National Catholic Register


Porn & Public Policy

BY Pat Archbold

| Posted 11/11/13 at 11:52 PM


In the era of soft-drink bans and illegal trans-fats, why have we ceded the public policy debate on pornography?

We have public policy debates about every jot and tittle of our lives.  Too much sugar is bad for you, so let's ban 17 oz sodas.  Cigarettes have been taxed into smoke.  Every alcohol ad is accompanied by a fast-talking admonition to drink responsibly. Heck, people have even proposed to regulate gassy cows.

But when it comes to pornography, both the production and consumption of it, even those who recognize its evil and the myriad destructive effects on society throw their hands up.  There is nothing we can do.  Consenting adults, blah.  Freedom of expression, blah blah.  There are those wonderful souls dedicated to helping people out of this abusive industry and out of addiction, but beyond that nothing much is done about it.  Who are we to judge after all?  Their bodies, they can do what they want..blah blah blah.  It's not like it hurts anyone...BLAH!!!

I believe the omnipresent porn industry, which in many ways is being mainstreamed today, is one of the most destructive forces in our culture. It is a destroyer of souls, a destroyer of relationships, and destroyer of lives.  To not recognize these facts requires copious amounts of willful blindness or an Ivy league education. (See department of redundancy department.)

More must be done from top to bottom to end the scourge of pornography.  This does not begin with law, but it should end there.  The production of pornography is prostitution, plain and simple.  The presence of digital video and voyeurs with credit cards does not change that fact.  It makes it worse. 

But law comes last, when a society has recognized and evil and called it by name.  Law can only come after preachers of every denomination have preached on its evils relentlessly for a generation.   Pornography and related industries need to be targeted by every legal means in order to disrupt their business and make it increasingly difficult to operate. 

And last but not least, the purveyors and yes maybe even the consumers of porn need to be exposed and shunned at all levels of society.  Let's have everyone look at the producers and consumers of porn the same way we look at somebody who lights up a cigarette in a restaurant.  Then we will be getting there. 

We also need to give the porn industry the Upton Sinclair treatment and expose its disgusting underbelly.

All these things combined may begin to make a difference, make people understand what they are contributing to, make them understand it is not a victimless sin, make them understand that it indeed is sin. We must try, souls and society are at stake.