Al Qaeda has been suffering as of late. Though spin-off groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghred of Mali are doing alright in their geographic-specific demographics, the core Al Qaeda brand has been diminished in popularity and power in recent years, particularly after the death of their headlining star, Osama bin Laden. If the baddies want to survive, they need some serious rebranding, and as Joe.My.God found, they're hoping to hitch their wagon to the anti-gay movement's star.
As their propaganda rag, the incongruously named Inspire magazine, makes clear, Al Qaeda's firmly against marriage equality, which they cite as just one of the examples of why the West's destined to fall: The collage of hate comes directly after American citizen-turned-terrorist Adam Gadahn's open letter celebrating what he calls political, military and economic signs that "the American empire is at an unprecedented stage of weakness and decline." Marriage equality is simply the icing on the cake, Inspire's art director appears to be saying, weakly.
Sorry, Al Qaeda, this is a valiant attempt at making yourself relevant, but ultimately it's also a stale approach. I mean, seriously, Barney Frank is your villain? At least go with someone more dazzling and therefore threatening to homophobes, like RuPaul or Adam Lambert. Also, doesn't lamenting the fact that Catholics aren't attending mass undermine your whole religious domination schtick? This all just so uninspired, Inspire, and unattractive and confusing. If this were Celebrity Apprentice, you would be fired, Al Qaeda editorial team.
Anyway, check out Al Qaeda's anti-gay messaging fail AFTER THE JUMP.
That said, seeing corporations pay lip service to LGBT rights has become somewhat expected, particularly around pride, when suddenly every company under the sun seems to be embracing their gay pals. So news that over 200 major corporations, including Apple, Nike, Google, Abercrombie & Fitch, Armani and Office Depot, signed Supreme Court amicus briefs opposing DOMA and Proposition 8 may seem normal and predictable. It's neither.
As James B. Stewart at the New York Times notes, this surge is quite the anomaly.
Historians told me there is little, if any, precedent for such early and extensive corporate support of a civil rights issue that remains, in at least many quarters, highly controversial. "By and large, corporations were not leaders but laggards in this process," said Gavin Wright, professor of American economic history at Stanford and author of Sharing the Prize, an economic history of the civil rights movement. "They supported a public accommodations law only after sit-ins and boycotts inflicted heavy losses and it became clear that these pressures were not going to fade away as the latest student fad…." But that changed, he said, "when they found that desegregation actually worked."
Corporations largely steered clear of the Equal Rights Amendment, and played little role decades ago in the early stages of the women's movement. And while many companies have joined in Supreme Court briefs in recent years supporting affirmative action and diversity in the workplace, those moves came long after landmark Supreme Court cases like Bakke in 1978...
By contrast, corporations are weighing in on the gay marriage issue in the first cases to reach the Supreme Court.
"I think you’ll find that, historically, most companies have had a policy against taking a stand or filing amicus briefs, and then only if there is a direct business impact," Mr. Willett said. "They don’t want to get involved in social issues. To see this many businesses rallying behind this cause tells you that it’s a real business issue."
Most of the CEOs and executives and management types within these supportive companies frame the matter not as one of emotions, as when politicians cite a gay child — Dick Cheney, for example — but one of hard facts: LGBT people are employees whose happiness and stable home lives help the business grow. It is, to use one lawyer's phrase, "a business imperative."
LGBT people are no longer just a consumer base to be approached with cold calculation, to be marketed to and manipulated. We're actual people with emotions and loves and passions; we're people with jobs, whose happiness impacts our employers's success; we live down the road or around the bend, just on Main Street. We are, put simply, fellow humans, not faceless shoppers. And in a society where consumption and marketing have an oversized role in shaping our culture, corporate support could very well be just the ticket for discounting homophobia from coast-to-coast.