activism / banned / civil rights / equality / homophobia / LGBT

Say Your Prayers, Berenstain Bears: Bullsh*t Doesn’t Dodge the Bullet

In light of Chik-Fil-A’s recent clarification that that are, indeed, anti-marriage equality, The Jim Henson company has chosen to sever ties with the fast food corporation, followed by the following announcement on Facebook:

Photo: The Other 98%

 Awesome! Just another reason to love Jim Henson & his legacy.

To fill the vacancy in its kid’s meals, Chik-Fil-A has responded by utilizing an existing contract and work-in-progress with book publisher HarperCollins and The Berenstain Bear Family instead, prompting the following statement on the BB Family website that and repeated on their Facebook page, as well:

Does anyone else notice the clever language and missing logic here?

Despite being celebrated in gay-friendly blogs here and here and here etc.,

They didn’t say, “We were unaware of Chik-Fil-A’s stance on marriage equality”
They didn’t say “We were unaware of Chik-Fil-A’s religious affiliation.”
They didn’t say “The Berenstain Bears Family supports marriage equality”
… or anything that even comes close to that.

Even if the BB Family “doesn’t have control” over the books being released by a self proclaimed homophobic company, whomever drafted that disclaimer had an opportunity –right there– to say something, anything in support of human rights.  They could have followed, at least ad minutia, the compassionate example set by the Henson company and pledged to donate (even a percentage of) their profits toward an equality based organization.

But they didn’t. All they did is shirk their involvement, at the same time admitting,

‘This program was in development for over a year…”

That particular statement is especially vapid, considering it was two years ago that  Chik-Fil-A donated over 2 million dollars to block marriage equality; if they were trying to distance themselves from the homophobia, the timeline doesn’t work at all. But, since they’re not, it’s simply irrelevant; or proof of how long they’ve been in bed with an admittedly anti-gay business. They’re attempting to distance themselves from the controversy, not from what’s causing it.

Chik-Fil-A has been an openly Christian business since it was founded in 1967, stating its “Corporate Purpose” is: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward to all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chik-fil-A.”

The BB Family is no stranger to religion. In fact, they’re not distancing themselves from religious affiliation at all.; in fact, quite the opposite. In a post dated in 2008, Zonderkidz quietly announced a new line of Faith-Based Berenstain Bears books called the “Living Lights” series, with titles like, “The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers,” “The Berenstain Bears Go to Sunday School, and “The Berenstain Bears: God Loves You.” while maintaining its self-proclaimed and widely known “Humanist” books on secular bookshelves. It seems as if the BB family is trying to have their cake and eat it, too.

It’s no surprise that two like-minded companies have been working together toward the common goal; this particular one being to spread “Christian values”. (*in quotations because I know quite a few Christians who are activists for gay rights. Being homophobic isn’t Christian any more than being racist or sexist is. Discrimination is discrimination, no matter how you rationalize it.) It’s a perfectly reasonable business practice for companies to work with other companies that share the same ethical mindset. No one would discredit them for that. It’s when the backpedaling begins that we start raising eyebrows.

One could try and argue that the BB Family could be the non-homophobic type of Christians- but if so, they sure missed an opportunity to come right out and say it, possibly gaining the exact support that CFA just lost. Instead, they crafted a cleverly worded disclaimer, effectively shooing us away; they have deleted every comment (that I have left- and I’ve never seen another) made on their Facebook statement, refusing to acknowledge their own or anyone else’s feelings on the matter.

The BB Family is behaving like a child caught sneaking cookies with a sibling who has seen the other get in trouble and doesn’t want to suffer the same consequences. Their wanting to protect their hidden ethics is understandable, considering the backlash CFA is receiving for being openly against marriage equality.

Chik-Fil-A has already been banned from Boston, where Thomas Manino wisely stated,

“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward. Because of [Cathy’s] ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel employed similar sentiment;

Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

and San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee followed suit, tweeting:

These reprovals are from leaders of huge, metropolitan cities- not to mention the thousands of individuals, myself included, who will never give them another cent. I care about my gay friends WAY more than I care about a particular brand of fast food chicken, -or humanist-turned-homophobe children’s books, thankyouverymuch.

Unlike The New Civil Rights Movement blogged, the BB Family (except for sister, over there) aren’t pissed.

They’re completely apathetic, which is the damn same as supporting it. 

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. John Stuart Mill

Guess what, Berenstain Family! I’m not tricked by your sly attempt at an innocuous remark, you homophobes! At least Chik-Fil-A owns their (complete bull)shit, quite honestly. As a company who preaches “Do unto others” and has formerly prided itself on universal messages. Shame on you, BB Family, for both your vacant statement and for your belief that your readers aren’t smart enough to see through it.

HATE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE.
Peace out, Berenstain Bears. It’s been real.

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