Imagine for a moment that a liberal group decided to wage economic warfare against an American company that supported Christian causes by trying to inflame anti-Christian sentiment in a Muslim-majority country. Can you imagine the outrage? It would be wall-to-wall coverage on Fox News. Glenn Beck would be crying treason. Columnists would be denouncing the group's leaders for exporting bigotry and for a violation of basic American values.
So why has silence greeted the news that a major Religious Right organization is fomenting anti-gay sentiments in other parts of the world as a means of attacking an American company that supports LGBT equality?
The National Organization for Marriage, fresh off a massive electoral defeat, is doubling down on exactly that strategy, which NOM's Executive Director Brian Brown first announced in the spring. As reported by the American Independent, Brown held a telephone briefing with disappointed supporters after the election. He declared that NOM would be going on the offensive against the increasing number of American corporations that have staked out pro-equality positions on LGBT issues, including marriage equality.
According to the American Independent, "Brown said the aim is to make these companies' political stances known in countries in the Middle East and elsewhere that generally do not support same-sex marriage, or homosexuality in general."
Brown is looking for a lot more money to fight the next round of marriage battles in the U.S. -- and to hit equality-supporting corporations in their pocketbooks.
"Their international outreach is where we can have the most effect," Brown said. "So for example, in Qatar in the Middle East, we've begun working to make sure that there's some price to be paid for this. These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well as India. So we have done some of this; we've got to do a lot more."
Earlier this year, NOM announced a boycott of Starbucks and said that online "Dump Starbucks" ads would be running in Egypt, China, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.
NOM's claims that it will globalize its war against marriage equality may be more bluster than reality. But even if it's just rhetoric, it says something brutally revealing about the character of Brown and his colleagues at NOM. Their willingness to stir up anti-gay hostility abroad comes in spite of clear evidence that actions by American culture warriors to inflame anti-gay sentiments in other countries have had disastrous consequences for people's lives and freedom.
In fact, while Brown is promising an expanded global war on marriage equality, the speaker of Uganda's parliament Rebecca Kadaga is vowing that the infamous "kill the gays" bill would pass the legislature before the end of the year. That draconian legislation, which has been delayed in part by international pressure, was incited by, and has been defended by, some American Religious Right leaders. Kadaga says passage of the bill would be a "Christmas gift" to the people of Uganda. And perhaps to the anti-gay groups in America who came away from the elections empty-handed. Happy holidays.
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