All-American Muslim

Liberty Counsel's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Back in August, Liberty Counsel and other Religious Right organizations were incensed when LGBT rights advocates called on companies to drop out of the Charity Give Back Group because the CGBG was directing proceeds to anti-gay organizations such as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and Liberty Counsel. Matt Barber, Liberty Counsel’s Director of Cultural Affairs, said that activists leading the pressure campaign wanted to put conservatives “behind bars” and were “using economic terrorism.” Such remarks were especially ironic at the time since Liberty Counsel led similar pressure campaigns against schools that permit the Day of Silence, McDonalds and Starbucks.

Today, in an interview with the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Liberty Counsel attorney Matt Krause praised the decision by Lowe’s to cave in to a pressure campaign by the far-right Florida Family Association to pull its advertisements from All-American Muslim. The FFA pressured advertisers by complaining that the show was portraying Muslims as regular Americans rather than showing stereotypical Muslim terrorists. Krause commended Lowe’s for agreeing with the FFA that the show did not “genuinely reflect the values of its customers”:

A Christian legal group applauds Lowe's for standing by its decision to pull advertisements from a show on Muslims living in America. The North Carolina-based Charlotte Observer reports that Lowe's will not change its decision to pull commercials from TLC's All-American Muslim. The decision came after the Florida Family Association and the American Decency Association requested that constituents e-mail the show's advertisers because of the program's failure to present the lives of radical Islamic believers truthfully. The company has stood firm on its move, even after Muslim groups launched their own petition drive.

"We applaud Lowe's for taking the steps that they think [are] correct by pulling the advertising," says Matt Krause, litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel. "And if they don't feel that the show or the contents of the show genuinely reflect the values of its customers, then we say that that's terrific that they're standing by their decision."

So just to be clear, Liberty Counsel believes that when gay rights advocates ask businesses to drop out of the politically-geared CGBG, it is “economic terrorism.” But when a fringe anti-Muslim group demands companies refuse to advertise on All-American Muslim just due to the fact that it is a reality show about Muslim-Americans, it is a “terrific” act that is worthy of applause.

Klingenschmitt Prays for Lowe's and Florida Family Association for 'Exposing the Deeds of Darkness'

Gordon “Chaps” Klingenschmitt is joining other right-wing activists in defending the Florida Family Association and Lowe’s, which bowed to the extremist group’s pressure to stop advertising on TLC’s All-American Muslim. Klingenschmitt prayed for God to “grant Lowe's their greatest financial profits” and asked God to bless the FFA for “exposing the deeds of darkness.” He also labeled All-American Muslim “Islamic propaganda” and said people who oppose FFA’s pressure campaign against the reality show’s advertisers are “terrorist sympathizers.”

Klingenschmitt: Almighty God, please bless Lowes Home Improvement stores for their wise decision to stop advertising for the TV show All-American Muslim, which is nothing but Islamic propaganda designed to whitewash the fact that practitioners of militant Islam not only slaughtered over 3000 American civilians, but routinely kill millions of Christians worldwide. Bless the Florida Family Association who led the way by exposing the deeds of darkness, from Ephesians 5:11, and grant Lowe's their greatest financial profits for standing against real violent hatred, not the fake “hate” and “bigotry” they are now accused of by terrorist sympathizers.

The Florida Family Association's One-Man Outrage Machine

While the Florida Family Association has won national attention for its successful campaign to convince advertisers like Lowe’s and Kayak to pull their ads from TLC’s All-American Muslim, the reality show about Muslim families living in Michigan was far from the first show the group attacked, as the FFA previously went after programs like Degrassi, Modern Family, Family Guy and Dancing With the Stars, among others.

As Samuel G. Freedman explains in The New York Times, the FFA is the one-man operation of David Caton, who for decades has been using the FFA as a shell organization for his attacks against not only television programs but also public schools, Disney World and government officials. “What makes the attack on ‘All-American Muslim’ more disturbing — and very revealing — is that it was prosecuted by just one person,” Freedman notes, “a person unaffiliated with any established organization on the Christian right, a person who effectively tapped into a groundswell of anti-Muslim bigotry”:

During the mid-1990s, after hearing about the harassment of gay students, the principal of Largo High School in Florida created a support group for them. Over the next year or two, the meetings also drew sympathetic friends, evolving into a club called the Gay Straight Alliance. For a while, it operated in comfortable obscurity.

Then, in 1998, the principal, Barbara Thornton, began receiving postcards, many bearing the identical message bizarrely denouncing the alliance as a “government-funded witch hunt.” The local school board felt compelled to take up the issue, with 400 parents attending a meeting at which one speaker compared the gay students to murderers.

During that session, Ms. Thornton finally encountered the man who had manufactured the entire controversy: David Caton. An accountant turned rock-club owner, the author of a book about his pornography addiction, Mr. Caton had become a born-again Christian and the founder and sole employee of a fundamentalist activist group called the Florida Family Association.

It would be upsetting enough if a well-financed, well-organized mass campaign had misrepresented a television show, insulted an entire religious community and intimidated a national corporation. What makes the attack on “All-American Muslim” more disturbing — and very revealing — is that it was prosecuted by just one person, a person unaffiliated with any established organization on the Christian right, a person who effectively tapped into a groundswell of anti-Muslim bigotry.

The question is why anybody, especially a major company like Lowe’s, would be swayed by Mr. Caton’s campaign. (Lowe’s did not respond to several requests for comment.) Just to put him in perspective, the 2010 federal tax forms for the Florida Family Association list Mr. Caton as its only paid employee, earning $55,200. The association took in $172,133 in donations and closed out the calendar year with precisely $8,868.76 on hand.

Radical Right Rallies Behind Lowe's

As the backlash against Lowe’s decision to pull ads from the TLC reality show All-American Muslim grows, right-wing activists are rallying to the company’s defense.

Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT! for America launched a petition to boost Lowe’s that ironically defends the right of businesses to “be free to make advertising decisions” even though Lowe’s withdrew their ads after a pressure campaign from the extremist Florida Family Association:

We the undersigned join to stand with Lowe's Home Improvement stores in their decision to cease the flow of their advertising dollars to The Learning Channel's (TLC) television show "All-American Muslim."

We believe that American businesses should be free to make advertising decisions without fear of repercussion from radical Islamist groups.

Therefore, we the undersigned, join with others across America, to let Lowe's Home Improvement know that:

• We support Lowe's Home Improvement's decision to end paid advertising on TLC's "All-American Muslim."

• We thank Lowe's Home Improvement for their position in the face of unwarranted and unfair criticism.

Religious Right radio host Janet Mefferd railed against the company’s critics on her show yesterday, where she hosted FFA president David Caton, arguing Lowe’s decision has absolutely nothing at all to do with anti-Muslim sentiments! According to Mefferd the show was plainly “controversial,” because apparently filming the lives of real Muslim families is controversial: “This has nothing to do with bigotry against Muslims, it has to do with the fact that the company didn’t want to advertise on this particular show because it was so controversial. So what! Get over it! Not everything is religious bigotry!”

The leader of the California Republican Assembly also defended Lowe’s in response to a California State Seantor Ted Lieu’s criticism of the company:

Lieu criticized the chain store, calling their action "un-American" and "naked religious bigotry," adding that he plans political action if the store does not apologize to Muslims and re-broadcast the ads.

Cathy Carlson of the California Republican Assembly points out Lowe's was just one of several companies that made the same decision. "Lowe's is a business -- and yes, it's the right business decision," she tells OneNewsNow. "And they're not the only ones -- there were dozens of advertisers who pulled their sponsorship."

"He is a lawyer -- and what he said to cover himself was that he was going to look into seeing if any laws have been broken; and he knows there aren't any laws that are broken," says Carlson. "So I just think he's posturing. I think he is playing to his base so he gets re-elected. This is typical California politics."

David Caton Says He Had to Stop All-American Muslim Because It Was "The First Show of its Kind"

David Caton of the Florida Family Association appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday where he mostly played the victim over the national controversy that was started by his group’s pressure campaign against advertisers on TLC’s All-American Muslim. He said that his group started the pressure campaign before the show even went on the air because he couldn’t “wait and see” what impact the “propaganda” would have. Upset that the show didn’t conform to his stereotypical beliefs that Muslims in America are extremists and terrorists, Caton criticized the show’s logo and casting because it makes people think that “all Muslims are all American and all Muslims in America are like this”:

Caton: This program was selecting in a manner and not only reflecting a manner, if you go to The Learning Channel and you look at the website and you look at the logo for ‘All-American Muslim’ it has the symbol of Islam in the ‘e,’ in the ‘a’ of ‘American,’ or in the ‘c’ of ‘American,’ the symbol of Islam and the symbol of American. You start watching this program and you realize they’re trying to persuade the public, the general public, that all Muslims are all American and all Muslims in America are like this, and they’re not…. And so it’s propaganda that needs to be called on. It’s the first show of its kind, and so if we had sat back and said ‘let’s wait and see,’ we can’t wait and see any more with this issue, this issue is too critical to the future of our country.

Later in the interview, Caton said that “all of America would rejoice and be doing handstands and high-fives” if Muslims renounced Sharia, or the moral and religious code followed by Muslims, arguing that Sharia “defies and destroys our values system.” He added that people should pray for him to “be in God’s will” and shed “light on darkness”:

Caton: If the core leadership, the Imams, the leadership of Islam in this country, in the mosques, of the mosques of America, were all like some of the people portrayed on this program I think all of America would rejoice and be doing handstands and high-fives because that would be true liberty for us all, they would be liberated from the bondage of Sharia law. But that’s not the case and our concern is one of concern for life and the preservation of life, and Sharia law is the opposite to that…. I can just keep going on with the number of tenants of Sharia law which is inconsistent with American law and which defies and destroys our values system.

Mefferd: Mr. Caton, how can we pray for your organization right now?

Caton: I just hope I would be in God’s will and that I would be continue to be willing to stand where I’m standing if you continue to stand with me and I don’t do anything apart from shedding light on darkness.

Florida Family Association Compares Muslims to Snakes, Wins Support from Other Fringe Activists

Even after Lowe’s and other companies succumbed to the demands of the ultraconservative Florida Family Association, which routinely launches pressure campaigns against advertisers on shows like Modern Family, Dancing With the Stars, and Degrassi, to drop their ads on TLC’s reality show All-American Muslim, the FFA has ramped up its attacks on the Muslim community. While defending his group’s efforts, David Caton of the FFA likened American Muslims to snakes:

The show was not an accurate portrayal American Muslims, he said, because it doesn't disclose that "99.9 percent of Muslims agree with the principles of Sharia law," the restrictive religious code that Caton and others warn leads to the spread of Islamic extremism.

"This has all to do with the way this program was constructed to deliberately present Muslims in America as one flavor," he told The Associated Press. "It would be similar to the Learning Channel doing a report on 'snakes are good family pets' without reporting that there are four in Florida that are venomous. ....For TLC to choose to profile five people as an aberration of the Islamic faith is propaganda."

Pamela Geller, whose diatribe against the show helped spark the FFA’s campaign, pleaded with readers to shop at Lowe’s, blasting a California lawmaker who criticized Lowe’s and Russell Simmons for placing ads on the show to push back against FFA’s pressure campaign:

Advertisers like Lowes are choosing not run their ads on this propaganda. Good for them. The idea that Russel Simmons is threatening and intimidating is indicative of how little Simmons knows of sharia and Islam. Islamic racism is monstrous and is rampant today.

A craven lawmaker seeks to exploit this non-story. Lowes chose not to advertise. That's it. Are we going to force advertisers to finance propaganda or taqiyya?

PLEASE SHOP LOWES. And send a word of thanks to Lowe's Corporate for their decision to drop the show's sponsorship.

The FFA is also finding support from Religious Right groups such as the American Decency Association, which called All-American Muslimdangerous” because the people featured on the reality show don’t talk about jihad, which if you believe anti-Muslim stereotypes is what all Muslims talk about all the time! The group’s president also knocked the Council on American-Islamic Relations for criticizing Lowe’s, arguing that CAIR wants to “overcome our very own Constitution”:

Bill Johnson, president of American Decency Association, argues that the show is a complete whitewash designed to make the Muslim community appear attractive.

"And that's what makes it so dangerous," he tells OneNewsNow. "We've been watching it over these several weeks that it's been broadcast, and they stay very conveniently away from [mentioning] jihad or anything of that nature."

Johnson says their campaign has brought on the ire of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has described the efforts as "bigoted" and "pander[ing] to those who promote religious and ethnic hatred." But CAIR, he says, must be exposed for what it truly is.

"They are not [in the] mainstream," he alleges. "They're operating behind the scenes, propagandizing it [Islam] to influence the young and the old so that one day they can incorporate sharia law in our country and overcome our very own Constitution."

The ADA said it would join the FFA in pressuring TLC to drop the show “because it is merely trying to make us dumb and dumber”:

For that is what TLC is doing with “All American Muslim” – trying to show a small set of people as representing a movement that has evil intentions not only upon America but upon the world.

There is so much at stake in just playing dumb or actually being dumb and silent. There is already enough evidence in Europe and throughout the world to see the handwriting on the wall as we study radical Islam’s strategy and observe it being unfolded around the world. Therefore we monitor this seemingly innocuous show because it is merely trying to make us dumb and dumber. We are to accept the show and it’s one-sided portrayal of Islam at face value but that truly is unwise.

We monitor the show and comment because we believe there is more than ample evidence to conclude that America is targeted!

Meet The Extremist Group Lowe's Caved To Over 'All-American Muslim'

After Lowe’s capitulated to the calls from the Florida Family Association to withdraw its ads from the TLC reality show All-American Muslim, the home improvement company immediately faced a hostile response from consumers not driven by unremitting anti-Muslim bigotry. The Florida Family Association launched its pressure campaign against All-American Muslim advertisers by citing the articles of anti-Muslim activists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, who claim that the show misrepresents the Muslim community because it doesn’t match their stereotypes of Muslims as anti-American terrorists. Spencer demanded TLC create a show about a secular Muslim who becomes a terrorist and Geller claimed that the “program is an attempt to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad” because the people in the show aren’t terrorists, and smeared Think Progress reporter as a “Dhimmi Jew” for defending TLC.

While siding with the likes of Spencer and Geller is bad enough, the Florida Family Assocation has a long history of not only attacking Muslims but also President Obama, entertainment companies and the LGBT community:

  • The group went after Campbell’s soup for boosting the “advancement of Islam and Sharia law in the United States” because the company made halal soups and sponsored a conference held by a Canadian Muslim relief organization.
  • Predicting that “Islam will not sweep into America overnight though it could under the current president” as the “Islamization of America will most likely happen city by city,” the FFA launched a website to combat the purported “Islamization” of Tampa, warning that “Tampa is headed toward embracing Islam.”
  • The FFA also waged a campaign against Modern Family, bragging that they convinced “107 companies to stop advertising during the ABC show Modern Family after the advertisers received thousands of emails from Florida Family Association supporters. Florida Family Association objects to Modern Family because the show labels a same-sex couple with an adopted child as a modern family and attempts to normalize homosexuality by contrasting it with heterosexual couples that the show characterizes as abnormal.”
  • Unsurprisingly, the FFA went after Chaz Bono’s appearance on Dancing With The Stars, saying “Chaz’s appearance on this show looks like nothing more than social engineering to mainstream extreme parts of the homosexual agenda.”
  • The group helped pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a ban on same-sex parents adopting children, and claimed to have sent state legislators “over 10,000 emails opposing Domestic Partnerships and legislation that promotes the homosexual lifestyle,” including legislation that would bar discrimination against people due to their sexual orientation.
  • The FFA also regularly protests Gay Day at Disney World for “offending unsuspecting families,” even contracting a plane to fly over Disney with a seven foot banner reading, “WARNING GAY PRIDE DAY@DISNEY 2DAY.” They even campaigned against the AARP for starting a program aimed at older gays and lesbians, saying it promotes “special rights for immoral behavior.”

Religious Right Groups Launch Fight Against TLC Reality Show

When TLC introduced a reality show about Muslim families living in Dearborn, Michigan, called All-American Muslim, it didn’t take long for anti-Muslim activists to throw a fit that the families in the program didn’t fit their stereotype of Muslims as bloodthirsty and devious terrorists. Robert Spencer urged TLC to make a show about an American Muslim who “ended up participating in jihad activity,” and the Florida Family Association claimed to have convinced eighteen companies to pull their ads from the show.

Earlier this year, the same group demanded companies stop advertising on TeenNick because the show Degrassi featured a transgender character. The FFA said in an alert to members:

The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.

Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

Forida [sic] Family Association sent out an email alert on November 15, 2011 to inform supporters about The Learning Channel’s new show called All-American Muslim and encouraged supporters to send emails to advertisers.

Truth in Action Ministries, formerly Coral Ridge Ministries, also attacked the reality show and said it is part of the “stealth jihad”:

Jerry Newcombe, Truth in Action Ministries' senior producer and analyst, says the major problem with the program is that it's not going to show the reality of "pure Islam."

"It's a free country. Muslims are free to practice their religion here (thanks to Christianity, ultimately). What is sad, though, is that the truth about the goals of radical Islam are hidden from many Americans through programs like the one on TLC. Islam wants to take over the world. If they have to use force, they'll do that. But otherwise, they'll do it by what Robert Spencer calls 'stealth jihad,'" Newcombe said.
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