ACTIVISM
by Ed Vitagliano
While claiming that it never intended to push homosexuality through its music video campaign, the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) nevertheless removed pro-homosexual content from its Web site following an exposé by AFA Journal. WAFF also apparently removed references to same-sex families in a teacher’s guide that was later mailed out to elementary schools.

WAFF announced the campaign last November, stating that it had produced a new music video for children based on the 1970s pop hit, "We Are Family." Using the voices and images of over 100 characters from children’s television, a DVD version of the music video was created to promote a message of tolerance and diversity.

The DVD and accompanying teacher’s guide was mailed to the nation’s 61,000 public and private elementary schools, most of which received the packages March 11.

However, in an article which appeared in the January AFA Journal, the pro-homosexual content on WAFF’s Web site was made public. Following the uproar that resulted, much of the controversial material was removed. The site was later completely revamped and the rest of the materials were deleted.

Moreover, the DVD’s companion teacher’s guide that arrived in schools also apparently underwent a slight renovation. According to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, an earlier version of the teacher’s guide – which Olbermann said he reviewed – contained three references to same-sex parents. The final version of the guide had purged those references.

"This was simply an example of AFA shining a spotlight on something very troubling, and letting the resulting controversy bring needed correction," said AFA Chairman Don Wildmon. "Obviously the We Are Family Foundation didn’t like being on the hot seat, and we’re gratified that it removed the materials."

Non-traditional view of family
Even with the references to same-sex families expunged, however, AFA still had some problems with the content of the most recent teacher’s guide.

Titled We Are Family: A Musical Message for All, the pamphlet contains ideas for discussions once the elementary school children have finished watching the music video. However, the guide distorted the definition of family to produce a nontraditional model that, in AFA’s opinion, is meant to include homosexual couples.

For example, A Musical Message instructs teachers to ask children "to share ideas on whom they think can be found in a family." But if kids merely give what the teacher’s guide calls "traditional answers," the teacher is encouraged to "[a]sk further questions."

The goal of such discussions, according to A Musical Message, is for children to be brought to the conclusion "that many types of people come together as a family and what binds them together is love, sharing, and caring."

Wildmon agreed that families certainly should demonstrate love, sharing and caring, and furthermore that those sentiments are often extended to non-family members who are close enough that they "feel just like a member of the family."

"But WAFF’s definition is simply not accurate," Wildmon said. "A family, as traditionally defined, is a group of people related by blood, marriage or adoption. What this teacher’s guide does is attempt to artificially expand the definition of family.

"I believe their primary reason for expanding the definition of family beyond the traditional model is to include homosexual couples."

In fact, some in the homosexual community wanted the music video to be used for that express purpose. For example, after school officials in Palm Beach County, Florida, balked at showing the video to the district’s 129 elementary schools, a local activist was incensed.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Tony Plakas, president of the county’s "gay" and lesbian community center, said, "We have children every day that experience this kind of discrimination. We can’t say, ‘No, we’re not going to talk about it.’"

Wildmon said activists and others sympathetic to the homosexual agenda should leave elementary schools out of it.

"We will continue to vehemently oppose that effort," he said. "While homosexuals can certainly love children as deeply as heterosexuals, we believe that the ideal setting for growing children includes both a mother and a father."

This was not simply an abstract exercise, Wildmon said. According to the Palm Beach Post, only four school districts in the U.S. said they would not show the WAFF music video.

"Schools should be teaching children the truth, not politically correct ideology meant to influence the thinking of the next generation," Wildmon said.

14th annual Meet at City Hall set for May 5
Numerous city halls across the country will be the gathering place on May 5 for those interested in praying for the moral rebirth of America.

In coordination with the National Day of Prayer, AFA will sponsor its 14th annual Meet At City Hall from 12:20-12:40 p.m. During this 20-minute time span, people are encouraged to meet at their local city halls and publicly take a stand for the values on which this nation was founded.

In addition to gathering for prayer, AFA suggests participants invite members of their Sunday School classes and churches. AFA also encourages the involvement of public officials and administrators, local pastors and even church choirs. The extent of organization and promotion is left up to those participants who want to take a leading role in the initiative.

AFA also suggests Max Lucado’s new book titled Turn as a great source for preparing one’s mind and heart for this national prayer time. The book, selected as the official book for the 2005 National Day of Prayer, issues a call to Christians to return to God as the source of personal and national blessings.

"America desperately needs a moral rebirth," AFA Chairman Don Wildmon said. "We need to implore God’s blessings on our country and ask Him to forgive our sinfulness and restore our moral perspective."

More information is available at www.nationaldayofprayer.org or www.afa.net/mach.

OneMillionMoms, OneMillionDads continue impact with advertisers
As Congress debates broadcast decency rules to address the increasing amount of sex, violence and profanity on television, AFA is providing a tool for parents. And it often produces quick results.

OneMillionMoms.com (OMM) and OneMillionDads.com (OMD), AFA’s online campaign, specifically target the advertisers of shows with offensive content. When these sponsors decide to use their advertising dollars on more family-friendly shows, the networks are forced to hear the concerns of viewers and advertisers.

"A formal complaint to the Federal Communications Commission takes months to wind its way through government red tape," said OMM and OMD editor Randy Sharp. "And you still aren’t guaranteed the networks will be penalized for broadcasting indecent content."

Sharp said OMM and OMD provide positive results almost immediately. Within hours of sending out an alert to members, advertisers receive thousands of e-mails from parents and consumers.

He cited ABC’s Desperate Housewives as an example. "Over one dozen companies have pulled their ad support from the show because of offensive content. At $350,000 for a 30-second commercial, the loss is a substantial amount," he said.

Another show OMM and OMD have focused on is The Shield (FX network). In March, Wrangler, Sonic and Coca-Cola ordered their advertising support withdrawn from the show, based on the extreme amount of sexual and profane content.

"Coca-Cola heard from more than 22,000 parents within a few days on this issue," said Sharp. "And they abandoned The Shield immediately."

CULTURE
Parental substance abuse endangers kids
It certainly wouldn’t surprise anyone with a modicum of common sense, but according to a new white paper released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), parental substance abuse is harmful to their children.

"Parents who use illegal drugs, abuse alcohol and use tobacco put half the nation’s children – more than 35 million of them – at greater risk of substance abuse and of physical and mental illnesses," said a CASA (www.casacolumbia.org) press statement.

The paper, Family Matters: Substance Abuse and the American Family, stated that 13% of children under the age of 18 live in a home where an adult uses illegal drugs; 24% of minor children live in a household where an adult abuses alcohol; and 37% of children live in a household where an adult uses tobacco.

The result of such substance abuse: children in such households are likelier to use the same substances. For kids with adults who use illegal drugs or abuse alcohol, they are also more likely to be abused or neglected, are "at increased risk of accidents, injuries and academic failure," and are more likely to "suffer conduct disorders" and "depression or anxiety."

"Kids don’t read their parents’ lips, they watch their parents’ actions," said CASA Chairman Joseph A. Califano, Jr., who served as U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Jimmy Carter. "Too many parents set examples that increase the risk their children will smoke, use illegal drugs and abuse alcohol."

www.casacolumbia.org, 3/29/05

Pot use increases risk of mental illness
Researchers in New Zealand have found that consistent use of marijuana increases a pot smoker’s risk of mental illness such as schizophrenia.

Published in the journal Addiction, the study was headed by researcher David Fergusson of the University of Otago, whose team examined more than 1,200 New Zealanders over a 25-year period.

"Even when all factors were taken into account, there was a clear increase in rates of psychotic symptoms after the start of regular use," Fergusson said, "with daily users of cannabis having rates that were over 150% those of non-users."

The reason for this increase in risk? "[T]he weight of the evidence clearly suggests that the use of cannabis (and particularly the heavy use of cannabis) may alter underlying brain chemistry and precipitate the onset of psychosis/ psychotic symptoms in vulnerable individuals," the study said.

Fergusson examined the possibility that the link could have resulted because people with psychotic episodes might be more likely to use marijuana in the first place. However, the study concluded that "the predominant direction of causality is likely to involve a path from cannabis use to psychotic symptoms rather than a path from psychotic symptoms to cannabis use."

www.addictionjournal.org, 3/1/05

Condom ads aim for primetime
After reaching record sales and market share in 2004, Trojan Condoms is attempting to break into primetime TV by airing ads during family viewing hours.

Presently, condom ads are confined to late-night time slots, but Church & Dwight Co. (C&D) caught the ear of big broadcasters such as CBS when it pitched a tamer, health-focused approach to its ads.

Advertising Age reported, "Trojan is copy testing ads created in-house that focus on prevention of sexually transmitted disease."

While James Craigie, C&D president and CEO, finds the ads appropriate for airing during any part of the day, networks are presently taking a "wait-and-see approach."

A spokeswoman for Disney/ABC said there is not a policy that automatically prohibits condom ads from airing during primetime or daytime TV.

Advertising Age, 2/14/05

EDUCATION
Maryland sex ed course alarms parents
Officials of the Montgomery County, Maryland, public school system have instituted a pilot program for a sex education curriculum that has attracted the attention of pro-family groups across the country because of its stark promotion of homosexuality.

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC), a national parents group, said the material in the curriculum states that "sexual orientation is not a choice" and that "sex play with friends of the same gender is not uncommon during early adolescence."

CRC also says the program artificially changes the meaning of family to include not only the traditional definition, but also "two or more people who are joined together by emotional feelings…."

CRC spokesman Steve Fisher said the school district also encourages students in their early teens to identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual or transgender – independent of the wishes of their parents, their religious beliefs, or clergy.

Moreover, the sex ed curriculum suggests to kids as young as 13 that a sex life is necessary for a good self-image, and includes an instructional video that one mental health expert said would be problematic for many parents.

Dr. Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, viewed the sex ed video and said, "The film’s lip service to abstinence takes about 18 seconds …. After this is out of the way, the film gets busy as a promo for latex [condoms]."

He said the video uses an older teenage girl to demonstrate the application of a condom to a cucumber, while she tells 10th graders, "Remember to use a condom for oral, anal and vaginal sex…."

AgapePress, 2/16/05; Washington Times, 3/5/05, 11/23/04; www.drthrockmorton.com, 3/8/05

EDUCATION
Parental Advisory: Check kids’ video game magazines
Video games are one of the most popular pastimes for children and teens. But if parents are tempted to assume that the magazines that promote these games are harmless, they are mistaken.

Because of some parental complaints received by AFA, the Journal made random purchases of some popular video game magazines to see what’s inside the covers. The magazines – GamePro, Electronic Gaming, GameStar and Surge – were eye-opening, to say the least.

Here are some things for parents to be aware of when it comes to the magazines promoting the video gaming industry:

Inappropriate advertising
Sometimes game magazines contain advertisements – apart from ads for the games themselves – that are highly sexualized. Electronic Gaming, for example, carried an ad for a Web site that allows visitors to download computer "wallpaper" with nude women.

Inappropriate demo discs
Some magazines contain a free demo CD-ROM inside, with demonstrations of (usually) new or upcoming video game releases. The intent, of course, is to encourage interested gamers to spend money on the real thing.

The current issue of GameStar provided such a demo, but some of its content would certainly be problematic for many parents.

A child or teen playing the demo would have been exposed to female characters kissing, pulling their panties off, and groping themselves ("Outlaw Golf"); scantily-clad women – dressed as a naughty nurse, a cowgirl in bikini and leather chaps, an S&M devil, and other sexualized clichés – wrestling each other ("Rumble Roses"); and a fighting game where each blow causes blood to spew ("Mortal Kombat").

A parent should no more allow their child to preview a free demo than they would allow them to watch a PG-13 movie without supervision.

Inappropriate artwork
All of the game magazines reviewed by AFA Journal contained artwork that was inappropriate – although some magazines were worse than others. (GameStar contained photos that were pornographic.)

As pictured above, images and text were sometimes sexual in nature, gory, demonic or occultic, or just downright weird. The worst sexual images obviously could not be included in the Journal.

Parents should at least leaf through any magazines that their child wants to purchase, to check the artwork.

Inappropriate advice
GamePro
gave readers tips on how to search the Internet and find free pornography. While it’s not all that difficult to find porn by accident, one wonders why a magazine devoted to playing video games is giving hints on a much more dangerous game.

Complaining to the magazines that carry such things, or to the store that carries the magazines themselves, certainly has its place. But putting the "genie" of explicit content back into the bottle will take time – or may not happen, period.

That means parents who want to protect their children will have to be alert to the spiritual poisons found on movie screens, television and magazine shelves.

HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA
Wal-Mart caves to homosexual lobby
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lobbying group for homosexuals is praising Wal-Mart for its efforts to accommodate same-sex couples. The retailer has joined 228 other Fortune 500 companies that offer benefits to same-sex partners of employees.

But Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute (CFI) said most families are not aware that Wal-Mart is so "gay-friendly." He says Wal-Mart has spent a lot of time cultivating a pro-family image.

"Some of what they’ve done is positive," he said. "[But] now that they’ve caved to gay activists, they’ve joined the side of those who don’t think that marriage and family are worth supporting anymore – and that political correctness is more important."

The CFI spokesman noted that another retailer, Target, was recently criticized for not allowing Salvation Army bell-ringers to solicit donations on store property during the Christmas season. Consequently, many families turned to Wal-Mart. Knight now has a problem with that.

"Wal-Mart can’t give on one hand and take away with the other," he said. "Millions of families shop at Wal-Mart, … not knowing that Wal-Mart is openly promoting homosexuality. When it gets out that they’re [doing that] by actually subsidizing homosexual relationships … this will tarnish their image."

AgapePress, 2/9/05

Ford gives to ‘gay’ group in Michigan
According to a press release issued by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the company has pledged $250,000 to Affirmations, a Ferndale, Michigan-based group that is building a new community center for the homosexual community.

Affirmations, according to its Web site, was "founded on the philosophy that ‘gay is good, you are not alone,’" and various programs are offered to "counter the impact of heterosexism and homophobia."

"Ford is proud to support Affirmations and its partners," said Ford Motor Company Fund President Sandra Ulsh. "The new center will serve as a cornerstone for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the state of Michigan. It will be a place to build and nurture a more inclusive and respectful society."

Because of Ford’s efforts to be gay friendly, the company received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexual lobby group in the U.S. "Ford is the only automaker and the largest corporation to get this score," the Ford press release boasted.

www.media.ford.com, 2/1/05; www.goaffirmations.org, 2/16/05

PRO-LIFE
NRLC offers ‘Will to Live’ project
The National Right to Life Committee, a pro-life organization that advocates the restoration of legal protection to innocent human lives, is the strong arm behind the nationwide "Will to Live" Project.

The project urges Americans to sign a legal document that is designed to protect a person’s own life if, at any time, the person becomes incompetent. The document allows a person to designate someone who will make the desired health care decisions for the patient. It also allows a person to make a clear statement, in the form of written instructions, detailing what medical treatment he or she would want to receive.

According to www.nrlc.org, "separate forms have been prepared for each state to comply with the differing requirements of each state’s law, such as the number of witnesses required, with the help of an attorney licensed to practice in that state."

Forms specific to each state can be downloaded at www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/willtolive/StatesList.html.

www.nrlc.org, 3/28/05, 4/1/05

Abortion opposition grows in U.S.
Americans’ opposition to abortion is increasing as evident from a Harris Interactive Poll released in March. The results revealed what LifeSite.net refers to as "the strongest opposition to Roe v. Wade in years."

The findings came from a survey of 1,012 U.S. adults showing that Americans support the ruling of the landmark case by only a 52% to 47% margin, in contrast with a 57% to 41% margin in 1998.

In addition, it is very likely that the weakening support for Roe is even more pronounced than the study indicates, due to an understatement in the survey question.

The poll question defined Roe v. Wade for respondents as "making abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal."

But Cathy Cleaver Ruse, director of planning and information for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, "Roe v. Wade created an unlimited right to abortion, and most people think an unlimited right to abortion is wrong."

www.lifesite.net, 3/11/05

Dutch physicians admit killing babies
In hopes of provoking the government of the Netherlands to action, a group of Dutch doctors willingly admitted having euthanized 20 newborns.

According to reporter Matthew Schofield, "The doctors hope their move will prompt Parliament to recognize officially that doctors have been euthanizing critically ill children beyond what Dutch law allows."

While there is no indication as to whether any legal action will be taken in regards to the killings, some doctors are insistent in demanding officially-recognized government guidelines for euthanizing children.

"It’s time to be honest about the unbearable suffering endured by newborns with no hope of a future," said Dr. Eduard Verhagen, head of pediatrics for Groningen University hospital and a leading proponent of government guidelines. "All over the world, doctors end lives discreetly, out of compassion, without any kind of regulation."

Until December, the hospital refused to release details about the protocol, but finally chose to do so in hopes of gaining support. The specific conditions for ending the life of a terminally ill child are detailed in the protocol found at www.umcg.nl/azg/nl/english/nieuws/45613. It is intended to apply to about 15 to 20 cases per year in the Netherlands.

Knight Ridder Newspapers, 3/6/05

Clarification
In an April AFA Journal story about the news media ("Study reveals media bias … again"), a study listed the Wall Street Journal as the most biased news source. The study examined only news stories, and not editorial page content, a fact that the Journal failed to mention. We are sorry for any confusion, and thank the numerous AFA Journal readers who alerted us



14th annual Meet at City Hall set for May 5

OneMillionMoms, OneMillionDads continue impact with advertisers

Parental substance abuse endangers kids

Pot use increases risk of mental illness

Condom ads aim for primetime

Maryland sex ed course alarms parents

Parental Advisory: Check kids’ video game magazines

Wal-Mart caves to homosexual lobby

Ford gives to ‘gay’ group in Michigan

NRLC offers ‘Will to Live’ project

Abortion opposition grows in U.S.

Dutch physicians admit killing babies

Clarification