It's OK to say that Barack Obama waffles on the issues, but to humorously make that point with a box of Obama Waffles is not OK. In fact, it's racist.
Bob DeMoss and Mark Whitlock are two well-known Christian writers with an eye for satire. They thought it would be funny to package waffle mix in an "Obama Waffles" box and sell what they call the "Ultimate Election '08 Edible Souvenir." So they found a manufacturer who would private-label the waffle mix, designed a box with caricatures of Barack and Michelle Obama on it, and rented a booth at this weekend's Family Research Council Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.
Things went well for a day and a half. DeMoss and Whitlock said traffic to their booth was heavy, they got no complaints, and they sold more than 400 boxes of the waffle mix.
But then a member of American Atheists brought the exhibit to the attention of an Associated Press reporter covering the event. When the AP reporter started asking questions, the FRC told the exhibitors to dismantle the exhibit. The AP article started getting traction on the internet, forcing the FRC to issue a statement by day's end that read, in part:
The materials represent an attempt at parody that crosses the line into coarseness and bias. The exhibitor contacted our reviewer just days before the Summit by email and described material that sounded like it was devoted to political flip-flops on policy issues. When the content of the materials was brought to the attention of FRC Action senior officials today, they were removed and the exhibit was dismantled by the vendor at our insistence. It is our responsibility to fully vet materials that are offered at any event we cosponsor, but we are deeply dismayed that this vendor violated the spirit, message and tone of our event in such an offensive manner.
FRC spokesman J.P. Duffy told WORLD the caricatures of the Obamas, along with some of the language on the box, "crossed the line" of racism.
Duffy added that it was not the political message the FRC had a problem with, but language and pictures that some might consider racist. "We have no problem with their overall point," he said. "We were just concerned that some might find the way they made their point offensive."
The language on the back of the box included a comic picture of Michelle Obama saying, "For the first time in my adult life I'm proud of an American waffle." A recipe on the back for "Open Border Fiesta Waffles" features a picture of Barack Obama in a Mexican sombrero. The recipe is a "recommended serving" for "4 or more illegal aliens."
DeMoss and Whitlock were philosophical about the uproar. "We didn't complain," said DeMoss. "Blessed are the peacemakers. We're not looking for trouble. But I do think it's ironic that at an event that celebrates proclaiming the truth we were shut down for telling the simple truth that Barack Obama waffles on the issues."
He added, "I understand that it's not for everyone. But we don't have a racist bone in our bodies. This is humor, not hate."