New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has taken another stab at a Valentine's Day attention-grabbing gimmick that purports to help society but really just caters to the prurient interests of those who promote "free" sex with an in-your-face attitude. It's the "e-condom," if you can believe it, available through a Facebook page. What's an e-condom, you ask? Nothing but a meaningless attempt to be edgy in a world where sex can apparently sell even the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is probably not the first thing people think of when they think romance and love. So they have to create some hype, which they're doing through a Facebook page that shows pictures of the "official" NYC Condom, which was unveiled on Valentine's Day two years ago. The page also allows you to send e-condoms to your friends. When I checked mid-day on Friday, more than 6,500 e-condoms had already been sent. Apparently Hallmark just doesn't cut it anymore.
In addition to sending a Valentine's e-condom, you can also RSVP for National Condom Day, whose motto is "Celebrate by using one." It just so happens to fall on February 14. Well that was convenient.
I decided that in order to tell you how bad things are out there, I should click on the "video" option on the e-condom page. I have to admit that I was a little afraid of what I might see and I even sent my 3-year-old out of the room, but it also turned out to be a whole lot of hype. Just couples dancing to salsa music on the streets of New York while images of condoms fly at you. A 21st-century version of Singing in the Rain, I guess.
If you go so far as to click on the NYC government site for more information, you are treated to "Where, How, Why, More." In bold letters it says, "Condoms can be fun." I wish I was making this up, but I'm not. Every time I think our culture has reached a new low, along comes someone or something -- often a taxpayer-funded agency -- to show me that, no, we can in fact sink a little lower into the moral gutter.
When I clicked "More," I was offered an array of links to other organizations that want in on this great e-condom extravaganza, among them Planned Parenthood, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and a Plan B connection in case your e-condom fails. I'm shocked -- shocked -- to find such fraternizing going on here.
It feels like a losing battle sometimes, doesn't it? You can't fight City Hall, or, in this case, the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene. But our faith challenges us not to give up this fight. Do what you need to do to lobby against such campaigns, to speak your mind, to cast your vote, to stop the madness. Otherwise, who knows what they'll come up with for next Valentine's Day.