Monday, April 03, 2006
Wal-Mart is a Store not a Church
I am sick and tired of Wal-Mart being used as a moral battleground in the United States. The American Family Association (AFA), the Mississippi-based group which began life as an anti-abortion activist organization -- but has since taken on Walt Disney for what it claims was subliminal sexual content in its films, and this past December attacked Wal-Mart for not saying "Merry Christmas" to its customers -- has struck again. The AFA is now calling on all Christians in the United States to boycott Wal-Mart for the store's decision to stock and sell the Academy Award nominee for Best Picture (and winner for Best Director, Screenplay and Score), Brokeback Mountain -- the story of two gay men carrying on a decades-long love affair in private. Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the AFA, has reportedly said the movie -- despite winning three Academy Awards -- is not "family-friendly," and it does not belong on the shelves of a store that has marketed itself to middle America. Bullshit! Why not? Since when does middle America have a lock on morality in this country? Is Sharp (stupidly) suggesting that simply because Wal-Mart targets families that want (or need) to conserve money, these families are somehow morally superior to families in different tax brackets? Sharp doesn't seem to realize Wal-Mart is a store, not a church. Its decision to offer lower cost products does not make it "family friendly," it simply makes it a discount store. To its credit, Wal-Mart has rebuked the protests, and plans to sell the title at its 3900 locations. Wal-Mart is not pushing a "gay agenda, by trying to normalize homosexuality in society," as Sharp was quoted in The Los Angeles Times as saying. That would be like saying Wal-Mart is trying to promote a "vigilante agenda" by selling Dirty Harry films, or a "mass murder agenda" by selling the R-rated Friday the 13th titles, or an "organized crime agenda" by selling The Godfather films, all of which it carries. Clearly these films are not "family friendly" either. But Sharp and the AFA say nothing of Wal-Mart stocking and selling of these films. Yet, the media does not challenge the AFA on this, and furthermore gives validity to the AFA's bullshit agenda by covering the Brokeback Mountain protest. Americans still live in a country that was at least founded on the principle that "all men are created equal." Sharp seems to imply that middle American Christians are a little more equal than the rest. Wal-Mart should never bow to a Christian, Jewish (the Wal-Mart watchdog site www.globalwatchwalmart.com recently accused the store of being anti-Semitic for selling the book The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion), Islamic, or any organized religious agenda for that matter. Wal-Mart is not forcing its middle American Christian customers to buy Brokeback Mountain or its Jewish customers to buy The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion for that matter. The packaging for the DVD release of Brokeback Mountain is in no way offensive, and calls no attention to itself. Say, here's a radical idea: when you go shopping at Wal-Mart, if you don't want to watch Brokeback Mountain, don't buy it.