Apr 13, 2015
A small uproar stayed the pens of the governors of Arkansas and Indiana, just as they were getting ready to sign discriminatory laws against gay people. In a political twist worthy of satire, the laws, written by the conservative American Family Association, were promoted as the RFRA, “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
In a moment of great irony, the Walton family, billionaire owners of Walmart, raised their voices loudly to stop the bill. Yet in Arkansas, this same billionaire family had contributed to the Arkansas Family Council, a conservative group backing the RFRA! Nor is that group the only one to which the Waltons have contributed thousands of dollars to promote a conservative social agenda.
The owners of Walmart made their billions of dollars off the exploitation of their workers, paying low wages, denying benefits to millions in their stores all over the world. At the same time, the Waltons wanted to encourage those they could reach to maintain various rightwing views, such as the anti-union “right to work,” anti-abortion laws, pro-charter schools, for the destruction of public schools, etc.
But when overt discrimination against gay people – the exact purpose of the RFRA – caused a backlash, including comments by the NCAA president just before the Final Four games were to be played, suddenly the Waltons wanted to distance themselves from the very attitudes they had been promoting.
THE CEO of Walmart said, “Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates. We are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation.” In other words, nothing must interfere with commerce and profit at Walmart!