CyberNOW 
http://www.now.org/


by Sarah Stapleton-Gray
Internet and LAN Manager
webperson@now.org Getting the Word Out On the Promise Keepers

The power of the Web as a tool for activists was demonstrated during NOW's "No Surrender" campaign against the Promise Keepers. While NOW warned of the danger of the Promise Keepers in traditional media outlets, we also reached many people through our web page — unfiltered by pundit commentary. Over 35,000 visitors looked at our Promise Keepers page (http://www.now.org/issues/right/pk.html), not including users on services such as America Online or CompuServe, who look at local copies of the NOW pages, leaving their visits unrecorded.

Sometimes those visitors were referred to our page from the web pages of well-known media sources. Over 4,100 visitors came to NOW from the CNN site, 1,400 came from the MSNBC site, and 800 came from the Washington Post web site. Even the online magazine Slate, while critical of NOW's position on the Promise Keepers, referred their readers to our web page so that they could —and 500 did—read our materials. Thousands more reached our page from the popular Yahoo site's Promise Keepers page.

What visitors found and read when they got to our site included Myths and Facts about the Promise Keepers, several NOW news articles, an offer to order NOW's Promise Keepers video, and a chance to connect to audio clips from media interviews with NOW officers.

Using the Web to Research the Religious Right

The Web is also an effective tool for researching the religious right. Activists can find out what right-wing organizations are working on and use their own words in op-ed pieces and letters to the editor.

At the Family Research Council web site (http://www.frc.org/), you can view their promotion of the Promise Keepers and find out how "family-friendly" they really are. For example, their Frequently Asked Questions state that: "Federally funded child care programs are a staple of the liberal agenda to replace the nuclear family with the total state." Their sexist agenda is not hard to find, as in: "The Family Research Council believes in the unique gifts and capabilities of women, and opposes the pitfalls of a military that is gender blind." And it's easy to gather evidence of homophobia in statements such as: "FRC believes that homosexuality is unhealthy, immoral and destructive to individuals, families and societies."

Other religious right sites include Focus on the Family (http://www.fotf.org/), the Independent Women's Forum (http://www.iwf.org/), and Concerned Women for America (http://www.cwfa.org/).

At "The Ultimate Pro-Life Resource List" (http://www.prolife.org/ultimate/), review their list of "crisis pregnancy centers" to find out which ones are really tools of the religious right and follow links to numerous anti-abortion organizations.

The Promise Keepers' site can be helpful for activists who want a schedule of upcoming PK conferences. For a critical look at the Promise Keepers and other religious right sites, visit the Center for Democracy Studies' web site (http://www.cdsresearch.org/) and the People for the American Way site (http://www.pfaw.org/).

Happy surfing!


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