The decision by Lowe's Home Improvement to pull ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" after complaints from a right-wing Christian fundamentalist group in Florida was shocking. It was disturbing mainly because Lowe's caved to hate so quickly.
Let's be clear, what the Florida Family Association is spewing is bigotry and hate. They claim that by having a show depicting the everyday lives of average Muslim families, TLC is attempting to "manipulate Americans." Their whole argument is simply outlandish.
Many progressives have pushed back. CREDO, MoveOn and Change.org have posted petitions targeting Lowe's for their ridiculous behavior. I have signed all three, just for good measure. People for the American Way, The Nation, Reps. Keith Ellison, Chris Murphy and John Conyers, along with many other progressive voices, have condemned Lowe's actions. Even Jon Stewart ran a segment eviscerating the lone right-wing nut group raising their ridiculous objections to this show.
But just to put it in context, I'm going to go a step farther. Lowe's says it supports diversity and doesn't want to take a position on hot button issues like "All-American Muslims" having a normal day out shopping. So how does Lowe's feel when I slightly change the initial complaint from the Florida Family Association? Below is an excerpt from the actual letter that the Florida Family Association was using:
The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law...
Many situations were profiled in the show from a Muslim tolerant perspective while avoiding the perspective that would have created Muslim conflict thereby contradicting The Learning Channel's agenda to inaccurately portray Muslims in America.
Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.
I encourage you to stop supporting this show with your advertising dollars.
But I changed a few of the words, simply out of concern that portrayals of normal Christians "manipulate Americans" into ignoring the very real threat posed by anti-gay Christians:
Television shows with Christian characters are propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Christians who are advancing anti-gay beliefs...
Many situations were profiled in various shows from a Christian tolerant perspective while avoiding the perspective that would have created Christian conflict thereby contradicting television's agenda to inaccurately portray Christians in America.
Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of anti-gay bigotry and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the anti-gay Christian threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.
I encourage you to stop supporting shows with Christian characters with your advertising dollars.
When you read it that way, it seems absurd, and rightfully so -- because it is. But the fact is that there are anti-gay Christians. A leading presidential candidate released a gay-baiting ad, the Family Research Council is identified as an anti-gay hate group, and anti-gay bullying has cost many LGBT youth their lives.
You may reactively want to point out that various Christian organizations are not anti-gay, to which I'll point out that the vast majority of American Muslims are not seeking shariah to be codified in any way in the American legal justice system. In fact, you could compare that with the myriad of Christian zealots who are attempting to join Church and State in the political and legal sphere through their myopic activism. There are constant examples of strong arming with the meaningless signing of pledges, posting the Ten Commandments in courtrooms, and rallying for Christian prayer in public schools. The double standard and intolerance is a projection of intolerant values, clear and simple.
But as it stands, Lowe's looks bad. Lowe's looks really bad and they should feel ashamed. But unless they reverse their decision to discriminate against Americans who are Muslims, they should be boycotted, protested and shamed. To that end, it's only fair that they be consistent.