Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Other FFA


As you may or may not know, the TLC network produces and airs a reality show titled “All-American Muslim” that follows the daily activities of five Islamic families residing in Dearborn, Michigan. Their professions range from a high-school football coach to a small business owner to a deputy sheriff with each adhering to differing levels of religious conservatism.

The show was panned by critics as “boring” and seemed to be destined for obscurity if not for the actions of an organization called the Florida Family Association. The group launched a massive campaign against the show’s advertisers for promoting the program’s agenda of manipulating “Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad.” When pressed for specific examples, the group cited a general “lack of extremism” as misrepresenting the Islamic propensity for violence and anarchy. Their efforts influenced Lowe’s and Kayak.com to pull their advertising which in turn brought the show widespread publicity and media coverage. 
The Jaafar Family
Unaware that an F.F.A. group existed that was not interested in farming; I decided to find out more about these concerned Floridians. The organization, which is classified as a 501C3 charity, operates under the following mission statement:  “Educate people on what they can do to defend, protect and promote traditional, biblical values.”

The organization was created in 1988 by corporate accountant David Caton, who currently serves as executive director. Every year they release a list detailing the various ways they have accomplished their stated goal. A few highlights from the past decade:

2000 – Influenced Publix and 7 Eleven to discontinue the sale of Maxim magazine.
2003 - Developed unique computer software, named PornCrawler, which “searches, identifies and quantifies internet sites and the related companies that place unrestricted pornography on the web.”
2004 – Wrote complaint letters to companies that advertised on the History Channel program Sex in the 20th Century.
2009 – Demanded the firing of David Letterman after he made a joke about The Palin Family.
2011 – “Exposed the AARP’s use of member resources to advocate same-sex marriage and pro-gay military policy.”

Many of their accomplishments are rather impressive, and before reading their newsletter I would never have associated something called “PornCrawler” with a conservative Biblical organization. In fact, if the software functions as advertised the FFA may now be in possession of the greatest database of unrestricted Internet pornography the word has ever seen. Better yet, they have even created an algorithm to categorize it based on the level of sexual depravity. Ironically, licensing this technology to the public could become the FFA’s greatest source of income.

Until 2003 the group employed the more specific (and less enforceable) mission statement “to educate and influence Corporate America and Public Officials to embrace morally responsible business practices as it relates to pornography, trash television, raunch radio and homosexual extremism.” Under this banner they attacked controversial mainstays such as Howard Stern, Hugh Hefner, and Disney.

Regarding the groups statements on All-American Muslim, I have never heard of someone boycotting a show because it excluded something controversial. The FFA appears to be pioneering an entirely new approach to being offended. Under this new model the possibilities are limitless because one can become incensed due to the absence of ignorant stereotypes. Imagine taking to the streets because Dora the Explorer did not enter the country illegally at the behest of a Mexican drug cartel or shunning Fox because Hank Hill and his family did not cook crystal meth in their disability-funded mobile home.

I also find it curious that they have taken no action against other TLC shows like Sister Wives since I doubt that one man repeatedly impregnating four separate women at the same time would be considered a “traditional value” in their eyes. I also feel that they missed the boat on Jersey Shore. Of all the programming they have attacked, how do you miss the one show so devoid of morality that Abercrombie & Fitch would pay not to be associated with it.

Their pre-2003 mission statement was also the first time I have heard the term “homosexual extremism.” The description would seem to denote one who is extra gay as opposed to being moderately so, indicating that while the FFA can get onboard with fastidious grooming, they are unlikely to own To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! on Blu-Ray.

Of course the “extremist” label could also refer to those who perpetrate violence as an extension of their orientation. One can almost imagine this militant flamboyancy evolving into a roving mob of disenfranchised youth who express themselves through bedazzled Molotov cocktails. Heaven help us if they find themselves in control of a nuclear warhead….

Perhaps most disturbing was the group’s use of tax-exempt funding for political influence within their own state. Since 2010, the group has utilized its considerable infrastructure to “keep alive Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s legal challenge to ObamaCare.” While the rest of their actions could effectively be classified as “promoting Biblical values,” I cannot find any scriptural references to government-subsidization of healthcare. In fact, the only medical services Jesus provided were offered at no cost to the patient. This means that if the group were to promote an unaltered “Biblical” approach to healthcare, our entire system would collapse overnight.

While I do not necessarily agree that the AARP has a secret pro-gay agenda or that non-violent Muslims are far more dangerous than their extremist counterparts, I do agree with the group’s right to be heard and to fund their actions through tax-deductible donations. They have even made important contributions in the fight against child pornography, but when their actions become purely political in nature (as is clearly the case with Healthcare Reform), the FFA should pay their taxes like everyone else.

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