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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
The Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (The Meese Report, 1986) released its final report on July 9th and made 92 recommendations calling for a widespread federal, state, and local crackdown on the $8 billion-a-year pornography industry.
In preparing the 1,960 page report, the 11-member commission held public hearings in six cities and reviewed thousands of books, magazines, and films. The panel defined pornography as material that is "sexually explicit and intended primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal;" concluded that sexually explicit materials portraying the violent abuse of women by men led to "anti-social acts of sexual violence," sometimes including sex crimes; and called for much more vigorous enforcement of anti-obscenity statures already on the books.
The following is from Dr. James Dobson, noted Christian psychologist and author and member of the Pornography Commission:
But why should criminal laws against pornography be enforced? Why should government object if some people want to amuse themselves with explicit materials? Is obscenity really a threat to society and to the individuals within it? You will hear those questions posed by television and newspaper reporters who clearly resent the work of our Commission. Let me respond for the record. Throughout this past year we have heard testimony from police officers, social scientists and concerned parents. Many of these witnesses have described the multiple harms associated with sexually explicit material. Let me list just a few of the pervasive dangers emerging from the evidence:
1. Depictions of violence against women are related to violence against women everywhere. The most cursory examination of the material being marketed today makes it clear why that is true. I could not describe the offensiveness of these publications without being pornographic even in this context. Violent pornography also contributes to the so-called "rape-myth," leading men to believe that women really want to be abused even when they vigorously deny it.
2. The use of pornography seems to be addictive and progressive in nature. That is, those who get hooked on sexually explicit material tend to become obsessed by their need. It also interferes with the normal sexual relationship between husbands and wives.
3. The river of obscenity which floods our homes has reached the eyes and ears of children! Boys and girls are finding and viewing their parents’ X-rated videos and magazines. They are also being bombarded by vile lyrics in rock music on radio, television and videos. Their morals are being corrupted by R-rated movies which dangerously link sex and violence. They are being shocked and titillated by obscenity on dial-a-porn phone lines. And on and on it goes. As a direct consequence, psychotherapists are seeking increasing numbers of disturbed young patients who may never enjoy healthy attitudes about sex.
4. Pornography is degrading and humiliating to women. They are shown being beaten, handed from trees, smeared with feces, urinated upon, and or course, deprived of dignity and modesty. Men and boys are the purchasers of this material, using it primarily for masturbatory purposes. The entire female gender has reason to feel used and abused by this industry.
5. Pornography is often used by pedophiles it softens children’s defenses against sexual exploitation. They are shown nude pictures of adults, for example, and told, "See, this is what mommies and daddies do." They are then stripped of innocence and subjected to brutalities that will be remembered for a lifetime.
6. Outlets for obscenity are magnets for sex-related crimes. When an adult bookstore moves into a neighborhood, an array of "support services" typically develops around it. Prostitution, narcotics and street crime proliferate. Ask anyone who lives near a sex shop. You hear an immediate protest.
7. So-called adult bookstores often become cesspools of disease and homosexual activity. The tiny video booths in these shops are used for private sexual behavior and become filthy beyond imagination. Holes in the walls between booths are provided for anonymous sexual encounters between adult males, etc. In this day of concern over AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, it is difficult to understand why local health departments have refused to close down these foul businesses.
8. Finally, pornography is damaging to the family in countless ways. We are sexual creatures, and the physical attraction between males and females provides the basis for every dimension of marriage and parenthood. Thus, anything that interjects itself into that relationship must be embraced with great caution. Until we know that pornography is not addictive and progressive, until we are certain that the passion of fantasy does not destroy the passion of reality, until we are sure that obsessive use of obscene materials will not lead to perversion and conflict between husbands and wives, then we dare not adorn them with the crown of respectability. Society has an absolute obligation to protect itself from material that crosses the line established objectively by its legislature and court system. That is not sexual repression; that is self-preservation.
Unfortunately, I can tell you with certainty that aggressive action against pornographers will not occur unless our citizens demand the response of government. Our leaders have ignored the violations in the past and they will continue their malfeasance unless we besiege them from every corner of the land. Our Commission report will either become another expensive dust collector on bureaucratic shelves or it will serve as the basis for a new public policy. The difference will be determined by the outcry that accompanies the report – or the deafening silence of an unconcerned populous.
If you wish to add your voice to those who demand immediate action, may I ask you to make four specific contacts with government? Write and call President Reagan, and write and call Attorney General Meese. (They can be contacted at: President Ronald Reagan, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20500, (202) 456-1414. Attorney General Edwin Meese, Justice Department, Constitution Ave. and 10th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20530, (202) 633-2001.)
Insist that Mr. Meese establish a strike force to oversee implementation of the Commission recommendations, and that he supervise it personally. If he delegates the assignment to the do-nothing bureaucrats who failed as in the past, their same apathy will recur.
It is this kind of public response that the pornographers fear most. They can slither past our public officials, our judges and our police chiefs. But they can’t override the great democratic system if it cranks into action. We can rid the country of hard-core, illegal obscenity in 18 months if you, the people, will rise up to demand action. If that outcry does not occur, then we have labored in vain. (Focus on the Family Newsletter 6/86)
Some additional issues involving this monumental effort to document this sexual sewer that is such a blot on our society:
Dr. Dobson said he was surprised by reports in the press that two commission members, Dr. Judith Becker and Ellen Levine, have taken issue with the conservative thrust of the report. Dobson said that all members of the commission, including Becker and Levine, had voted for the report and its recommendations.
Becker, a professor of psychology at Columbia University, and Levine, editor of Woman’s Day magazine, have issue a 20-page "statement" in which they raise numerous questions about the report, especially its recommendations for tougher law enforcement. Their dissent has been seized upon by the "New York Times" and other media in an effort to undermine the work of the commission.
Dobson said that during the final week of deliberations by the commission, there was "no indication" by Becker or Levine that they had any problems with the report.
"The press has put a lot of heat on us," Dobson said. "Maybe they felt the pressure." (As amazing as it may seem, here are two women on the Porn Commission objecting to its recommendations in spite of the fact that women and children are the most damaged by this material. The reason is that feminists are so radical in their beliefs that they will tolerate being portrayed as filth rather than join with the moral forces of the New Right. This was revealed last year in the Atlanta Constitution," 9/23, by a group of feminists against censorship of pornography. -N.P.)
I was surprised to read that Jerry Kirk, Presbyterian pastor and president of National Coalition Against Pornography has declared that Playboy and Penthouse are not obscene magazines. He tries to make some kind of point about the difference between obscenity and pornography and that their organization is concentrating on pornography involving children and violence toward women. Well, if their concern is children, they should note this:
Porn Magazines Promote Children As Sexual Objects
Dr. Judith A. Reisman, in a study funded by the Justice Department, has reported that Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler magazines – the country’s three top-selling magazines of erotic literature – are responsible for promoting children as sexual objects. "From the very beginning, since 1954 (when Playboy released its first issue), children have appeared in sexual contexts with adults in these magazines," Dr. Reisman reported. She said "over 6,000 depictions of children were found in these three magazines alone from 1954-1984." (This is a direct appeal to pedophiles or temptation to those who may become so inclined. It certainly relates to incest. Yet we are not to be concerned with Playboy and Penthouse. This is like saying that we recognize that use of marijuana often and usually leads to harder drugs but we’ll not oppose marijuana. What these two magazines now publish was considered "hard core" porn 30 years ago. -N.P.)
Commissioner Dobson Blasts The ACLU
Not surprisingly, the liberal media has been quoting Barry Lynn of the ACLU as a major critic of the pornography commission. The ACLU’s extremist position on the issue of pornography is, however rarely, if ever, noted. Dr. James Dobson, a member of the commission who believes that his colleagues didn’t go far enough in urging a crackdown on the pornography problem, talks about his own disgust with the ACLU in the personal statement that he inserted into the commission’s final report.
He describes the problem of child pornography and the ACLU’s reaction to it:
"I will never forget a particular set of photographs shown to us at our first hearing in Washington, D.C. It focused on a cute, nine-year old boy who had fallen into the hands of a molester. In the first picture, the blonde lad was fully clothed and smiling at the camera. But in the second, he was nude, dead and had a butcher knife protruding from his chest. I served for 14 years as a member of a medical school faculty and thought I had seen it all. But my knees buckled and tears came to my eyes as these and hundreds of other photographs of children were presented showing pitiful boys and girls with their rectums enlarged to accommodate adult males and their vaginas penetrated with pencils, toothbrushes and guns.
"Perhaps the reader can understand my anger and disbelief when a representative (Barry Lynn) for the American Civil Liberties Union, testified a few minutes later. He advocated the free exchange of pornography, all pornography, in the marketplace. He was promptly asked about material depicting children such as those we had seen. This man said, with a straight face, that it is the ACLU’s position that child pornography should not be produced, but once it is in existence, there should be no restriction on its sale and distribution. "In other words, the photographic record of a child’s molestation and abuse should be a legal source of profit for those who wish to reproduce, sell, print and distribute it for the world to see. And that, he said, was the intent of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution."
I realize that this is not pleasant reading, but if we do not become sufficiently aroused concerning this awful cesspool of sexual perversion that has engulfed our nation, we will certainly go the way of ancient Rome if not Sodom and Gomorrah. Please write and call the president and Attorney General as mentioned above.