Let's say you're the typical passionate, devoted follower of Focus on the Family. You are considered quite wealthy in your community, in part because you have two cars up on cement blocks in front of your shack and also because your coon hound, Rufus, eats out of his very own bowl instead of yours.
Each month, because you hope one glorious day to walk through those pearly gates of the Universal Domestic Television studios in Chicago and get a front-row seat for the Jerry Springer Show, you dig up the coffee can you keep buried near the outhouse and remove some of the cash you were saving for a rainy day (when the water leaks through your thatched roof and turns the floor of the kitchen, the pantry and the bedroom -- fortunately for you that's all one room -- into mud).
You take the money out of the coffee can and send it to Focus founder Jim Jones, I mean Jim Bakker, uh, Jim Dobson so he can continue to do God's work. Footnote: This week, God's work consisted of hiring an artist in Milan to sneak into the Basilica of St. Mary and paint Dobson into the original Last Supper. (After consultation with his elite Focus research staff, Dobson, as you might guess, insisted on being seated to the far, far left of the Savior. Right between Luke and Mel Gibson.)
Anyway, you unfailingly send Focus your monthly contribution and you're happy. But one morning you wake up, climb over the 14 relatives who share your bed, briefly uncross your eyes, and say, "Goll-eeee! I doesn't remember who I'm s'posed to hate today!"
Fortunately, you tune your 1950s-era radio to the Focus radio network and your worries suddenly disappear like the 13-year-old barefoot neighbor boy when your daughter became pregnant. This week, you are told by Focus to hate gay people, as usual.
And also to hate the Procter & Gamble Co.
Specifically, Dobson wants you to hate toothpaste and laundry soap. You, as a longtime supporter of Focus on the Family, would be glad to support this boycott -- if you could just find out what toothpaste and laundry soap are.
I am not kidding about this.
Here's the lead of an actual news story a few days ago: "Focus on the Family and another conservative group are calling for a boycott of two Procter & Gamble Co. products because the organizations say P&G is tacitly supporting gay marriage. The American Family Association and Focus said they urged their supporters this week to refuse to buy Crest toothpaste and Tide detergent, two of P&G's best-selling products."
The issue is a $10,000 donation made by Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble to support of a November ballot issue that would repeal a 1993 Cincinnati city charter amendment. That amendment allows discrimination against people based on sexual orientation. Procter & Gamble said the 1993 law makes it harder to attract visitors and potential employees to Cincinnati and subjects gay people to discrimination in housing and in the workplace.
Here's an actual line, written by Dobson for the Focus on the Family newsletter calling for the boycott: "In addition to giving $10,000 to the campaign to repeal the law," Dobson wrote from the $60 million gold-and-marble shrine he built to himself on the north end of our village, "the company has said that it 'will not tolerate discrimination in any form, against anyone, for any reason.'"
I can understand Dobson's concern. Because a world without "discrimination in any form, against anyone, for any reason," is a world -- to use the old expression -- without gold-and-marble rooms filled to the ceilings with tax-exempt $20 bills sent in by gullible people.
Sharing the Mensa platform with Dobson on this issue is the Rev. Donald Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, which is based in another bastion of intellectualism, Tupelo, Miss.
From the Rev. Wildmon: "Procter & Gamble, to my knowledge, is the first corporation in this country that has given money for a political campaign pushing the homosexual political agenda."
He's wrong, of course. The corporation that owns Macy's and Bloomingdale's, for example, has given $20,000 in support of the Cincinnati campaign. But having American Family Association devotees boycott Bloomingdale's is like having President Bush boycott Jeopardy.
Anyway, the Rev. Wildmon was then forced to cut his statement short and had to scurry out of his office because he was late for the weekly American Family Association possum hunt.
Back in Tupelo, I mean Colorado Springs, Dobson used his weekly radio broadcast -- Focus says the broadcast is heard by 9 million dedicated followers, probably because 8,999,999 of them can't read the newsletter -- to call for the boycott.
Focus folks were told to "show their displeasure by boycotting two of Procter & Gamble's best-known brands: Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste."
I hope the boycott doesn't last too long. Frankly, telling 9 million Focus people not to use toothpaste could cause 18 million teeth to decay -- figuring two per person.
As for the boycott of laundry soap, well, it's hard enough for these people to get their clothes clean with soap -- although as I understand it, it also depends on the size of the rock and how fast the creek is flowing.
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