Pro-family groups based in Washington, DC, and in Illinois say homosexuals are behind a new policy at Target stores that has resulted in banning Salvation Army kettle drive activities on the retail chain's premises nationwide.
The familiar Salvation Army bell ringers and their red kettles have been barred from Target stores this Christmas season, and the official reason given by the retailer has to do with its policy prohibiting all nonprofit soliciting at Target locations. However, Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute is suspicious of the company's explanation.
While it is true that Target has maintained a long-standing policy against soliciting in front of its stores, the company has, until this year, consistently made an exception for The Salvation Army. Knight questions the sudden policy change and says although Target officials claim they just want to make their "no solicitation" policy uniform, his sources indicate there may be more to the story.
"We happen to know," the CFI spokesman explains, "that the Target Corporation has been under enormous pressure from homosexual activists to dump The Salvation Army because [it] won't give domestic-partner benefits [to its employees]."
In fact, Knight says homosexual activists have been after The Salvation Army for a long time, and some groups have reportedly stooped to some fairly lowdown tactics in their effort to harm the charitable organization. "One homosexual activist group in Michigan, for example, has been distributing counterfeit one dollar bills and five dollar bills to be placed in Salvation Army kettles, accusing them of bigotry and prejudice," he says.
Also, Rick Garcia, director of the homosexual lobby group Equality Illinois, even admitted recently on WYLL's The Walsh Forum radio program that homosexual activists have pressured Target to stop supporting The Salvation Army. And Garcia also admitted in a letter he wrote opposing the Illinois Family Institute's call to boycott Target that he has long protested and even demonstrated against The Salvation Army.
Pete LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) says homosexual activists like Garcia "talk a good game" about showing tolerance toward religious groups and other opponents of homosexuality. Ultimately, however, he asserts that such "homosexual humbugs" purposely demonize people of faith and pro-family organizations as bigots, haters, homophobes, and hypocrites – or, as in Garcia's letter criticizing IFI, "charlatans."
According to LaBarbera, it is this kind of activist zealotry against pro-family and religious people and against groups like the Boy Scouts of America and The Salvation Army – groups that merely seek to live out their moral beliefs – that prompts the IFI to strongly oppose misguided legislation that would codify special rights for homosexuals or criminalize expressed biblical views on homosexual behavior as hate speech.
The IFI spokesman refers, for example, to SB 3186, a bill would put "sexual orientation" directly into Illinois' human rights code. He notes that this bill could come up for a vote January 10 or 11, and therefore urges pro-family Illinois residents to call their state senator and representative to express their opposition.
LaBarbera feels it is inevitable, not only that homosexual activists will try to use "sexual orientation" laws as a basis to demand same-sex marriage rights, but that they will also seek to "criminalize Christianity – at least as it applies to homosexual behavior." In fact, he notes that something similar is already happening in Philadelphia, where 11 Christians were recently arrested during their outreach efforts at a homosexual pride festival.
Culture and Family Institute (http://www.cultureandfamilyorg/cfi/)
Illinois Family Institute (http://www.illinoisfamily.org)
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