All-American Fear

The Jaafar family from TLC's reality show, All-American Muslim
Yep, terrorists alright.

The first clue that the Florida Family Association has their collective heads up their asses should be in the name. Instead of being intellectually honest and branding his organization with a name like Scared White Fundamentalist Christians, FFA founder David Caton chose a deliberately vague moniker. After all, if you don’t agree with the positions of the Florida Family Association then you must be against families, right? And what kind of monster is against families?

Apparently, the monsters on TLC’s now-controversial reality show All-American Muslim are. Despite TLC’s transparent attempts to hide the truth, the FFA wants us to remember that all Muslims are by nature evil and anti-American. So really, Caton and his group are doing the Lord’s work by exposing this cancer on society. But they’ve taken their crusade one step further and convinced Lowe’s — an organization even dumber and more cowardly than the FFA apparently — to pull their ads from the show.

Predictably, defenders of Lowe’s and the FFA are wrapping themselves in the cloak of the First Amendment while essentially trying to silence another group at the same time. The tenor of the comments on the Lowe’s Facebook page (which I recommend you stay away from) run the gamut from, “You managed to make the enemy unhappy” to “Lowe’s has the right to spend their advertising dollars however they want.” And those are among the more civilized comments.

Incidentally, that latter defense is just one of the many strawmen put up by the ignoramuses on the far right. No one is saying that Lowe’s doesn’t have the right to advertise with whomever they wish. And if they wanted a far less offensive reason to pull spots from All-American Muslim then they could have cited the show’s low ratings. According to the most recent numbers I could find (from late November), the show is one of TLC’s lowest-rated.

This is in contrast to another TLC show — Sister Wives — that profiles a group of fundamentalist Mormons who still practice polygamy. I wonder how much energy the FFA has expended trying to get advertisers to boycott that show, seeing as polygamy is, you know, an actual crime. I guess it’s still better than showing law-abiding Muslims, what with their secret agenda to institute Sharia law in the United States.

Terrified woman screaming
Look out, it's a jihad!

The truth is that All-American Muslim isn’t offensive to me as a Christian, nor is it particularly scintillating viewing. Had the FFA not said a damn word about the show, it probably would’ve quietly slipped off TLC’s schedule in order to make room for more shows about little people or pastries. Or little people making candy.

But that wasn’t going to happen since the FFA and groups like them exist only to perpetuate their own existence. They deal in one commodity whose value has only increased during this lousy economy — fear. The fear that a group of white, ultra-conservative, fundamentalist Christians has over watching their power and influence in this country erode with every passing year (the Christian part isn’t always the case, but often is).

They’re afraid of Muslims, with their Sharia law and scary clothes. They’re afraid of Hispanics, with their different language and non-aversion to menial labor. They’re afraid of homosexuals, with their not-so-secret plot to turn us all gay and fabulous. They’re still afraid of black people, and secretly wish they’d be put back in their place. They’re afraid of the whole world outside their narrow point of view, really.

But mostly, they’re just afraid.

And they’re doing their damnedest to drag the rest of the country back into the 1950s with them. Back when times were simpler and our country held fast to “traditional, Biblical values” (whatever that really means). Unless of course you were not a white, middle-class male. Then to hell with you.

I guess what really bothers me the most about Lowe’s caving in to actual extremism is that by withdrawing their advertising from All-American Muslim, they’re furthering the agenda of fear that is poisoning this country. They’re giving bigoted zealots like David Caton validation for his fears and hope that he can still turn society’s clock back about 50 or 60 years. It’s ultimately a losing battle and they know it, but they’re clearly not averse to inflicting as much damage as possible in fighting it. It’s probably the only thing they’re not afraid of these days.

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