The following was posted by Harry Jones on Feb 20, 1992 and was originally published by CA
The following was posted by Harry Jones on Feb 20, 1992
and was originally published by
Citizens Against Pornography of Alabama, Inc.
P.O. Box 1245 * Gadsden, Alabama 35902
Certain cliche arguments in favor of pornography are often heard
in private conversation, in public debate, and in the media.
When you speak out against pornography, be prepared to separate
the facts from the smoke screens.
MYTHS ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY, OBSCENITY LAW
You are Advocating Censorship by Urging Enforcement of State
and Federal Obscenity Laws.
ANSWER: Absolutely not. Censorship is illegal and
unconstitutional. Censorship is prior restraint
of First Amendment rights by government. No
American would stand still for this. However,
there are constitutional laws prohibiting the
dissemination of obscene materials in order to
preserve public health, safety and morals.
Individuals my produce anything they please, but
they are responsible after the fact if they
violate local, state or federal obscenity laws.
But Freedom of Expression is Protected by the First Amendment.
ANSWER: It most certainly is. But the United States
Supreme Court consistently has held that obscenity
is not protected by the First Amendment any more
than libel, perjury, slander, contempt of court,
false advertising or copyright violations are.
Obscenity is NOT a First Amendment issue. It is a
CRIME, and 90% of the traffic in hardcore
pornography in the country is controlled by
Pornography is Thriving, So the American People Must Want It or Accept It.
ANSWER: a. Certainly there are some who want it. That's
what makes it so profitable. But all surveys show
that the majority of Americans are vehemently
opposed to the traffic in pornography and want it
stopped. The majority DO care, but that are
confused and discouraged in the face of a highly
organized industry and the loud prophets of false
This is the reason that Morality in Media exists:
to expose the false prophets, to vindicate the
true freedom of responsibility under law, and to
raise in an organized way the voice of the
majority who care very much about standards of
One of the major factors in the growth of the
pornography traffic it the lack of vigorous
enforcement of obscenity laws, particularly at the
b. "Community standards" cannot be measured by
the number of patrons of an "adult" bookstore.
Because pornography is so available does not mean
it is acceptable to the people. The U.S. Supreme
Court said in 1974, "Mere availability of similar
materials by itself means nothing more than that
other persons are engaged in similar activities."
c. The illegal drug industry also is thriving,
but obviously that does not mean that the majority
of Americans accept this heinous traffic.
Pornography is a Victimless Crime.
ANSWER: a. There is no such thing as a victimless crime.
In every crime there is a victim and a victimizer.
The victims of the pornography industry are strewn
from coast to coast and include corrupted
children, degraded women, addicted men, broken
marriages, invaded communities, and ultimately,
the very humanity - the soul - of a nation.
b. Victims of "copycat rape" are not uncommon:
easily accessible, hardcore pornographic materials
are known to ignite rapists and provide them with
blueprints for brutal sexual assaults on women and
c. Children are victimized in a myriad of ways.
Some are used in child pornography. Others are
exposed to pornographic materials to "soften them
up" for incest or other sexual molestation. A
growing number of children are today are sexually
molesting other children in imitation of what
they've seen. "Throwaway" teenagers are being
lured into performing before the pornographer's
camera. And finally, every child in America today
risks exposure to materials which distort human
sexuality and which can lead to a lifetime of
Obscenity is Difficult to Define; There is no Clear Definition on the Books.
ANSWER: False. The United States Supreme Court defined
obscenity quite adequately in its 1973 landmark
MILLER V. CALIFORNIA case. According to the High
Court, material is considered obscene if it meets
the following three criteria: 1. the average
person, applying contemporary community standards,
would find that the work, taken as a whole,
appeals to prurient interest; 2. the work depicts
or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual
conduct specifically defined by the applicable
state law; and 3. the work, taken as a whole,
lacks serious literary, artistic, political and
This definition is as clear as other concepts
which the law engages in every day such as "the
reasonable person" or "good faith."
But the Supreme Court Left It to Communities to Decide What is Obscene.
ANSWER: This is an oversimplification and a misleading
one. "Community Standards" is not THE test for
obscenity, but a PART of the test, and has been
part of the test for obscenity since 1957. It is
a judge or jurors who decide what is obscene under
the guidelines, putting themselves in the place of
the average person to determine or apply community
When "Consenting Adults" Watch Obscene Videocassettes at Home,
No One is Being Harmed.
ANSWER: Regarding so-called "consenting adults," the U.S.
Supreme Court said in its 1973 PARIS ADULT THEATRE
I V. SLANTON case: "We categorically disapprove
the theory that obscene films acquire
constitutional immunity from state regulation
simply because they are exhibited for consenting
adults only. Rights and interests other than
those of the advocates are involved. These
include the interest of the public in the quality
of life, the total community environment, the tone
of commerce and possibly, the public safety
As for the defense that "no one is being harmed,"
the moral values of the "consenting adults"
themselves will insidiously be eroded by continued
exposure to pornographic material which devalues
I Have a Right to Watch What I Choose in My Own Home.
ANSWER: There is no such thing as a constitutional right
to obtain illegal pornographic films. The
obscenity laws, however, are not aimed at you in
the privacy of your home (unless child pornography
is involved). No one can be prosecuted for
watching obscenity. The law puts the penalty on
If You Don't Like Obscene Films and Books, You Don't Have to
See Them or Buy Them, but Don't Interfere with My Right to
ANSWER: My like or dislike for obscenity is irrelevant.
The fact is that it is illegal. You do not have a
right to obtain illegal materials. Obscenity laws
have been consistently upheld by the U.S. Supreme
Court. They are intended to protect the common
good from prurient, offensive materials lacking in
literary, artistic, political and scientific value
- materials which do, in fact, have a destructive
effect on individuals and society. (See #4.)
You Cannot Legislate Morality.
ANSWER: a. On its face this cliche is absurd and an
argument against the democratic process itself.
All law rests on moral assumption, and every law
legislates morality. Defining what is morally
right and wrong is and always has been the essence
of the legislative function.
b. One of the major freedoms of any viable
society is the freedom to choose to protect public
morality. Public morals are the business of the
entire community, and it is public morality that
obscenity laws are designed to safeguard.
Obscenity is in the Eye of the Beholder. What is Obscene to
You may Not be Obscene to Me.
ANSWER: This implies that obscenity is subjective. It is
not. It is the hardcore pornographic description
or depiction of specific sexual activity - the
description or depiction of which is prohibited by
law to protect the common good.
Who are You to Tell Me What I Can See or Read? You Are
Imposing Your Morality on Me.
ANSWER: a. Nobody can tell you what to see or to read but
the community can tell you, within constitutional
limits, what commercial materials cannot be sold
to you if you choose to live in that community.
The community sets up standards for itself and has
a right to legislate to protect those standards.
b. With pornography now invading the sanctity of
the home in the form of dial-a-porn, cableporn,
video porn, computer porn, radio porn, satellite-
to-dish porn and rock music porn, it's more
accurately a case of the sex industry's trying to
impose its immorality on an entire nation and an
entire generation of children.
c. In any society, someone's morality (or
immorality) must prevail. The real question
becomes, "Whose will prevail in America?" The
pornographer's, leading to anarchy and decadence?
Or the moral principles of those who honor the
Judeo-Christian code - a code which has been
embraced, not imposed, as the cornerstone of
Pornography is Harmless. The 1970 Presidential Commission
Report Said So.
ANSWER: The 1970 Majority Report of the Presidential
Commission on Obscenity and Pornography was called
a "scientific scandal" by many in the scientific
community. It was rejected by the U.S. Senate by
a vote of 60 to 5. The Hill-Link Minority Report
of that Commission was read into the record in
both Houses of Congress as a "responsible position
on the issues." The Hill-Link report cited
numerous instances where evidence was suppressed
when it went counter to the predetermined
"findings" of the majority report. In addition,
studies in the Hill-Link Report show linkages
between exposure to obscene material and sexual
deviancy and promiscuity. However, pornographers
and their defenders who want obscenity laws
repealed will continue to resurrect this
The Findings of the 1986 Attorney General's Commission on
Pornography, Concluding that Pornography is Harmful, Has
Been Totally Discredited.
ANSWER: Absolutely untrue. After the findings were made
public, there was a high-priced campaign conducted
in an effort to discredit the Commission, but it
proved unsuccessful. The Commission found that a
causal link exists between sexually violent
material and antisocial and sometimes unlawful
acts of sexual violence. The Commission also
found that "non-violent materials depicting
degradation, domination, subordination or
humiliation" bore some causal relationship to the
level of sexual aggression on the population so
exposed. The findings affirmed what common sense
has told Americans since the founding of this
Why Bother Enforcing the Law? The "Adult" Bookstores Keep
Operation While Their Owners are in the Courts.
ANSWER: a. Occasional law enforcement is ineffective.
Continuous, vigorous enforcement of the law is the
answer. When arrests and prosecutions begin, the
sex industry is put on warning. Prison sentences,
fines and legal fees can eventually put the
pornographers out of business. Atlanta,
Jacksonville, and Cincinnati are clean cities
because of vigorous, continuous enforcement of the
b. RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations) laws provide the ultimate weapon
against the illegal pornography industry. Besides
imposing stiff penalties, RICO laws can force the
forfeiture of all assets of a business, including
cars, homes and bank accounts, acquired through
obscenity-related activities. This is what breaks
the racketter's financial back. The federal
government and approximately 30% of the states
have their own RICO statutes including obscenity.
Every state should be armed with such a law.
It Is Impossible for the Owners and Managers of Stores
Selling Pornographic Videos and Magazines to Know if the
Material is Obscene.
ANSWER: a. The U.S. Supreme Court said in its landmark
MILLER decision when it defined obscenity: "We
are satisfied that these prerequisites (the three
part test) will provide fair notice to a dealer in
such materials that his public and commercial
activities may bring prosecution."
b. It is the responsibility of the owners and
managers to know the content and character of the
material they're selling. It is also their
responsibility to be familiar with both the
federal and state obscenity laws.
Why Be Concerned About Obscenity When There is So Much
ANSWER: They're related. Pornography denies human dignity
and often stimulates the user into violent sexual
acts. Its outlets breed and attract violent
crime. It is no coincidence that when "adult"
bookstores are closed down, violent crime decrease
in that neighborhood due to an exodus of
prostitutes, drug pushers and criminally prone who
are attracted to pornography outlets.
If You'd Let Pornography Flow Freely, People Would Get Bored
and the Problem Would Take Care of Itself.
ANSWER: a. This boredom or satiation theory is invalid.
Many users of pornography do not get bored, but
rather become addicted, seeking more and more
bizarre materials. For many, also, the passivity
of pornography must eventually give way to action.
In the unstable, it often triggers sexual abuse,
rape and sometimes even murder.
b. Remember that new markets for the industry are
being created every day as children and teenagers
are lured by the pornographer's siren song into
becoming consumers of pornographic material.
I'd Rather See People Make Love Than Make Violence.
ANSWER: There is no love in pornography. It is totally
loveless, debasing women, children and all
humanity. In addition, violence is inherent in
all pornography, even in that described as "non-
violent." Violence against the mind and the
spirit can be as devastating, and sometimes more
so, than violence against the physical body.
War, Poverty, Hunger, The Homeless, Are the Real Obscenities
Which You Should Be Fighting.
ANSWER: There are many noble causes to which we may be
able to contribute financially. In terms of time,
however, it is not possible for one person to
fight all the evils of the world. Each person
should select his or her own battlefield in the
fight for a decent society. Hardcore pornography
- dehumanizing, depraved, and an assault upon the
sacredness of the person in the most intimate
sanctuary of his or her being - is a true
obscenity. The war against it is worthy, and
winnable at that.
What Next? Where do You Draw the Line? A Ban on Obscene
Materials Today Will Lead to Real Censorship Tomorrow with
Maybe the Bible or Michelangelo's Statue of David Being
ANSWER: a. That we have for two centuries enjoyed
political and religious freedom is the clearest
proof that enforcement of long-established
obscenity laws does not threaten our First
b. The American people are too intelligent to
fall for the "slippery slope" scare tactics that
would have you believe that a prohibition against
obscenity today will ultimately lead to a ban
against everything from the Sistine Chapel to a
diaperless Donald Duck. Such absurdities are
somewhat like being asked to believe that a ban
against playing loud rock music at 3 a.m. in the
midst of a residential street would lead to a ban
on the right of the philharmonic to perform in
c. The question "What next?" should be asked in
the context of what next will happen to our
society if the obscenity laws are not enforced,
and dehumanizing, depraved materials are allowed
to spread with dazzling speed by means of high-
d. Where do you draw the line? Most state
legislatures and the U.S. Congress have already
drawn that line, and the U.S. Supreme Court has
upheld its constitutionality. Furthermore, our
entire society is made viable by the drawing of
lines in every aspect of life.
People who Fight Pornography are Anti-Sex, Prudish and
ANSWER: a. Anti-sex? It's just the opposite. It's the
pornography industry which is anti-sex and the
porn-fighters who are pro-sex. Pornography takes
something beautiful and converts it into
commercialized slime. The porn-fighters are out
there protecting healthy sexuality with the key
ingredients of love, tenderness, commitment and
privacy of intimate moments.
b. If "prudish" and "sexually repressed" are the
labels attached to those who oppose the depictions
of sadomasochism, gang rape, sexual orgies,
bestiality, ad infinitum, then those labels should
be worn proudly.
All Our Law Enforcement Resources Today Should Be Used to
Fight a Far Greater Menace than Obscenity - Illegal Drugs!
ANSWER: a. It is the height of folly to regard the drug
explosion as existing in a vacuum - the merest of
abstractions unrelated to the dehumanizing milieu
fostered by the sex industry - and attempt to
eradicate it as though it were not a many-headed
hydra. Obscenity and drugs march hand in hand to
the deadly tune of the organized crime industry.
To ignore the commercial distribution of obscene
materials and indeed, by lack of law enforcement,
assign it a protected status is much like
repairing faulty electrical wires in a home to
prevent a fire while deliberately ignoring the
army of termites gnawing away at the foundation.
b. Organized crime launders its profits from
pornography and pumps the money into the illegal
drug trade. By fighting one, you are fighting
c. Drugs can lead to a physical addiction;
pornography to a psychological addiction. Both
are destructive not only to the hooked individual,
but eventually to the entire moral fabric of any
Pornography is Beneficial to the Lonely, the Sexually
Confused and to Those Who Believe They're Hopelessly
Unattractive; in Fantasy, it Gives them Some Relief from
their Sexual Frustration.
ANSWER: The consumption of pornography can lead to a
detrimental addiction, and the type of person just
described - one who can't relate - is the most
vulnerable to becoming a slave to pornography.
Pornography can provide him with anti-social
sexual imagery which becomes locked into his mind
and returns again and again to haunt.
Dr. Victor Cline, psychologist at the University
of Utah, has found a near universal four-step
syndrome associated with immersion in the world of
pornography: addiction; escalation (more deviant
material is needed to attain the same sexual
stimulation); desensitization (the shocking has
become acceptable); and finally, acting out. The
last step may result in violent as well as illegal
District Attorneys and U.S. Attorneys Have Good Reason for
Not Enforcing the Obscenity Laws - Mainly "Limited Resources
and More Important Priorities."
ANSWER: This cliche, year after year, has become standard
excuse of delinquent prosecutors who do not
enforce the obscenity laws. Their reasons vary.
Some are simply ideologically opposed to the law
itself. Others with political aspirations find it
more politically popular to prosecute Wall Street
white collar crime than Times Square obscenity.
Note that white collar crime robs the public
pocketbooks, but obscenity robs the very humanity
- the soul - of a community. Violations on Wall
Street and in Times Square both need to be
Some district attorneys actually are uneducated on
the pernicious impact of illegal pornography on
communities. The most prevalent reason, however,
why some prosecutors have been ignoring the
obscenity law is because they misinterpret the
silence of the community as acceptance.
District attorneys and U.S. Attorneys who are not
enforcing the obscenity laws need to hear from the
public with reminders that pornography outlets
serve as magnets for the sexually deranged and
drug-crazed population. They will make obscenity
a priority and will find the resources to do so if
they receive enough encouragement and enough
complaints about an illegal industry which
threatens to corrupt our entire value system.
RADIO AND TELEVISION PORNOGRAPHY
If You Don't Want to be Exposed to Indecent Programs on
Radio or TV, Turn the Dial.
ANSWER: The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the "turn the
dial" argument. In 1978 the High Court held:
"Because the broadcast audience is constantly
turning in and out, prior warnings cannot
completely protect the listener or viewer from
unexpected program content. To say that one may
avoid further offense by turning off the radio
when he hears indecent language is like saying
that the remedy for an assault is to run away
after the first blow."
If I Can Listen to a Comedian's "Dirty Words" in a Nightclub
Act, Why Can't I Have Access to the Same Entertainment on my
Radio and TV?
ANSWER: The U.S. Supreme Court has answered such and
argument by pointing out that the pig may be
appropriate in the barnyard, but not in the
parlor. What's raunchy in a nightclub act would
probably be considered indecent on radio and over-
the-air TV. Indecent programming is prohibited by
the federal broadcasting law, as is obscenity.
Who Knows What the Vague Term "Indecency" Means?
ANSWER: Every broadcaster should know. The term is not
vague. The Federal Communications Commission has
defined indecency quite clearly as "language or
material that depict or describes, in terms
patently offensive as measured by contemporary
community standards for the broadcast medium,
sexual or excretory activities or organs."
If the FCC is Keeping Indecency Off the Airwaves Merely to
Protect Children, Won't Adults be Reduced to Hearing and
Viewing only What is Fit for Children?
ANSWER: a. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1978 FCC
V. PACIFICA case that the constitutionally valid
reasons for the FCC's finding the "seven dirty
words" aired on radio indecent and thus illegal,
included not just protecting children from such
material, but also protecting adults from such
assaults. The High Court held that "patently
offensive, indecent material broadcast over the
airwaves confronts the citizen, not only in
public, but in the privacy of the home, where the
individual's right to be let alone plainly
outweighs the First Amendment rights of an
The Court went on to say that indecent speech
offends "for the same reason obscenity offends"
and quoting from an earlier decision, agreed that
"such utterances are no essential part of any
exposition of ideas...any benefit derived from
them is clearly outweighed by the social interest
in order and morality."
b. There is ample mature and decent material
available for adults in broadcasting as there is
ample decent material available for children.
"Adult" (Read: Indecent or Obscene) Programming Should be
Permitted During Late Evening Hours When Children are
ANSWER: a. There are substantial numbers of children in
the listening audience at ALL hours of the night.
Morality in Media touched on those numbers in
"Comments" submitted to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in March 1990. Using information
supplied by Arbitron and assuming the sampling is
typical of children nationwide, Morality in Media
estimated that between 12 midnight and 1 a.m.
during an average quarter hour, there are
1,334,557 children between the ages of 12 and 17
listening to the radio. Between 3 and 4 a.m., the
estimated number is 285,000.
b. The prohibition against indecent broadcasting
is not based solely on protecting children. If
that were so, it would have been addressed in a
"harmful for minors" law. Instead, Congress
addressed indecent programming in the federal
broadcasting law where the prohibition against
airing sexually offensive material sets a standard
"indecent for all" regardless of age.
c. Bear in mind with time differences that if a
"window of indecency" were ever unwisely opened to
national radio and TV at midnight in New York, the
time would be 9 p.m. in California.
It is Up to Parents to Supervise Their Children and Protect
Them from Exposure to Indecent Broadcasting.
ANSWER: There is no feasible way for parents to protect
their children from exposure to indecent
programming short of confining a child or teenager
24 hours a day in a sound-proofed isolation unit
without radio or TV. Consider the fact, for
example, that there are an estimated one million
"latch-key" children in America today in either
single-parent families or in those where both
parents are employed. Consider also children
whose parents are irresponsible due to alcoholism,
drug addiction or other mental illnesses. For
these children, radio and TV can easily become
electronic baby-sitters or surrogate parents. To
flood the airwaves and these children's sponge-
like minds with indecent programming is somewhat
akin to placing a stumbling block before the blind
instead of seeking to chart new pathways toward
Only Those Who Pay for Cableporn Get It, So If You Don't
Want It, You Don't Have to Order It.
ANSWER: That's not true. Many people subscribe to cable
television solely to get good television
reception, and the basic package in some areas
automatically includes hardcore pornographic
programming on public access channels. The
federal cable law prohibits obscene programming.
Well, if You Don't Want to See Cableporn or Risk Your
Children's Exposure to Such Programming, Get a Lockout Box.
ANSWER: a. I have no obligation to get a lockout box to
prevent being assaulted by obscene programming.
The obligation is on the cable operator not to
transmit illegal pornography over the wires. It
is against the federal cable law to do so.
b. Parents are being told today to get lockout
boxes for their cable television sets and lockout
boxes for their telephones. This approach is
locking pornography in and locking decency out of
vital means of communication. Curious children in
one way or another will find access to such
corrupting material if it's out there. United
States Attorneys should be prosecuting those who
cablecast obscene material and locking them up
rather than relying on the public to get the
WHAT IS CAP?
Citizens Against Pornography of Alabama, Inc. is a
statewide non-profit organization qualified to receive tax
deductible contributions under 501 (c) (3). It is dedicated
to providing education and leadership in the battle to rid
our state of pornography and the devastating harm it causes
to individuals and families.
CAP is committed to strengthening community standards,
respect for the law and human dignity upon which this nation
was founded. Supported solely by the gifts of concerned
citizens, CAP offers a variety of tools to inform and equip
those who seek to better our community.
The solution lies in prosecution, using current laws,
and an informed community response. What can be legally
prescribed by law is determined in relation to your
community standards. Therefore, you must speak out when the
standards of your community are violated. You can...
1. Support CAP with your prayers, financial
contributions and with your personal involvement
in its organized efforts.
2. Contact CAP for educational materials to share
with friends and associates.
3. Contact CAP to speak at your church, club or
4. Request the informative CAP quarterly newsletter,
the "News Update".
5. Inform your local District Attorney of any alleged
violations of Alabama's obscenity law in your
community. Follow up to make sure complaints are
thoroughly investigated and the law vigorously
6. Exercise your consumer power and first amendment
rights by boycotting stores that sell pornographic
materials. Follow up with a letter to the owners
of these stores.
Citizens Against Pornography of Alabama, Inc.
P.O. Box 1245 * Gadsden, Alabama 35902
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank