Speaking Out Against Pornography
Special Report - October 29, 2008
A coalition of pro-family advocates is asking Americans to take a stand against pornography this week by displaying white ribbons and reporting obscenity violations in observance of “White Ribbon Against Pornography” (WRAP) week. WRAP weekwhich began October 26 and runs through November 2is sponsored by Morality in Media and promoted by groups such as Concerned Women for America (CWA) and American Mothers. Now in its 20th year, the WRAP campaign began in 1987 in Butler, Pennsylvania, when a woman named Norma Norris was inspired by a sermon to launch a community-wide campaign against pornography that culminated in the closing and bulldozing of an “adult” bookstore.
According to Morality in Media, WRAP “is intended to educate the public about the extent of the pornography problem and what can constitutionally be done about it.” Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, notes that the harms of pornography include “the degradation of women and sexual addiction,” as well as the destruction of marriages and the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. He argues that, “parents, schools and religious institutions should be at the forefront of efforts to reduce the demand for pornography through efforts to educate youth about the harms it can cause.”
Morality in Media suggests a number of ways for concerned citizens to combat pornography during WRAP week and year-round, including: wearing or displaying a simple white ribbon; writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about the harms of pornography; making complaints against local businesses that distribute or advertise pornographic materials; encouraging local churches and pastors to educate communities about the harms of pornography; and filing complaints about potential violations of state and federal obscenity laws to the U.S. Attorney and/or State prosecutor.
Thanks to Miller v. California, a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, North Carolina is one of over 40 states with obscenity laws on the books that make it a crime to “intentionally disseminate” obscenity. Under North Carolina’s law, obscenity is defined as material that: “depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct…” and “the average person, applying contemporary community standards related to the depiction or description of sexual matters would find the material as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in sex,” and that “lacks serious artistic, political or scientific value.” In addition, North Carolina law also makes it a crime to distribute and/or display obscene or indecent material to minors.
“As citizens, we need to complain when we see violations of the obscenity laws,” says Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Director of CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute. “Our national laws are clear regarding obscenity and pornography, but as a people we have stood by while the commercial sex industry has coarsened and corrupted our culture. The goal of WRAP Week is to refresh our commitment to rid our culture of these harmful influences. So, bring out the white ribbons, WRAP up the porn garbage, and get rid of it!”
Morality in Media offers resources for WRAP week on its website, including sample sermons for pastors. In addition, citizens can report possible violations of obscenity laws that involve Internet pornography at www.obscenitycrimes.org. The site also features state and federal complaint forms for violations involving other forms of pornography, such as DVDs, books, and/or magazines.
For more information on the harms of pornography, download the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s policy paper, “Sexual Degradation: How Pornography Destroys the Family.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.