Dustin Kight

I <3 American Family Association

Filed By Dustin Kight | November 15, 2007 4:05 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: American Family Association, Christmas, Pet Smart

As part of my job, I keep an eye on the conservative "family" groups out there. They spew a lot of hate, especially via emails intended for their members eyes only. These folks have A LOT of money. Anybody who works at a nonprofit or has any other experience with email campaigns knows that sending action alerts to thousands of people ain't cheap. And these groups send action alerts like it's going out of style. (Newsflash: Unless you're a rabid right-winger, it pretty much is out of style. Most people don't like when their inbox fills up. Then again, if you think not answering one of these calls-to-action might result in your eternal damnation, well, you get my drift...)

I have to say, as of this week, the American Family Association is my favorite of the groups I "keep in touch with." All of the conservative "family" groups' emails are hilarious. All of them, let me go on record as saying, seem to be written by gay men. Embracing the stereotypes as tightly as I can for a moment, the language of these emails is much too pithy, much too sassy, and much too word-smithy not to be. But that shouldn't come as a BIG surprise, now should it?

Let me share the most recent alert in all its ridiculous glory:

Straight from the mouth of the American Family Association:

At PetSmart, Christmas doesn't exist

Send an e-mail to PetSmart and ask why they refuse to include Christmas in their promotion, choosing to only use holiday.

At PetSmart, Christmas doesn't exist. It is not to be found anywhere on their Web Site. AFA checked out the local PetSmart store and there was no Christmas there, either.

A search on PetSmart's home page found 252 references to "holiday." It also found 43 references to "Christmas." But, alas, this is very misleading. When you click on "Christmas" you are directed to a page containing the same gifts you get when you search for holiday. Of all the items that pop up when you search for Christmas, not a single one mentions Christmas or is identified as being a Christmas gift.

At PetSmart, everything is "holiday."

Now, I'm going to backpeddle a little here. The American Family Association, in and of itself, might not have a ton of money. I know that others, such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council do. I can't say for certain that the AFA does. Which would make it even more ridiculous that they send out action alerts like this one!

I realize that a lot of what's "important" to people is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. But I have to say, when my organization sends out action alerts to support/oppose a major bill that directly impacts the lives of LGBTQ families, or when we ask our members to oppose the discriminatory actions of an adoption company online, it feels a little more substantive than this.

Then again, it's not really a matter of who's issue is more legit, is it? It's a matter of who's going to win. I have my thoughts on that one, as you might guess from my chosen field. If you feel that the anti-holiday, anti-condoms-in-hotel-rooms, anti-companies-that-support-their-employees-through-partner-benefits approach is more effective, I'm all ears...

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It's all part of the same framing. It's important the targets of these newsletters feel the same danger, the same crisis, the same "we're running out of time" motif that pervades all of the right-wing social issues. The biggest enemy of these groups is the thought, "Live and let live."
The right-wing builds up a constant sense of invasion and fear: including immigrants, terrorists, gays, atheists, communists, etc. Some of these are realistic and real fears, if sometimes blown out of proportion, some are not. But what matters to the right-wing machine is communicating that sense of impending doom, that idea that if you don't donate and vote Republican right now, that the evil-doers will come any second now and take away your cross, make your kids gay, outlaw Christmas, and blow you up. All at the same time. These constant barrages of, "Corporation XYZ isn't sufficiently Christian-affirming" are just one of a thousand ways that the right keeps people from thinking that things can ever, ever, just be left alone. If people truly started acting in, let alone believing, a "Live, and let live," approach to life, all of this fear-mongering would be useless. And that's exactly why they can't let up. Not for a day, not for a second, not when there is fresh outrage to be served up.

My first thought upon reading this "alert" is that my pets don't celebrate holidays anyway.

I think torrentprime hit the nail on the head. These Christianists cannot sell anything without shoving impending doom down the throats of their players. It's the only way they can sell their wiggets and therefore beg for money. They've seen that the single-cell brained minions of this country only see things through their warped glasses (shown by the successes of the Karl Rove machine).

By the way, my dog Kipper doesn't care about Christmas yet I'll continue to buy his dog food at PetSmart. They are really groveling at this point.

Boston Butch | November 15, 2007 8:21 PM

Dustin, I loved this! Who knows? Maybe gay men are writing this. I mean, Mel White was Jerry Falwell's ghost writer at one time. :)

On a more serious note, I wish progressives would come up with a response to this crazy "war on Christmas" crap. It's the new red and green. As soon as you get past Halloween, you have to ready yourself to start hearing this garbage.

Maybe everything should start framing itself after our movement and just use initials. So like LGBT - we'd have CHSKT - Christmas Hanukkah Solstice Kwaanza and Three Kings Day. It could happen.

Dustin, wait till you see my post from this afternoon about banning Santa from saying "Ho! Ho! Ho!" I can see the e-mail alerts already.

Hey Bil, I've seen that post :) and I sent it out to as many people as I could. Hilarious.

And Boston Butch, I'm wondering, would we refer to CHSKT as chisket, like Triscuit, or brisket?

I sure hope so. It's sounds funny and holiday crackery all at the same time ;)

AFA has lots of money. Check it.

It takes a lot of money to send out email alerts? I thought they just sent out an email to a bunch of people.... Didn't know it cost a lot.

your pets don't celebrate holidays, Dave? Well, maybe because they're not demon pets destined for hell, so they're celebrating Christmas.

I really wish this war on Christmas would happen year-round. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

War on Christmas in July! Starts in May!