Defections In The Gay-Bashing Ranks
The ConWeb used to be able to count on Chick-fil-A and the Hallmark Channel to be indifferent, if not hostile, to LGBT rights and issues. Now they can't, and they're a little sad about it.
By Terry Krepel
If the ConWeb is united on one thing, it's that others should hate the idea that LGBT folks are allowed to have the same rights as "normal" people. The Media Research Center, its "news" division CNSNews.com and WorldNetDaily have long been invested in that principle.
So it was a blow to the ConWeb when two examples of what it likes to hold up as "family-friendly" businesses -- as well as their idea of "Christian" -- decided to either stop hating gays as much as it did or stopped pretending they didn't exist at all.
Let's take a look at how badly they took that news.
CNS used to love fast-food chain Chick-fil-A -- mainly because it hated gays as much as CNS does. In early 2019, it gave Hans Bader column space to claim that the chain was facing a "First Amendment violation" because it was barred from opening a branch in an airport because of the company's support of groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army who in Bader's words "support and defend marriage as defined by the natural law and Christianity -- one man and one woman for life." And just a few months ago, managing editor Michael W. Chapman was cheering how the chain "continues to experience tremendous sales and growth despite opposition and boycotts from LGBT activists" over the company's financial support for groups that oppose "gay marriage" (scare quotes are his), adding that "Despite the protests from the homosexual left, Chick-fil-A is doing well.
But a month after Chapman touted Chick-fil-A's gay-hate, the company pulled back on its gay-hating, restructuring its charitable donation strategy to focus on specific causes such as hunger, homelessness and education and no longer giving to other groups including FCA and the Salvation Army.
As you might imagine, CNS was very sad about this. A Nov. 20 article by Chapman misconstrued the policy to claim that Chick-fil-A made a "corporate decision to stop donating to groups that support marriage between one man and one woman and quoting right-winger Mike Huckabee accusing the chain of having "made a 'very big, big mistake' in thinking it could appease the left and LGBTQ activists," going on to quote right-wing activist Tony Perkins ranting that the chain "helped legitimize the Left's labeling of these groups." Chapman also lazily copy-and-pasted Bader's description of FCA and the Salvation Army into his article.
CNS also published a torrent of commentary attacking Chick-fil-A for the change in his funding strategy and justifying the gay-hate:
Chapman wasn't done grousing, though, writing in a Nov. 27 article: "The number three fast-food chain in the United States, Chick-fil-A, which prides itself on being founded on biblical principles, donated $2,500 to the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC maintains a "hate map" on its website and its listing of the Family Research Council (FRC) as an"anti-LGBT" hate group was cited by domestic terrorist Floyd Corkins in his FBI interview after he shot-up the FRC in August 2012." Actually, it turned out that the donation was made by a volunteer for the company's charitable foundation, not by the foundation itself; Chapman has yet to correct his article.
Chapman was still sad that Chick-fil-A stopped hating gays as much as he does, lamenting that "Chick-fil-A has made donations to the pro-abortion group The Pace Center for Girls; the pro-LGBTQ YWCA; the pro-LGBT child welfare service Chris 180; and the left-wing New Leaders Council."
CNS' owner, the Media Research Center, was so invested in Chick-fil-A supporting anti-gay causes that when a newspaper noted that Kanye West gave a shout-out to the "notoriously anti-LGBTQ" fast food chain in his new Christian album, Alexa Moutevelis enthusiastically wrote, "Pardon me as I listen to Kanye’s new album while picking up Chick-fil-A on my way to the next pro-life rally."
But Chick-fil-A's change in charitable giving strategy is causing the MRC to have a similarly major sad. Gabriel Hays was feeling particularly betrayed after all that conservatives have done to support the chain's gay-hating tendencies:
The fact that once-proud Christian establishment Chick-fil-A has just been scared off from donating to its Christian allies by the leftist mob feels like a betrayal and the end of an era. For the past seven years, the chain has championed conservative Christians and their values and now, by ditching their donations to Christian charities to appease a vocal 4 percent of the population, it’s clear they care more about their PC image than the Christians who stuck by them through thick and thin.
Just because hating gays is popular among Christian conservatives doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Hays doesn't explain why people must do the allegedly popular thing even if it's wrong.
Two days later, Hays returned to rage that the Salvation Army was among the groups that Chick-fil-A would no longer fund, even though it "discriminates against no one" (actually, it has been linked to anti-gay sentiments): "The fact that Chick-fil-A’s move was clearly a response to its leftist media detractors who have smeared it for giving to 'anti-LGBTQ' groups also bolstered the Salvation Army’s image as a discriminatory group rather than a company that gives aid to all because of its overtly Christian message." But if the Salvation Army truly doesn't discriminate against gays, why is Hays defending it? If hating gays is as fundamental to Christianity as Hays insists, he should be angry with the group for its declared non-discrimination policy, right?
Still, Hays lamented: "Sadly, Chick-fil-A’s been made to back away from its Christian image for the sake of thriving in the lefty dominated corporate world. And, you know, Chick-fil-A can sink its own ship if it wants, but the fact that it’s hanging the Salvation Army out to dry is a shame and pretty much proof that its Christian-ness isn’t such a priority anymore."
Matt Philbin weighed in on a side issue:
Conservatives were surprised when it was announced in November that Chick-fil-A was ending its philanthropic partnerships with the Salvation Army, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth home, three organization repeatedly targeted by the left as being “anti-LGBT.” But the news that the chain gives to (among other objectionable groups) the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is simply stunning.
Philbin then invoked the bogeyman of Floyd Corkins' failed shooting attack on the Family Research Council to attack the SPLC, whom Philbin blamed for the incident because Corkins claimed to have found the FRC on a list of hate groups on the SPLC's website: "SPLC is a progressive direct mail giant -- a lefty hate group that makes money screaming 'Hate Group' at anyone to the right of People for the American Way. It trades in slander and fear, and in the case of FRC, it nearly got people killed."
But since it turned out that the SPLC donation was made by a volunteer for the company's charitable foundation, not by the foundation itself, the basis for Philbin's post isn't true. No correction has been made to Philbin's post.
Hays, meanwhile, wasn't done ranting, compelled to bring up Chick-fil-A in posts on other subjects. On Dec. 18, he huffed that the situation involving the Hallmark Channel's botched ban of a commercial featuring a same-sex couple "sounds like every ransom note sent to Chick-fil-A by LGBTQ groups before the chicken restaurant caved," adding that the chain was "forced to capitulate" to LGBT advocacy groups. On Dec. 20, he whined that advocacy group GLAAD "is just up to its ridiculous playground bullying. With the blessing of the media, it gets to strut around and bully folks like Hallmark and Chick-fil-A into doing its bidding, while crying about victimization."
Hays seemed to be feeling particularly victimized that his safe space where he can bash and mock gays with impunity is being infringed upon.
Meanwhile, the anti-gay columnists at WorldNetDaily has also been feeling that sadness.
Professional gay-hater Scott Lively declared that "Christians are reeling from the stunning betrayal of Chick-fil-A last week, but I called it in 2014." After complaining that right-wingers have "been duped by the progressives into playing a game of [liberals'] invention we are absolutely guaranteed to lose," he huffed further:
Chick-fil-A is the latest case in point, proving there is no safe haven from Marxist aggression even in private Christian companies (or private associations like the Boy Scouts).
Michael Brown begged Chick-fil-A to change its mind:
Please do not cave in to LGBT activists and their allies. Please do not capitulate to the pressure of the radical left. Please do not throw the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Salvation Army under the bus. Please reverse your decision to no longer fund these important Christian organizations.
Jerry Newcombe, meanwhile, complained that the Salvation Army, which is one of the groups Chick-fil-A has stopped funding, is suffering from "mislabeling," adding, "To think of the Salvation Army which does so much good work for people of every race, creed, color, sexual-orientation, whatever as somehow anti-gay is preposterous" (again, the Salvation Army has been linked to anti-gay activities in the past). Then Newcombe defended the idea of the Salvation Army being anti-gay:
By what criterion is the Salvation Army an anti-gay hate group? Because they do not let practicing, unrepentant homosexuals become leaders? Should GLAAD or other radical LGBTQ groups be forced, against their will, to have as leaders those who oppose their lifestyle?
Newcombe concluded by huffing: "Shame on those who would slander the Salvation Army as a 'hate group.' Talk about 'fake news.'" So hating gays is not "hate"?
At first, the MRC was happy that the Hallmark Channel banned an ad featuring a same-sex couple. In a Dec. 15 post, Alexa Moutevelis touted how the right-wing anti-gay group One Million Moms demanded that the channel "stop airing LGBTQ ads and to never air LGBTQ-themed Christmas movies," praising the channel's initial decision to drop the ads as a blow for "preservation of sexual morality."
But Moutevelis had to do an update lamenting that "Hallmark folded already" and reversed the ad ban. Cue resident MRC gay-hater Gabriel Hays:
Hallmark’s reversal on pulling Zola’s “lesbian” wedding ad sent another shockwave through the media world Sunday night after it had just been whipped up into a frenzy. CBS, ABC and NBC’s Monday morning shows all featured news on the “controversial” redecision, though unsurprisingly they leaned almost exclusively on LGBTQ talking points from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD.)
Hays went on to attack GLAAD leader Sarah Kate Ellis as "the woman who insists that TV shows need 20% LGBTQ representation by 2025, even though only 4% of the population is LGBTQ. Wouldn’t it seem that her ideas on representation are a little skewed?" Not as skewed as Hays, who clearly believes that non-heterosexuals should be forbidden from appearing on TV at all. Hays also whined that those who support the channel's reversal of the ad ban "are under the false impression that the difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationships is merely superficial, so this entire debacle is touted as a win for human decency. Though we know it’s just another media-sanctioned rebuke against conservatives."
This was followed by another Hays post ranting about the mere suggestion that a Hallmark Christmas movie could feature a same-sex couple:
The pro-LGBTQ media is now giving advice to the Hallmark Channel on how best to redress offending gays after the network reversed their decision to pull a lesbian ad last week. Of course, it came as no surprise that entertainment outlet Indiewire insisted that Hallmark make a gay movie to prove where its loyalty really lies.
Hays again invoked the talking point du jour that GLAAD "represents a measly 4 percent of the population, but demands 20 percent of TV characters be LGBTQ by 2025, for the sake of 'inclusivity.'"
And, of course, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell had to rant about it in their Dec. 24 column dismissing the Hallmark controversy as a media-manufactured "outrage of interest" (completely omitting that it was a right-wing anti-gay group that started it):
This time it was the Hallmark Channel, perhaps the last "safe zone" for families honoring Christmas. The LGBT fascists declared war on the network after it failed to air an ad during their usual holiday fare for the wedding website Zola that featured lesbians kissing. The networks were completely in sync with their allies in the gay community. The Hallmark surrender came quickly, and everyone cheered.
The duo didn't explain why anyone has to be "spared" from a "lesbian kiss."
Meanwhile, CNS managing editor Chapman demonstrated subtle bias in his Dec. 16 article:
Hallmark Channel Submits to LGBTQ Pressure, Plans to Reinstate Gay Ads
Note how Chapman described One Million Moms as a "conservative group" merely "complained" about the ads, while those who reacted to the commercials being pulled are "activists" to whom Hallmark "caved" and "submit[ted]. One Million Moms is an activist group, and Hallmark certainly caved to it by pulling the commercials -- but Chapman would never describe these events that way.
Chapman also invoked his intense anti-gay hate by huffing that the commercials "celebrate homosexuality," not mentioning the fact that something like 99 percent of Hallmark Channel's holiday romance-laden programming can be described as celebrating heterosexuality. He further complained that advocacy group GLAAD "seeks to normalize homosexuality through the media" -- while, of course, Chapman is seeking to normalize anti-LGBT hatred through the media operation he runs.
Meanwhile, like the MRC, the gay-haters at WND didn't take the Hallmark Channel's decision to reverse a right-wing-demanded withdrawal of a commercial featuring a same-sex couple very well -- or, for that matter, the mere idea that the channel might make Christmas movies that including same-sex couples.
In a Dec. 6 article, Stephen Kokx of the Western Journal -- which the financially strapped WND seems to be slowly subsumed into -- ranted that "News that the Hallmark Channel is looking to add LGBT-friendly movies to its lineup is yet another stab in the back for conservative Christians, many of whom are still reeling from Chick-fil-A’s recent betrayal of traditional family values," adding, "The channel's reputation for airing wholesome, feel-good stories is widely known and greatly appreciated by millions of Americans who detest the radical nature of the LGBT movement's demands." He went on to huff:
The fact that one of the last remaining enclaves of family-friendly entertainment is about to cave to the increasingly coercive LGBT army shouldn’t be surprising.
Apparently LGBT folks don't have families in Kokx's bigoted world; the channel is simply trying to include all families in its definition of "family-friendly."
Todd Starnes used his Dec. 16 WND column to freak out over the channel's commercial reversal, declaring that it would"now broadcast television commercials that feature kissing lesbians." He had his own anti-gay rant to indulge in:
Hallmark's decision came just hours after Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg blasted the network's decision to pull the lesbian-friendly ads.
Starnes didn't explain why he's not similarly offended when heterosexual couples make out on the channel, or why that's not "indoctrination."