RESOLVED, That it is the policy of the state that state officials and departments refer to the tree customarily erected or displayed in celebration of the period from Thanksgiving of each year to January of the following year as a ‘Christmas tree’ and not as a ‘holiday tree’ or other non-traditional terms; and

RESOLVED, Further that the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to send a duly certified copy of this resolution to each state agency and department.

The Right’s anger over the so-called “War on Chrismtas” has died down since December, when Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe boycotted his hometown of Tulsa’s annual parade because it used the word “holiday” instead of “Christmas,” Liberty Counsel introduced a “Christmas Action Pack,” and the American Family Association went after “Companies Against Christmas” such as NASCAR, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble. But as the case in Rhode Island suggests, the fight against the “War on Christmas” abides.

The War on Christmas Lives On: Resolution to Ban References to “Holiday Tree”

It’s never too late (or too early?) to fight the “War on Christmas,” even in January. Five Republican members of the Rhode Island State House have introduced a resolution to protect the name of the Christmas tree by preventing the state from using terms such as “‘holiday tree’ or other non-traditional terms.” The First Amendment Center first reported on the efforts of the five legislators to make sure that Rhode Island’s state employees don’t refer to Christmas trees by any other name. The resolution declares:

RESOLVED, That it is the policy of the state that state officials and departments refer to the tree customarily erected or displayed in celebration of the period from Thanksgiving of each year to January of the following year as a ‘Christmas tree’ and not as a ‘holiday tree’ or other non-traditional terms; and

RESOLVED, Further that the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to send a duly certified copy of this resolution to each state agency and department.

The Right’s anger over the so-called “War on Chrismtas” has died down since December, when Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe boycotted his hometown of Tulsa’s annual parade because it used the word “holiday” instead of “Christmas,” Liberty Counsel introduced a “Christmas Action Pack,” and the American Family Association went after “Companies Against Christmas” such as NASCAR, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble. But as the case in Rhode Island suggests, the fight against the “War on Christmas” abides.

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe Boycotts Hometown “Holiday” Parade

The “War on Christmas” has come to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and US Senator Jim Inhofe isn’t happy. Inhofe, the former mayor of Tulsa, participated in the city’s parade every year but is so outraged that the city dropped the word “Christmas” from its name that he has decided to boycott the ceremonies:

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Tuesday that he won't participate in Tulsa's Holiday Parade of Lights until organizers put "Christ" back in the event's title.

"Last year, the forces of political correctness removed the word 'Christmas' and replaced it with 'Holiday' instead," the Oklahoma Republican said. "I am deeply saddened and disappointed by this change."

Inhofe, who was Tulsa's mayor from 1978 to 1984, said he had participated in the parade annually, riding a horse as his children and grandchildren watched.

"I did not do so last year because I'm not going to ride in a Christmas parade that doesn't recognize Christmas," he said. "I am hopeful that the good people of Tulsa and the city's leadership will demand a correction to this shameful attempt to take Christ, the true reason for our celebration, out of the parade's title. Until the parade is again named the Christmas Parade of Lights, I will not participate."

Inhofe’s involvement in the annual “War on Christmas” demagoguery should not be a surprise, as he is one of the Senate’s most prominent culture warriors and even said that he tries to use his status as a Senator to convert people to Christianity.

AFA Takes Credit For Video Chain Bankruptcy

I have often wondered if the American Family Association had ever really accomplished anything with its myriad of boycotts  Often, it seems, AFA generates a lot of coverage by announcing some new boycott and then either claims victory for vague reasons or else just quietly drops it altogether.

But last week, Movie Gallery, the second-largest video-rental chain in North America, announced that it was going out of business ... and now the AFA is taking credit

American Family Association has worked for years to close down Movie Gallery shops, pointing out to consumers and law-enforcement authorities the company's practice of distributing hardcore pornography out of stores' "back rooms." Randy Sharp is director of special projects for AFA.

"We're now seeing that Movie Gallery, which is in its second bankruptcy in the last five years, is continuing to close more and more stores," he notes. "At one time, Movie Gallery had over 2,000 video stores. They're now down to just a few hundred."

Several years ago, AFA launched a boycott of the stores and continued it with success in several states. In Mississippi alone 80 percent of the stores were shuttered. The AFA spokesman says that came about because the pro-family group raised awareness to communities in that state, citizens became involved, and the law was enforced.

Of course, the real reason Movie Gallery is going out of business is because is has been unable to compete with the new services movie delivery services like Netflix, Redbox and the Internet.  Blockbuster is likewse struggling to stay afloat as well ... I wonder if the AFA is responsible for that as well.

Interestingly, as far as I have been able to tell, AFA's boycott of Movie Gallery started back sometime before 2001.  So it basically took AFA a decade to see success ... a decade during which technological advancements just so happen to have made Movie Gallery's business model obsolete

The Tea Party and The GOP

The New York Times has a really good, in-depth article taking a look not only at the Tea Party as a movement, which is hard to pin down as just about every right-wing group is trying to attach itself to the effort, but at the people who have become most active in it, noting that many had been apolitical until they were directly impacted by the economic downturn, at which point they began listening to the likes of Glenn Beck and became radicalized:

The ebbs and flows of the Tea Party ferment are hardly uniform. It is an amorphous, factionalized uprising with no clear leadership and no centralized structure. Not everyone flocking to the Tea Party movement is worried about dictatorship. Some have a basic aversion to big government, or Mr. Obama, or progressives in general. What’s more, some Tea Party groups are essentially appendages of the local Republican Party.

But most are not. They are frequently led by political neophytes who prize independence and tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.

That is often the point when Tea Party supporters say they began listening to Glenn Beck. With his guidance, they explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Some went to constitutional seminars. Online, they discovered radical critiques of Washington on Web sites like ResistNet.com (“Home of the Patriotic Resistance”) and Infowars.com (“Because there is a war on for your mind.”).

Many describe emerging from their research as if reborn to a new reality. Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. For others, though, transformation seems to amount to trying on a new ideological outfit — embracing the rhetoric and buying the books.

Tea Party leaders say they know their complaints about shredded constitutional principles and excessive spending ring hollow to some, given their relative passivity through the Bush years. In some ways, though, their main answer — strict adherence to the Constitution — would comfort every card-carrying A.C.L.U. member.

But their vision of the federal government is frequently at odds with the one that both parties have constructed. Tea Party gatherings are full of people who say they would do away with the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax and countless agencies, not to mention bailouts and stimulus packages. Nor is it unusual to hear calls to eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A remarkable number say this despite having recently lost jobs or health coverage. Some of the prescriptions they are debating — secession, tax boycotts, states “nullifying” federal laws, forming citizen militias — are outside the mainstream, too.

Keep that in mind as you read this:

About 50 leaders of the grass-roots "tea party" movement will meet in Washington on Tuesday with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele and other top GOP operatives to discuss campaign strategies and conservative principles.

The afternoon meeting on Capitol Hill will mark the first time that a broad coalition of tea party organizers -- who have railed against both the Democratic and the Republican establishments -- will sit down with GOP leaders. Top Republican leaders have been openly courting the organizers, looking to marshal grass-roots energy heading into November's midterm elections.

AFA Declares Victory, Suspends Pepsi Boycott

The American Family Association is convinced that its crusade of Pepsi has been successful and so it has decided to suspend its boycott:

American Family Association (AFA) has suspended its boycott of PepsiCo. After monitoring the company for several months, AFA is satisfied the company has withdrawn its major financial contributions to gay activist groups.

AFA launched a boycott of PepsiCo after the company made $500,000 donations to Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 2008. Records from PepsiCo, HRC and PFLAG indicate repeat donations did not occur in 2009.

AFA President Tim Wildmon said more than 500,000 people signed the Boycott PepsiCo Pledge.

Wildmon said a few minor issues remain, and AFA will continue to bring these to the attention of PepsiCo. “We feel we have made our point," he said. "Boycotts have been a last resort for us at AFA, and the PepsiCo boycott was started to address issues of concern to us – especially the promotion of the homosexual agenda in the culture. AFA will continue to challenge major U.S. companies to remain neutral in the culture wars rather than to use their resources to promote controversial issues.”

IVA's Bryan Fischer Gets AFA Promotion

Last year, when Hallmark announced that it would begin selling same-sex wedding cards, the Religious Right predictably threw a fit, with the American Family Association quickly announcing that it was launching one of its patented boycotts.

Among the groups that joined the effort was an AFA affiliate in Idaho known as the Idaho Values Alliance, headed by Bryan Fischer.  His efforts must have impressed the head-honchos at AFA because yesterday Fischer announced that he'd be leaving his position with IVA to join the host a radio program for AFA:

Don Wildmon has invited me to join his AFA staff and host a live, two-hour talk show on AFA’s radio and TV networks, and I have accepted his gracious offer.

This will necessitate a move to Tupelo, Mississippi, where AFA headquarters are located. I will need to be in Tupelo by July 1, with the first show scheduled to go on-air on July 6.

Sadly, this means that June will be a month of transition for me and for the IVA, as I shift my focus to my new role with AFA. I will no longer be able to produce the Daily Updates, which have been a feature of the IVA since its inception. I will communicate occasionally with all of you in the IVA network over this next month and, of course, give you information about the talk show as things develop.

It was just last month when there was lots of discussion taking place over whether the Religious Right would oppose a gay or lesbian Supreme Court nominee because of his or her sexuality that Fischer declared that they would because, by definition, a gay judge could not be fair:

An open lesbian has obviously resolved the ethical questions about sexuality in favor of the legitimacy of aberrant sexual behavior, in favor of what historically has been known in U.S. law as an "infamous crime against nature."

It's one thing for a judge to keep his orientation a private matter. There is some evidence that perhaps two Supreme Court justices of the past were homosexuals themselves. But they concealed that from the public, accepted that the laws of the day considered homosexual sexual activity a felony offense, and did not use their platform on the bench to challenge society's sexual standards.

But a judge who is quite open about his (generic use) alternative sexuality is another matter entirely. It's hard to imagine any universe in which an open lesbian would uphold any pro-family law should it be challenged in her court.

It will be absolutely incumbent upon the GOP members of the Senate judiciary committee to ask probing questions of a lesbian nominee on a host of issues that are matters of legal and constitutional dispute.

AFA apparently thought that that was just the sort of astute and fair-minded analysis that its programming was lacking and has decided to bring Fischer on board to fill that need.

Why Seek Consensus When You Can Complain?

As we have noted several times in the past, nothing can rally the Right quite like a battle over judicial nominations - and just because there aren't any high profile battles taking place right now doesn't mean the Right isn't still complaining about the issue:
In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Curt Levey, general counsel of the Committee for Justice, pointed out there is always a temptation for those who are in the opposite party from the president "to not fill vacancies in the hopes that the next president will be from their party." "That temptation becomes very great when you're only a few months away from an election," Levey added. However, Levey and others question whether the Thurmond Rule has ever actually existed. There is no explicit deadline for the rule to take effect within the election year, and the term "consensus nominee" also has no definitive meaning.
Levey might not believe the Thurmond Rule exists, but it does and this article from 1980 explains where it origniated:

REPUBLICANS FIGHT CARTER NOMINEES 14 September 1980 The New York Times Senate Republicans have begun an organized campaign to use various parliamentary strategems, from committee boycotts to filibusters, to ''slow down or completely stop'' Presidential appointments that could outlast the Carter Administration. The action was taken last month by the 41-member Senate Republican Caucus, which appointed a three-member committee to sift 155 pending Presidential nominations and weed out those whose terms would overlap that of a new President. The primary targets include 13 judicial nominees as well as nominees to vacancies on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Legal Services Corporation, among other agencies. Not affected are nominations to advisory boards and those who serve at the pleasure of the President without any fixed term. Republicans contend that they are merely upholding a Senate tradition in preventing President Carter from making election-year appointments to positions that a Republican President could be able to fill.

If Republicans are concerned about getting President Bush's judicial nominees confirmed before he leaves office, one way to overcome the Thurmond Rule would be to consult with senators and nominate consensus nominees - of course, that is exactly the opposite of what they are doing:

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, one of 14 senators who broke a logjam of judicial appointments in the 2005 ''Gang of 14'' compromise, said Thursday the White House has failed to consult with him on appointments to the federal district court in Denver. ''I have not been consulted with by the White House in any way, shape or form on these judicial nominations,'' said Salazar, a Democrat. ''In my view, it's a violation of our understanding with the president and the requirement of the Constitution.'' ... With pressure mounting to supply the president with names of potential judges, [Republican Senator Wayne] Allard said Thursday that he and Salazar could not agree on candidates after beginning discussion in September. Allard said he had proposed a list of four candidates that included a Democrat, an undecided and two Republicans one of which was endorsed by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, a former Denver district attorney. But Allard said Salazar, a Democrat, was unhappy with the list. Allard said he submitted the names anyway. ... Allard said the president has already vetted the names he submitted and is ready to release them.

Battle of the Boycotts

To say that the American Family Association has had something of a tense relationship with retail giant Wal-Mart would be an understatement.  In the past, the AFA has targeted the chain for everything from using the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” to sponsoring Diversity Week at Boise State University.  

Last year, when Wal-Mart partnered with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the AFA went ballistic and vowed that “1,000,000 families … will not shop at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club on the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving” because of Wal-Mart’s apparent role in furthering the homosexual agenda:   

A quick search for books sold by Wal-Mart found the following related to the promotion of homosexual marriage:

    * What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage

    * Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gay, Good for Straights, and Good for America

    * Legalizing Gay Marriage

    * Why You Should Give a -amn about Gay Marriage

    * Civil Wars: A Battle for Gay Marriage

    * Gay Marriage and Democracy: Equality for All

    * Defending Same-Sex Marriage

    * Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry

    * Gay Marriage, Real Life: Ten Stories of Love and Family

A quick search of Wal-Mart's website turned up the following number of items for sale:

Gay - 1148

Lesbian - 468

Transgender - 40

Bisexual - 38

Gay Marriage – 26

The AFA eventually backed off its boycott threat once Wal-Mart pledged that it would “not make corporate contributions to support or oppose highly controversial issues unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers."

That seemed to placate the AFA, and now that the Human Rights Campaign is urging people not to shop at Wal-Mart because of the store’s refusal to offer domestic partner benefits to its gay and lesbian employees, AFA has come rushing to Wal-Mart’s defense:

Homosexuals have challenged traditional marriage supporters to do battle. We will now see if traditional marriage supporters accept the challenge.

Make every effort to shop at Wal-Mart this Christmas season. The gays want Wal-Mart sales to go down so they can claim victory.

Forward this to your friends and family and urge them to buy at Wal-Mart. Announce this in your Sunday School class, at church, etc. Ask your pastor to announce in church newsletters and bulletins that the homosexuals are challenging those who support traditional marriage. Tell them about the homosexual's efforts to force Wal-Mart to offer "marriage" benefits and Target's support for "marriage" benefits.

The only thing consistent about the AFA’s shift from boycott to “buycott” seems to be their militant opposition to equality for gays and lesbians.  

Memo to Donohue: Time to Boycott Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson, who leapt back into the headlines this month with his surprise endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, is now wading into the “War on Christmas.” On Thursday’s “700 Club,” the CBN founder lamented the sad state of affairs that led to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport erecting an artsy “winterscape”:

“This New Age political correctness has been imposed on this nation,” complained Robertson. But, he added an intriguing caveat:

Of course, you’ve got to remember, ladies and gentlemen, this Christmas trees, and all the wreaths, and all the garlands, and all the mistletoe—every bit of them come from Teutonic paganism. They are not an integral part of Christianity. And so for the Seattle airport to say this is a Christmas display, it’s no such thing. It is not a Christian display; it is winter solstice. So if they put up a sign that said, ‘We celebrate winter solstice like the Teutonic gods Thor and Woden,’ they’d probably be more accurate.

So while the American Family Association is busy attacking retailers who offer “family trees” in their catalogs rather than “Christmas trees,” calling it an “offense” to Christians, here Robertson is saying the tree is really a salute to “the Teutonic gods Thor and Woden.”

During “War on Christmas” 2005, the Catholic League caught a Wal-Mart customer service representative offering a very similar theory:

[The Wal-Mart rep wrote,] “The majority of the world still has different practices other than ‘christmas’ which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism.  The colors associated with ‘christmas’ red and white are actually a representation of of the aminita mascera mushroom.  Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal.”

Catholic League President Bill Donohue’s response? He launched one of his famous “boycotts” against the retail giant. Will Donohue start a “beef” with Robertson?

Update: Donohue Declares End to Beer Beef

After a month—and 14 press releases—the Catholic League today announced the end of its mini-boycott against Miller Brewing Company.

Religious Right Rally against Marriage Equality in Florida

Just days after the Religious Right’s B-team gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to question Republican candidates for president (including the ones who didn’t show up), a number of more prominent right-wing figures are convening in Tampa for the Family Impact Summit, sponsored by the Focus on the Family-affiliated Florida Family Policy Council, the Tampa-based Community Issues Council, the Family Research Council, and the Salem radio network.

Advertised topics range from “Christian Citizenship” to “Homosexual Agenda,” but the focus will no doubt be on the 2008 election, and in particular, the effort by Florida’s Right to put a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot—even though gays are already prohibited from marrying by statute.

Below is some background on the featured speakers, from Tony Perkins and Richard Land to Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, considered the leading religious-right think tank in Washington, DC. Before coming to FRC, Perkins was a state legislator in Louisiana, and as a campaign manager for a Republican candidate, he reportedly bought David Duke’s e-mail list.

Under Perkins’s leadership, FRC, along with Focus on the Family, put together several “simulcasts” of political rallies held in churches, including three “Justice Sunday” events in 2005-2006—“Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith,” ”God Save the United States and this Honorable Court,” and “Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land”—featuring religious-right luminaries such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Phyllis Schlafly, along with politicians like Rick Santorum and then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, arguing that opposition to Bush’s extreme judicial nominees constituted an assault on their faith or Christianity itself. A fourth event just before the 2006 elections, “Liberty Sunday,” promoted the idea that gays and their “agenda” were out to destroy religious freedom.

That fall, FRC also organized a “Values Voter Summit,” in which Dobson and other activists exhorted their constituency to turn out for the GOP; the conference showcased a number of future presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback. A second Values Voter Summit is planned for next month.

Also appearing from FRC at the Family Impact Summit are David Prentice and Peter Sprigg.

Richard Land

Since 1998, Richard Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which is “dedicated to addressing social and moral concerns and their implications on public policy issues from City Hall to Congress.”   

Land has been an active and influential right-wing leader for many years and in 2005, was named one of “The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time Magazine, joining the likes of James Dobson, Chuck Colson, David Barton, Rick Santorum, and Ted Haggard.

Land also hosts three separate nationally syndicated radio programs and has written several books including, most recently “The Divided States of America? What Liberals and Conservatives are Missing in the God-and-Country Shouting Match!,” which Land claims seeks a middle ground between the right and the left on the role of religion in the public square.  In reality, the middle ground Land stakes out consists mainly of standard right-wing positions on political and social issues that are made to appear moderate in comparison to ultra-radical positions put forth by far-right fringe elements.  

In recent months, Land has been positioning himself to play a much more high-profile role in the presidential campaign than he has in the past, repeatedly asserting that he and other Evangelicals will not support Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich, should he run,  while regularly bolstering the campaign of Fred Thompson, who Land calls a “Southern-fried Reagan.”

Harry Jackson

Jackson, pastor of a Maryland megachurch, has become a frequent spokesman for right-wing causes in recent years. In 2004, he played a prominent role in urging blacks to vote for George Bush, and in 2005, he started the High Impact Leadership Coalition and unveiled his “Black Contract with America on Moral Values”—an agenda topped with fighting gay marriage—at an event co-sponsored by the far-right Traditional Values Coalition. Jackson spoke at “Justice Sunday,” a religious-right rally in favor of Bush’s judicial nominees, as well as “Justice Sunday II, where he promised to “bring the rule and reign of the Cross to America.” He is a member of the Arlington Group.

Since then, Jackson has continued to urge blacks to vote for right-wing causes and candidates. “[Martin Luther] King would most likely be a social conservative,” he wrote in one typical column. His most recent efforts have focused on opposing hate crimes protections for gays, falsely claiming that a proposed bill would “muzzle our pulpits.”

In an article in Charisma magazine, Jackson wrote that the “wisdom behind” the “gay agenda” is “clearly satanic,” and he called for an aggressive “counterattack.” He asserted to The New York Times that “Historically when societies have gone off kilter, there has been rampant same-sex marriage.”

Don Wildmon

Wildmon is the Founder and Chairman of the American Family Association, which exists primarily to decry whatever it deems “immoral” in American culture and lead boycotts against companies that in any way support causes, organizations, or programs it deems offensive, particularly anything that does not portray gays and lesbians in a negative light. 

Over the years, AFA has targeted everything from the National Endowment for the Arts, Howard Stern, and the television show “Ellen” to major corporations such as Ford , Burger King, and Clorox.  AFA has also been particularly focused on Disney, declaring that the company’s “attack on America’s families has become so blatant, so intentional, so obvious” as to warrant a multi-year boycott.

Recently, AFA has been busy warning that proposed hate-crimes legislation is designed to lay the “groundwork for persecution of Christians,” attacked presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his time on the board of Marriott Corporation because the company offers adult movies in its hotels, and warned that the US Senate was “angering a just God” and bringing “judgment upon our country” by allowing a Hindu chaplain to deliver an opening prayer. 

Gary Bauer

Gary Bauer is a long-time right-wing activist and leader.  After serving President Ronald Reagan's administration for eight years in various capacities, Bauer went on to become President of the Family Research Council, which was founded, in part, by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, where Bauer also served as Senior Vice President. 

Bauer stepped down from FRC in 1999 when he launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.  After dropping out of the race, Bauer made a surprising endorsement of Sen. John McCain at a time when many of the other right-wing leaders had lined up behind George W. Bush.  

Bauer’s standing took a beating when he defended McCain’s attack on Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as “agents of intolerance” and he was ostracized by many for quite a while after McCain lost.  But Bauer pressed ahead, creating his own non-profit, American Values, and gradually reestablished himself in right-wing circles.  

Since then, Bauer has been active in various right-wing campaigns, most notably joining with likes of Tony Perkins and James Dobson in defending and pressing for the confirmation of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.  

William Owens

Owens, a graduate of Oral Roberts University and a Memphis pastor, founded the Coalition of African American Pastors to combat equal marriage rights for gay couples. Owens reportedly told the “Rally for Traditional Marriage” held in Mississippi in 2004 that “homosexual activists of today have hijacked the civil rights cause,” adding: “We're going to fight until we win,” he said. “We're going to have crusades and rallies like this until we win. We're going to let our political leaders know ‘if you don't stand for God, we won't stand for you.’” Owens lent the CAAP name to the Religious Right’s judges campaign, signing on to the “National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters” and holding a press conference in support of Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination.

In 2004, Owens formed an alliance with the Arlington Group, a coalition of powerful religious-right leaders that was widely credited with being the driving force behind the effort to put anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballot in 11 states in that year’s election. Owens is now on the group’s executive committee, alongside James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Bill Bennett, Tony Perkins, Paul Weyrich, Rod Parsley and others.

Alan Chambers

"Ex-gay" Alan Chambers is president of Exodus International and executive director of Exodus North America, which claim gay men and lesbians can be “cured" and "change" their sexual orientation to heterosexual. Exodus' board includes long-time anti-gay activist Phil Burress of Ohio's Citizens for Community Values, his wife Vickie Burress – founder of the American Family Association of Indiana – and Mike Haley, who replaced discredited "ex-gay" John Paulk at Focus on the Family as chief spokesperson on homosexuality and gender issues. Exodus also co-sponsors a series of "ex-gay" conferences across the country with Focus on the Family. One recent Love Won Out event was particularly mired in controversy when it was revealed that one of its presenting organizations had published a racist column that appeared to justify slavery. During a 2006 CPAC conference panel, Chambers insisted "lifelong homosexual relationships are not possible" and the battle for marriage equality was solely being promoted by the liberal media.

Other representatives of the “ex-gay” activist community scheduled for the conference include Scott Davis and Mike Ensley of Exodus and Nancy Heche, whose book “The Truth Comes Out” describes “how to respond lovingly, yet appropriately, to homosexual family members and friends,” such as her husband, who held secret “homosexual affairs,” and her daughter, whose open relationship with Ellen DeGeneres Heche called “Like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals.”

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is something of a journeyman within the right-wing movement.  After starting out as a journalist and editor for various newspapers, Knight has held a series of jobs with various right-wing organizations including Senior Director of Cultural Studies at the Family Research Council, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and director of the Culture & Family Institute at Concerned Women for America.

Currently, he is the head of the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute at the Media Research Center and a columnist for Townhall.com.

His hostility toward gays is well-known, as evidenced by his response to the news that Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of the Vice President, was expecting a child with her partner: 

"I think it's tragic that a child has been conceived with the express purpose of denying it a father," Knight said.

"Fatherhood is important and always will be, so if Mary and her partner indicate that that is a trivial matter, they're shortchanging this child from the start."

"Mary and Heather can believe what they want," Knight said, "but what they're seeking is to force others to bless their nonmarital relationship as marriage" and to "create a culture that is based on sexual anarchy instead of marriage and family values."

John Stemberger

Stemberger, a personal injury attorney and former political director for the Florida GOP, is the president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Counsel/Florida Family Action, a state affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.

Stemberger is leading the petition drive to put on next year’s ballot a constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, which is already banned by statute. While a 2006 effort fell short, as of September 5, Florida4Marriage.org claimed to have gathered 594,000 of the 611,000 signatures they need to submit by February 1, making it likely that the amendment will be on the ballot in 2008.

Ken Blackwell

Blackwell is most famous as the controversial Ohio secretary of state during the 2004 election, overseeing voting laws while moonlighting as state co-chair for Bush/Cheney. But he has a long history of far-right activism on economic and civil rights issues, and in 2004 Blackwell forged an alliance with the Religious Right as he campaigned for an anti-gay ballot measure. By 2006, when Blackwell ran for governor, this alliance had grown into a church-based political machine, with megachurch pastors Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson taking Blackwell to rallies of “Patriot Pastors,” who signed on to a vision of a Christianity under attack by dark forces, in need of “restoration” through electoral politics. “This is a battle between the forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell,” declared Johnson.

Blackwell’s gubernatorial bid failed, but he continues his career as a right-wing activist with affiliations with the Family Research Council and the Club for Growth, as well as a column on Townhall.com.

Katherine Harris

Harris is well known for her controversial role in Florida’s 2000 presidential election debacle, when she served as both secretary of state, overseeing a “purge” of voter rolls as well as the recount itself, and as a state co-chair for Bush/Cheney. She was elected to the U.S. House in 2002 and 2004, and spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in both 2002 and 2003.

In 2006 Harris made a quixotic Senate run, during which she heavily courted the Religious Right. In an interview with the Florida Baptist Witness, she implied that her opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson, was not a Christian, saying, “[I]f you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin. They can legislate sin. They can say that abortion is alright. They can vote to sustain gay marriage. And that will take western civilization, indeed other nations because people look to our country as one nation as under God and whenever we legislate sin and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don’t know better, we are leading them astray and it’s wrong.” She also advised people to disbelieve “that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state.”

Tom Minnery

Minnery is vice president for public policy at Focus on the Family and a frequent spokesman for the group. He is the author of “Why You Can’t Stay Silent: A Biblical Mandate to Shape Our Culture,” arguing that society should be “changed from the top down morally.” Focus on the Family, with a combined budget of over $160 million, promotes far-right positions on social issues to millions of Americans through radio, print, and the web, and Focus founder James Dobson is probably the single most influential figure on the Religious Right.

“There are more than enough Christians to defeat the Left," Minnery said at a rally in South Dakota. "There are a lot of pastors who didn't want to be seen as an 'activist,' but this issue of marriage has left them with little choice but to get involved."

Who's Who At the Values Voter Debate

Below are short biographies of those who have been mentioned as participating in tonight's "Values Voter Presidential Debate" in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

Right Warms up for 'War on Christmas' Boycotts

AFA attacks Gap; Liberty Counsel eyes Lowe’s and Best Buy. Also: Right-wing legal groups mobilize against supposed “hostility.”

Making a List

[Elf making a list]The “War on Christmas” season started early this year – way back in June. While it hasn’t gotten too much traction yet – apparently people have other things to do – now Jerry Falwell is joining the fight against “anti-Christmas organizations” like the ACLU that want to “steal Christmas.”

In his “Falwell Confidential” e-mail, the Moral Majority co-founder promotes the “Friend or Foe Campaign” run by his affiliated litigation group, Liberty Counsel. Falwell and Liberty Counsel hope to recreate the magic of last year’s holiday season by instigating boycotts of “retailers who ban[] expressions of Christmas” (by saying “Happy Holidays”) and threatening to sue schools or government offices that don’t adhere to the “Merry Christmas”-only lexicon. From the e-mail:

Anita Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, said, “Christmas is constitutional. We cannot allow our religious liberty and heritage to be swept from the public square.”

When enough people learn the truth — that we can celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas — the ACLU and similar “Scrooges” and “grinches” will lose their power to steal Christmas.

Do civil liberties groups have the “power to steal Christmas”? As he wrote last year, Falwell believes there is some kind of conspiracy on the part of “small minority of our fellow citizens” to “obliterate Christmas,” and the “Friend or Foe Campaign” was used to collect supposed evidence of the “War on Christmas” – even when the cases they found turned out to be trumped-up or bogus (see Right Wing Outrage for 12/20/05 for video of Falwell hyping a bogus story). Still, the efforts of Falwell and other Christmas warriors ensured that there was no time of year we were denied the political hysteria of the far Right.