SP Times Editorial Condemns Anti-LGBT Program

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Posted on July 1, 2009 - 9:38am by Anonymous.

GREAT St. Pete Times Editorial on NBC / WFLA's broadcast of the homophobic infomercial, Speechless (The Times is Florida's largest newspaper). Nice job by our communications director, Brian Winfield. We learned about this program on Saturday morning and have been mobilizing a massive statewide response - to demand an apology and to ensure it doesn't get aired elsewhere in Florida. In just 5 days, over 2,000 eqfl members have hammered WFLA with letters and calls.


St. Pete Times: WFLA should have seen the red flags over antigay program

On Saturday morning, thousands of people turned out to celebrate at St. Petersburg's annual Gay Pride parade and festival, promoting acceptance and tolerance of the area's gay, lesbian and transgendered residents.

Hours later, WFLA-Ch. 8 aired an hourlong special paid for by the conservative American Family Association called Speechless: Silencing the Christians. The film urged viewers to fight a "radical homosexual activist agenda" aimed partially at persecuting churchgoers who find homosexuality morally wrong.

Two sides of an issue that got the airing they deserved? Or was one over the line?

Equality Florida, a Tampa-based statewide gay rights group, thinks Media General-owned WFLA bowed to bigotry, sparking at least 1,000 telephone calls and e-mails of protest to the station. The group asked the NBC affiliate to reconsider airing the show three hours before its 7 p.m. broadcast Saturday, but general manager Mike Pumo said the content did not "raise a red flag," according to a story in the Tampa Tribune, also owned by Media General.

"This show paints the entire gay community as being anti-Christian and that's just not true," said Brian Winfield, director of communications for Equality Florida. "On a day when tens of thousands of Tampa residents and their friends gathered together to celebrate diversity and pride, WFLA chose to profit from screening a show that was dehumanizing to gay people."

Officials from WFLA and Media General did not return calls for comment, including Pumo, whose outgoing office voice mail message said he was on vacation until July 6. Similarly, a spokeswoman for the American Family Association did not return calls for comment.

Narrated by conservative Christian talk show host Janet Parshall, Silencing the Christians promises to "reveal the truth about the radical homosexual agenda and its impact on the family, the nation and religious freedom." The film criticizes efforts to allow gay people to serve in the military, to teach school children that homosexuality is acceptable and to pass laws preventing employers from discriminating against gay people.

If you were to substitute the words black or Hispanic for the word gay in the film, it's a safe bet that someone at WFLA would have raised a red flag, to use Pumo's words.

Could anyone, for example, imagine WFLA airing a documentary decrying "propaganda techniques to manipulate people into accepting the interracial lifestyle?" (replace the word "interracial" with "homosexual" and you have an actual line from Silencing Christians).

So what makes it okay to decry the "homosexual agenda," as the show kept repeating over and over?

"The striking thing about the gay and lesbian movement is that it's a grass roots thing," said Ray Arsenault, a professor of history at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg and a nationally recognized expert on civil rights. "There's hasn't been a signal from Washington, as with civil rights in the '60s. There's still a sense that it's okay to express this antigay bigotry."

The St. Petersburg Times faced a similar issue when it joined a growing list of newspapers that distributed the controversial DVD Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West to readers. Critics, who said the DVD was a backhanded way of demonizing Muslims, questioned whether the newspaper was treating the issue fairly.

And while producers of the film say Christians are being persecuted, Winfield fears gay people are the group under fire, demanding WFLA apologize for the broadcast. "At what point do we as Americans believe in fairness?" he asked. "When do we say that's true for everybody?"

Michael Farmer
GSA Network Coordinator
Equality Florida
[email protected]
416 N. Ferncreek Ave. Suite B, Orlando FL, 32803


Anonymous (not verified) says:

July 7, 2009 - 5:43pm

This never would have aired had it been about any other minority. But WFLA thinks it's okay because it only demonizes those gay people? Terrible that a leading media institution would be so callous to a group of people. They simply didn't care who they would hurt as long as they got paid. Pumo must be a real a**wipe of a human being.

Anonymous (not verified) says:

July 6, 2009 - 10:13pm

That was an info-mercial..a paid advertisement..hope it was a nice check..so it makes up for the gay dollars spent on their advertisers & sponsors!!

Anonymous (not verified) says:

July 3, 2009 - 3:50pm

This is just more of the so called "Christian" right wing's hate mongering that they are so good at spreading. It seems that they protest a little too much about homosexuals. I firmly believe these type of people, who are in such fear of gays have some deep rooted issues with their own sexuality. For NBC to air this garbage is reprehensible. We should all boycott NBC until we receive an apology from them. I am a gay Jewish man but have friends who are Christians, attend their local church as a couple, and are welcomed. In fact one of the gentlemen is the treasurer of the parish. True Christians (or anybody else with half a brain) wouldn't act like these people. As the God (and gay) fearing "Christians" always say "We will pray for you". We had better all pray for THEM!

Donald Hall (not verified) says:

July 3, 2009 - 8:22am

The American Family Association, in my opinion, is just another hate group; much like the Ku Klux Klan, promoting hatred and bigetry of people different than them but without the guns.

The following was written by a celebrity accused of satanism but I think the message needs to be revisited here:

There is a certain trait evident in human nature which some people seem to possess in greater degrees. It derives from a state of insecurity and low self-esteem and shows itself in the actions of those who wish to make themselves look good by making others look bad. You see it everywhere once you start to look for it. People who can't gain respect for their own merits feel obliged to try and tear down those who do. We see it in the failures who try to prove their aloofness by criticizing the actions of those who actually do something, or in cases like this one where the weak and pusillanimous prove their righteousness by trying to punish the "less-righteous."

A big advantage to such an attitude is that it keeps them so involved in other peoples' lives that they need not examine their own.

So these are the grim-faced hypocrites who are stirring around in the dark places of life hoping to find something - anything - dirtier than their own reflection. And if they can't find anything - no problem - they'll just make something up!

I attend an open and affirming church; that is, it welcomes gays and lesbians as full members. As far as I'm concerned they are no different than anyone else, except their partners are of the same sex. I'm straight but I have nothing to fear from these people. Many of them show more kindness to others than a lot of straight people I know.

Anonymous (not verified) says:

July 3, 2009 - 7:52am

I take particular offense to this propaganda, not only am I a gay man in this community but I am also a Christian. This Right wing "Religious" Propaganda is NOT Christian in nature. Too often people do not take the time to educate themselves about the cause they believe in. So many so called "Christians" wouldn't know what to believe without someone to tell them what to believe. They do not take the time to study and understand that what they are being taught is taken out of context, from the culture that is being referred to (Judaism), or that the translation of what they are reading is incorrect. Instead they are willing to sit back and be fed lies and propaganda such as this program "Silencing Christians".

It disgusts me that these people are using the name of God to inflict their Hate and Discrimination to attack others. Put plainly, anything they do not believe to be right they feel they need to destroy and abolish. Regretfully I see far too many parallels with another movement, that History shows caused much sorrow, pain, death, and destruction, The Nazi's. They too believed with all their heart that they were doing right in the name of God, destroying whatever they deemed wrong or inappropriate. If things like this programing are allowed to be spread I fear that we are doomed to repeat history. Bigotry, Hate, Intolerance, and Discrimination are NOT Family Values, yet that is exactly what this type of programing is promoting.

Do Not Condemn Christians, they are not the problem, it are those who claim to be "Christian" but do not display the acts of Christ that are the problem. The term Christian in it's self means to be Christ Like, something these people are not practicing. In my opinion this is a Political Movement using the guise of Christian Religion to gain political control of this country. This country was founded on the basis of Religious Freedom! It is not a "Christian Nation" as they wish you to believe. Our Forefathers came to this country to escape Religious Persecution from The Church of England. Are we willing to accept this new form of Religious Persecution to eat away at the very reason our country was founded?

Anonymous (not verified) says:

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