Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fighting hate

The Web site Good as You prides itself on using humor and irreverence to document bigotry against gay and lesbian people. "Our tone is light, but our message is firm: We will not sit back and be led to a society that favors discrimination over diversity."

As you read through the stories of preachers who seem to have forgotten The Golden Rule and organizations that purport to "defend" the family while attacking some families, it's easy to feel numbed and helpless. But one item this week disgusted me to the point where I felt compelled to do something. The American Family Association has revealed its "The Top Ten Pro-Homosexual Sponsors on Television."

I don't even like mentioning the organizations' name, and I hesitated to write about this because I don't want to give them and their hate-filled campaign any further publicity. But if there's anything that the history of the 20th century has taught us, it's that we can't be silent in the face of hatred. Bigotry doesn't go away simply because we ignore it.

While the AFA and their supporters certainly have the right to their opinion, I have the right to oppose them. I hope that everyone who reads this will exercise their First Amendment rights and do what I've done: use the links so thoughtfully provided by this organization to send these companies letters of support.

So far, I've e-mailed the CEOs or left comments on the Web sites of several of the companies on the list. I told them that I use their products or services regularly and I watch the shows that they sponsor. I thanked them for their continued support of television programs that include gay and lesbian characters. I encouraged them to continue to stand firm against bigotry and for a more inclusive vision of America.

I'm under no illusion that my e-mails will have much an impact compared with the mountain of hate mail these companies will probably be getting. Unfortunately, it's usually the haters who speak the loudest and seem to command the most attention. The rest of us read what they've done, shake our heads and move on.

Sure, it's easy enough simply to be disgusted and dismiss the whole thing as lunacy. But you know, sometimes it's not enough to be disgusted and dismissive. A sense of outrage is like a part of your body, you have to exercise it to keep it healthy.

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