The Peach

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Jesus Is My Tagline

A few months back, we were appalled by the transparent gay-baiting tactics being employed by conservative groups to promote various right-wing agenda items. There was USANext’s effort to turn the elderly against the AARP with a campaign, the gist of which could be summed up as: “AARP hates the troops and loves gay marriage.” The spiritual and aesthetic forbear of that campaign was a nearly identical conservative effort during the presidential election when the RNC distributed leaflets in areas of Kentucky and West Virginia, containing cheesy graphics suggesting that Democrats intended to simultaneously legalize same sex marriage and ban the bible.

That was all bad enough, but nothing could have prepared The Peach for the latest evolution of this tactic, which is now being trotted out in the service – not of conservative economic policies or even political party differentiation, but of filthy lucre. That’s right, the old “green checkmark over the photo of the gay couple” approach has made its way into an almost unbelievably crass consumer marketing campaign for Oklahoma-based United American Technologies, which bills itself as a “Christian-based” phone service.

By the evidence of a couple of apparently authentic telemarketer calls (listen here) recorded by comedian Eugene Mirman, U.A.T. telemarketers have been calling consumers around the country pretending to take a survey on gay marriage on behalf of something called the “Faith, Family & Freedom Campaign.” If the consumer presses the number one when prompted, indicating opposition to gay marriage, an operator comes on the line and attempts to persuade the person to switch his phone service to U.A.T. The reasoning? Simple. AT&T, MCI, Verizon and other mainstream carriers all support a gay agenda!

Mirman, in his seemingly genuine outrage against the abomination of marriage equality, manages to draw some truly amazing statements from the U.A.T. telemarketers, including the idea that manstream carriers indoctrinate their employees into "the gay lifestyle" and produce child pornography.

At one point, a bewildered sounding Mirman asks incredulously, “AT&T sponsors child pornography?” “No, no,” the salesperson hastily corrects him. “That’s MCI.”

The rest of that exchange continues like this:

Mirman: MCI has hardcore child pornography?

UAT: Yes, they are. They have a pedophile Web site for men who love boys. It's a Montréal based Web site....

Mirman: And so MCI basically has a child pornography ring?

UAT: That's correct.

Mr. Mirman: What about the others? What does Verizon do?

UAT: Okay. Verizon, what they do is they train their employees to accept the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

At this point, Mirman practically shrieks, “You mean they’re turning their employees GAY?!?”

In the end, Mirman and his newfound wingnut chum cozily agree that together, they will destroy “the gays.”

The Peach does not know what to make of this except to assume that it must work, or U.A.T. wouldn’t be doing it. According to U.A.T., the company has succeeded in getting 2000 subscribers a month to switch to their service, so playing on people’s hatred of gays appears to be lucrative. It also develops that Faith, Family & Freedom is an actual 527 organization, started by the Republican floor leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Through its partnership with U.A.T., the 527 gets a percentage of sales for each customer they succeed in switching over the Christian carrier (hmmm, The Peach wonders, does it enable you to call God?).

We are just waiting for someone to blame it all on Working Assets – after all, they started it with their donations of a portion of sales to progressive causes. And how do they prospect? By finding out whether potential customers like certain causes such as the environment or women's reproductive choice. U.A.T. could plausibly argue that they are merely taking the next logical step, qualifying you as a prospect based on whom you hate.

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