Editor's Note: Paul Joannides is a proud straight ally, a psychoanalyst, and the author of the Guide To Getting It On (Amazon, Apple Store), a popular book on sex that is used in college and medical-school sex-education courses. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and has been invited to speak about sex at Dartmouth, Yale, Rice and other colleges.
One Million Moms is a fundamentalist Christian organization whose goal is to eliminate the presence of gays and lesbians from the public eye. It also targets blasphemy in the media and double entendres about sex. I joined the organization because I wanted to see how a group like this carries out a campaign of intolerance.
Soon after I became a member of One Million Moms, I received a "call to action" email that implored me to threaten the management of JCPenney with a boycott unless they fired Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson. It seemed that Ms. DeGeneres has an agenda "that goes against Biblical values." So I sent an email to JCPenney telling them how impressed I was with their Ellen DeGeneres commercials.
Another "call to action" was over a single episode of the TV show Person of Interest. According to One Million Moms, the show "went way too far in an attempt to normalize homosexuality when creator and producer J.J. Abrams introduced a married lesbian couple"--a female heart surgeon and her female partner. They said, "The show treated this immoral relationship just like any other married couple. This is a way of promoting the homosexual agenda by making it appear absolutely normal."
So I sent an email to the producers of Person of Interest thanking them for portraying a lesbian couple just like any other married couple. I got their email address from One Million Moms.
In their call to action against Person of Interest, One Million Moms said that except for this one episode, they loved watching the show. They described it as being "fresh, intriguing, and extremely interesting." But as my wife pointed out, one of the main characters in Person of Interest is a bad cop named Fusco, who is part of a corrupt group of drug-running police officers. He attempted to execute the main character not once, but twice. By my count, Fusco has violated three of the Ten Commandments on many occasions, yet One Million Moms never asked us to boycott the show because of that. Thanks to One Million Moms, I now know that in God's eyes, being a lesbian is worse than lying, stealing and murder.
And then there's the TV show Suits, where according to One Million Moms, "The name of Jesus is blasphemed and hauled through the sewer constantly. God is never glorified when his Son's name is taken in vain. You and I cannot let this continue." Suits is a show I watch. I assume if God were really angry about it, He would have seen to it that Suits got canceled after its first season. After all, He is God.
I experienced a moment of personal darkness when One Million Moms released a call to action claiming that Maxwell,the Geico pig, was tempting America's daughters to have sex with barnyard animals. Taking One Million Moms at their word, I asked my teenage daughter if the Geico pig commercials were causing her to have impure thoughts about pigs. "Jesus Christ, dad, that's sick!" she replied. "Where did you get such a twisted idea?"
Then One Million Moms threatened Oreo cookies after Kraft Foods, the maker of Oreos, created an ad in support of gay rights. The ad showed a giant Oreo cookie whose filling contained all the colors of the rainbow. According to One Million Moms, "Kraft needs to know that there are competitors that make similar products. Siding with radical homosexuals has its price. There are plenty of cookies on the market for moms to buy that do not support liberal causes." Really? Most off-brand versions of Oreo cookies taste terrible. The action I took in this case was to buy a package of Oreo cookies and enjoy eating every last one.
This leads me to last night's call to action regarding the Boy Scouts. One Million Moms was in arms about the Boy Scouts' proposed resolution which would allow gay kids to be scouts without lifting the ban on gay scout leaders. Here's what the group had to say:
"The [proposed] BSA resolution doesn't allow a gay adult to go on a camp-out with boys, but may put an 'experienced' gay 17-year-old with a 12-year-old boy on his first camp-out. This creates a perfect environment for sexual abuse within scouting."
How is this any different from what goes on now? How do the Boy Scouts know if a potential scout is gay? I suppose they could put sensors that measure arousal on the boys' crotches and make them look at pictures of naked men. This is one of the only ways that researchers can tell, and they still get lots of false negatives and positives.
It's also clear that One Million Moms doesn't know much about sexual orientation. It's no more possible for a homosexual Boy Scout to turn a straight scout gay than it is for Christian counselors to turn gay people straight. "Conversion" works no better on a camping trip than in a therapist's office.
But if the Boy Scouts' resolution does pass, I wouldn't be surprised if One Million Moms demands that gay Boy Scouts have to wear pink badges.
So there you have it--whether it's Ellen, Person of Interest, Suits, Maxwell the Geico pig, and now the Boy Scouts, I've learned about all sorts of things since joining One Million Moms. I've also learned that membership in the group has its advantages: it provides access to the email addresses of whomever they are trying to bully. That way, if you don't agree with their call to action, it will take you less than a minute to send a message of tolerance.
And that brings me to the most important thing I've learned since joining One Million Moms--it's about standing up and being counted. Whether or not you believe in God, if you don't speak up when groups like this use the name of God to spread intolerance, theirs is the only voice that will be heard. And that's exactly what they want.