In a scheme so misdirected, so unlikely to succeed, it could have been crafted by Karl Rove, the lead religious right group fighting marriage equality for gays says it will take its war to Starbucks’ effort to spread into the Middle East.
The National Organization for Marriage, NOM, says that its strategy is to run online ads in Middle Eastern countries to inform them that Starbucks has supported marriage equality in Washington State. I wonder if those same countries are aware of the religious right’s views on Islam? Let’s inform them.
First, here’s an excerpt from the Colorado Independent, then my analysis:
During the call, one participant cited Starbucks, which endorsed gay marriage legalization in Washington, and General Mills, which spoke out against the proposed gay marriage ban in Minnesota. The participant asked what could be done “to stop the wave of corporate sponsorship of gay marriage.”
NOM President Brian Brown responded by saying that NOM was targeting the international business of companies that support same-sex marriage such as Starbucks, which NOM also hit with a national boycott effort this year. Brown said the aim is to make these companies’ political stances known in countries in the Middle East and elsewhere that generally do not support same-sex marriage, or homosexuality in general.
“Their international outreach is where we can have the most effect,” Brown said. “So for example, in Qatar, in the Middle East, we’ve begun working to make sure that there’s some price to be paid for this. These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well as India. So we have done some of this; we’ve got to do a lot more.”
Oh where to begin?
I do get a kick out of the religious right when they say they’re going to boycott products that the left adores and that religious right rednecks probably wouldn’t touch in a million years. I mean, seriously, Starbucks is worried about losing some speaking-in-tongues couple in the deep south who don’t even know what Starbucks even is?
As for these online ads in the Middle East, who exactly does NOM think is going to see these ads? I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I’d suspect that the ruling class is dying to have Starbucks move in, and they’ve probably already figured out how to reconcile a love for all things western with traditional Islam. Starbucks will simply be another contradiction met with a shrug, regardless of their position on legislation in a single American state.
Of course, what’s even funnier is that NOM, and the American religious right, thinks they’re going to be the messenger of truth to the Muslim word when the conventional wisdom in the religious right is that all Arabs are terrorists, that Islam is a religion of violence and evil, and that Mohammad is a pedophile. The religious right’s active hatred of Islam, Muslims and Mohammad trump any “evil” Starbucks has done in one small American state.
Let me walk you through what America’s religious right thinks of Middle Eastern countries and Islam more generally. From Michelle Goldberg at the Daily Beast, who went to the big religious conference of the year:
If there was one dominant theme at this year’s Values Voter Summit, the right-wing confab organized by the Family Research Council, it was that President Obama is endangering the United States by coddling radical Islamists. “[W]hat we’re watching develop before our eyes today are the direct consequences of this administration’s policy of apology and appeasement across the globe,” Michele Bachmann said of the attacks on American embassies and consulates in the Middle East.
Last year, you might remember, some American counterterrorism trainers were found to be using material so virulently anti-Muslim that senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins wrote an outraged letter to the Department of Homeland Security. Bachmann described the resulting changes in counterterrorism curricula this way: “That’s enforced Islamic speech codes here in the United States, and all done with the help of our president and secretary of state.”
There is a grotesque irony in the way speakers at the Values Voter Summit kept invoking the deaths of the four American officials in Libya to argue that the United States needs to adopt a more belligerent stance toward Muslims. Describing what’s at stake in the election, Ryan said, “We’ve all seen the images of our flag being burned and our embassies under attack by vicious mobs. The worst of it is the loss of four good men, including our ambassador to Libya.” From these speeches, one would never know that at least two of the dead were deeply devoted to fighting the sort of politics that the Values Voter Summit represents.
Then there’s the American religious right coterie who produced the anti-Islam film that may have been behind some of the recent rioting in the Middle East. I’m sure Muslims will love them. And the religious right leaders who got upset when President Obama tried to dampen down some of the Arab anger of the anti-Mohammad film.
PFAW has extensive resources on how religious right American try to dehumanize Muslims in our country and abroad – here are some of the titles of the various writings over at PFAW:
- Strategy One: Frame Muslim-Americans as dangerous to America
- Strategy Two: Twist statistics and use fake research to “prove” the Muslim threat
- Strategy Three: Invent the danger of “creeping Sharia”
- Strategy Four: “Defend liberty” by taking freedoms away from Muslims
- Strategy Five: Claim that Islam is not a religion
- Strategy Six: Maintain that Muslims have no First Amendment rights under the Constitution
- Strategy Seven: Link anti-Muslim prejudice to anti-Obama rhetoric
- Strategy Eight: Claim an “unholy alliance” exists that includes Muslims and other groups targeted by the Right Wing
Good luck with that.