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Family Group Calls for Boycott of Ford

A week after declaring its nine-year boycott of the Walt Disney Company over, the American Family Association on Monday announced it was turning its sights on the world’s second-largest auto maker.

The <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Tupelo, Miss.,-based AFA launched its boycott against the Ford Motor Company for a track record of “supporting the homosexual agenda.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
“From redefining family to include homosexual marriage; to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to support homosexual groups and their agenda; to forcing managers to attend diversity training on how to promote the acceptance of homosexuality; to sponsoring a commitment ceremony–that is, ‘marriage’; to sponsoring ‘gay pride’ parades, Ford leads the way,” AFA founder and chairman Don Wildmon said in a statement.
 
Wildmon said the goal of every homosexual organization supported by Ford is to legalize same-sex marriage.
 
The ministry set up a stand-alone Web site, BoycottFord.com, to detail grievances leading to the Ford boycott. They include:
 
–Offering the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation up to $1,000 for every Jaguar or Land Rover purchased this year.
 
–Donations to homosexual groups.
 
–Advertising in homosexual publications.
 
–Promoting workforce “diversity,” which AFA says is a code word for homosexuality. The Human Rights Campaign gave Ford a 100 percent score on its Corporate Equality Index.
 
Ford offers health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of workers and requires diversity training for all employees. The company recognizes an employee-network group for homosexuals called Ford Gay, Lesbian Or Bisexual Employees (GLOBE.)
 
More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies now have sexual orientation in non-discrimination policies and nearly half provide domestic-partner benefits, said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
 
A ‘boycott of the week’ won’t change the fact that fairness is good for the bottom line,” Solmonese said. “Ford–like other major corporations–understands that not only are these policies good for their business, but they’re the right thing to do.”
 
Joan M. Garry, executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, termed the Ford boycott as “nonsense” from the AFA, which, “like its failed boycott against Disney–is a ploy to get media visibility for an anti-gay agenda opposed by most Americans.”
 
On May 23 AFA announced the decision to drop its Disney boycott, saying “a culturally crowded battlefield” made it necessary to concentrate resources where they are most needed.
 
AFA President Tim Wildmon said there were signs that Disney was making an effort to “clean up its act” in the last couple of years. They include the pending departure of CEO Michael Eisner, splitting with Miramax (associated with films including “Pulp Fiction” and “Fahrenheit 9/11”) and a partnership with Walden Media to produce “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” which comes out in December and will be marketed to Christians.
 
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission hinted that it might be time for Southern Baptists “to declare victory and move on” in their own Disney boycott, launched in 1997.
 
Baptist Press quoted Land as saying the SBC Disney resolution “may well have ushered in a whole new era of corporate awareness and activism among evangelical Christians.”
 
“The resolution made the point–straight out of God’s Word–that Christians have an obligation to take account of what enterprises they are supporting,” he said.
 
“It may well be that the Southern Baptist Convention this June decides to declare victory in this matter and move on,” Land said. “But I learned a long time ago not to predict what a Southern Baptist Convention meeting in session may or may not do.”
 
For the first time, Disney is marketing its upcoming film based on C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia directly to Christians, including groups like Focus on the Family, which earlier boycotted the company for providing health benefits to same-sex partners, allowing Gay Days at theme parks and producing controversial movies.
 
According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, it represents the effective end of the Disney boycott for some evangelical leaders and “appears to acknowledge implicitly that the Disney boycott has been a failure.”
 
Disney officials have insisted the boycott did not affect the company’s bottom line.
 
The AFA also recently suspended a boycott launched last fall of Procter & Gamble, saying the maker of products including Crest toothpaste, Tide detergent and Pampers diapers had stopped advertising heavily on pro-homosexual television shows like “Will & Grace” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
 
As of Thursday, nearly 100,000 individuals had signed an online pledge to boycott Ford products. A message encourages supporters to call their local Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and/or Mazda dealer to report they are joining the boycott. “Tell him you will stop boycotting Ford products when Ford stops promoting the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage,” it says.
 
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.