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Coalition urges hearings on porn's harm

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
WASHINGTON (BP) -- A coalition that includes a Southern Baptist ethicist has written to Congress urging hearings on the harm of pornography and the need to enforce obscenity laws.

A coalition known as The War on Illegal Pornography sent the letter April 4 to Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The letter has more than 5,100 signers, including Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Federal obscenity laws prohibit the distribution of obscene pornographic material via any medium, but the U.S. Justice Department "has stopped all enforcement of these laws at a time when our nation is suffering an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography," the letter said.

The signers pointed to a 2011 letter from 117 members of Congress -- 75 from the House and 42 from the Senate -- to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to enforce obscenity laws. In that letter, the congressional members said adult obscenity "contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children and sex trafficking."

The signers of the latest letter said those who consume adult pornography often advance to "more deviant material," including child pornography.

They believe a congressional hearing on the subject is needed to show the harm pornography is causing, based on the findings of researchers and medical professionals, the signers said.


The letter signers include James Dobson, Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund, professor Robert George of Princeton University, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, Donna Rice-Hughes of Enough is Enough, Patrick Trueman of Morality in Media and Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. There are 125 organizational affiliations represented among the signers.

The letter may be found online at

Mark Norton is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press.

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Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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