Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#1795: Bill Johnson & the ADA

The American Decency Association (ADA) is, as the name suggests, an aggressive, fundamentalist organization working to prevent “indecent” media and indecency in general, which including Maxim, Cosmopolitan, lingerie, gays, lesbians, dance groups, abortion clinics, Magic Johnson (who should be ashamed of his gay son), swimsuits, and pornography, and seeks “... to educate its members and the general public on matters of decency; to initiate, promote, encourage and coordinate activity designed to safeguard and advance public morality consistent with biblical Christianity.” ADA was founded in 1999 by former elementary school teacher Bill Johnson, previously director of the Michigan branch of the American Family Association (AFA). According to Johnson “Pornography does destroy. How can anyone deny that? Yet, there are certainly those that do deny that.”

And of course, to ADA marriage equality is of the devil, leading to “chaos and dysfunction”, as well as “lawlessness”; ultimately, what Johnson calls gay “special rights” will even lead to “despotism” and the end of freedom. How it can simultaneously lead to both lawlessness and despotism is not explained, but in any case America deserves God’s wrath for daring to give gay people equal rights (gays are “disgusting”, according to Johnson). Prior to the SCOTUS 2015 ruling on marriage equality Johnson (like other fundie wingnuts) warned that if he didn’t like the ruling SCOTUS eventually arrived at, then “truth, righteousness, the free expression of belief, Christian conscience, will be removed from our schools, our government – even many churches that fear man more than God,” and America would consequently be punished by his strongman, God.

Like the AFA, the ADA call on its members to flood companies they target with complaints (they will even write the complaint for you) and boycott the products of those companies. For instance, they’ve been on Abercrombie & Fitch’s back for some 15 years, tried to get its members to boycott malls renting out space to Victoria’s Secret, since they “sell lingerie in an inappropriate and immoral manner”, and in 2006 gained some attention for their campaign against a calendar depicting Detroit Pistons’ dance group “Automotion” members in swimsuits, which they described as “legalized pornography” (accuracy isn’t a strong suit for groups like this). They also monitor various TV stations and their advertisers for decency, and has blacklisted TV shows like Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy – as well as the obvious target, Glee: ADA has tried to get advertisers to pull their support from Glee for years, warning that the show is “poisoning our youth” with its “destructive messages;” Glee is, according to Johnson, “a gruel of illicit sexuality, secular humanist ideology, and the promotion of homosexuality and deviant behavior.

In 2012 the ADA tried to target Google for their “Legalize Love” campaign, complaining that Google should “just make their product and stay out the culture war;” after all “what gives you, a technology company, the right to tell people what’s right and wrong?” That complaint applies to anyone who disagrees with them. (The answer “whatever gives the ADA the right to do so” doesn’t compute.)

Diagnosis: Rabid fundie hater. He’s got powerful friends, but we’re uncertain how much weight aggressive, delusional hate organizations like his can really push anymore.

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