Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Posts for February, 2009

Michigan TV Station Declines To Air Anti-Gay Propaganda

Jim Burroway

February 11th, 2009

The American Family Association has been flogging a paid program to television programs called “Speechless: Silencing Christians” Already one television station had agreed to air the special before backing down from a national outcry.

WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan originally scheduled the program to air right before President Barack Obama’s Monday news conference. Program director Craig Cole decided to move it to Wednesday, saying “We didn’t feel it was an appropriate place, leading into the presidential event.” After receiving hundreds of emails, the station’s general manager acknowledged that the show “slipped through our filters,” and offered the AFA a Saturday afternoon time slot. Now we learn that the offer to air the infomercial has been taken off the table:

“We made a gesture of the 2-3 p.m. Saturday time period. It’s been 24 hours and we had no response,” Kniowski said. “Our station is being bombarded with calls and messages, and we find ourselves in the middle of someone else’s fight. Ours was a fair offer and we are removing ourselves from this matter.”

“Speechless” is a veritable tour-de-force of false accusations that the “homosexual agenda” seeks to destroy Christianity. It begins by citing Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen’s book “After the Ball” as the very agenda itself. The book, published in 1989, simply offers gay activists a set of more professional public relations techniques — the very same public relation techniques that anti-gay activists have been using for decades.

The offense that Kirk and Madsen committed, of course, is in denying anti-gay activists a monopoly on those techniques. And boy are they outraged. This latest television program is a perfect example of the AFA’s following Kirk and Madsen’s formula to a tee — with the added mix of false accusations, one-sided reporting of events, and the time-honored fear-mongering slander that gay activists pose a sinister threat to children.

All of this effort is directed towards convincing Americans that Christians are under assault by “homosexualists”, and that if we’re not all careful everyone will be “forced” to accept LGBT people as citizens deserving of civil rights, freedom from bullying, assault and murder, or even the simple right to visit dying partners in hospitals.

Of all the nerve!

“Speechless” is the latest attempt among anti-gay activists to portray Christians as a persecuted minority, even though they make up more than three-quarters of the population — and a rather religious population at that. According to the American Religious Identification Survey taken in 2001 (PDF: 452KB/47 pages), only 16% of Americans described themselves as secular or somewhat secular, while 75% regarded themselves as religious or somewhat religious.

And if there’s any question as to who’s being persecuted, all we need to do is revisit the latest hate crime statistics. According to the FBI, hate crimes against gays and lesbians continued to increase in 2007, contradicting the overall trend of fewer hate crimes since 2006. Crimes based on sexual orientation very nearly tied those based on religion for second place:

  Hate Crime Offenses, 2006 Hate Crime Offenses, 2007
Race 4,737 52% 4,724 52%
Religion 1,597 18% 1,477 16%
Sexual Orientation 1,415 16% 1,460 16%
Ethnicity 1,233 14% 1,256 14%
Disability 94 1% 82 <1%
TOTAL 9,080 100%* 9,006 100%*
Totals don’t add up due to additional
multi-category hate crime offenses.
Percentages don’t add to 100%
due to rounding errors.

Of the religion category for 2007, anti-Jewish offenses 1,010 of the total. Anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant combined make up only 124 offenses for an anti-Christian total. And of those, only 23 were attacks against persons. The rest were crimes against property.

In fact, we noted earlier that hate crimes based on sexual orientation continue to be the most violent type of hate crime by far. Attacks based on sexual orientation are much more likely to be physically violent than in any other category:

  Total Hate Crime Offenses, 2007 Violent Crimes, percentage of total
Race 4,724 1,471 31%
Religion 1,477 126 9%
Sexual Orientation 1,460 695 48%
Ethnicity 1,256 497 40%
Disability 82 21 26%
TOTAL 9,006 2,810 31%
Violent crimes include:
Murder and non-negligent manslaughter,
forcible rape, aggravated assault
and simple assault.

While we are still disturbed that WOOD-TV continued to offer to air the AFA’s hate-filled propaganda, we nevertheless congratulate them for listening to the outcry raised in this debacle. Let’s hope other station managers around the country don’t fall into the same mistake.