The Evangelization Station
Pray for Pope Francis
Scroll down for topics
You generally know an ad campaign when you see it, and you don't take it seriously. You may buy Pepsi, but you don't really believe drinking it makes you cool because Britney Spears pitches it. But you may not recognize an ad campaign so easily when it's not relegated to paid 30-second spots. Or when the product being sold isn't a soft drink, but an idea, or an attitude, or a worldview.
Which brings us to a fascinating article in the
Regent University Law Review.
Rondeau's evidence doesn't come just from right-wingers. He quotes people like Tammy Bruce, a lesbian and ex-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women who these days voices concern that gay activists are squelching other citizens' freedoms. Speaking of the marketing strategy, Bruce notes that "What is pitched is different — a product brand versus an issue — but the method is the same. In each case, the critical thing is not to let the public know how it is done."
But Rondeau's most compelling evidence comes straight from the people who designed the gay PR campaign: Harvard-trained social scientists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, who in the late ‘80s issued a call for gay activists to adopt "carefully calculated public relations propaganda." Their strategy came dressed up in marketing jargon: “Desensitize, jam and convert.” As it turns out, though, you could use one word to summarize all those others: manipulation.
Desensitization, write Kirk and Madsen, means subjecting the public to a “continuous flood of gay-related advertising, presented in the least offensive fashion possible. If straights can’t shut off the shower, they may at least eventually get used to being wet.”
Again, this doesn’t mean conventional advertising. “The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome,” they say. “If you can get [straights] to think homosexuality is just another thing — meriting no more than a shrug of the shoulders — then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won.” Turn on the TV practically any night, watch the endless stream of gay characters and references, and you’ll get the idea.
Jamming means, simply, smearing anyone who disagrees with their agenda. “Jam homohatred [i.e., opposition to homosexuality] by linking it to Nazi horror,” urge Kirk and Madsen; associate all detractors with images like “Klansmen demanding that gays be slaughtered,” “hysterical backwoods preachers,” “menacing punks,” and a “tour of Nazi concentration camps where homosexuals were tortured and gassed.”
Moreover, they add,
Conversion means “conversion of the average American’s emotions, mind, and will, through a planned psychological attack, in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media.” Here, too, the portrayal of homosexuality on TV fits the mold perfectly. The viewer who’s not on board with homosexuality (whom they call “the bigot") is to be “repeatedly exposed to literal picture/label pairs . . . of gays . . . carefully selected to look either like the bigot and his friends, or like any of his other stereotypes of all the right guys.”
Kirk and Madsen don’t want to stop there, though. They want to “paint gay men and lesbians as superior — veritable pillars of society.” To this end, “famous historical figures are considered especially useful to us;” not only do they bring prestige, they’re also “invariably dead as a doornail, hence in no position to deny the truth and sue for libel.” (Good thing, too, considering the flimsy evidence that often gets trotted out in these cases. Gays and their allies have even claimed biblical figures like Abraham and David for their camp.1)
Of course, Kirk and Madsen are well aware that there are also plenty of things not to portray. They stress the need to keep quiet about the details of homosexual practices, at least until the public is thoroughly desensitized. “First you get your foot in the door, by being as similar as possible; then, and only then — when your one little difference [sexual orientation] is finally accepted — can you start dragging in your other peculiarities, one by one.”
What “peculiarities?” Well, to take one that’s been in the news lately, sex between adults and minors, as advocated by groups like the North American Man-Boy Love Association. “We’re not judging you, but others do, and very harshly; please keep a low profile,” Kirk and Madsen tell such groups. “You offend the public more than other gays.”2
What else? As Rondeau says,
Beyond reporting on the details of the PR campaign, Rondeau’s great service is to show readers that it even exists. “It is not common practice to think of social movements in terms of marketing,” he notes. “Perhaps this is because using terms like ‘selling’ or ‘marketing’ seems to denigrate noble activities” usually portrayed by their supporters “in terms of grass roots and the will of the people.” In reality, however, “homosexual activists envision that a decision is ultimately made without society ever realizing that it has been purposely conditioned to arrive at a conclusion it thinks is its own.”
That last point is an important one. We all like to think we make up our own minds — after full consideration of all the issues, with equal time for both sides, etc. We also like to think that public opinion arises spontaneously, more or less organically from ordinary people reacting to their own life experience. After all, it’s not very flattering to think of yourself and the people you know as, well, sheep. (Someone has defined public opinion as “what everyone thinks everyone else thinks.”)
In short, one reason we can be manipulated is that we don’t want to know we’re being manipulated. Yet when someone blows the lid off the manipulation campaign — as Rondeau has — we can hardly miss it. And once we know what’s going on, we naturally and rightly resent it.
Rondeau’s article isn’t likely to get much coverage in the standard media outlets, for obvious reason. Nor is it likely to get wide attention among academics, since it ran in the journal of a conservative Christian university. (Academic snobbery can play as big a role as liberal politics.)
But the Internet transcends traditional media and academic gatekeepers. If half the people who read this column forward it to a few of their friends, word will get around to an awful lot of folk. Not as many as watch Will & Grace, mind you, but maybe enough to get a real debate going on the merits of homosexuality — on issues like where it comes from (click here and here), what's wrong with it and how it distorts God's plan (click here and here).
A real debate. Somehow I think that’s the last thing the Kirks and Madsens of the world want to see.
Matt Kaufman, "Selling Homosexuality." Focus on the Family's Boundless Webzine, 2002.
Used with permission of Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Matt Kaufman is the editor of Boundless.
Copyright © 2002 Boundless