When I posted a link on Facebook yesterday about an uproar caused when the Lowes home improvement store chain pulled its advertising from a TLC program about Muslims in America, it caused an uproar of its own. So, since not all blog readers are Facebook followers, I thought we’d talk about it here too, and see what you think.
In an Associated Press story about the controversy, it was reported that Lowes cancelled the ads on the reality TV show All-American Muslim, after protests by a Florida-based evangelical Christian group called the Florida Family Association. That action, in turn, caused criticism of the retail giant nationwide.
California state senator Ted Lieu (D) called Loews’ decision “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry” and said he would consider legislative action if Lowes does not apologize to the Muslim community and reinstate its ads.
Some people feel that, in bending to the demands of the Florida Family Association, Lowes is practicing racism and bigotry. Others say that any company should have the right to advertise (or not advertise) where it wants to.
I won’t get into the whole debate about whether Muslims are evil, or are merely a religion that has been labeled wrongly because of the actions of a relatively small number of radicals in this blog, because I don’t have room for that. But, while I don’t think it is a wise move for a company to bow to the demands of any special interest group, I also believe that Lowes does indeed have the right to spend their advertising dollars wherever they choose to.
Many are calling for a boycott of Lowes, and they, too, have the right to spend their money with any company they want to, and to not patronize whomever they care to. But think about it for one minute, if you are one of those calling for a boycott. Why is it okay for you to withhold your money from a company, but not okay for Lowes to do the same thing?
For a politician to threaten legislative action to force Lowes to reinstate the ads is completely ridiculous, not to mention that such action would be a violation of the company’s rights. What’s next? Do politicians decide where other companies can spend their ad budgets? What if they decide that something you are against deserves those ad dollars? Gay rights? The Catholic Church? Planned Parenthood? Fox News? The American Civil Liberties Union? Barrack Obama’s reelection campaign? Newt Gingrich? Which of those mandates would get your dander up?
Maybe Lowes’ decision was bigotry. Maybe they caved in too fast to one group without weighing all sides of the issue. But folks, it’s their right to do so. Nobody, and no company, should be required to support anything they don’t want to.
If you agree with Lowes, spend your money with them. If their choice offends you, vote with your wallet and go someplace else. That’s what free enterprise is all about. But do not think that you, or I, or any group, and for damned sure not any politician, has the right to force them to support a cause, a program, or a business they choose not to, for any reason.
Tags: Barrack Obama’s reelection campaign, California state senator Ted Lieu, Catholic church, evangelical Christian group, Facebook, Florida Family Association, Fox News, free enterprise, Gay rights, Lowes home improvement store, Muslim community, Newt Gingrich, Planned Parenthood, reality TV show All-American Muslim, religious bigotry, The American Civil Liberties Union