DALLAS — The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau doesn’t want you thinking “Dallas” when you think Dallas.

That is, don’t confuse what the once-popular television drama was with what the Big D has come to be.

“It has left behind stereotypes of big-haired women and rowdy cowboys,” states the visitors’ bureau’s website.

Fair enough.

But other stereotypes, states the organization, are warmly welcomed, including drag queens and homosexual cowboys. With Dallas already boasting what it says is the sixth largest homosexual population in the United States, the visitors’ bureau is actively promoting tourism among homosexuals, online and in its literature.

“From entrepreneurial mavericks to Fortune 500 power-players,” says the site, “Dallas shines as a business center that welcomes its gay ingenuity.”

That doesn’t sit well with Cathie Adams, president of Texas Eagle Forum, a Dallas-based affiliate of the pro-family group Eagle Forum begun by Phyllis Schlafly, a Catholic.

“I’m sickened over it,” Adams said. “It’s very apparent that they think that money is a higher priority than families. As a Christian, I can say that when they supplant a fear of God and what he calls right and wrong with their god of dollar signs, it offends us morally as well as spiritually.”

Where once the homosexual agenda might have been promoted only in street parades, it is with increasing frequency marching through the hallways and offices of big government and big business. The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau is just one of many examples.

The Money Factor

What’s driving the relatively new marketing effort in Dallas? Ross Crusemann, the bureau’s senior vice president of marketing, first points to dollars.

“The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau began marketing to the GLBT community in 2004 as one of four growing niche markets including African-American, Asian and Latino,” said Crusemann, noting that most large cities do the same. “The gay and lesbian market comprises about 15 million people with an estimated $65 billion in U.S. travel spending. This research also indicates that most GLBT travelers have more discretionary income, enabling them to take longer trips and spend more money.”

Adams does not deny that Dallas has a large homosexual population. “But that doesn’t make it a healthy or traditional lifestyle to be presented to children and their upbringing,” she said, noting that in 2005, 76% of Texans supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Efforts like those of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, she said, are among the reasons why traditional families are fleeing for the suburbs.

A similar promotion was marketed in Philadelphia two years ago, in a campaign using TV commercials. More recently, the Philadelphia School District caused a ruckus when it added “Gay and Lesbian History Month” to its school calendar sent to 200,000 mailboxes. That permitted the system’s 35 “gay-straight alliance clubs” to recognize October with special activities.

That’s cause for concern, said Thomas O’Brien, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

“While a number of parents feel sympathetic toward any form of disrespect or discrimination of those who claim to be gay or lesbian,” O’Brien said, “they draw the line at an advocacy for the lifestyle among their children.” That includes, O’Brien said, the expectation that freshmen in Philadelphia’s public schools read a collection of stories titled “Am I Blue?” which describes the coming-out experiences of youth.

The Catholic Church teaches in the Catechism that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity … Under no circumstance can they be approved” (No. 2357). But it adds that “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. … They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (No. 2358).

O’Brien had a letter sent to religious education directors notifying them of the public school’s calendar and that the CCD students in their classes “may be hearing a different message” than what is taught by the Church. O’Brien, who stressed not only the moral ramifications of homosexuality but also its increased mental and physical health risks, said that parents have the primary responsibility to lovingly instruct their children in the truth “long before a school promotes a gay and lesbian month.”

One report noted that the 195,000-student school district had received 120 complaints about the calendar.

Wal-Mart

By contrast, a louder  outcry recently helped the Christian-based American Family Association take on — and beat — goliath Wal-Mart after discovering that the corporation had made gifts to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and to Out and Equal, which promotes homosexuals in workplaces.

The American Family Association eventually sent a plea to its 3.4 million “email alert system” subscribers asking individuals to boycott Wal-Mart on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Two days before Turkey Day, Wal-Mart called the association and said it had a major announcement: it would “no longer make corporate contributions to support or oppose controversial issues unless they directly relate to their ability to serve their customers.”

“All we’ve asked of Wal-Mart all along is to remain neutral in the culture war,” American Family Association President Tim Wildmon told the Register. “We’re saying don’t fund activities or organizations on the other side who want to push for things like same-sex ‘marriage.’ That’s not in the best interest of your company, either. Just sell your stuff and stay out of the crossfire.”

In one sense, Wildmon noted, time has favored those promoting homosexual lifestyles, though he sees the tide turning. “The last year or two, if you look at the scorecard on the same-sex ‘marriage’ issue … 27 or 28 states have passed amendments prohibiting homosexual ‘marriage.’”

Wal-Mart’s recent announcement was seen as another victory.

“I have to think other companies pay attention to what they do, and that gives us more credibility with other corporations,” said Wildmon. “They can look around and say, ‘Hey, these guys stood up to Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart agreed with them.’”

Anthony Flott is based

in Papillion, Nebraska.