The following was posted by Harry Jones on Feb 20, 1992 and was originally published by CA

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The following was posted by Harry Jones on Feb 20, 1992 and was originally published by CAP Citizens Against Pornography of Alabama, Inc. P.O. Box 1245 * Gadsden, Alabama 35902 (205) 442-6207 ------------------------- 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 ORGANIZED crime. 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 freedom. 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 public morality. One of the major factors in the growth of the pornography traffic it the lack of vigorous enforcement of obscenity laws, particularly at the county level. 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 children. 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 sexual dysfunction. 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 scientific value. 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 standards. 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 itself." 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 human sexuality. 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 the purveyor. 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 Buy Them. 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 Western civilization! 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 discredited Report. 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 nation. 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 law. 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 Violent Crime? 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 Banned Next. 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 Amendment freedoms. 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 Carnegie Hall. 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- tech advances. 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 Sexually Repressed. 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 both. 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 society. 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 sexual activities. 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 prosecuted. 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 intruder." 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 Sleeping. 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 higher aspirations. CABLEPORN 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 lockout boxes. 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 professional organization. 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 enforced. 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. CAP Citizens Against Pornography of Alabama, Inc. P.O. Box 1245 * Gadsden, Alabama 35902 (205) 442-6207


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