August 22 2011
Stories: Christian Group’s New Gay War
On Aug. 9, a man describing himself as an “adviser” to the Charity Giveback Group, or CGBG, a Christian fundraising operation that Mike Huckabee is involved with, left an oddly threatening message on the voicemail of a San Francisco blogger named Roy Steele.
The for-profit company, which had been known as the Christian Values Network until a March name change, operates a sort of online mall, donating a portion of each purchase to religious nonprofits. Among them are conservative organizations like Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, Promise Keepers, and a number of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. In recent months, thanks to a remarkably successful online boycott campaign, major companies have rushed to disassociate themselves from CGBG. Steele publicized the boycott on his blog, Tie-Dyed Jive in the (415), and sent out a press release promoting it. The voicemail he received in response, if indeed from someone associated with CGBG, would suggest that the company was getting rattled.
“If you are seeking to be added to the coming litigation against Ben Crowther, Joe Mirabella, Change.org, and others who have continued to produce inaccuracies on the dialogue on this matter, we are more than happy to add your name to that list,” said the caller, mentioning two people who’d been involved in petitions against CGBG. He gave Steele 24 hours to demonstrate a “change of heart” by issuing a new, corrective press release. Steele responded by setting the audio to an animation of an angry drag queen and posting it on his blog.
It’s tempting to think that this must be a prank, except CGBG, which agreed to answer some questions via email, refuses to comment on it.
If it’s real, it’s certainly odd to see an outfit with powerful connections, one that continues to partner with major companies like Home Depot, Target, and Circuit City, make such a clumsy attempt to intimate a relatively obscure blogger. Still, it’s easy to see why CGBG is alarmed. It’s not only that major firms like Microsoft, Apple, and Wells Fargo are pulling out at an astonishing rate, threatening the company’s future. CGBG is also coming face to face with something that has long terrified the Christian right: the possibility that the stigma once attached to homosexuality would be transferred to those who oppose it. more