David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues and all other facets of the news for the mainstream and alternative media for more than three decades. A native Texan, he writes for publications nationwide. Sometimes, he likes to write about ordinary stuff, but not often. Home base is a ranch one hour south of Dallas-Fort Worth on Cedar Creek Lake.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
American Family Association continues with 'big lie'
The American Family Association’s new
“Anti-Christian Bigotry Map,” which claims to identify LGBT groups nationwide,
is long on hype and short on facts. You might even call the map and its
categories of “anti-Christian, humanist, atheist and homosexual agenda”
laughable if it weren’t so deceptive.
In Texas for instance, the map
identifies Human Rights Campaign chapters in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston
and San Antonio with little rainbow-colored balloons. I wonder how long someone
in the Mississippi-based organization worked to compile that silly list, given
that there are countless local LGBT organizations statewide easily identified.
The interactive map allows the viewer to
isolate by state the different categories. The list is led by a colorful “homosexual
agenda” icon that sort of resembles a hot air balloon -- an apt, albeit
unintended image for this map to be sure. The AFA map features about 200 icons
nationwide that provide obscure group names in most cases.
HRC quickly ridiculed the map’s
publication on its website, noting that the organization maintains no offices
in certain cities listed on the map. “…We will not be able to meet at HRC’s
offices in Dallas and Austin that are included on AFA’s map because they don’t
exist. Gosh darn.”
The Texas map also identifies
anti-Christians in Houston and San Antonio; atheists in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin,
Denton, Houston, Lubbock and Corpus Christi and humanists or “freethinkers” in
North Texas, the Panhandle, East Texas and Central Texas. It would appear the
humanists escaped detection as to exactly where they congregate.
At the bottom of the map, the AFA gets
down to the real business at hand by listing the national headquarters of the
Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center, GLSEN and Freedom from
Religion Foundation. The HRC blog noted that the AFA list also “oddly included”
the American Association of Retired Persons and People for the American Way,
but those groups appear to no longer be included on the map.
AFA claims on the map HRC “bullies
American corporations to embrace sexual perversion and encourages lawsuits
against Christian-owned businesses and states.” It accuses SPLC of labeling
Christian organizations supporting the Biblical definition of marriage as hate
groups, and it claims GLSEN “infiltrates public schools with pro-homosexual
indoctrination tactics.” FFRF “threatens, intimidates and sues local
governments and public schools to abolish all public references to the
Christian faith,” according to the AFA.
What is most interesting about the AFA
interactive map is that it poorly imitates the Southern Poverty Law’s Center’s comprehensive
annual list of hate groups, which includes the AFA. The list names 939 groups,
including White Supremacists of all varieties, anti-government gangs and
LGBT-bashers, which are gleaned from extensive research.
SPLC began including anti-LGBT groups on
its hate group list soon after its founding in 1971 because white supremacists
and others often targeted LGBT people in propaganda and hate crimes.
SPLC President Richard Cohen said in an
email to Dallas Voice that with the map’s publication the “AFA is continuing
with its big lie – its claim that we’re anti-Christian. We’re obviously not.”
Cohen noted SPLC also disagrees with the
policies of Focus on the Family on a variety of issues, but the organization is
not included on the annual hate group list because it maintains a higher level
of integrity than AFA. “…We would not call Focus a hate group because, unlike groups
like the AFA, Focus does not routinely spread demonizing lies and propaganda
about the LGBT community,” Cohen said. “And in the case of the AFA, its bigotry
is not limited to the anti-LGBT variety.”
The AFA’s publication of the map seems
to prove Cohen’s point because it seeks to spread resentment against
non-Christians as well as LGBT people. The propaganda also ignores the
affiliation of millions of LGBT people with the Christian faith. AFA leaders
attempt to portray LGBT people as deviants who want to overthrow Western
Civilization by destroying traditional Judeo-Christian values.
Since AFA’s founding in 1977 under the
former name of the National Federation for Decency the group has sought to
censor publications and television broadcasts, disseminate false information
about LGBT people and their relationships and promote “ex-gay” therapy. Methodist
minister Donald E. Wildmon founded the group, but he stepped down after 33
years for his son, Tim Wildmon, to carry on his anti-LGBT campaign, that
sometimes has targeted minority groups such as Muslims and Native Americans who
refused to convert to Christianity.
AFA, which depends on donations and the
sale of books and other propaganda to operate, is largely ineffective and
professionally disrespected as the publication of its map shows. Still, it
manages to keep operating because enough people buy into the organization’s
untruthful and alarmist propaganda to fund it.
About the best we can do as a community
is to continue to support the organizations that we know tell the truth and
work for our benefit. AFA unwittingly identified them for you.