, an online shopping mall that gives a percentage of its earnings to Christian ministries, has become an unwitting target in the culture war's latest battle of boycotts. The battle began on April 11, when Web portal Yahoo! relaunched an expanded "Adult and Erotica" store, from which it earns a percentage on all sales. Yahoo! was hoping to offset a recent sharp decline in advertising revenues.

A number of conservative and Christian groups reacted quickly. The next day, April 12, the American Family Association (AFA) in Tupelo, Mississippi, sent a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft urging an investigation of Yahoo! "for its direct involvement in the sale and distribution of obscene material and child pornography."

AFA also recommended that Yahoo! members threaten to cancel their accounts. The day after that, Yahoo! received at least 100,000 e-mail protests about its porn sales, prompting the firm to shutter its many "adult" clubs and group directories (Yahoo! directories enable discussions between people with similar interests).

Incensed by the shutdown, about 11,500 Yahoo! users organized a counterprotest, forming a "Don't Close Adult Clubs" discussion about their free-speech rights.

In addition, some individuals sent e-mails to the retail partners of Kingdom, which has purchased advertising on the AFA Web site. As a result, at least 11 of's 200 corporate partners announced in May that they had severed ties. Since then, two more retailers—J. Crew Group and Enterprise Rent-A-Car—have cut ties.

Wal-Mart, Avon and ftd soon reestablished ties after talking to Kingdom founder and President Gary Sutton, and receiving protests from AFA supporters. Retailers JCPenney and Nordstrom have ...

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