TAKE ACTION: AFA anti-LGBT TV program could air Saturday
February 11, 2009
This Saturday – unless we act right now – a Michigan TV station will air a one-hour anti-LGBT propaganda piece designed to "reveal the truth about the radical homosexual agenda." The ultra-right wing American Family Association (AFA) says it produced the 60-minute program to air nation-wide. We need thousands of people to speak out IMMEDIATELY against this paid campaign of lies before the program airs on WOOD-TV, the local NBC station in Grand Rapids, MI. Tell WOOD-TV to reconsider its decision to air this hour of lies – and instead broadcast a fair debate. Make no mistake: this is the opening salvo in a coming battle over pro-equality legislation. Just as we are on the cusp of historic change – a federal hate crimes law, protections for LGBT workers against job discrimination – extremist groups like the AFA are launching a well-funded national campaign of hatred and fear to halt our progress. This program recycles familiar lies: that hate crime laws will "do away with our freedom of speech," or that pastors will be "criminalized for sharing the love of Jesus Christ." (In fact, the proposed federal hate crimes law explicitly states that it only applies to physical violence – not speech.) The "anchor" of this faux-news program, which may have already aired in smaller markets, is controversial talk show host Janet Parshall, who in 2006 suggested Matthew Shepard's lifestyle was responsible for his murder and called gay adoption “state-sanctioned child abuse.” We cannot let this bigotry go unanswered. We can't let it scare voters, force LGBT people back into a place of shame and hiding, or create an atmosphere of intolerance or hate. Tell WOOD-TV program director Craig Cole to reconsider his decision, and instead devote its Sunday public affairs show, “To the Point”, to an honest and fair discussion. The AFA has worked for years to silence LGBT people and their loved ones. Now it claims to be a victim of censorship. But this isn’t civil and this isn’t a debate. This is lies and anti-gay propaganda launched to defeat an inclusive Hate Crimes bill. Take action right now and spread the word to your friends and family. Harry Knox, director of HRC's Religion and Faith program, has recorded a video response to the AFA that encourages LGBT supporters to take action against this effort to distort the truth regarding the LGBT movement:***UPDATE*** Joe Solmonese issued this statement today in a press release:
Make no mistake. This is the opening salvo in a campaign designed to denigrate LGBT Americans and deny us our basic rights. Just as our community is at a point where measures protecting millions of Americans heads to Congress and a willing President, the AFA unleashes 60 minutes of lies and distortions to scare voters. The AFA and its allies have never been 'speechless' when it comes to promoting their own agenda, and that's driving a wedge in the very places where LGBT Americans work, live and even pray. It's telling that even the most basic forms of protection -- stopping violent crimes of hate or ensuring that people are judged not for who they are, but for their work -- lead the AFA to launch a national, paid campaign of hateful lies. We welcome a debate on these issues and ask that WOOD-TV pull the program and instead devote it's Sunday program, 'To the Point' to a honest and fair discussion. Let's have a conversation that leads to understanding rather than paid advertising promoting lies and distortions about a single group of Americans.
***UPDATE - 5:00 PM EST*** WOOD-TV issued a statement on their website that they have canceled the airing of "Speechless":
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - WOOD TV8 has rescinded the offer to air a controversial paid program originally set to air Monday. "Speechless: Silencing Christians" was scheduled to air Monday at 7 p.m ., in the slot immediately before President Barack Obama's prime time press conference. The program was pulled from that slot. The producers were contacted and offered another time slot. In a statement Wednesday, WOOD/WOTV/WXSP General Manager Diane Kniowski said the offer is now off the table. "We made a gesture of the 2-3 p.m. Saturday time period. It's been 24 hours and we had no response," Kniowski said. "Our station is being bombarded with calls and messages, and we find ourselves in the middle of someone else's fight. Ours was a fair offer and we are removing ourselves from this matter."
****UPDATE - 5:20 PM EST*** Updated statement from Joe Solmonese:
I am so proud of our members who answered the lies and distortions of the AFA and stopped this campaign of hate and deception. Our community stood up and would not let those lies stand. This should be our wake up call. We are poised to make real progress, for the first time, for millions of LGBT Americans. We know it and so do our opponents. We must stand guard and not allow them to stop these overdue, basic protections by rolling out the same, tired script albeit in new packaging. Today's action proves we have the voices and the power to demand a fair fight and a fair debate.