December 09, 2005

Taking Their Ball and Going Home

Earlier this week, the Ford Motor Company announced that it will stop advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in magazines targeted to the GLBT community. This after having "discussions" with the American Family Association, which had threatend a boycott of Ford products unless they pulled their advertising from these publications. I suppose the AFA doesn't think gays or lesbians should own cars.

Nothing like a corporation stand by its convictions. Seeing Ford cave in to pressure from a neo-conservative organization like that makes ME want to boycott their products, but with that kind of weak leadership, they'll do much more damage to their own company than I ever could.

In a related story, another bastion of right-wing thinking, Focus on the Family, pulled its money out of Wells Fargo bank because the bank had the nerve not to seek their counsel on where money should be donated. Wells Fargo made a $50,000 contribution to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Apparently Focus on the Family doesn't want anyone they do business with standing in the way of gays or lesbians being defamed.

Unlike the leadership at Ford, though, Wells Fargo stood by their actions. "We absolutely made a $50,000 grant to GLAAD, and we're absolutely proud of our support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community," said Chris Hammond, spokesman for the banking giant, which gives about $2 million a year to gay and lesbian organizations.

Focus on the Family's decision to pull their funds won't ruin a huge bank like Wells Fargo despite their $146 million of income last year, but this is just the latest in a trend of religious orginizations trying to flex their political muscle with economic actions.

I hope that more companies react to these threats in the way that Wells Fargo did. This is becoming an era where some conservative organizations want to dictate the actions of people and groups beyond the scope of their constituency.

Please join me in praying that this effort fails. I pray we continue to enjoy the freedom to follow our own convictions and the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives, not what someone else tells us we should feel or do.


  1. I already called Ford to express my dismay at their actions, followed by denials, then a change of explanation, followed by another change, then an agreement to meet with LGBT leaders... Not too impressive a performance. From my perpsective, it looks like they have no principles at all -- neither ones I agree with nor ones I disagree with. They are essentially for sale to the highest bidder. There is no longer a question of selling their virtue, just of price.

    "Built Ford Tough!"?
    "Built Ford Wimpy!" sounds more like it.

    As for Wells Fargo, I may transfer my huge (cough, cough!) financial business to them in gratitude for the courage of their convictions. I am not sure boycotting hostile people helps me or hurts them, but I feel good about supporting my friends.

    I hate to keep pointing out parallels with the anti-Semitism of the past, but boycotts of Jewish businesses tended to precede violent destruction of Jewish property and then of Jewish people. The extreme right is moving down a path that can lead to a place that most of them probably don't want to go -- until the next step seems such a small step to take.

  2. Seems you guys have a lot of fun in that Bushistan of yours lately...