Group sees red over golden arches

You won’t likely find members of the American Family Association (AFA) in line at McDonald’s now that the group is boycotting the restaurant for supporting the GLBT community.

Tim Wildmon, president of AFA, told The Washington Post that the association proceeded with a boycott on July 3 when McDonald's declined to remove itself from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

According to the AFA Web site, the group was founded in 1977 and represents and stands for traditional family values, focusing primarily on the influence of television and other media – including pornography – on society. The AFA began the boycott after Pat Harris, global chief diversity officer of McDonald’s Corp., reaffirmed the restaurant chain’s support of diversity, including sexual orientation, in a letter written May 29 to Wildmon.

“We treat our employees and our customers with respect and dignity, regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other factors,” Harris said in the letter. “We have a well-established and proud heritage of associating with individuals and organizations that share in the belief that every person has the right to live and work in their community free of discrimination.”

Since then, the AFA launched the Web site encouraging others to join the boycott until the fast food chain takes a neutral stance on GLBT issues.

Eric Bloem, deputy director of the Human Rights Campaign Workplace Project, said there is a clear trend that business is leading the way toward the GLBT community, from marketing to GLBT to offering domestic partner benefits.

‘It is clear through the latest boycott issued by the American Family Association, that the group is grasping at straws trying to promote its agenda," Bloem said. "McDonald's, like most major businesses, increasingly recognize and value GLBT diversity and inclusion as a critical element to their success."

According to the site, the AFA chose to boycott the corporation for “refusing to remain neutral in the cultural wars.” The site states, “McDonald’s has chosen to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.”

Chris Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, said the AFA's decision calls the group's principles into question.

"If they think we're sinners, then they should be sitting down to dinner with us as Jesus himself did with those considered sinners in his day," Sanders said. "Instead, they rudely get up from the supper table before the conversation has even begun.  Bad religious principles, bad manners."

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