by Arlene Sawicki *
Each year, Morality in Media [MIM] www.moralityinmedia.org urges every American concerned about the floodtide of pornography into all areas of our society to get busy and play a part in combating the “obscenity plague.” Through their White Ribbon Against Pornography [WRAP] campaign, they make the public aware of the damage that pornography has done to healthy relationships between men and women and the tragic affect it has on our innocent children through Internet porn channels. Please visit the MIM web site and find out how you can become a participant in the WRAP campaign now and throughout the year.
We are aware that there are federal and state laws prohibiting distribution of obscene materials in interstate commerce. In recent decades, Congress has also strengthened these laws on several occasions, including an amendment in 1996 to clarify that “…use of an interactive computer service to transport obscene materials in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce is prohibited.”
The Supreme Court has held that enforcement of obscenity laws DOES NOT violate the First Amendment and that “legitimate governmental interests are furthered through enforcement of these laws.” These include the “public safety itself” and protection of “morality,” “family life” and the “total community environment.” The Court has also said there is a “right of the nation…to maintain a decent society.”
The Internet, in particular, is also awash with hardcore pornographic materials that are available to minors without cost or proof of age and surveys indicate that large number of children have been inadvertently exposed to these materials or have deliberately sought them out. The Child Internet Pornography Act [COPA] Commission, created by Congress, has concluded in its October 2000 FINAL REPORT, “We believe that an aggressive effort to address illegal, obscene material on the Internet will also address the presence of harmful to minors material.” It is troubling to note that the American Library Association www.ala.org and the ACLU have consistently fought to overturn COPA.
Under President Clinton, the Justice Department rarely enforced obscenity laws. Under President Bush, there has been significantly more enforcement, but not enough to stem the floodtide of obscene materials.
Morality in Media urges voters to encourage our presidential candidates to make strict obscenity enforcement one of the priorities in their election campaigns. MIM’s statement to the candidates reads:
“I understand that there are many pressing issues facing our nation, but evidence abounds that hardcore pornography, among other things, debases women, ruins marriages, corrupts children and contributes to sexual exploitation of children, sexual trafficking, sexual harassment and rape.
“If you haven’t done so, please make your position on enforcement of federal obscenity laws known to voters.
“If elected President, please do all in your constitutional power to ensure that the U.S. Justice Department vigorously enforces already established federal laws dealing with commerce in obscene materials.”
In the meantime, it is our duty to do all we can to fight the battle on the homefront. MIM provides a reporting web site: www.ObscenityCrimes.org whereby complaints about Internet pornography can be forwarded to the Justice Department and to the U.S. Attorney in the federal district where the complaint has been submitted. We can also use the text at this link as a model for a letter to family, friends, church or other organization members or to the editor of your local newspaper.
Remember, ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Support the White Ribbon Against Pornography campaign – October 26 through November 2 - and throughout the year.
* Arlene Sawicki is a veteran Catholic pro-life/pro-family activist who resides in Illinois.
Anyone wishing to receive RFFM.org e-mails should contact Dan@rffm.org
Comments to RFFM.org's blog which include ad hominems or personal attack will automatically be rejected. No hyperlinks allowed.