Gay Games VII Kraft-y Marketing or Cheesy Mantra?By Tamara Scott <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
One year from now, July 15 22nd, Chicago will host Gay Games VII - 2006. According to the website, "The Gay Games are open to anyone. There are no qualifying events, no minimum or maximum requirements, and no mandatory affiliations. The Games are built on the founding principles of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best, and promote a supportive environment, free from bigotry, where participants achieve success by their own measure. More than a tournament or cultural program, the Gay Games is a gathering of the international sports and arts community that changes lives, attitudes, and the very nature of competition." http://www.gaygameschicago.org/welcome/home.php
While "no qualifying or minimum requirement" certainly seems to take the athletic honor away from the Games, 'Free from bigotry' was the fragment that caught my attention. Who would the organizers of the Gay Games be specifying with that type of rhetoric? My 1978 Webster dictionary defines a bigot as " a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own group, beliefs, or opinions".
If the Gay Games are to be free from 'bigotry' then most of the participants should likely be disqualified. Chances are, many of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender athletes are 'obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his/her own group, beliefs, or opinions'. Not only that, the LGBT mind set is usually not at all tolerant of other's beliefs if conflicting with their own; to the extent of changing laws through the courts to enforce their set code of ethics over that of others.
Somehow when the gay movement is after something, it's considered noble, in the interest of civil rights. Yet, when other movements express the desire, not even to gain something, but rather to simply hold to the standards set over centuries of humanity it's considered 'hate speak', 'intolerance', and always, "right wing".
This was evidenced when the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to support the Gay Games. They thanked two of the Gay Games sponsors, Kraft Foods and Harris Bank, noting that these sponsors had been "targeted by religious extremists for their sponsorship of the Gay Games". The www.Chicago2006.com website touts, "Chicago's Mayor Daley and Chicago media have recently rebuked the right-wing organizations for their attacks." http://www.chicago2006.org/media/article.php?aid=100
Notice the article was craftily worded to arouse discontent and advance a political cause. A skill right-wingers could hone a bit. Even 'Kraft-ier" is the cheesy response of Marc Firestone, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Kraft Foods Inc. When refusing to cancel their sponsorship, Firestone said,
"Diversity is more than a word many people like to say. At Kraft we truly respect all kinds of differences. And diversity is not a selective concept. By definition, it's nothing if not inclusive. We respect diversity of ethnicity, gender, experience, background, personal style and yes, sexual orientation and gender identity. Recognizing, respecting and valuing these differences helps us be a more successful business and a workplace where all employees can realize their full potential." http://www.afa.net/kraft05.asp
"Inclusive?" Not a "selective" concept? Did you notice the one value not mentioned - apparently not worthy of respecting - at Kraft Foods? Absent is the 'freedom of religion' or the 'protection of religious beliefs'. While Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act warns employers to acknowledge religion as a protected class in the work place, Kraft must not. http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/vii.html
Can you feel the oppression Kraft is imposing upon every employee that might hold a religious belief in opposition to homosexual behavior? How are these employees to operate under the bondage of having to hide their religious beliefs in the closet when on the time clock? For every consumer who might consider the Ten Commandments sacred, Kraft just trampled three of the ten, the 1st, 7th, and 10th with this insensitive sponsorship.
Figuring most statements made by guys with titles this long are examined by a team of corporate attorneys, one might safely assume Firestone's exclusion of religious expression was not accidental, but calculated.
But why was it necessary? Because it is impossible for those who share a truly Biblical belief in God's Holy Word to justify or rationalize homosexual behavior. If you read God's word unedited, one cannot condone what God has condemned. Likewise, it is equally impossible for those who support non-Biblical behaviors to respect, include, or qualify the Bible's principles.
To promote the Gay Games, Kraft chose to dismiss those consumers with Christian beliefs in a country founded on Christian doctrine by forefathers with a Christian faith. Why? To promote a lifestyle lived by a relatively new and small cluster in America. Kraft is attacking more than Christians; Judaism and Islam also believe homosexual behavior is in violation of their religious tenants.
Ignoring the views of your consumer base seems an odd marketing approach. One would think that Kraft would cater to the larger percentage of traditional families with kids who actually eat their boxed foodstuffs and bagged cookies rather than a small select group that prides itself on gourmet dining and connoisseur tastes.
This wasn't just a risky marketing maneuver. Firestone's mantra was a deliberate message exposing Kraft's agenda and bias toward people of faith.
Unfortunately, most of America won't pick up on the 'Krafty' wording and reckless rhetoric of Mr. Firestone. For those who do, one must decide to be a Bible believer, which means being sold out, obstinate if necessary, and devoted like the disciples. Or one can choose to be a Nabisco buying, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese eater, giving money to those who disregard respect for others and fund groups who oppose traditional values. While I'm not a fan of large-scale boycotts, in Matthew 12, Jesus said, " a house divided against itself cannot stand if you're not with me, you're against me". Bible believer or mac and cheese eater - trying to be both seems foolish, if not hypocritical.
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