by David Sisler

President Franklin Roosevelt, so the story goes, was tired of the mindless small talk which accompanied White House dinners. He wondered if there was any genuine conversation happening at those official gatherings. To test his personal theory that no one was paying attention, at the next function he greeted his guests with the incredible statement, "I just killed my grandmother." Everyone answered with, "You are doing a great job, Mr. President," or "That's nice." Only one person, a foreign diplomat, responded directly to the president's statement, and he said, "I am sure she deserved it."

Last week I wrote about the decision of Procter and Gamble (a company facing fourth-quarter profits which are well below last year's, and the layoff of thirteen percent of its work force) to disassociate themselves from the upcoming television program featuring Dr. Laura Schlessinger. P&G in refusing to be a sponsor of the program, responded to a small, vocal minority, homosexuals, and ignored a larger group of shoppers, evangelical Christians.

I am not devotee of Dr. Laura. I almost never listen to her program. The manager of the store where I am employed listens while she works at her jeweler's bench, and I catch snippets when I take jobs back to her. When the television program premiers, I doubt that I will watch it. This is not about Dr. Laura.

Neither was the practice of homosexuality the theme of that column. My editorial displeasure was not with men and women who are homosexuals. It has never been about them as individuals. They are human beings of value, worth and dignity – just like the rest of us. They are people for whom Jesus Christ died – just like the rest of us.

Homosexual men and women were offended when Dr. Laura called their behavior "deviant." They protested and urged P&G to withdraw their sponsorship. That is their right. But those who protest the loudest would deny to the rest of us, the right to express the biblical-based view that homosexuality is wrong. Gay rights extremist have as their agenda the demonizing of everyone who will not endorse their lifestyle.

"Homophobia" is one of the word clubs wielded in this battle with no middle ground. Those who, motivated by hate, deliberately set out to physically harm homosexuals are indeed driven – and wrongly – by "an irrational fear of homosexuality or homosexuals." But writer Anne Morse asks, "What's the term for ‘rational objection to the gay political agenda or lifestyle?' I have news for you: There isn't one." There seems to be too much hate all around.

Every once in a while, when I write these pieces, my wife, Bonnie, will say, "You'll get letters!" I figured last week's offering – in which I stated that we evangelical Christians are ignored in the $2 billion P&G advertising budget because we are ineffective, toothless, and so unlike the Christ whose name we bear that we are worthy of disdain – would be one which would generate comment from the Christian community. I was wrong. Mr. Roosevelt, I, too, just killed my grandmother. As of this writing, not one person has challenged my portrayal of Christians.

Because I am personally offended that a major manufacturer like Procter and Gamble can summarily write off the majority of the American population, believing, so far correctly, that they can do so with impunity, I went through my house this week and gathered up every P&G product I could find. Crest, Pert Plus, Sure, and others – products I have used for decades – all went into a garbage bag. As long as their manufacturer declares by their actions and their words, that my beliefs, my historic Christian faith is of no consequence to their budget, I will use none of their products.

Homosexuals have the right to choose their lifestyle. Advertisers have the right to withhold sponsorship of any program they wish. Nevertheless, I am tired of my rights being trampled, of my membership in a faith group being totally discounted. I am tired of someone as powerful as Procter and Gamble saying, through their corporate decisions, that my adherence to the Jesus of the Bible is insignificant.

The few dollars I spend each month on toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant will be spent with other manufacturers. It will be a major inconvenience to shop for new products and to sample new products. It may be expensive, because some of the new ones won't measure up and they, too, will be discarded. But if Procter and Gamble makes its decisions completely on the basis of the bottom line, then my wallet and I will join them there.


Published in The Augusta Chronicle 6/17/2000

Copyright 2000 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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