Station manager releases statement: "The Offer is now off the table."
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today issued a national action alert against the American Family Association's (AFA) one-hour television special called "Speechless: Silencing Christians," which is promoted to "reveal the truth about the radical homosexual agenda and its impact on the family, the nation and religious freedom." Within an hour of that action alert announcement, the Grand Rapids, MI station which had planned to air the deceptive programming rescinded that offer.
WOOD-TV General Manager Diane Kniowski posted the following announcement just before 4 p.m. saying it would not run the AFA paid 60-minute program on Saturday as planned:
"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."
The HRC alert urged members to contact the station and ask that they pull the scheduled program and instead air a fair discussion or debate on both the issues and pending legislation.
"I am so proud of our members who answered the lies and distortions of the AFA and stopped this campaign of hate and deception," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "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," added Solmonese. "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."
The AFA program which is still viewable online and may run in other markets, is hosted by 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." (CNN's Larry King Live, Jan. 17, 2006) In the new AFA program, the AFA and its allies purposely promote lies and distortions, including the following:
1. Lie: If hate crimes laws are passed, pastors will be prosecuted for preaching what the Bible says about homosexuality.
Truth: Pastors will not be held liable for hate crimes based on preaching anti-gay sermons. The First Amendment protects a preacher from being charged as an accessory to a hate crime simply because of their speech. The Matthew Shepard Act only punishes violent crimes, not a person's speech, beliefs or thoughts. In fact, the legislation contains language specifically protecting free speech.
2. Lie: Legislation that will provide employment protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity will force churches to hire homosexuals.
Truth: The federal legislation contains language exempting the vast majority of religious corporations, associations and educational institutions, and permits all religious organizations to condition employment on compliance with its significant tenets, including ones barring LGBT employees.
3. Lie: Homosexual acts have a key role to play in the spread of all STDs and HIV/AIDS.
Truth: HIV and STDs don't distinguish by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic. Statements such as those made by the AFA in this video hamper efforts to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases by spreading ignorance and misinformation.
4. Lie: Allowing the government to redefine marriage hurts children because studies show children need a mother and father to do well in life.
Truth: All scientifically reputable studies on the subject of same-sex parenting show that the sexual orientation of a child's parent does not affect a child. Furthermore, all leading children's welfare and rights organizations conclude that there is no measurable difference between children raised by loving lesbian and gay families and those raised by different-sex couples.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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