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Americans, Pastors Urged to Speak Out Against Porn

WWW- Several anti-porn groups fed up with the number of children and marriages that have been harmed as a result of porn addiction are urging Americans to fight back during a pornography awareness event this week.

During the 20th annual “White Ribbon Against Pornography Week” (WRAP), which runs Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, Americans are being called to speak out on the detrimental effects of pornography and inform others about ways to remove the “garbage” from the lives of families and local communities.

For one week, people are also asked to wear or display a white ribbon in solidarity against pornography.

WRAP Week is being promoted by Morality in Media (MIM), Concerned Women for American (CWA) and American Mothers.

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse,[pictured] director and senior fellow of CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, says the pornography industry has “exploded” in recent years.

In just a few years, internet pornography has grown around 19-fold. In 1998, there were less than 80,000 internet porn sites, notes Crouse. That figure grew to 1.5 million in 2003.

Today, over 15,000 new adult movie titles are released every year, Crouse reports. Furthermore, recent figures reveal 35 million visits to porn sites from American computers every month.

Anti-porn activists say a higher supply of porn means more accessibility and greater exposure to the public, and some of those viewers include children.

Forty-two percent of internet users, aged 10 to 17, said they had seen online pornography within a one-year period, according to a 2007 study by University of New Hampshire. The study also found that over one-third of 16- and 17-year-old boys surveyed said they had intentionally visited X-rated sites in the past year.

“Since pornography is a $5 billion industry annually, it affects us all. It harms women and children, it destroys families, and it weakens communities,” says Crouse.

“It is especially a threat to children when 85 percent of prisoners convicted of possessing child pornography admit to abusing at least one child,” she adds.

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in California v. Miller that obscene material or hardcore pornography is not protected by the First Amendment.

Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, however, says the United States has “failed miserably” at protecting juveniles from pornography.

The Supreme Court has handed down ruling against the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and the Child Online Protection Act of 1998, which would make it a crime for commercial Internet sites to make pornography available to minors.

For Crouse, the fight against pornography is not matter of legality but of enforcement.

“Obscenity is illegal and has been since 1973,” says Crouse. “The problem is that State Prosecutors and United States Attorneys cannot prosecute unless violators of the obscenity laws are brought before them.”

Peters has sent a letter to presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, urging them to state their support for vigorous enforcement of federal obscenity laws.

“If elected President, will you nominate individuals to serve as Attorney General, Director of the FBI, and U.S. Attorneys who will enforce federal obscenity laws?” asks Peters in the letter.

The backers of WRAP Week are asking people to complain to businesses that distribute pornography, write letters to the editor, distribute information to the community, educate community leaders about the negative effects of pornography, contact their State Prosecutor and U.S. Attorney to complain about violations of state obscenity laws, and ask state and local legislators to curtail “sexually oriented businesses.”

WRAP supporters are also encouraging pastors to preach about pornography as sin in their sermons this week.

“Our pastors need to preach about the ‘wages of sin’ regarding objectifying women and sexualizing children,” states Crouse in her latest opinion piece.

“Religious institutions should also be at the forefront of efforts to make persons of all ages understand that from a ‘faith perspective,’ viewing pornography is morally wrong (sinful, if you will) and that use of pornography is destroying countless marriages and contributing to other harmful sexual behavior,” says Peters.

Morality in Media has sample sermons on its Web site that address the issue.

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