Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Sam Walton’s original stores wouldn’t even sell recorded music if it contained profanity and Janet Baird was happy working hard to make the company money, setting up and managing wedding fairs and other promotions, and won awards for her efforts.
She and her husband even married at one of the store’s events.
But no more. The Ohio woman, after hearing the shocking confirmation directly from the mega-corporation’s international headquarters that the company is, in fact, contributing to the financial and moral agenda of the nation’s “gay” chamber of commerce, she quit. And she’s not a bit worried.
“I got God backing me. That’s where I stand on it,” she told WND in an interview.
Baird had worked for the corporation, in various branches including Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart, since 1992. It was a recent tip she received from her brother that was the beginning of the end, because he told her “my company had joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.”
“Sam Walton was such a moral man, he wouldn’t even allow music to be sold in his stores if it had bad language,” Baird said. “When it comes to moral values, first of all they started selling smutty magazines, then they brought in nasty music and videos, even ones others refused to sell, like ‘Brokeback Mountain.’”
Now this comes along. “I sent an e-mail (to the company) asking, ‘What have you done to Sam Walton’s store?” Baird said.
McAdam had told WND the move was just another business outreach, much as the company’s affiliations with other chambers of commerce, such as the Hispanic organization.
But to Baird, it wasn’t the same. She called the corporate office for its response. “The lady said, ‘Yes.’ When I asked if the money I spent shopping at Wal-Mart would go to support same-sex marriage, she simply responded, ‘Sales are sales.’”
“I let her know how long I had worked at Wal-Mart and told her that I would no longer work for this company and never spend another dime there. She replied, ‘I hope you don’t mean that.’ I did mean it. The next day I went to the store and quit. The manager that signed my exit papers had no idea about what had been going on in the leadership of Wal-Mart.”
Now she’s staging protests in front of that store, and others nearby, to let people know of the company’s affiliations and commitments.
She said a large part of her years-long commitment to the company was because of the original core values the company exemplified.
“I began working with Sam’s Club in 1992. Mr. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart Stores, had recently passed away. The more I learned about this man the more I wanted to do what I could to make this an ever better place to work.
“I worked in marketing and put together the first wedding expo. This was a fund-raiser that allowed vendors to set up for a weekend and all the proceeds went to the Children’s Miracle Network. It was a huge success,” she said.
“This became a yearly event. I was so proud to work for this company. I was privileged to be the event coordinator for a number of Wal-Mart sponsored events and raised a lot of money in the community,” she said.
One beneficiary was a young man named Luke Clemons. He was 18 and needed a liver transplant. “We managed to raise enough money for (the) transplant and start a Luke Clemons Foundation,” Baird said. He survived four more years.
For that work, she was given a Member Service Award.
“This was not a job to me, it was a ministry given to me by God Himself to help His people in need and get paid for it at the same time,” Baird said.
But things changed. “Today Wal-Mart is not the same company Mr. Sam started. I think he would rather see it go under than to see what it has become. Mr. Sam loved God – the store he began does not!” she said.
Her boycott is getting its start in front of the store where she used to work, on the Lexington Springmill Road in Ontario, and then at the nearby store in Mansfield, Ohio, and then will continue to other stores.
“As Christians we have to take a stand and get the word out because most people are not aware of what is happening,” she said.
Her big boycott launch will be the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 24, she said, because that traditionally is the biggest single shopping day of the year.
“We will be joining all of you on the day after Thanksgiving … to bring the Gospel of Christ to the very gates of hell,” she said.
She’s replaced only part of the income she gave up by leaving Wal-Mart, by accepting a position in a physician’s office.
When Wal-Mart initially confirmed the agreement to support the “gay” chamber, Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., immediately launched a citizens protest of the move.
It also was at that point that an advertising industry site, AdAge, confirmed Wal-Mart not only had joined the NGLCC but also has hired a “gay-marketing” shop and started discussions about extending domestic-partner benefits to employees.
In the AdAge report, Justin Nelson of the NGLCC described the company as “pragmatic.”
“They have been viewed with some degree of skepticism by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, and it’s important for them in terms of gaining market share to change that,” he told AdAge.
Perkins told supporters that the “heat” from the “radical left” apparently influenced the company’s corporate decisions, and he wants constituents to let Wal-Mart know of their displeasure.
“While the NGLCC professes to promote the ‘interests of the LGBT business community,’ this is not all they have done,” Perkins said. “Recently, they described efforts to defend traditional marriage as an attempt to ‘write discrimination into the Constitution …’ The NGLCC also advocated attaching a pro-homosexual ‘hate crimes’ amendment to legislation intended to protect children from violent sex offenders.”
“It is unfortunate,” Perkins said, “that Wal-Mart has joined forces with an organization whose mission opposes many of the values shared by rural and small-town America. It is precisely the interests of average Americans that Wal-Mart has prided itself in promoting.
“Now, by surrendering to the radical homosexual lobby, Wal-Mart has entered the political arena with no economic benefit to their company or their customers,” he said.