Since the Charity Give Back Group was forced to defend its financing of right-wing organizations like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, spokesman Kevin McCullough (who himself has propagated virulent anti-gay rhetoric) has stated that the campaign to have companies withdraw from the CGBG represents bullying. Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, even said it was an attempt to “censor” Christians. After Apple dropped out of the CGBG, which was previously known as the Christian Values Network, McCullough told The Christian Post, “We’re not asking Apple to embrace our position or the other side’s position. We just want them to stay neutral,” and the FRC is calling on activists to tell companies to “remain neutral in the current cultural battles.”
But by indirectly assisting the FRC and Focus on the Family, two of the major ‘culture war’ players, companies listed in the CGBG’s virtual mall are inadvertently finding themselves anything but ‘neutral’ parties. Both groups are heavily involved in the electoral politics and lobbying, which makes it difficult to consider them purely charitable organizations. FRC is one of the most prominent Religious Right advocacy groups in Washington D.C., and Focus on the Family has a policy arm (CitizenLink) dedicated to political activism. If companies really wanted to ‘remain neutral in the current cultural battles,’ that is more reason to drop out of the CGBG’s list.
While FRC and Focus have received the most attention, another group listed as an affiliated organization is Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel is a sister organization of Liberty University and Liberty Action, part of the network established by the late Jerry Falwell. Liberty Counsel’s Liberty Alerts depict their legal victories as “Gaining Ground in the Culture War,” and the head of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, wrote a book called Take Back America that he descried a Liberty Action flyer called “an Invaluable Resource to Help Win the Intensifying Culture War!” Staver’s deputy at Liberty Counsel Matt Barber even described liberalism as “hatred for God” and demanded President Obama’s impeachment for providing family benefits to federal employees in domestic partnerships. Most recently, they defended Lisa Miller, who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country to escape a court order granting her former partner custody of the child, and the Florida teacher who used his Facebook to post anti-gay messages. Like FRC and Focus, Liberty Counsel consistently propagates the most stringent anti-gay rhetoric.
Barber has argued that marriage equality is “rebellion against God,” held that gay and lesbian youth who commit suicide do it because they intuitively know homosexuality is “immoral” and called anti-bullying programs part of a “a homosexual activist political indoctrination agenda.” Such anti-gay rhetoric is extremely similar to that used of the FRC and Focus. The FRC’s Perkins claimed that homosexuality is “man shaking his fist in the face of God” and said that gay and lesbian children are likely to commit suicide because they “recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal.” Focus on the Family led the push against anti-bullying programs across the country, calling them efforts “to promote homosexuality to kids.”
Liberty Counsel and the FRC also defended Malawi’s law that criminalizes homosexuality and attacked American efforts to alter it.
Despite right-wing criticisms of the pressure campaign on companies tied to the CGBG, Liberty Counsel launched their own pressure campaign against schools that allowed students to participate in the ‘Day of Silence,’ which protested anti-gay bullying. Liberty Counsel also conducts an annual campaign against companies that they believe are supposedly undermining Christians, and Staver calls on customers to “shop elsewhere” if the store is not seen as sufficiently respectful of Christmas.
Liberty Counsel even joined forces with the militantly anti-gay Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Illinois Family Institute, and the American Family Association to launch a boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds after it made a donation to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Barber lashed out at McDonalds for working with “militant homosexual activists” in front of their company headquarters.
Who else supported the boycott and pressure campaign against McDonalds?
Why, none other than the Family Research Council, which supported the boycott against McDonalds and lauded “McDonald’s agreement to stop financing the homosexual agenda.”
Now, will FRC and its allies please stop complaining that pressure campaigns against companies represent “discrimination” and the undue influence of ‘cultural battles’ into the corporate world? Probably not.