HRC national action alert against AFA
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HRC national action alert against AFA
Wed, 11 Feb 2009 14:46:13 -0500

Human Rights Campaign Issues National Action Alert Against Misleading
AFA Television Program On "Radical Homosexual Agenda"

HRC President Joe Solmonese: "At a time when America is striving
to come together, the AFA continues to use LGBT Americans as a wedge
issue to divide us from reaching our basic equality."

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." The HRC alert urges 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.

The paid one-hour program, which uses Washington, D.C. as a backdrop, is also the centerpiece of a new AFA website which includes the video, a slanted online survey and a plea for donations. The paid program is expected to air on WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, MI this weekend, and may have already aired in smaller, regional markets. To view the action alert online, visit:

"Make no mistake. This is the opening salvo in a campaign designed to denigrate LGBT Americans and deny us our basic rights," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Just as our community is at a point where measures protecting millions of Americans heads to Congress and a willing President, the AFA unleashes 60 minutes of lies and distortions to scare voters. The AFA and its allies have never been 'speechless' when it comes to promoting their own agenda, and that's driving a wedge in the very places where LGBT Americans work, live and even pray.

"It's telling that even the most basic forms of protection -- stopping violent crimes of hate or ensuring that people are judged not for who they are, but for their work -- lead the AFA to launch a national, paid campaign of hateful lies," added Solmonese. "We welcome a debate on these issues and ask that WOOD-TV pull the program and instead devote it's Sunday program, 'To the Point' to a honest and fair discussion. Let's have a conversation that leads to understanding rather than paid advertising promoting lies and distortions about a single group of Americans."

The AFA program 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 station, WOOD-TV, was set to air the program on Monday to coincide with the President's economic address, but pulled it after concerns from local activists. The AFA and local member churches immediately reacted and launched a campaign, leading to the station's announcement that it would air the program on Saturday, Feb. 14.

"Most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have been raised in an organized religion - and many continue to cherish their faith community. But religion is a source of both solace and suffering for most of us. This video outrageously promotes spiritual violence against LGBT people," said Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion & Faith Program.

"Despite what the AFA claims, a growing number of mainstream denominations have endorsed hate crime legislation, including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and the Episcopal Church USA." To learn more about the Religion & Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign visit: