How to deal with a religious right bully

The American Family Association is generally the kind of far-right outfit that should elicit mockery, not fear. It’s heartening when its targets realize this.

The religious right group, perhaps best known for making lots of money fighting the “War on Christmas,” has a habit of launching odd boycotts of just about anything or anyone that falls short of its “pro-family” standards. (My personal favorite: the time the AFA went after Wal-Mart for promoting “Brokeback Mountain” DVDs.)

Occasionally, a company gets intimidated by the AFA’s threats. It’s so much more encouraging when they blow the group off.

For months, the American Family Association has been running a boycott against Home Depot because the company “has chosen to sponsor and participate in numerous gay pride parades and festivals.”

[Late last week], the AFA’s Executive Vice President, Buddy Smith, traveled to a Home Deport board meeting to present the company with a petition bearing nearly a half-million names of those who have vowed to stop shopping at Home Depot stores until the company decides to “remain neutral in the culture war.”

But according to this update Smith gave to Bryan Fischer today, it sounds like the Home Depot Chairman Frank Blake basically told the AFA to take a hike and reiterated their commitment to promoting diversity. Smith was especially troubled by this stance because, as everyone knows, “those who are caught in this trap of homosexuality are in the clasp of Satan.”

And to think, Home Depot didn’t take the AFA’s threats seriously.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.