When I first heard about this, I thought it was an elaborate hoax.  But the more I looked into it, the more real it became to me.  United American Technologies is a telecom provider selling long distance phone and ISP services (you can sign up for their One Nation Under God calling plan at their site).  They have a unique, and I say evil,  marketing strategy.

After the call reaches a person they are prompted to press “1” if they oppose gay marriage. A holding message says “Please do not hang up … This information will describe how the ACLU and gays are getting gay marriage in every state.” The operator then enters the conversation:

Operator: Did you press 1 to oppose same sex marriages?

Mr. Mirman: Oh, I pressed it, yes.

Operator: Okay, that’s great to hear. And are you against same sex marriages?

Mr. Mirman: Well, I want to destroy it, yes.

Operator: Okay. That’s great to hear… –

Mr. Mirman: Like the fist of God we will smash them!

Operator: Exactly.

Eugene Mirman is a comedian who recorded the telemarketing calls he received from a Faith, Family, and Freedom, a non profit 527 that has acted as a marketer for United American Technologies.  Mirman recorded two calls from Faith, Family, and Freedom.  You can listen to the calls here and here.  They are both hilarious and scary.

Mr. Mirman coaxes out the absurdity of the script, but he’s no left-wing activist with an axe to grind. Born in Russia, he explains, “My problem isn’t with people of faith having certain convictions and wanting their money to support those convictions; it’s with a phone company surreptitiously exploiting people’s beliefs and fears for revenue. To have a nonprofit call people on your behalf and imply that MCI makes money from the rape of children and that God hates your competitors, I think, is inappropriate.”

That’s certainly one word for it. A call to United American Technologies shed further light on the fund-raising scheme. I spoke to Carl Thomspon, a senior consultant whose son-in-law Tom Anderson is CEO of the year-old company. He told me that 2,000 people a month were switching as a result of the calls and was forthright in admitting that “our main thing is calling against the gay and lesbian lifestyle.” “We’re not concerned about offending people who don’t agree with us on these issues,” he said.

John P. Avlon also cites the relationship between Faith, Family, and Freedom and Lance Cargill, the Oklahoma State House Republican floor leader:

More complicated was the arrangement he described with the “Faith Family and Freedom” 527 organization that had been placing the calls. The fund was created and maintained by the 33-year-old Republican floor leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Lance Cargill. The funding arrangement, as both men described it, was that a percentage of the profits from each caller who switched would be directed back into the 527’s coffers to pay for conservative political campaigns. This is a hate-speech-fueled food chain between a company professing faith and a political action fund.

Mr. Thompson said that both parties agreed to the script, a charge that Mr. Cargill denies. Mr. Cargill stated that the calls had been recently stopped because of complaints from folks who “didn’t appreciate the phone calls,” but other organizations continue to place calls on United American Technologies’ behalf. This is a rare glimpse into the divide-to-conquer world of grassroots political activists in an age of poisonous partisanship.

Mr. Cargill
Apparently, Mr. Cargill is a world class jerk in multiple ways.

Good as You also has two recordings of telemarketing calls from Christian long distance providers here and here.

The telemarketers portray AT&T, MCI, Sprint, & Verizon as sinful, due to their “support” of the pornography, pedophilia, gay marraige, abortion, and liberal candidates for elected office.  Blessed Hope Communications offers a handy guide to the sinful ways of long distance providers here.  How long before wingnuts in the congress begin the attack on GayT&T?

Tactics such as these are disgusting to me.  They extend the conflation of gays with pedophilia, pedophilia with liberal elected representatives.  This only affirms to me that we progressives need to stand with gays and any other minority group under attack by the facists.  Christians have the right to choose any phone company they want, but marketing tactics like these need to be dragged out into the full light of day, exposed for all to see.  I think it could further blunt the momentum of fundamentalists in their hijacking of the Republican Party and,by extension, our country.  

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