Thursday, November 19, 2009

When equality hurts

Found at

The American "Family" Association (I have to put it in quotes because it hardly represents every family in America) has issued what the LA Times rightfully calls a fatwa* against Gap, Inc, calling for a boycott against Gap stores (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic) for "not mentioning Christmas in their advertising."

Well, more specifically -

Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, the three stores owned by San Francisco-based Gap Inc., are being targeted by AFA in a limited two-month boycott over the company's failure to use the word "Christmas" in its advertising to Christmas shoppers.

Gap has refused to use the word Christmas in its television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas as well as repeated requests from AFA to do the same.

From the AFA boycott website here

I present this evidence:

Now the above commercial is a bit hard to hear, so let me provide a transcript

Two, Four, Six, Eight, tis the time to liberate
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go without a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what just feels right.
Happy do whatever you wanna, and to all a cheery night.

In case you didn't notice, the second line, second word - yea, that one - that would be Christmas. Right there. So, you know, it is mentioned.

However it is given equal weight with the other three holidays around that time of year, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Solsitce (which, according to Wikipedia, covers just about every other winter celebration). As the Gap puts is

Gap recognizes that many traditions are celebrated throughout this season and we feel it is important to display holiday signage that is inclusive to everyone.

Inclusivity. Equality. A retailer not wanting to alienate potential customers. Horrors.

AFA has this to say about that:

AFA believes this ad to be completely dismissive and disrespectful to those who celebrate the meaning and spirit of Christmas.
(also found here)

Because putting Christianity on equal footing with, say, Judaism is disrespectful, after all. Christianity has to be special.

Dan Neil in the LA Times makes a very good point -

Why not go after Gap and other retailers for trading in Chinese-made goods, since the Chinese government actively oppresses the Christian faith? Seems like building a case on religious tolerance would have more resonance.

But that misses the point, Dan. When they say "oppression" they mean "Not having an elevated, special, privileged position anymore." If people actually compared religious oppression in places like China to the US these people would be outed for the power-hungry whiners they are. In fact it might even look like the Christians were trying to oppress other religions like they themselves were being oppressed in other countries, but the rational among us were having none of it.

Spare me, please.

Now I would deliberately go to the local Old Navy and buy all my Christmas gifts but I was already boycotting the Gap for oppressing women by dropping plus-sized from their stores while creating sizes 0 and 00, so sadly that's a no go. BUT, on their "Naughty or Nice" list they also complain about Barnes & Noble, for using the inclusive word "Holiday" in their advertising, instead of just Christmas.

So I suggest we all go to B&N and give books for whatever holiday you want to celebrate. Give the gift of knoweldge and piss off the AFA in one fell swoop.

* (Granted it's a Christian leader, not an Islamic one, but the idea of a religious edict is the same)