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Scores of protestors picketed the H.E.B. at Highway 281 and Loop 1604 on June 16 because the grocery chain donated money to PrideFest 2006. Among the sign-weilding group were a dozen children whose ages ranged from about 5 years to 15 years-old. Adam McManus, a San Antonio Christian radio talk show host for KSLR radio (630 AM), shown chatting with a newspaper reporter in photo right, organized the protest. (QSanAntonio photos)

H.E.B. under fire for PrideFest sponsorship
QSanAntonio, June 16, 2006

On Thursday, June 15, Adam McManus, a San Antonio Christian radio talk show host for KSLR radio (630 AM), declared war on H.E.B. for its corporate sponsorship of PrideFest 2006, which takes place on June 17 at HemisFair Park.

By the end of the day the H.E.B. Web site was overwhelmed with hundreds of letters of protest from McManus’ listeners, most of who wrote that they would stop shopping at the store if it did not pull it’s support of the gay event. Additionally, McManus invited listeners to join him in picketing an H.E.B. store on San Antonio’s far North side.

"Since H.E.B. supermarkets defends their sponsorship of the San Antonio homosexual event, please join me and picket them this Friday night at 6:30 p.m.," McManus announced on his radio show. In addition to protesting and sending emails, he asked his listeners to talk with in-store managers and ask them to reconsider their "poor decision of sponsoring the San Antonio Homosexual PrideFest on Father’s Day weekend."

On KSLR’s Web site, McManus wrote that his listeners’ emails "suggested that H.E.B. get their money back, they issue an apology to Texas families on their Web site, and commit never to sponsor this unnatural, immoral, unbiblical lifestyle choice again in the future."

Reacting to the controversy, the H.E.B. corporate office issued a response so timid that it seemed like an apology: "We received your e-mail regarding our participation and the participation of other corporations and banks in the upcoming Gay Pride Festival. H.E.B. received a request for a small donation for the event; the request was reviewed and approved by our Regional Diversity Council. We realize that you are unhappy with us about this but we hope you will take into consideration that we contribute to over 5,000 non-profit groups of all kinds across the state of Texas annually."

McManus cut the grocer no slack, "To Christian consumers, it is irrelevant whether the San Antonio homosexual Pridefest was the only group which H.E.B. contributed to or one of 5,000. Wrong is still wrong. It cannot be diluted."

Marsha Warren, chairwoman of PrideFest, said she first learned of the protest from H.E.B. officials who informed her that the protestors would be picketing their store at 20760 US Highway 281 (at 1604). Warren expressed concerns that PrideFest would be marred by protests as well. "You have to ask these people -- ‘Would Jesus discriminate?’" she said, "and of course the answer would have to be ‘No.’"

QSanAntonio is encouraging its readers to let H.E.B. know that you support their corporate sponsorship of PrideFest and their commitment to diversity. Click here to access the H.E.B. "Contact Us" page.

H.E.B. donation of $300 to PrideFest
H.E.B. press release, June 16, 2006
"H.E.B. values the opinions of all its customers. Our corporate donation policy has always been one of inclusiveness and focused on treating all our Partners and Customers with dignity and respect. Specifically, H.E.B.'s contribution to PrideFest amounted to a donation of $300. This donation in no way represents a political or social stance. It's about respecting our Customers and Partners and supporting the communities we serve."

Christians protest outside an H-E-B over chain's donation to Pridefest
San Antonio Express-News, June 17, 2006
More than 100 people joined Christian radio talk show host Adam McManus on Friday evening to picket a busy H-E-B grocery store waving brightly colored signs at passing commuters with phrases like "H-E-B pushes the homosexual agenda," and "H-E-B promotes sodomy."

H-E-B not bowing to pressure
Radio.WOAI.com, June 17, 2006
H-E-B is standing firm with its commitment to sponsor a Gay Pride event held at Hemisfair Park this Saturday. The giant food store chain had received letters from angry citizens urging them to stop promoting the homosexual lifestyle.

GLBT community mobilizes support for H.E.B.
QSanAntonio, June 17, 2006

It was about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15 when Marsha Warren, chairwoman for PrideFest 2006 called QSanAntonio with the news. She had just gotten off the phone with H.E.B. officials who informed her that their Web site had received hundreds of emails denouncing the grocery chain for its support of PrideFest. "We’ve got to get the word out," she said, "we need to come together as a community."

H.E.B. was blindsided by the protest because even though they had donated $300, they were unaware that their logo was on the PrideFest Web site. They only learned about it when Adam McManus, the Christian radio talk show host, announced it on his June 15th program. After discussing the matter with Warren, H.E.B decided to keep the logo up. (Although by Saturday afternoon, June 17, the logo had been removed.)

What remained to do was essentially damage control. Within 30 minutes of speaking to Warren, QSanAntonio sent out an email alert to a list of 400 names including emails to local media outlets. By Thursday evening the first supportive emails began arriving at the H.E.B. Web site.

Early morning on Friday, June 16, City Councilwoman Elena Guajardo contacted QSanAntonio to say that she had spoken to H.E.B. officials who told her that they had only received a few positive emails from the GLBT community. Guajardo asked that QSanAntonio put the word out once again emphasizing what H.E.B. had said.

The second time was the charm. By mid-day QSanAntonio received dozens of emails from readers who said they were networking with friends and relatives to blitz H.E.B.’ s Web site and switchboard with "Thank You’s" for supporting PrideFest.

On Friday afternoon a second wave of emails went out from Equality Texas, an Austin-based GLBT lobbying group that maintains a database of gay voters throughout Texas. The group targeted people on their list who reside in cities where H.E.B. does business. The email provided an automatic, Web-based response mechanism whereby recipients could click on a link and automatically send their message to H.E.B. According to local sources, Equality Texas has a database of 25,000 names in San Antonio alone.

Throughout the day Councilwoman Guajardo was networking with local GLBT citizens to devise a way to show H.E.B. that the gay community was an important segment of their market. Guajardo and others felt that a counter-protest was not the way to go. One idea that was floated is a coupon that GLBT shoppers would take to H.E.B. and give to the cashier at the checkout stand. The coupon would thank H.E.B. for its support of gay events and show the amount the shopper has spent in the store. This and other ideas are still being discussed.

As of Friday evening, June 16, H.E.B. spokesperson Marcie Casas could not say how many positive calls were received but that the response was very good. At 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, Equality Texas reported they had 1750 email campaign participants, 150 from San Antonio.

When QSanAntonio spoke with Marsha Warren early Friday evening she expressed her thanks to everyone who made his or her voice known. Sounding a bit weary from the day’s events, she only had one worry left – putting on the PrideFest.

McManus stages another protest, calls for H.E.B. boycott
QSanAntonio, June 24, 2006

Christian talk show host Adam McManus, perhaps feeling a sense of defeat, staged another protest on June 23 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the H.E.B. on Blanco Road and Loop 1604.

Speaking on his daily radio show on KSLR on June 23, McManus said that the purpose of the second picket was to announce a month-long boycott of H.E.B. He urged his listeners to shop elsewhere and send their grocery receipts to him so that he could show H.E.B. how much money they’re losing.

One source who was on the scene to observe the latest protest told QSanAntonio that there were about 30 picketers holding orange and green signs on the sidewalk in front of the H.E.B parking lot. The Express-News did not cover the event it in its June 24 edition. A report did appear on KENS-TV on its 10 o’clock newscast and on its Saturday morning news show (photo above).

McManus seemed particularly anxious to make this second protest a success. He admitted on his radio show that the GLBT community, with the help of powerful players like Equality Texas, sent in thousands more messages than his listeners did. He estimated that only 700 – 800 of his followers responded.

You can read McManus’ very long rant against H.E.B. and the GLBT community at at his Take A Stand web site. The GLBT community may also be interested to see the list of Adam's Advertisers -- local businesses that run ads on his KSLR radio show.

In his online rant McManus also mentions the Gay Pride San Antonio parade to be held on July 2. This controversy may persist into that event as well.

Guajardo meets with H.E.B.
QSanAntonio.com, June 24, 2006

San Antonio City Councilwoman Elena Guajardo told QSanAntonio today that she met with officials from H.E.B. in her office on June 22 to discuss the anti-gay backlash they received after donating $300 to PrideFest.

"H.E.B. told me they got the message from the GLBT community and that the corporate office is very impressed with the response they received," Guajardo said.

Councilwoman Guajardo reported that H.E.B. told her that "sales have held strong" indicating that last week’s anti-gay protest had little or no effect on the grocer’s operations.

In the face of this new protest, Guajardo encourages the GLBT community to continue its calls and emails thanking the grocer for its support of PrideFest. Emails should go to customer.relations@heb.com. The phone number to call and give your message of thanks is 210-938-8357.

Guajardo says H.E.B. suggested that another way for the GLBT community to show its continued support is to give a monetary donation to the San Antonio Food Bank, which makes food available to local HIV charities. Coupons for donating are available at the checkout counter of every H.E.B. The donation can be as small as $1.00. On the coupon write, "Thank you for supporting PrideFest." This is a very tangible way to show H.E.B. that we stand behind them.

Adams' Advertisers
Following is a list of businesses that advertise on McManus’ radio show:

Beyer Plumbing
4711 Broom Street, San Antonio, 210.656.9027, http://www.beyerboys.com
Chuck Bowen
Financial Coach, 210.392.5411, http://www.chuckbowen.net
Cornerstone Automotive
14630 Blanco Road, 210-479-1901
Flower Forrest
Owner Greg Waters, 7547 McCullough, 210-822-6766, http://www.flowerforrest.com
India Palace
Owner, R.J., 8440 Fredericksburg Road, 210-692-5262
Kirk Riggs Custom Homes,
210.379.7351 Lantana Ridge, Highway 281 North and Rolling Creek Road; 1-800-778-4433, http://www.lantana-ridge.com/
Rockin' J Manufactured Homes
Owner -- John George, 9750 North US 281; 1-800-228-8031
San Antonio's Dirt Busters
Mike Flores -- owner, 210-685-1931
School of Excellence in Education
Ricky Hooker, Superintendent, 802 Oblate, San Antonio, 78216, and 1826 Basse Rd, San Antonio, 78213, 210-431-9881, http://www.excellence-sa.org
Dr. Stan Shelton, Dental Solutions
13350 O'Connor Road, Suite 12, San Antonio 78233, 210-590-7878, http://www.drshelton.com
State Farm Insurance Agent Kevin Anderson
5149 Wurzbach, San Antonio 78238, 210-680-0850
T Bar M Camps
830-620-4263, non-denominational Christian Summer Camps in New Braunfels, Texas and on Lake Travis. http://www.tbarmcamps.org

Christian radio host holding Texas grocery chain accountable
AgapePress.org, July 11, 2006
San Antonio, Texas, site of the famous 19th-century battle at the Alamo -- is now host to another potential battle that is brewing, this one between homosexual activists and conservative Christians. The battle is centered on, of all things, a statewide chain of grocery stores.

Anti-gay activist taking up Butt
goodasyou.org, July 11, 2006
Adam McManus, a queer-unfriendly radio host in Texas, is lashing out against local grocery store chain H-E-B and its CEO Charles Butt for their recent support of the San Antonio Pridefest.

McManus and twelve anti-gay disciples picket H.E.B.
QSanAntonio, July 8, 2006

Christian radio talk show host Adam McManus and twelve of his followers staged a third protest at an H.E.B. store on Friday, July 7. Among the picketers was San Antonio’s most well-known homophobe Jack Finger.

Earlier in the day, speaking on his KSLR radio show, McManus said he hoped to get 200 picketers to the H.E.B. store at South Zarzamora and Southwest Military Drive to protest the store’s donation to PrideFest last month. Those numbers never materialized. In fact, the demonstration, which was scheduled for 6:30 p.m., didn’t get started until after 7:00 p.m.

The latest H.E.B. protest was the smallest yet. Previous protests, held on the far North Side of San Antonio, occurred on June 16 and June 23. For his first South Side protest McManus came prepared with signs written in Spanish, sometimes to comic effect. One orange banner read, "H.E.B. empuja el agenda alegre," which when translated says, "H.E.B. pushes the happy agenda."

Southsider’s were not embarrassed to make their sentiments known to the protesters. QSanAntonio witnessed one woman screaming at the protestors from the parking lot, "You’re all white. Do you hate black people too?" Later on, a truck full of women went by honking and yelling out the window, "We love lesbians!" There were a few such encounters.

Despite his persistence, McManus’ pitch seems to be running out of steam. His July 6 radio show was filled with repetitive chatter – he had nothing new to say. During the hour in which he discussed H.E.B. only five listeners called in make a comment. However, those responses came only after McManus offered free Chick-Fil-A coupons to callers.

McManus also called for a month-long boycott of H.E.B. asking his listeners to shop elsewhere and send him the receipts so that he could show how much money the store was losing. On July 7, he employed the help of the American Family Association, the notoriously anti-gay organization based in Tupelo, Mississippi, to send out an "action alert" email signed by AFA founder and chairman Donald E. Wildmon.

San Antonio City Councilwoman Elena Guajardo told QSanAntonio that she met with officials from H.E.B. in her office on June 22 to discuss the anti-gay backlash they received after their donation to PrideFest.

H.E.B. told Guajardo that the best way to counteract McManus’ protest was to make a donation to the San Antonio Food bank using the coupons available at every H.E.B. checkout counter. Shoppers should write on the coupon, "Thank you for supporting PrideFest" indicating the GLBT community’s support of H.E.B. The coupons are available in one, three and five dollar demonminations.

H.E.B. spokesperson Marcie Casas told QSanAntonio that there had been no noticable response from the Food Bank coupon campaign as yet. QSanAntonio urges its readers to act on this as soon as possible.