Another Letter to TiVo president Tom Rogers about Focus on the Family sweepstakes

Tom Rogers, President
TiVo Inc.
150 East 52nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022

June 11, 2008

Dear Mr. Rogers:

I wrote to you last week about your partnership with Focus on the Family on the “SuperDad” promotion at http://www.family.org/fathersday.

Since I first wrote, I learned that in addition to myself, more than thirty individuals in my gay parenting group have posted entries to this competition, and Focus on the Family has discarded every one of those entries.

I feel kind of badly that my family can’t participate in this promotion just because my kids have two dads. But I feel really lousy every time I pick up my TiVo remote, knowing that my favorite thing in the house is linked to the anti-American and anti-Christian behavior practiced by Focus on the Family. You wouldn’t like it if you couldn’t enter a contest because of your race, religion, or gender; yet TiVo seems to condone this behavior.

I understand that you also operate an affiliate program called “KidZone.” While those affiliates include the PTA, YWCA, After School Alliance, Smart Television Alliance, Common Sense Media, Parents Choice Foundation, National Education Association and others, Focus on the Family stands alone in teaching children that homosexuality is a disease that needs to be “cured,” and that people who are gay are less capable or worthy of raising children in a stable caring relationship than their straight counterparts. Such untruthful hateful policies are responsible for marginalizing our families and raising the rate of attempted suicide among lesbian and gay teens to more than four times that of heterosexual youth.

If TiVo is truly interested in creating a safe-space for children, then Focus on the Family needs to be excluded from that place.

Your terms and conditions say “TiVo reserves the right to reject affiliate sites with objectionable content at its full discretion.” Your logo and copyright rules assert that you have full control over their use. There are many organizations that do not teach kids to hate their neighbors, and I wish TiVo would partner with them instead of Focus on the Family.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – supporting evil is the same as doing evil

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As an example of how awful this battle over the freedom to marry has become, we fired our roofer today.

Well, we didn’t actually “fire” him, but here’s what happened. We had a leak in our roof. This guy from who was highly recommended came over to look at it, and later emailed us a quotation. His email led to his professional Web site, which listed “Victory Outreach Church of Eagle Rock” in his “community” section.

It took about ten seconds to discover that Valley Outreach is a notorious Texas-based Megachurch that not only operates reparation therapy facilities (where they beat the gay out of people) but also specifically endorses the Protect Marriage campaign to exterminate my family.

I did what anybody of conscience is obliged to do: I told this guy that I would retch if a fraction of a fraction of my money went to a place that has exchanged Jesus’ teachings for those of Pete Knight.

Our poor roofer guy was shocked and tried to defend his conscience by saying that he knows many gay people who are “his kindest friends.” I explained that if his ethics allows him to tell his kindest friends they are less worthy of marriage than Britney Spears, then he is not someone I want within a mile of my family, and chased him away.

Really, these are the people who can shoot an abortion doctor in the head without blinking an eye. They should be laughed out of any room they’re in. Yet they asked you to veto AB 43 and you complied.

I really wish you would put an end to this awful battle by telling the people of California that prejudice and hate is not acceptable. There is nothing wrong with gay marriage; there is everything wrong with denying it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Salvation Army Undermines World AIDS Effort

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is World AIDS Day. It’s an awful disease. Government is not doing enough, and the religious are doing even less.

The US branch of the Salvation Army ignores this day to ring bells in suburbia. They divert money from direct aid in order to block the only things that are shown to stop the disease: needle exchange, condoms, and commitments like same-sex marriage. They use the excuse of religion to pick and choose who they help – reserving food baskets and employee health care for people who meet their myopic definition of family.

Money can not “do the most good” when it is dispensed with an agenda influenced not by compassion but by judgment. Nobody can help people when they hate them.

I wish you would say something this holiday season about how the Salvation Army is undermining the fight against AIDS with its old-testament evangelical superstitiously-based policies. The Salvation Army may be entitled to their beliefs, but Californians deserve to know what beliefs they are funding.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Do Good Work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Like many Californians, I’m not profoundly religious, and the Bible is a big puzzle. So I rely on people of faith to help me interpret that book.

The Most Reverend Jefferts Schori, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, told a congregation confused about the role of homosexuality in scripture that “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Sit there and throw words at each other,’ He said, ‘Get out there and heal the sick and help the poor.’ “

You know, she is right. You don’t get into heaven by punishing people here on earth. You get there by helping them.

I wish you and your Government would help couples like us get married, instead of punishing us for doing nothing wrong. Then you could focus on your budget and the churches could concentrate on helping people.

Yours,

Today’s letter – charitable relief organizations serve at their pleasure

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When wildfires strike, the last thing we want to worry about is keeping our family together. Unfortunately, charitable relief agencies have vastly different policies for dealing with “unmarried” family members.

When asked about “domestic partners” Stacey Grissom, media relations associate for the Red Cross, said “[the] Red Cross is a neutral and impartial organization and we help people who need help. So, we don’t help with regards to race, creed, color, religion and sexual orientation. We help people who need to be helped.” The Red Cross works with employers to locate information on victims’ nearest living relatives. “So in those cases where the next of kin is listed as a domestic partner, that would be a person who would definitely get benefits,” she said.

In contrast, The Salvation Army says “Where a man and a woman love each other, sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage. However, in the Christian view, sexual intimacy is not essential to a healthy, full, and rich life. Apart from marriage, the scriptural standard is celibacy.” In addition, the Salvation Army refuses to recognize its very own lesbian and gay employees with domestic partnership benefits, and has terminated services in areas where local statutes require this.

With one organization, my partner of ten years and our two kids are treated as a family. With the other, we are considered strangers without access to reunification services or the ability to shelter together.

The only way to end this discrimination is to eliminate the differentiation. It is too late for you to sign AB 43 but it is not too late for you to come out in support of the freedom to marry.

Yours,