Wal-Mart recently announced that it was going to go back to using “Merry Christmas” greetings in its stores because they thought that trying to be less Christian-centric with “Happy Holidays” wasn’t gaining it any friends among American shoppers. They were probably right.
There are a number of different reactions one could have to this announcement. Among them:
Personally, the news didn’t bother me much. This is not one of my hot-button issues. However, I did note that you can’t really placate the people who are really at the far end of that spectrum.
And Wal-Mart is learning that now.
Long under fire from the left, Wal-Mart is now a target of Christian conservatives urging shoppers to boycott the huge retailer’s post-Thanksgiving sales because of its low-key outreach to some gay-rights organizations.
To be a goofy right-wing religious organization these days there are two requirements:
Check it out: The low-key outreach in question is that Wal-Mart donated minuscule (to them) sums to a gay rights organization, and also paid to become part of a National Gay Chamber of Commerce.
Conservative leaders viewed these actions as a betrayal of Wal-Mart’s traditions, which have included efforts to weed out magazines with racy covers and CDs with explicit lyrics. “This has been Christian families’ favorite store — and now they’re giving in, sliding down the slippery slope so many other corporations have gone down,” said the Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America. “They’re all being extorted by the radical homosexual agenda.”
News flash, Reverend Flip. Wal-Mart doesn’t have values and tradition. They’re a company set up to make money. And if the gay community is big enough, they become an important customer. You misinterpreted past actions that catered to certain extremists as “principled.” They were, in actuality, “strategic.” They were trying to conform to what they saw as a large block of mainstream American consumers. But, apparently, the times they are a changin’.
The strategy of “Flip and his Lids” is to try to make this about same-sex marriage. Why not hit that hot button every chance you get?
“We do not have a position on same-sex marriage. … What we do have is a strong commitment to diversity. We’re against discrimination everywhere.”
Ouch, did you see that? At the same time they said they were not going to take a position on gay marriage they hit Flip with the “D” word. “Discrimination.”
Flip has taken on a fight he can’t win and made the boycott not about the behavior of the store alone, but about some ideology. Not only will they get the attention they crave, but Wal-Mart’s position on the matter will also get attention.
Flip shouts that they are against gay marriage. Wal-Mart framed it as being about “discrimination.” So, when the smoke clears, the message is that these anti-same-sex marriage groups are pro-discrimination. Which is precisely correct.
Bonus: I always spelled “miniscule” with two i’s but my spell-checker spells it with two u’s. “Minuscule.” Weird. How do you all spell it?Posted by James at November 22, 2006 7:40 AM