Not so much a rant - but this is the type of news that makes me think the world is going to Hell in a Handbasket. There are many reasons to boycott Wal-Mart. The sweatshop labour, the part-time status of many employees, the destruction of downtown cores, the soul-sucking sameness of any big chain. (Don't take my word for it - check out www.wakeupwalmart.com or www.walmartwatch.com - I'm new to this, I'll get my live links figured out eventually).
Ok, so Christians are called to look after the poor, stand up for the marginalized. Jesus talked about this a lot. So did the Old Testament prophets. But - this is why they are willing to boycott Wal-Mart.
(ok, just a baby rant . . . here's the article)
November 22, 2006
THE TELEGRAM (ST. JOHN'S)
PAGE: D2 (BUSINESS)
Conservatives plan protests over Wal-Mart's outreach to gay groups
David Crary, The Associated Press
Christian conservatives are asking shoppers to boycott Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) post-Thanksgiving sales because of its outreach to some gay-rights organizations.
The American Family Association is asking supporters to stay away from the huge retailer Friday and Saturday - two of the busiest shopping days of the year. Another group, Operation Save America, plans prayer rallies outside many Wal-Mart stores Friday.
The corporate actions that triggered the protests were little different from those taken by scores of major companies in recent years - Wal-Mart paid US$25,000 this summer to become a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and donated $60,000 to Out and Equal, which promotes gay-rights advances in the workplace.
Conservative leaders saw these actions as a betrayal of Wal-Mart's traditions, which have included efforts to remove magazines with racy covers and CDs with explicit lyrics.
''This has been Christian families' favourite store - and now they're giving in, sliding down the slippery slope so many other corporations have gone down,'' said Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America. ''They're all being extorted by the radical homosexual agenda.''
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spokesman David Tovar said the company's outreach to the gay-rights groups was part of a broader effort to best serve its diverse customer base.
''We take pride that we treat every customer, every supplier, every member of our communities fairly and equally,'' Tovar said Tuesday. ''We do not have a position on same-sex marriage. ... What we do have is a strong commitment to diversity. We're against discrimination everywhere.''
Justin Nelson, president of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, said conservative activists had misrepresented his business-oriented group as a leading advocate of gay marriage in order to tarnish Wal-Mart.
''Their campaign has not been to educate, but to mislead,'' he said. Wal-Mart ranks in the middle among companies rated by the Human Rights Campaign, a major gay-rights group, for workplace policies toward gays. Scores of companies now have a perfect 100 rating, while Wal-Mart's rating has risen from 14 in 2002 to 65 this year as it added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination code and offered some domestic-partner benefits.
Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said he spoke with a Wal-Mart executive Tuesday and came away confident the company would continue efforts to promote workplace equality for gays.
Tim Wildmon, the American Family Association's president, said he and his allies had not ruled out extending the boycott against Wal-Mart, depending on how the company responded to the weekend protests.
''They are so gigantic, it's hard to make a dent,'' he said. ''We're just trying to see if there's some measurable effect this weekend, see if we can get their attention.''