THE LIGHTED CANDLE SOCIETY
818 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, N.W. STE. 1100
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006
MAY 2003 MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
MAY - VICTIMS OF PORNOGRAPHY MONTH
Several years ago the national coalition of pro-family organizations decided to set aside the month of May as “Victims of Pornography Month.” So far the efforts to obtain congressional and legislature resolutions formalizing this designation have not been successful. However, all of these groups have made considerable effort to provide documented cases of the physical and emotional injury that has come into the lives of individuals and families because of pornography. Unfortunately very few news media entities have chosen to report these cases to the public.
One of the most egregious sources of Internet pornography to young people is the public library. The following summary of a case that arose in Weber County, Utah, is typical of how the financial power of the pornography industry aided and abetted by such ultra liberal organizations as the American Librarians Association (ALA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ensnares otherwise innocent young people into the web of pornography.(+)
A Weber County librarian observed a young patron accessing pornography on the Internet. She immediately ordered him to close the pornography site, and when he refused to do so, she simply shut off the computer. The next day she reported the incident to the responsible executives of the Weber County Library Board. In her letter she also documented the problem that she was continually required to deal with when junior high and high school students used the library computers to access Internet pornography. She asked that the library board take more effective action to prevent the unsupervised use of the library terminals to young people using them to view pornography. She also raised the issue as to why the board had never complied with the Utah statute requiring libraries to install filtering devices on their computers.
Ten days after having written her letter the employee was given a Notice of Dismissal. In response to her request for legal assistance, former U.S. Attorney David Jordan was retained to represent her. The evidence gathered by Mr. Jordan and others confirmed that the use of library computers for access to Internet pornography was rampant throughout the entire state. Further, the ALA had used various means to circumvent the Utah statutes requiring filters. As the litigation process went forward the county used the tactic of repeated interrogations and depositions to exhaust the employee’s emotional and financial ability to pursue the matter. She simply could not afford to continue taking time off from her new employment to deal with the legal manipulations. Her lawsuit against the county was settled out of court.
(+The American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union were the principle plaintiffs in litigation to overturn the Children’s Internet Proteciton Act passed by the Congress in 2001.)
If you remain skeptical regarding the causal relationship between addiction to pornography and physical and emotional abuse endured by innocent third parties consider these examples, all of which are well documented:
· “Pedophile with backpack full of pornography assaults a child in the public library.” Reported in the Spokane Spokesman-Review, December 29, 2001.
· “A barrage of Internet pornography has turned the downtown library into a hostile work environment for a dozen librarians, according to claims in a new federal lawsuit. The 12 sued the city library system Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, alleging they endured an intimidating, hostile and offensive workplace that violated state and federal law...’We were living in hell, and they were unwilling to acknowledge the problem,’ said Wendy Adamson...The issue arose soon after Internet access was installed in 1997. Almost immediately, the librarians claimed, the screens began displaying ‘virtually every imaginable kind of human sexual conduct.’” USA TODAY, March 26, 2003.
· “A man was arrested for masturbating while on the computer in the children’s department at the Cleveland Public Library...(the same individual) was arrested in October 2002, for downloading child pornography at the Mayfield Village Library.” WKYC.com. Cleveland, April 10, 2003.
The ALA and the ACLU continue to do everything in their power to frustrate, oppose, and overturn any legislative enactment, federal or state, that would require the libraries to install filters on their computers and to monitor the activities of young people using the computers.
CORPORATE AMERICA’S PROFITS FROM PORNOGRAPHY
For nearly a decade more than a dozen of the most prestigious and best known corporations in the United States have been deeply involved in the pornography business. The documentation is absolute and irrefutable that the combined annual income to these corporations comes to more than two billion dollars per year. Included in this array of entities who put profits above principle are AT&T, GENERAL MOTORS, COMCAST, ECHO STAR COMMUNICATIONS, the HILTON, MARRIOTT, SHERATON, AND RADISSON hotels, VISA, MASTERCARD, TIME-WARNER, MCI, MASTERCARD and AMERICAN EXPRESS.
Chief legal counsel for the national organization, Concerned Women for America, Janet M. LaRue, states quite specifically: “It is incomprehensible that any of these corporations would ever show their ‘adult’ videos at the company Christmas party or annual shareholders’ meeting, or permit employees to view the videos on the job. How strange to market a product that if displayed on corporate premises or at corporate functions creates the potential for losing millions of dollars to sexual harassment and hostile work environment claimants.”
Los Angeles attorney James L. Clancy* has been attempting in litigation before the federal and state courts to force AT&T into court for the repeated broadcast over the broadband cable television system owned by AT&T of hardcore pornography. Mr. Clancy has documented the content of a total of one hundred and five motion pictures that have been repeatedly aired by AT&T’s subsidiary. In a brief before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Mr. Clancy noted: “...In these films, there is either no dialogue or, as such, virtually no dialogue. Hardcore sexual conduct, exploited in such a way so as to make an appeal to the prurient interest of a specific targeted audience, dominates all the AT&T transmissions.”
A report by Timothy Egan in the New York Times, dated October 23, 2000, states that nearly one in five of AT&T’s Broadband customers pays an average of $10.00 a film to see what the distributor calls ‘real, live all-American sex - not simulated by actors.’
Citing a number of authentic sources, Attorney Janet LaRue estimates that... “Hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton earn about $190 million per year from in-room pay-per view porn videos.” General Motors subsidiary, Direct TV’s porn offerings reportedly generate nearly $200 million in revenue. DirectTV sells more graphic sex films every year than the notorious pornography king Larry Flint (publisher of Hustler Magazine). Both AT&T and General Motors have entered into negotiations to sell their pornography producing subsidiaries, not because of any sense of corporate guilt regarding the dirty business in which they are engaged, but because the porn subsidiaries have become so profitable that they can be sold for a huge profit to buttress sagging revenue for the parent entity’s core business.
An additional challenge comes when the issue of extreme violence is superimposed on the matter of decency. Much of commercialized pornography is couched in presentations involving violent behavior. The more graphic and intense the presentation of the violence the greater the degree of desensitization and the higher the probability that the viewer will find no offense in the presentation of human sexual conduct that it equally graphic. But when and how does one draw the line in terms of the presentation of violence.
How can we respond to the escalating realism of the presentation of violent abuse and physical suffering as it is found in the “entertainment” media of today? For those whose religious tenants regard the human body as sacred, or in the words of the Apostle Paul, as “...the temple of God, which temple ye are,” any presentation of willful violence against another human being is obscene. However, one would have to be living in a never-never world of make believe to think that it would be possible to compose and enact any type of government statute which could effectively limit the presentation of graphic violence.
An essential aspect of the creation of the American Republic was the acceptance by the founding fathers of certain cultural absolutes. These cultural absolutes became the framework for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the laws which were enacted under them. They constituted the fabric which made possible the successful creation and preservation of the Republic. Now we see the forces at work that can dissolve that fabric, and by so doing, bring about a chaotic state of society in which individuals having been corrupted in their values by obscenity have become incapable of being governed by law.
In their outstanding collection of writings from the period of America’s political gestation, entitled American Political Writing during the Founding Era, authors Charles S. Hyneman and Donald S. Lutz provided evidence of a number of these absolutes that made possible the realization of the American epic. In explaining the sources and evolution of these absolutes the authors explained as follows:
“English colonists in America began living under local government based upon the consent of the majority before John Locke was born, and by the time he wrote his “Second Treatise” they had evolved most of the institutions and practices that Lock’s theory implied. Nevertheless, Locke’s work had considerable impact on Americans by the middle of the eighteenth century, probably because it nicely justified theoretically what Americans were already doing. Locke built his theory from rationalist assumptions, while Americans built their institutions on biblical foundations, especially upon the notion of a covenant. While to men in the 1770's there seemed to be no essential conflict between what Locke and the Bible were telling them, their synthesis of the two was an American accomplishment, not a logical necessity.” (Underlining added)
American Political Writing during the Founding Era - 1760 - 1805
Volume 1, page 158. Liberty Press/Liberty Classics 1983
The authors also noted:
“The importance of public virtue for a self-governing people, and the importance of religion for public virtue, were constant themes during the founding era.”
Ibid: p. 38
The technological revolution has now imposed upon us a rule of the jungle in which pornography, like a predatory animal, seeks out its victims. Most people who ultimately become addicted to pornography had their first experience by unintended or accidental circumstances. This is the crucial moment when the defense mechanism of personal sacredness, of ultimate values that are held sacred, must come into play.
The problem in the past has been that the majority of honorable and moral people have relied upon some formal institution, such as the state or the church, to both define that which is sacred and to identify a specific item as obscene. The great skill of the pornographers in subtly presenting evil in the form of humor or drama has effectively created a tolerance for this material and a rapidly increasing appetite for more. Always the more goes just a little bit farther than before, which is how we have been led carefully down the steps of darkness to the very doorway of hell.
The ultimate triumph of light over darkness in the battle against pornography will come when individuals will be willing to define in their own minds those matters which they hold sacred. Then they can easily measure the content of any form of speech to see if it is blasphemous insofar as their commitment to matters that are sacred is concerned. Once the average person can understand the violation of their own standards of sacredness when measured by the content of current forms of speech they will instinctively forsake that which is obscene.
(* Attorney James L. Clancy will be honored at the Lighted Candle Society event to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City on the evening of Wednesday, 18 June.)