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Antigay Conservatives Threaten Major Corporations
GFN Holdings
December 7, 2005

Responding to threats from far-right conservative groups for their support of the gay community, two major corporate entities, Ford Motor Co. and Wells Fargo, took opposite action within the last week, with Ford acceding to one groups' demands and Wells Fargo telling another it can, in effect, take their business elsewhere.

The ultra-conservative Christian group Focus on the Family announced it has closed its Wells Fargo accounts because the bank contributed to a gay rights group that promised to use the funds to "fight ... the anti-gay industry."

"Focus on the Family has elected to end its banking relationship with Wells Fargo, motivated primarily by the bank's ongoing efforts to advance the radical homosexual agenda. These efforts are in direct opposition to the underlying principles and purpose of Focus, and thus a decision of conscience had to be made, and a stand taken," said a statement on the Focus Web site.

The group's anger stems, in part, from a fundraising plea the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation made on the Internet five months ago that showed the Wells Fargo and GLAAD logos side by side above a large headline: "Double your impact in the fight against the anti-gay industry."

GLAAD asserted in the ad that that Wells Fargo would match any contribution to the organization dollar-for-dollar until July 2.

However, the claims in the ad were untrue. While Wells Fargo did make a $50,000 contribution to GLAAD, it was not a matching gift, and Wells Fargo never agreed to allow GLAAD to use the donation in a fundraising campaign. Still, the bank made it clear it stood behind its support of the group and other gay-related donations.

"We absolutely made a $50,000 grant to GLAAD, and we're absolutely proud of our support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community," Chris Hammond, spokesman for the banking giant, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Hammond noted the bank gives about $2 million a year to gay and lesbian organizations.

"That being said, we do support many communities, and we're proud to be a diverse organization," Hammond added.

A Focus on the Family official would not disclose how much money the organization kept with Wells Fargo, its primary bank, but said the nonprofit group's income was $146 million last year.

Ford Motor Capitulates to Conservative's Demands

In June, the American Family Association threatened a boycott of Ford Motor Co. "for supporting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual ‘marriage'" through its advertising and corporate promotion of gay events.

After months of negotiating with the carmaker, AFA claimed a victory late last week when the carmaker said it will not advertise its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications.

Ford spokesman Mike Moran told the Advocate.com the move was strictly a "business decision."

AFA, the far-right nonprofit run by the Rev. Donald Wildmon, criticized Ford in June for offering to give up to $1,000 to GLAAD for every Jaguar and Land Rover it sells to a member of GLAAD. The group also complained that Ford sponsored gay pride celebrations and advertised in gay-oriented publications.

In response, AFA created a Website, BoycottFord.com, promoting a petition urging Ford to let the carmaker know they "will not be buying a Ford product until they stop their promotion of the homosexual movement and homosexual marriage."

The petition also admonished Ford to stop its diversity training, sponsorship of gay events and organizations, and stop providing benefits to the partners of its gay employees, because that was akin to "redefining the definition of the family to include homosexual marriage."

Last week, AFA announced the threatened boycott would be canceled altogether.

"They've heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are," said Wildmon, AFA's chairman, in a statement. "Therefore the boycott that had been suspended [is] now officially ended."

Ford spokesman Mike Moran confirmed last week that the company would no longer advertise Jaguar and Land Rover products in the gay media, saying that the decision was strictly "business." Specific terms of any formal agreement between the AFA and Ford, however, are unknown, but said the decision came after a "constructive dialogue" with the Christian group.

The fight against Ford is just one of many AFA has going. According to the group's Web site, it has called for action against the Carl's Jr. hamburger chain (to protest a racy ad featuring Paris Hilton), Kraft Foods (for its sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games), Mary Kay Cosmetics and Old Navy stores (for advertising on ABC's "Desperate Housewives") and NutriSystem Inc., the weight-loss company (for airing "salacious" TV ads).

In the past, AFA has taken on Crest toothpaste, Volkswagen, Tide detergent, Clorox bleach, Pampers, MTV, Abercrombie & Fitch, K-Mart, Burger King, American Airlines and S.C. Johnson & Son, makers of Windex, Ziploc, Pledge, Glade and Edge, for a variety of issues deemed offensive to the group's moral compass.

Most recently, the AFA ended a nine-year boycott of the Walt Disney Co., which it launched because of what it felt was the company's "attitude, arrogance and embrace of the homosexual lifestyle."

The AFA said it was moving on because "we have made our point." Disney, however, reported during the boycott company profits continued to rise, unaffected by the efforts of the AFA.

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If you're not quite sure what to make of this mess think of what Jesus would do. We know He didn't say a single word about homosexuality. So, He either chose to stay silent on this issue or He forgot - you get to decide which it is.

Lucky for us we have a lot of right wing nuts who are filling in the blanks by saying gays are unChristian. What a bunch of crap. Here's how I see it. A person who's baptized becomes part of the Body of Christ. No act of man can undo that baptism, so gay Christians are Christians who just happen to be gay. The rest is for idiots.