Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Lowe Moment

Lowe's recently pulled advertising from the show All-American Muslim, bowing to pressure from conservative groups such as the Christian Florida Family Association.  The president of that group, David Katon, said this on NPR:
Our concern with ‘All American Muslim’ is that it does not accurately represent the term Muslim, which is a follower of Islam and a follower of Islam believes in radicalization, the use of Sharia law, which provides for honor killings, mutilation of women and numerous other atrocities to women.
Despite how often we hear anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society, this piece of vitriol really shocked me.  His objection to the show is that it portrays moderate, average, peaceful American Muslims.  Apparently a religious extremist like Katon can't believe that moderates within other religions exist.  He paints a caricature of Muslims and then claims that anyone who doesn't look like his caricature isn't Muslim, and that moderate, peaceful Islam doesn't exist.

Of course it does.  This is ridiculous.

The Muslims on All-American Muslim are more more peaceful, more American, and more Godly than Katon and his organization.  His statements are a disgrace to the faith of real Christians, and thank goodness we aren't using his beliefs to paint a caricature of the religion he claims to be a part of, because he gives Christianity a bad name.  I'll take Dearborn Muslims over his Florida Christians any day as my neighbors and friends.

I was excited to see the show air, by the way, and watched an episode or two, because it highlights the sort of people here in Michigan that I've gotten to know and care for as part of my community.  Unfortunately, I found the show rather boring, which is, really, pretty good news.  It turns out that All-American Muslims?  Well, they're just like us.  In truth, they are us.  And that's just not very exciting TV in my book.  Now, vampires or dragons or something, those are different.

Meanwhile, shame on Lowe's, which has offered this chicken-hearted response:
Lowe's has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.
No, Lowe's, what you did wasn't a response to controversy; what you did was a response to bigotry.  The controversy wasn't something you acted in response to, it was something caused by your action.  And your non-apology of "If we have made anyone question that commitment (to allowing people to have 'different views'), we apologize" isn't going to throw us off track while you continue to bow to the wishes of the hate-mongering bigots by not advertising on a show which is all about showing this thing you've just stated you have a commitment to--differing views.  You're daring to tell us that you have a commitment to allowing different views, and then pulling ads from a show highlighting difference because the bigots say different views can't really exist?  

We call bullshit.