News Article Plays Pivotal Role



(Christian Gallery News Service, Feb 24, 2002)  Red Cross officials deny it, but evidence exists to prove that an article published in the Christian Gallery News Service provided influence that helped arrest a Red Cross condom giveaway program contributing to an atmosphere of wanton sexual abandonment at the Winter Olympics.


Salt Lake City "Safe Games" founder, Luciano Colonna, who planned to distribute 250,000 Red Cross condoms during the winter Olympics, admitted that the Red Cross condom giveaway was halted and that the "Red Cross gave in to pressure from protestors."



To understand the pressure behind the Red Cross' decision to shut down its condom "ministry" at the Winter Olympics, it is necessary to look at a story published by this news service on Feb 17, 2002.  It was this exclusive news story reported by Ken and Jo Scott and published by the Christian Gallery News Service that provided the critical fact that created the national reaction that eventually forced the Red Cross to shut down its condom giveaway.


More specifically, it was a single sentence in that story that put an end to the Red Cross exercise in sexual abandonment.  This was the arresting sentence written by Jo Scott, "…One of the Generation Life kids, 14 years old, walked into a tent and she was offered the safe kit [containing the condom] before she even asked for it…"


To see how this one sentence could loose a firestorm of protest capable of changing the Red Cross condom agenda, it is necessary to look closely at an article published by the Washington Post on Feb 22, 2002, written by Mary Pat Flaherty and Gilbert Gaul, entitled "Red Cross Quits AIDS Effort."  While not giving credit to the Christian Gallery News Service, the contents of the Washington Post article demonstrates how the image of the 14-year-old girl accosted by the condom pusher reported in the Christian Gallery News Service article reverberated across the nation and shut down the Red Cross program.


The Washington Post article began, "The American Red Cross has ended its participation in an AIDS prevention program aimed at the crowds attending the Winter Olympics in Utah after protests by antiabortion groups and local donors upset about the distribution of free condoms."


The Washington Post article continued, "The incidents that prompted the Red Cross's actions, Sheehan said, [Susan Sheehan, chief executive of the Greater Salt Lake Area chapter of the American Red Cross] included a volunteer tossing a packet at a local community leader and another giving an unsolicited condom to a teenage girl [emphasis added].


The Post article quoted Luciano Collano, "…volunteers are told not to give condoms to minors and to ask to see the driver's license if they suspect a person is younger than 18."


Luciano Collano explained where the pressure to shut down the Red Cross program was coming from, "We haven't had many complaints and the few we have had have been from people who are with conservative religious right groups."


It does not take Sherlock Holmes to see that the report in the Christian Gallery News Service of the 14 year old Generation Life girl entering a tent and, without asking for it, being given a pack of condoms, gave "conservative religious right groups" all the evidence necessary to bring complaints powerful enough to cause the Red Cross to eliminate the threat of future action by shutting down the condom giveaway program.


Further evidence that it was the events in the news story reported in the Christian Gallery News Service that was the impetus for the shutdown is found in the statement made by Susan Sheehan.  The Washington Post article reported, "Sheehan said protesters at Red Cross headquarters have included some who took photographs of Red Cross volunteers…"


Look at the photographs submitted by Ken and Jo Scott and you will see the actual developed photographs referred to by Susan Sheehan and mentioned in the Post article.  In other words, when Susan Sheehan referred to "protesters at Red Cross headquarters…who took photographs…" she was referring to the Christian Gallery News Service reporters, Ken and Jo Scott.  There simply were no other news photographers in Salt Lake City who were also "protesters at Red Cross headquarters".


So there you have it:  a news story, accompanied by photos, was published in the Christian Gallery News Service and was then repeated by "conservative religious right groups" until the heat from the story caused the Red Cross to get out of the business of promoting sexual licentiousness at the 2002 Winter Olympics.


Does that make you appreciate the Constitution's first amendment freedom of the press or what?


Neal Horsley


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