Pornography: the Degrading Behemoth (Part 1)

Alan Sears on the Evils of a Booming Enterprise

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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, JULY 28, 2004 ( A lawyer who has been fighting pornography for more than 20 years says it may be the «true hate literature» of our age.

Alan Sears, president and general counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, shared with ZENIT how pornography perpetuates hatred and exploitation of the human person and preys upon individuals’ weaknesses for profit.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Thursday.

Q: What is your background in fighting pornography?

Sears: I had the privilege of serving as the executive director of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography [AGCP] during the Reagan administration and as the chief of the criminal section in an office of the United States Attorney. My colleagues and I wrote state and federal anti-obscenity laws, testified in Washington, D.C., and before 22 different state legislatures with 20 states adopting our recommendations.

God provided us the opportunity of speaking before committees of the British Parliament and at the Vatican, as well as training hundreds of law enforcement officials and attorneys — from Australia to Scotland Yard — on obscenity and related laws, and in how to successfully prosecute an obscenity case.

Q: How big of an industry is pornography?

Sears: First of all, let’s define our terms.

Pornography includes several classes of material: obscenity, material harmful to minors, child pornography, indecency, and lawful but nonetheless pornographic depictions. The AGCP defined pornography as «sexually explicit material designed primarily for arousal.» This is not a healthy «product»; therefore, I refuse to call its production an «industry.»

Depending on the type of material, its offensiveness ranges from the «merely immoral» — which depicts women and other persons as a subspecies of humans to be used, to be abused and to amuse — to what I have always called «crime scene photographs,» actual depictions of unlawful sexual behavior for profit or exploitation.

I call those who produce material that is unlawful part of a «criminal enterprise,» not an «industry.»

So, pornography is shamefully large in its scope and, depending on how broadly it is defined, it is a multibillion-dollar enterprise. As large and pervasive as it may be, however, it is not too large to be reigned in and dramatically limited in any community with the will to do so.

According to Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America, pornography production worldwide takes in approximately $56 billion annually. In America alone, the figure is $10 billion to $14 billion annually.

As you can see from these statistics, this destructive, maiming refuse is entrapping and devaluing hundreds of thousands of human lives while a few ruthless, stone-hearted business people profit.

Tragically, this material aids and abets all too many in their fall to despair, destruction or even death, while pornographers insist the American public believe they are only «providing services» — and that those services are a private matter and hurt no one.

Q: Why has pornography become so culturally prevalent and acceptable?

Sears: Outside of the spiritual factors, there are two overwhelming cultural reasons: Those who oppose it are largely silent and indifferent, and those who want it will pay a high price culturally and financially to obtain it.

The AGCP wrote a nearly 1,000-page report to go into great detail about many other factors and what could be done about it. Virtually everything from that commission’s report is still current, except the names of the players and the shift to the Internet as perhaps the primary form of distribution.

Our culture now allows a blatant disrespect to be made of our God-given sexuality and in our media and magazines. This display is paraded in a degrading, erotic and socially unhealthy manner and all because we have remained silent, while pornographers, the national media and the music industry have dictated to us what is and is not acceptable for our culture.

At no time in history is the need greater for people of faith and moral conviction to begin working together to stop this snowballing decline into further moral decadence.

We cannot remain silent; we must be prepared and take credible and decisive action in the public arena. If we do nothing, hundreds of thousands of additional lives will be destroyed by pornography.

Its consequences are devastating to the marriages, families, friends and businesses of our nation.

Q: Is the increase in pornography related to the abortion or homosexual movements?

Sears: The short answer is yes. The longer answer would take a lot of detail, but both answers are based upon the fact that pornography is a result of a disordered view of the human person, sexual behavior and purpose.

The sexual union within marriage, between one man and one woman, is meant by the Creator to be an act of supreme love, giving and unity. It’s a picture, if you will, of the supreme selflessness.

Virtually all advocates of secular sexual behavior center on an «it’s all about me» philosophy rather than mutual love and care for the other partner.

Abortion is tragically too often the result of sex being separated from a committed marital relationship that is both open to life and centered on uplifting another, rather than using another person for self-gratification.

With regard to pornography and the homosexual movement, Craig Osten and I co-wrote the book, «The Homosexual Agenda: The Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today» (Broadman & Holman) because we have witnessed firsthand the pain of those who are trapped in homosexual behavior.

I have been exposed to it from the time I spent as a full-time and special prosecutor — on both the local and federal levels — and as the head of several criminal investigative task forces.

In multiple prosecutions of people involved in every level of the pornography trafficking industry, I learned firsthand, many times from hours of conversations with defendants and their counsel, of these individuals’ real view of the First Amendment. It was a joke and a smoke screen.

I learned what the profiteering pornographers thought of the homosexual persons who were plied with every manner of video, magazine and appliance. To be blunt, the pornographers had nothing but disgust and ridicule for those who paid them hard cash.

In years of public speaking since that time, I have repeatedly referred to pornography as the «true hate literature» of our age, because of its hatred and exploitation of the human person, regardless of size, shape, color or gender.

It reduces human beings to valueless commodities to be ogled at and disposed of like used tissue. Sadly, many of the individuals whom the pornographers dispose of are vulnerable young men and women who engage in homosexual behavior.

I’ve met young homosexual men and women who were struggling with the issue of pornography and the various forms of sex trade outlets. These included the so-called gay bars, many of which we learned were often owned or controlled by exploitive heterosexuals and even criminal enterprises. These manipulative individuals and organizations just wanted to «make a buck» off the weaknesses of others.

I had the opportunity to talk with these men and women in depth about their pain, their heart needs and the role that this material played in their formation and their sexual behavior. Based on these years of experience with those trapped in homosexual behavior, I must continue to express real outrage at the merciless exploitation of those with homosexual urges and temptations.

[Thursday: Ways to fight pornography]

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