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The AmTaliban's full-force assault on corporate America

As we saw in the Microsoft debacle, when the $30 billion company withdrew support for gay rights legislation after being criticized by evangelist Ken Hutcherson, it was clear that the American Taliban has corporate America shaking in its boots. [It was only after pressure from employees and the blogs that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer later reversed Microsoft’s stance — after the bill was defeated.]

In an excellent piece by J.D. Bullington in the Albuquerque Tribune, the assault and intimidation techniques are relentless. The distressing news is that corporations are buckling.

America’s largest companies are increasingly being targeted for their stances on social issues and dropping their gloves without a fight, showing no willingness to jump into the ring and take on the new breed of righteous, heavyweight contenders. Big business would rather forfeit these days instead of upsetting a huge, well-organized and rapidly growing religious conservative consumer sector.

According to a report in the May 23 edition of BusinessWeek, more and more corporations are facing threats of evangelical-led boycotts, including General Electric for pursuing stem cell research, Proctor and Gamble for advertising Downy fabric softener in a foreign gay magazine and supporting gay rights, and Kraft Foods for supporting the Gay Olympics. Safeway, Lowe’s, Tyson Foods and Kellogg no longer plan to purchase commercial ad space during the TV show “Desperate Housewives” because of pressure from Christian organizations.

The largest church in the nation is Lakewood Church in Houston. Weekend attendance is 30,000, which helped net the church $55 million in contributions last year. Megachurches, like Lakewood, which are actually sophisticated multimedia enterprises, have become incredibly successful at targeting people who have drifted away from other traditional denominations or who have never attended church regularly.

The religious right is one heaven of a force, surging with confidence, power and money after helping President Bush get re-elected. Now it has its sight set on broader issues that conflict with the business agenda.

Evangelicals are obedient followers. A few high commands from the pulpits of megachurches can rock America’s largest corporations and send them scurrying with their tails between their legs.

It’s a formidable challenge for the Left. Can we organize, compete and win over these sheeple? It’s hard to beat a group of people that blindly follow their leaders without firing off a synapse of their own, and corporate weathervane folks that think the wind is driven by the Religious Reich.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding