Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble should be boycotted for its efforts to overturn a local law barring special rights to homosexuals, says Focus on the Family founder and chairman James Dobson.
Dobson will urge listeners of his daily radio program today to stop buying two of the company’s best-known products, Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste.
His half-hour program reaches about 9 million listeners a week in North America.
The American Family Association already has launched a boycott against those products for the company’s financial support of a campaign to repeal a Cincinnati city-charter amendment approved in 1993 with 62 percent of the vote. The group has set up an online petition.
Dobson argues that in addition to giving $10,000 to the campaign to overturn the amendment in November, Procter & Gamble has said it “will not tolerate discrimination in any form, against anyone, for any reason.”
The family advocate says while the company does not explicitly endorse same-sex marriage, its statements and policies communicate the notion that restricting marriage to one man and one woman is discriminatory.
“For Procter & Gamble to align itself with radical groups committed to redefining marriage in our country is an affront to its customers,” Dobson said. “An overwhelming majority of Americans — the men and women who buy this company’s products — oppose same-sex marriage. To give no thought to their views while selling out to a very small special-interest group is not only bad business, it’s bad for the country.”
A Procter & Gamble media contact gave WND the company’s standard response to the boycott.
“Statements and assertions made by these organizations are wrong. P&G has not supported gay marriage. The definition of marriage is a subject that will be debated and decided by voters.”
Spokesman Doug Shelton was not immediately available for further comment.
Dobson said he has been disturbed by the company’s sponsorship of “sexualized television programing,” but “what its doing now threatens the cornerstone of our society: the family.”
He acknowledges the difficulty of carrying out an effective boycott.
“It’s tough to make a dent, financially, in a corporate giant like Procter & Gamble,” Dobson said. “But we can send a very strong message to the men and women in the corporate offices: ‘Not only have you lost your moral compass, but you have lost our business. And you’re not going to get it back until you stop insulting us and disregarding our values.'”
Phil Burris, president of the citizens group trying to maintain the Cincinnati amendment, told AgapePress in February he was stunned the company would go against the majority of city residents who oppose giving special rights to homosexuals.
He contends the company fosters an environment hostile toward people who hold traditional values.
“Many people have left Procter and Gamble because of the hateful, bigoted attitude that it has toward people of faith,” said Burris of the Equal Rights Not Special Rights committee. “And if you do not endorse and accept homosexuality, they will drum you out of the company.”
In 2002, Procter & Gamble began offering “domestic-partner benefits” to its employees. The company did not issue a press release, but an internal memo acquired by Concerned Women for America’s Culture and Family Institute said the move was in line with P&G’s “commitment to valuing diversity” and “promotes equal opportunity related to marital status or sexual orientation.”
In 2000, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation praised Procter & Gamble for its decision to drop an advertising buy on a television show planned by Dr. Laura Schlessinger because of “controversy surrounding Dr. Laura on a number of topics.”
In its announcement of the decision, P&G did not specify the topics, but GLAAD, hailing the company’s move, said, “Criticism of Schlessinger’s anti-gay commentaries has intensified in the last year, with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruling last week that her broadcasts were ‘abusively discriminatory’ toward lesbians and gay men.”
Other major companies that distanced themselves from Schlessinger included Xerox, AT&T, United Airlines, Toys ‘R’ Us and American Express.
Within days of the Dr. Laura announcement, the company was criticized for declaring support for Cincinnati’s Gay Pride Parade. But P&G insisted it was supporting its employees, not the parade itself.
In the past, rumors spread that Procter & Gamble was tied to Satanism, prompting calls for boycotts. But prominent Christian leaders denounced the charges as baseless.
In the 1980s, the claim was based on an interpretation of the company’s man-in-the-moon logo. In the 1990s, e-mails falsely claimed the president of the company appeared on the “Phil Donahue Show” and announced a large portion of the company’s profits supports the church of Satan.
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