Something Special in the Air
Date Added: Oct. 19, 2001
Here's an example of armchair activism that may have been well-intended, but because of its poor design, could do the opposite of what it was intended.
American Airlines is a major sponsor to and supporter of groups like: the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, GLAAD, the AIDS Action Foundation, DIFFA, AmFAR, and scores of community-based groups representing gays and lesbians. It was also the one of the first airlines to adopt a written nondiscrimination policy covering sexual orientation in its employment practices.
In an unusual joint letter released to the media on March 14th from the Family Research Council, Concerned Women of America, American Family Association and Coral Ridge Ministries, American Airlines was openly criticized about their policy. Radical right leader Beverly LaHaye also went on Christian "talk radio" on Friday to blast American Airlines because American's sponsorship of homosexual 'pride' events constitutes an open endorsement of promiscuous homosexuality."
She and the other groups have written Bob Crandall at American to complain that the airline has "gone beyond mere tolerance" of gays and lesbians. It has come to the attention of the gay and lesbian community that American Airline's switchboard and e-mails are being bombarded now by homophobic and hateful callers who have been urged by LaHaye and others to DEMAND the company terminate its gay-friendly policies.
Please add your name to this petition and forward it to as many people as you can.
To add your name just cut and paste this onto new mail and send it out! If you are the 25th, 50th, 75th, 100th, etc. person to sign this petition then also please forward this to American Airlines at Webmaster@amrcorp.com Thank you.
To American Airlines:
We, the undersigned, support your gay/lesbian rights policies and commend you for your efforts in ending discrimination. Thank you for your dedication to such issues and please continue to remain active in the struggle to end discrimination.
This e-petition bears a striking resemblance to an earlier petition about gay rights legislation in Vermont. It's the same basic formula: Somebody openly supports gay rights, but those "religious types" are trying to influence them to change their stance, so you have to send this petition to them or they might bend under the heavy hand of the moral majority.
Though it may be well-intended, this petition is poorly constructed. You could actually do more damage than good - When American Airlines starts receiving thousands of copies of an unsolicited petition, they're going to be more than a bit perturbed. Besides, one astute chain-breaker pointed out that Bob Crandall retired as chairman of American in 1998!
Finally, let's see how it stands up to the Seven Tests of Armchair Activism:
There are much better ways to let American Airlines know you appreciate their liberal policies - if this is your intent. I'm sure they'd much rather have you on one of their planes than to get thousands of e-mail petitions with your name on them. Break this Chain!