A Christian group is claiming it has
been denied access to broadcast a documentary special on the “radical
homosexual agenda” titled Speechless: Silencing the Christians.
The American Family Association (AFA)
says two broadcasters, one in Grand Rapids, Michigan (WOOD-TV) and
another in Columbus, Ohio (WSXY – This TV), have refused to air
their one-hour special.
“There's a real threat to our First
Amendment and free-speech rights because Christians are being shut
down and shut out and shut up by the very people who say they
champion freedom of speech,” AFA president Tim Wildmon told the
Christian-based website One News Now.
Speechless is a controversial
anti-gay documentary that has drawn protest from gay and lesbian
rights groups. AFA marketing materials say the program will “reveal
the truth about the radical homosexual agenda and its impact on the
family, the nation and religious freedom.”
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD), a media watchdog group, protested the special.
In a blog post, the group said that the special was “designed to
perpetuate a climate of hostility towards our community and to create
a culture where we are less safe, less secure, and where our families
are put in harm's way.”
“Make no mistake,” Joe Solmonese,
president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay
rights advocate, said in a statement. “This is the opening salvo
in a campaign designed to denigrate LGBT Americans and deny us our
“Just as our community is at a point
where measures protecting millions of American heads to Congress and
a willing president, the AFA unleashes 60 minutes of lies and
distortions to scare voters. The AFA and its allies have never been
'speechless' when it comes to promoting their own agenda, and that's
driving a wedge in the very places where LGBT Americans work, live
and even pray.”
The program, an edited down version of
a 14-episode series that initially aired on the INSP Network, is
hosted by conservative talk show host Janet Parshall.
In the documentary, the AFA asserts
that proposed federal hate crime legislation would outlaw religious
speech, employment protection laws force churches to hire gays and
lesbians, that gay men and women are largely responsible for HIV/AIDS
and all STDs, and that gay marriage hurts the family because it
deprives children of a mother or a father.
“This video outrageously promotes
spiritual violence against LGBT people,” said Harry Knox, director
of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion & Faith Program.
“Despite what the AFA claims, a growing number of mainstream
denominations have endorsed hate crime legislation, including the
United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and the
Episcopal Church USA.”
The Grand Rapids Press reported
on Thursday that WOOD-TV 8, the Grand Rapids, Michigan broadcaster,
had decided not to air Silencing. And One News Now
reported that WSXY 6.2 in Columbus, Ohio had had a sudden change of
heart and would not broadcast it either.
“It's ironic that the very issue
we're bringing up – that Christians are being rendered speechless
when they talk about this issue [of gay rights] – is actually
happening to us when it comes to the program itself,” Wildmon said.
But the special has aired in smaller
markets such as Traverse City, Michigan (WPBN – NBC), Toledo, Ohio
(WUPW – FOX), Charlotte, North Carolina (WJZY – The CW), and
Greenville, South Carolina (WSPA – CBS).
The Greenville station manager issue an
apology after the program aired.