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CULTURE DIGEST: AFA urges boycott of Ford Motor Company; HBO premieres polygamy show; Dave Ramsey signs with CBS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The American Family Association and at least 18 other pro-family organizations are leading a boycott of all Ford Motor Company products after executives of the automotive giant broke their word regarding the company’s support of the homosexual agenda.

The story began last May when AFA first called for a boycott of Ford but was asked by dealers to lift it while negotiations took place between company officials and AFA. At a meeting last November, Ford agreed to stop giving cash donations to homosexual organizations that engage in campaigns to promote same-sex “marriage,” to stop endorsing events such as “Gay Pride parades” and to stop advertising in homosexual media outlets.

But after homosexual activists expressed outrage over Ford’s deal with pro-family advocates, the motor company reversed the agreement and issued a statement on Ford’s “commitment to inclusion” Dec. 12, accompanied by a promise from Bill Ford, chairman and chief executive officer, to remain friendly to homosexuals.

“We value all people — regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and cultural or physical differences,” Ford said. “This is a historical commitment of the Ford Motor Company that I intend to carry forward.”

In response, AFA reinstated the boycott March 13 after three months of urging Ford to honor their November agreement.

“Ford could have easily avoided this boycott had they desired to do so by simply remaining neutral in the cultural battles,” AFA said in a statement on its website boycottford.com. “… The hundreds of thousands of dollars Ford gives to homosexual groups allows the groups to pay their fixed expenses with funds given by Ford while using other funds in promoting the legalization of homosexual marriage.”

AFA further noted that Ford “has every right to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups promoting homosexual marriage. But those who oppose homosexual marriage have every right not to buy automobiles made by Ford Motor Company.”

As part of its commitment to inclusion, Ford requires employees to attend diversity training classes, in which AFA says people are held captive “as homosexuals lecture the employees on the acceptance of homosexuality. Ford does not allow any other view of homosexuality to be presented in the ‘diversity training’ courses. There is not ‘diversity’ in the classes. The only view presented as being acceptable is that of the homosexual activists.”

The company’s eight brand names include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Mazda.

POLYGAMY SHOW LATEST TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE — HBO has added the latest in a string of controversial television shows with the premiere of “Big Love,” a soap opera-drama combination starring Bill Paxton as a man with three wives living in a Salt Lake City suburb.

“The very fact that HBO has produced the series says a great deal about the cable network’s willingness to exploit virtually any opportunity for a story and about the American public’s confusion over the institution of marriage,” R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in his commentary on albertmohler.com March 10.

At least HBO’s focus on “the evolving institution of marriage through a typical atypical family” failed to hit high marks with its first episode March 12. The show piggy-backed on the much-anticipated season premiere of “The Sopranos,” which drew a disappointing 9.5 million average viewers, according to USA Today. Big Love averaged an audience of 4.6 million, compared to the 22.2 million who tuned in to “Desperate Housewives” on the same night.

In an effort to snag more viewers, HBO has been airing “encore presentations” of Big Love’s pilot this week at various times.

Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted that the show runs a disclaimer making clear that the Mormon church officially banned polygamy in 1890 in order to be admitted into the Union and that attorneys general in Utah and Arizona estimate that as many as 20,000 to 40,000 people in the United States currently engage in polygamous relationships.

“HBO is attempting to present polygamy with a happy face,” Mohler said. “For some, the series may be viewed as a comedy. Others will see the program as a warning about the direction of the culture.”

The move toward same-sex “marriage,” he said, “will surely lead to the legalization of other forms of ‘marriage’ as well.”

“In reality, if marriage can be redefined as anything other than the relationship between one man and one woman, it can mean virtually anything,” Mohler said. “As a matter of fact, a change in the understanding of gender related to marriage is, in a historical perspective, more significant than a change in number.”

DAVE RAMSEY ENTERS REALITY TV WORLD — Dave Ramsey, the noted financial expert who has helped thousands climb out of debt, has signed a deal with CBS to film a pilot episode of a reality television show preliminarily called “The Dave Ramsey Project.”

Crews are scheduled to start shooting the episode, featuring Ramsey counseling families at their homes, later in March, according to The City Paper in Nashville, Tenn., where Ramsey is based.

The “Dave Ramsey Show” is heard by more than 2 million radio listeners each week, the paper reported, and his best-selling book “The Total Money Makeover,” released in 2003, has earned him national TV appearances on CBS’ “60 Minutes” and “Oprah.”

“If the pilot were to work out and become a show, it will be by far the biggest thing we’ve done,” Ramsey said. “Even just having a prime-time special on CBS is probably somewhere in the 25-30 million viewer range. It’s pretty huge.”

Ramsey also is the featured money management columnist for LBCLive magazine, published by the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

“We are thrilled with this news about Dave Ramsey’s new venture,” John Yeats, director of communications for the convention, said in a March 2 news release. “Baptists have a track record of wanting to help people with practical issues of life, and Dave’s column in our magazine has been a homerun because people want reasonable help with their finances.”

For more information, visit Ramsey’s website, www.davesays.org.

SOULFORCE ARRESTED AT REGENT UNIVERSITY — They were arrested at Liberty University just days earlier, and now members of the homosexual activist group Soulforce have been arrested at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., for the same reason — trespassing on a conservative college campus that warned them to stay away.

Six members of the group’s 35-member “Equality Ride” bus tour of Christian colleges and military academies were arrested and later released after crossing lines that police had clearly drawn March 14.

“There are students on this campus who want to speak to me, and I have a right to speak to them,” Carolyn Westra, a Soulforce member, said as she walked toward officers standing behind a yellow tape that read, “Caution Do Not Enter,” according to The Virginian-Pilot newspaper.

Soulforce’s goal for the tour is to “confront schools that ban the enrollment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students,” and they have requested that the schools offer official forums in which the activists can express their views.

Regent University, founded by Pat Robertson, said it does not have such an enrollment policy, but it does discourage “homosexual conduct,” premarital sex and adultery.

Still to come on the tour are stops at Baptist-affiliated Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla., and California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif.

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  • Erin Roach