Over the last two weeks a series of seemingly unrelated events demonstrate one clear idea. Radical activists, small in number and not even representative of the homosexual community at large, are intolerant bigots, who seek to do harm not just to people with who they disagree, but to those that would be helped by the groups they disagree with.
Activists, and to some degree their mouthpieces in the media have conducted witch-hunts designed to hurt not just the ones who have different ideological viewpoints, but wish to disrupt the charity that people who disagree with them advocate for.
It is profoundly, viciously hurtful to the innocent people in need of help, and it is an attack on free speech, association, and the practice of religious freedoms.
In Los Angeles, California the founder of TOMS shoes was so harassed by the activists, they all but forced Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder, into a near apology for appearing at an event in which Focus On The Family recorded an interview with the shoemaker. The purpose of which was to inspire listeners to help put needed shoes on the feet of African AIDS orphans. Secondarily Focus hoped it might also inspire listeners to begin their own companies ordered around the economy of compassion, and budgeting for those in need.
Activists launched online petitions to attempt to pressure customers from shopping with TOMS shoes because of some imagined "alignment" with a supposed "hate group." Though the only institution to ever classify Focus On The Family as a hate group is a group that could easily qualify for the designation themselves - The Southern Poverty Law Center - at least by the standards they use to define "hate."
The irony of the matter is that Jim Daly, Focus On The Family's president, has purposefully chosen to engage those who disagree with some of Focus' positions on public policy, and has even attempted to find common ground on things like reducing abortions, increasing adoption, and in the event of the TOMS shoe event -- give foot coverings to African AIDS orphans who might otherwise step on something that would cut their feet, develop infection, and damage their health, if not take their life.
Throughout the course of this week, acting on the work of radical extreme activists, ABC News' Brian Ross, brought investigative journalism to an all time new low. Pretending to do some sort of "investigation" into the counseling clinic that is operated by the spouse of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, Ross ran consecutive hit pieces on the clinic and made enormous intellectual leaps of gymnastic strides to tie the negative outcome to Bachmann.
Through the use of hidden cameras, men who behave in homosexual fashion, videotaped sessions with Christian counselors at a clinic. On tape the counselors attempted to give them advice on how to re-channel their sexual behaviors. The undercover footage was edited and reported on in such a way to attempt to make it appear as though the counselors were brainwashing clients. The tiny little problem here however was that these men who engage in homosexual behavior, went to the clinic asking the clinic to help them find ways not to engage in the behavior any more.
The activists released selective b-roll of the videos, Brian Ross "investigated" the matter, and Diane Sawyer made assertions just short of saying that Michele Bachmann wanted homosexual men to kill themselves.
Shoddy journalism, pathetic advocacy, brought about by the worst "sting" operation ever conceived.
Lastly, mostly due to the TOMS shoes controversy, a number of other angry and radical activists, have attempted to blacklist other retailers like Delta Airlines, PetSmart, Microsoft, and Apple from participation in a give-back program to ministries like Focus On The Family (which bolsters healthy families), Promise Keepers (which like President Obama calls for men to exert a stronger presence in the life of their children), Angel Food Ministries (which feeds the hungry) and others.
The activists wished to injure the retailers because they presently participate in giving back to legitimate 501c3 organizations when constituents of those organizations shop online and purchase using a content application or shopping mall that the ministry may provide. The technology is provided by a group, formerly known as Christian Values Network, and is now known as the Charity Give Back Group.
By denying the give-back opportunities that the retailers offer, the activists are hurting the formation of healthy families, fighting for increased fatherlessness in the home, and literally hoping the poorest of the poor in America will go hungry.
Why? Because people who have a disagreement with their idealogical positions dare to express it?
The radical sexual activists in America today are the least tolerant people on the planet. Because while homosexuals are welcome in every church in America to come and sit, sing, pray, and learn. Most Christians--evangelical and catholic--are being told, "You're not even allowed to do good... Even for those in need."
These activists are the most intolerant people in America, and the outcomes they desire lack the virtue to improve the world.
It would be helpful if retailers of all stripes, let these debates happen in the idealogical spaces of our society, and not take the fight to the market square where these tiny numbers of radicals are attempting to squelch the commerce and relationships of every Catholic and Evangelical Christian in America.
For the retailers, that's a lopsided and losing proposition.
But by at least remaining neutral at they would not be perpetrating the ill will that the radical activists seek to inflict.
And grateful families, fathers, and formerly hungry kids, I'm sure, would express their thanks!