Sunday, June 19, 2005
Spurred on by a biblical injunction evangelicals call "The Great Commission," and emboldened by George W. Bush's re-election, which is perceived as a "mandate from God," the Christian right has launched a series of boycotts and pressure campaigns aimed at corporate America -- and at its sponsorship of entertainment, programs and activities they don't like.
Even The New York Times is feeling the chill. At the beginning of May, an internal committee of 19 Times editors and reporters, who'd been asked how to improve the paper's "credibility" with a wider swath of America, came up with a key recommendation: Deliberalize the paper's news columns, especially through more coverage on religion from a sympathetic point of view.
The committee's report, "Preserving Our Readers' Trust," added that "the overall tone of our coverage of gay marriage, as one example, approaches cheerleading. By consistently framing the issue as a civil rights matter -- gays fighting for the right to be treated like everyone else -- we failed to convey how disturbing the issue is in many corners of American social, cultural, and religious life."
Oh, "disturbing" to whom? Why, to the Christian right, of course -- whose email complaint campaigns against the Times are legion: It's the paper the fundamentalists love to hate. So why is the Times -- one of the few newspapers in the latest available study of circulation released earlier this year to significantly increase circulation rather than lose it -- feeling the need to kowtow to the religious opponents of gay marriage? The paper's willingness to do so is about as frightening a testimony to creeping theocracy as one could imagine.
Stop. You're killin' me here.
I type "boycott" into Google, and I get...not even one of these nefarious Christian boycotts.
On the first page: boycottsbg.com, "A centralized source for the boycott of Sinclair Broadcast Group's advertisers" for daring to show the Swift Boat Vet ads. Boycott Microsoft, "A call to stop Microsoft's Fascist software distribution policy." Boycott Israeli goods, boycott Bush, boycott the recording industry...not a fundie in the bunch. Who knew that Google was part of the evil fundie Dominionist conspiracy?
So I look up Boycott News, the publication "founded to further communication about boycotts, past, present, and future"...and I find boycotts against Carl's and Domino's pizza for "donating to pro-choice candidates," against Monsanto for creating Agent Orange (40 years ago!), Mitsubishi and Texaco being boycotted by the Rainforest Action Network.
I guarantee, though, that all these boycotts are part of the Evil Christian Fundie Dominionist Conspiracy. I'm sure of it.