If you are interested in working with us on this negotiation with FOXFAMILY (or in being trained for a civil disobedience if it is necessary later on), email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOXFAMILY EXECUTIVES AGREE TO NEGOTIATE
March 24 Protest and Civil Disobedience Postponed
To prepare for your Soulforce training for that March 24 event:
- Read the entire memo that follows giving you important background data.
- Take the Four Step Journey into Soulforce.
FOXFAMILY EXECUTIVES AGREE TO NEGOTIATE
March 24 Protest and Civil Disobedience Postponed
CLERGY CLOSE DOWN FOX FAMILY HEADQUARTERS DEMAND TV TIME TO RESPOND TO ANTI-GAY RHETORIC
HERO OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT TO LEAD MARCH ON FOX FAMILY CHANNEL
FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE CONDEMNED BY CHRISTIAN, JEWISH, MUSLIM CLERGY
A BACKGROUND MEMO ON THE SOULFORCE CAMPAIGN:
"To Bring Truth To Pat Robertson and the Fox Family…"
We have launched "The COMMITTEE to Bring Truth to Pat Robertson and the Fox Family Channel" to protest Pat Robertson’s rhetoric of intolerance seen and heard across America three hours daily on the Fox Family Channel Network.
We are especially concerned with Mr. Robertson’s false and inflammatory attacks on sexual minorities. With all the gains made by thirty years of courageous activism since Stonewall, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans are still second-class-citizens in their own country:
- denied the right to live and love openly by societal prejudice and the SODOMY LAWS,
- denied the estimated 1,047 rights and protections that go with MARRIAGE,
- denied the right to serve openly in the MILITARY ,
- denied the right (in 41 states) to nondiscrimination in EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING,
- denied the right (the current crisis) to ADOPT OR PROVIDE FOSTER CARE,
- denied the right (a coming crisis) to retain CUSTODY of our own birth children,
- denied the right to full membership, ordination, or marriage in our home CHURCHES,
- denied the right to be a member or a leader in the BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA,
- denied the right to be included in national HATE CRIME legislation, even though we are among the primary victims of a still-growing siege of violence across the nation.
As a result, sexual minorities are ten times more likely to suffer from alcohol and/or drug ADDICTION. Young gay men are seven times more likely to commit or attempt SUICIDE. And a majority of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered sisters and brothers still live in closets of loneliness, self-hatred, guilt, and fear.
Because the Fox Family Channel broadcasts Pat Robertson’s 700 Club three hours daily, Fox Family has become a major source of the false and inflammatory rhetoric that leads to discrimination, suffering and death for sexual minorities.
In 1998, Pat Robertson sold his old Family Network to FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE for a reported $1.9 billion with the conditions that he would become Co-Chairman of the new Fox Family Channel and that Fox would continue to telecast his 700 Club three times daily. That program has become one of the nation’s primary sources of misinformation about homosexuals and other minorities.
In 1999, Pat Robertson re-assumed command of the Christian Coalition. He is determined to use his 1.7 million volunteers, his vast personal wealth, and his powerful media empire to superimpose his fundamentalist, anti-homosexual views on our nation. Mr. Robertson’s 700 Club is the flagship of that media empire.
In his fundraising letters, his books and pamphlets, and especially on the 700 Club, Mr. Robertson regularly uses the "homosexual threat" to raise money and mobilize volunteers. The Fox Family Channel has become the number one carrier of this tragic anti-homosexual campaign into the homes of our nation. We believe that Fox executives are as concerned as we are about their unwitting complicity in Robertson’s rhetoric of intolerance, but are contractually in a bind. We want to help. However, our Committee Co-Chair, Dr. Mel White, spent seven years trying to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution directly with Mr. Robertson. He has refused to discuss the matter seriously.
Now, the Committee has spent eighteen months seeking to negotiate a friendly, off-the-record solution with the executives of the Fox Family Channel. They, too, have refused to discuss our concerns. On February 23, 2000, the Executive Committee of The Committed to Bring Truth To Fox marched on Fox Family headquarters hoping to meet with Richard Cronin, President and CEO. (See Feb 24 Press Release for details). Fox executives used security personnel to close down their headquarters rather than meet with us. On Friday, March 24, we invite you to join us on our second march to Fox. We are planning to close down Fox Family headquarters once a month until they take seriously our following demands:
- We ask that Fox Family arranges for our Executive Committee to meet with Mr. Robertson and Fox Family personnel to discuss our mutual concerns and to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution.
- We ask that until a mutually acceptable solution has been found that the Fox Family Channel places a brief Public Service Announcement before each 700 Club broadcast (not unlike the Surgeon-General’s warning about tobacco and alcohol). This PSA, produced as a public service by Fox, must state clearly that the views of Mr. Robertson and his guests do not necessarily express the views of other people of faith across the nation, nor of the Fox Family Channel or its sponsors.
- We ask that the Fox Family Channel offers us complimentary production and air time on a regular basis to respond to Mr. Robertson’s claims. But more than just a response to Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric, we would like to produce with the Fox Family Channel a program that provides a more positive and inclusive look at faith at work in all the beauty and diversity of our many faith traditions.
- We ask that the Fox Family Channel demonstrates to us that they do NOT reflect Mr. Robertson’s views of prejudice and exclusion in their own employment policies as they relate to gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
We cannot allow Mr. Robertson to continue bashing sexual minorities in his attempt to raise money and mobilize volunteers. The rhetoric is toxic, poisoning the national discourse, licensing hate crimes, leading directly to suffering and death. Today we are conducting this nonviolent direct action to confront the rhetoric and warn the nation.
The Clergy Committee has no desire to demean or embarrass Mr. Robertson or FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE. We know that the First Amendment protects their right of free speech. But we are convinced that Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric has far exceeded the limits of truth and of responsible public discourse. We are equally convinced that Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric of intolerance has no business on a channel dedicated to family viewing.
It is our sincere hope that the executives at FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE will meet with us on March 24 (or sooner at their convenience) to begin negotiating a mutually acceptable solution. If they continue to refuse, we will launch a national boycott of the Fox Family Channel and its sponsors through our churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques.
The Rev. Dr. James Lawson, Co-Chair
The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Co-Chair
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Why This Campaign to Bring Truth To Pat Robertson and the Fox Family Channel? Prepared by Dr. Mel White, Co-Chair, Soulforce, Inc.
QUESTION: Why are you so upset about Robertson’s 700 Club? Is he/it so bad?
ANSWER: Following this Q&A presentation, you will find sample quotes from Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric. Just read from those pages. Then, decide for yourself.
QUESTION: Is there any evidence that what Robertson says actually leads to suffering?
ANSWER: Mr. Robertson and other religious leaders are misusing six biblical passages to support their claims that homosexual orientation is a sickness and a sin. They have ignored all the scientific and historic evidence that "it is as natural to be gay as it is to be left-handed." Worse, they have created an imaginary "gay threat" that causes parents to reject and even discard their own gay sons and daughters. This deluge of misinformation about homosexuality and homosexuals leads to suffering and even death. And Pat Robertson’s 700 Club has become a primary source of that misinformation.
QUESTION: How can you be so sure that the anti-homosexual rhetoric of Robertson and the others leads directly "to suffering and death."
ANSWER: There are quotes enclosed from letters that we’ve all received that illustrate the terrible suffering of sexual minorities who are victims of this misinformation. Now, with the murder of a gay couple by the Williams brothers, we even have "a smoking gun." On September 22, 1999, in the Shasta County jail, Matthew Williams told his mother why he and his brother, Tyler, murdered Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, a gay couple in Happy Valley, California. "I had to obey God’s law rather than man’s law, "Williams said. "I didn’t want to do this. I felt I was supposed to…I have followed a higher law…I see a lot of parallels between this and other incidents in the Old Testament…They threw our Savior in jail. Our forefathers have been in prison a lot. Prophets…Christ…My brother and I are incarcerated for our work in cleansing a sick society. I just plan to defend myself from the Scriptures."
QUESTION: Even if Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric leads to tragic consequences, what can Fox do about it? They signed a contract with him. Now they’re just keeping that contract.
ANSWER: Sounds like a testimony from a war tribunal. "We’re just following orders, doing our duty, keeping our contract." Once Fox Family executives realize that they have become the #1 voice of misinformation about sexual minorities because of their contract with Mr. Robertson, it is their responsibility to act with integrity, to do what is right for the families they serve. The least they could do is give us a chance to respond to Mr. Robertson’s untruths.
QUESTION: Do you want to see Mr. Robertson censored or his 700 Club cancelled?
ANSWER: No, we want Mr. Robertson to have the courtesy and the courage to hear the other side of the story. He refuses to hear our case, to examine the scientific, historic, psychological, and pastoral evidence about sexual orientation. He even refuses to hear biblical scholars who are certain that the passages he uses to condemn homosexuals are being misused. We’re afraid that Mr. Robertson can’t afford to hear the truth, that he’s raising too much money on the imaginary "homosexual threat" to learn the truth about homosexuals.
QUESTION: Other channels carry similar religious programs that include anti-homosexual rhetoric in their programming. They even carry the 700 Club. Why aren’t you after them?
ANSWER: Because Fox Family broadcasts Pat Robertson’s 700 Club three hours daily, they have become the #1 VOICE OF FUNDAMENTALISM. Fox Family is literally the primary source of misinformation about sexual and other minorities. We’ll get to the minor players once the major players understand.
QUESTION: Doesn’t the First Amendment protect Mr. Robertson’s right of free speech and the Fox Family’s right to broadcast the 700 Club?
ANSWER: Absolutely, it also guarantees our right to protest. We aren’t trying to censor Pat or have his program cancelled. We just want him to sit down with us long enough to hear the truth about sexual orientation. The First Amendment may protect the right to lie, but it doesn’t keep us from relentlessly protesting those lies.
QUESTION: Isn’t your real problem with Robertson, not with Fox Family? Why pick on them?
ANSWER: Actually, we’re trying to get through to Mr. Robertson by way of Fox Family. He’s refused to see us for more than seven years. We’re hoping that this action at Fox will get his attention, that the public will apply pressure on Mr. Robertson to take our concerns seriously. If he refuses, then we are asking Fox Family to give us time to respond to Mr. Robertson’s false and inflammatory rhetoric with the truth as we see it. If they refuse, we will go directly to the viewers and the sponsors of Fox Family and ask them to end their support.
QUESTION: Pat’s 700 Club is broadcast at 10AM, 11PM, and 2AM. How can it be dangerous to children when children aren’t watching?
ANSWER: Our primary fear is not that children will watch the 700 Club (though we hate to think of the consequences if they do). Our primary fear is that children and adults (who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered) will become victims of prejudice and misinformation because their friends and families watch the 700 Club and believe Pat’s untruths.
QUESTION: Do actually believe that Pat will ever change his mind about homosexuality?
ANSWER: According to Gandhi, giving up on Pat and on Pat’s ability to change is an act of violence. Pat is our brother, like us, a child of the Creator, a member of our human family. We will not give up on Pat until we find some third position that satisfies us both.
QUESTION: You say you are willing to be arrested trying to bring your case to the Fox Family Channel, isn’t that just playing for the cameras? Isn’t there a better way?
ANSWER: Actually, risking arrest, having a police record, going to court, paying a fine, risking misunderstanding is not just "playing for the cameras." These symbolic acts of civil disobedience require extra time, energy, and money. None of us has any extra time or energy, let alone money. We have very demanding ministries of our own. But in our congregations are thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people of faith. This rhetoric causes them great suffering and we owe it to them and to our own consciences to help cut off that suffering at its source.
THE EXTREMIST RHETORIC OF PAT ROBERTSON
NOW SEEN 2-3 TIMES DAILY ON THE FOX FAMILY CHANNEL
"…acceptance of homosexuality is the last step in the decline of Gentile civilization."
"…The Bible says because of certain abominations such as homosexuality, a land will vomit out its inhabitants."
"I would warn Orlando that you are right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I would be waving those [gay] flags in God’s face if I were you."
"Homosexuality is a sickness… We will wage a fierce battle against attempts by the nation’s sodomites to force their lifestyle into the schools, the military, the government, business, and the church."
On gay marriage: "…they might as well marry rapists and child molestors."
"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It’s no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-biased media and the homosexuals who want to destroy all Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by an minority in our history."
"The homosexual agenda continues to make inroads into America’s public schools, and some are concerned that curriculums condoning and promoting the homosexual lifestyle will soon pervade our educational system."
"You were probably shocked as I was by the television pictures of the recent march on Washington by an estimated 300,000 homosexual and lesbian militants… If Christians and pro-family Americans fail to take a strong and united action today, we won’t recognize America tomorrow…an America that once honored God…"
"I am absolutely persuaded that one of the reasons so many lesbians are in the forefront of the pro-choice movement is because…these lesbians will never be mothers naturally, so they don’t want anybody else to have that privilege either."
"Some say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, and the Methodists…Nonsense! I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of anti-Christ."
MORE RHETORIC OF INTOLERANCE ON THE FOX FAMILY CHANNEL
Pat Robertson on Same-Sex Marriage [29 March 99]
"Why don’t they do services and ceremonies for rapists and child molesters…It isn’t a question about discriminating against certain [church] members. This type of union is not sanctioned by God…To make this in to a big civil rights issue is nonsense. This type of activity is sinful. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is…You’re asking God to bless [this same-sex union] and God isn’t about to bless it."
700 Club teenagers discussing homosexuality [16 April 99]
"It’s disgusting…Two guys get married and decide to adopt a little boy. Then two women get together and try to adopt a little girl…How are they born that way if they are introduced to this life style…All these gay people are getting all this attention…If we let down on our morals there…Gays are becoming too accepted…I wouldn’t want to be brought up in a household with two moms. I wouldn’t want my Mom sleeping with my other mom." (7:10)
Pat Robertson on Pedophilia and Homosexuality with "Dr. Laura" [19 April 99]
Trying to normalize pedophilia…American Psychological Association…Shocked and horrified…NAMBLA…Fascinating and shocking…Pedophilia is no longer considered a mental disorder. The same steps that quote normalized homosexuality unquote are being used to normalize pedophilia. We can’t look to the field of psychology for morality…Beat up the APA." (9:57)
Pat Robertson on the Power of the Homosexual Community [30 March 99]
"The homosexual community is extraordinarily organized. It has a strong influence in fashions, arts, motion pictures, the press, the communication media, the cutting edge technology of our society. And San Francisco seems to be at the center of a great deal of it. This blasphemous activity has been condemned by the Catholic League who is calling for some kind of boycott on San Francisco.
If Willy Brown, the Mayor, continues in this kind of activity, he may get a little mud on his Brioni Suits. It ill behooves the good folks of San Francisco to permit this kind of thing to continue. This is just horrible, outrageous. They are assaulting Jesus and assaulting God Almighty. They’ve been after me for a long time. Now they’re going after someone a lot more important. (11:45)
Pat Robertson’s stand against Hate Crime Legislation [11 March 99]
"Two people who were identified as gay killed and I deplore that kind of violence…But I don’t think there should be hate crime legislation coming out of Washington…We should do something to bring about a moral and spiritual revival so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. It keeps on happening because there’s so much rage building up in people. They are not under the control of the truth of the Bible. Any kind of so-called hate crime legislation is extremely ill advised. It has to do with state police powers and the states can take care of it very nicely…" (13:29)
Pat Robertson on the homosexual’s "Degrading Passions" [8 June 98]
"The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear in the book of Romans that the acceptance of homosexuality is the last step in the decline of Gentile civilization. Whenever a civilization begins lesbianism and homosexuality as a widespread practice, that says, and I’m quoting the Apostle Paul… "Wherefore God gave them up…" and that’s to "degrading passions."
Pat on Gays and the Destruction of our Nation [8 June 98]
That is the word of the Bible so if the US wants to embrace "degrading passions", something the Bible says is an abomination against God. We’re not in any way, shape, or form hating any body. This is not a message of hate but of redemption. But if a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. If it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it will bring about earthquakes and tornadoes and possible a meteor. It isn’t something necessarily we should open ours arms to and I would warn Orlando that you are right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I would be waving those [gay] flags in God’s face if I were you." (25:06)
Pat Robertson on Homosexuals going to hell [20 January 99]
"We cannot have the government advocating immorality. Cause you’re sending kids to hell. That’s what it amounts to. You don’t understand. We’re talking about their immortal destiny. So people engaged in homosexuality say well I’m going to have a parade, I’m going to put your face in effigy, I’m going to do all these things. Well you can do all that you want to but God still says if you don’t repent you’re going to hell. That’s the way it is.
So if you love somebody you’ll say "There’s danger ahead of you. We love you. Look out!" If they don’t want to listen that’s their business. You can say, "I want my rights." "I want a parade." "I want to do all my things out in the park out in Washington or what have you." Well you what you want all you want to. But just be aware that God almighty is the ultimate judge and you’re not going to snow him. And He’s not engaged in political correctness. You’re not going to take advantage of God. He will not be taken advantage of cause He holds the ultimate cards in His hands. If we just realize and we condone the use of condoms we’re sending kids to hell. That’s how serious it is, you know." (28:30)
Pat Robertson on Gays "Polluting" the Boy Scouts [7 April 99]
"This is a case the ACLJ is in the Court helping the Boy Scouts on. I was talking to Cardinal O’Conner some years ago about Georgetown University. The DC was forcing Georgetown to spend money for a homosexual group on campus, which went totally against Catholic policy…It was a Catholic school. Instead of appealing up the Supreme Court to get a good ruling. They knuckled under and accepted that and started funding this organization. I said to Cardinal O’Conner who is a brave man what would you have done. He said, I would have shut Georgetown down.
I believe that’s the way it’s got to be. If so called Lambda wins on this one I know it’s Draconian. I don’t think they’re going to win. But if they win it would be time to shut the boy scouts down. Rather than have them polluted by this mess and that’s what it is. It isn’t civil rights at all. It’s trying to introduce deviant sexual practices. As someone said Sodomy is not a civil right. It shouldn’t be. It never has been. To make it such is an abomination. It’s time we stand up and speak up on these things. It’s just wrong. The thing facing us now If this society is twisted in that direction, the only thing we have looking down the road is the awful judgment of God on America. It’ll effect everybody. If you stay quiet at home and say that’s not my fight. Don’t you believe it? It’s your fight for yourself, your family and your future.
CBN Commercial [11 March 99]
The facts of a story are important. They have to be clear. They have to be right. But it’s just as important to get to the heart of the story and show how it touches your life. Only one news source takes you from information to understanding. The 700 Club. Watch us right here. Or log onto our web site for more information. See the world from here.
"The more I get to understand the homosexual condition, the more I see it to be a deep seated developmental disorder. At first I thought it was just a sexual problem. Now I see it as an identity problem…I have never met a homosexual who had a loving, respectful relationship with his father. If the boy’s overtures to the father are ignored or rejected, the boy eventually detaches himself from his father and rejects his masculinity."
[One of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club Guests]
Link here to order a copy of the 30 minute video THE RHETORIC OF INTOLERANCE featuring Pat Robertson’s rhetoric and Mel White’s response.
Remember, If you are interested in marching with us on the Fox Family Channel, March 24, 2000, email us for more specific information: FOX@soulforce.org