Catholic Bishops Call on AG Barr to Enforce Obscenity-Porn Laws, Protect Youth

By Michael W. Chapman | May 12, 2020 | 12:09pm EDT
 

(CNSNews) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recently sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr urging him "to confront the ongoing harms wrought by the pornography industry and to protect its victims" through vigorous enforcement of obscenity laws and investigation of porn producers.

The bishops stressed in their Apr. 30 letter that "pornography harms families and communities," and "when viewed by the young, it provides a terrible model and expectation of how persons should treat each other, potentially leading to coercion or violence."

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, head of the archdiocese of San Francisco. (Getty Images)
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, head of the archdiocese of San Francisco. (Getty Images)

The bishops said that the coronavirus pandemic has reminded communities and nations that we are all in this together, and "cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this."

However, "pornography is the antithesis of this," said the bishops. "Rather than remembering and loving our fellow humans as brothers and sisters, it objectifies them – often directly exploiting them – and diminishes the health of users’ relationships with others."

"In fact, legislative chambers in at least 15 states have declared pornography a public health crisis in its own right," they wrote. 

Attorney General William P. Barr.   (Getty Images)
Attorney General William P. Barr. (Getty Images)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) needs to act now, according to the bishops, because first "there are direct victims: the persons used in the productions. Many have their consent (even if technically legal) compromised by desperate circumstances while, for others, consent is completely absent."

"The department rightly pursues human traffickers; however, virtually unchecked proliferation of pornography fuels the demand that frequently results in commercial sexual exploitation," said the bishops.  Unprecedented, unlimited, and anonymous access to pornography via modern technology has led users to seek more and more extreme videos."

  (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

"Thus, non-enforcement or lax enforcement of obscenity laws against producers and distributors may provide a gateway for this demand to metastasize, increasing the incidents of trafficking, child pornography, other abuse, and broader unjust conditions," wrote the bishops.

The second reason is that pornography "harms families and communities" especially "when viewed by the young," they wrote. Widespread access to porn by adolescents through the Internet can have long-term cultural effects. 

"As pastors, we frequently see the pain that results from a pornography habit," said the bishops. "Marriages that are injured or even broken by a spouse’s pornography use, which some divorce lawyers report as a factor in over half of their cases, have a ripple effect on children and society."

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The letter noted that four members of the House of Representatives wrote to Barr in December 2019, urging him to enforce existing obscenity laws against the vile and pervasive porn on the Internet. 

“The Internet and other evolving technologies are fueling the explosion of obscene pornography by making it more accessible and visceral,” the representatives wrote. “This explosion in pornography coincides with an increase in violence towards women and an increase in the volume of human trafficking as well as child pornography.”

The four congressmen who wrote to Barr are Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), and Rep. Brian Babin (R-Tex.).

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Also, on March 10, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, wrote to BarrSasse called for a "federal investigation into Pornhub and its owner MindGeek for their involvement in streaming videos of raped and exploited women and children."

“In several notable incidents over the past year, Pornhub made content available worldwide showing women and girls that were victims of trafficking being raped and exploited,” Sasse wrote. “Indeed, the problem of Pornhub streaming content featuring women and children victims of sex trafficking reached the point in November that Paypal cut off services for Pornhub, refusing to facilitate this abuse any longer...."

"Pornhub must not escape scrutiny," said Sasse.  "I therefore request that the Department open an investigation into Pornhub and its parent entity MindGeek Holding SARL for their involvement in this disturbing pipeline of exploiting children and other victims and survivors of sex trafficking.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) (Getty Images)

According to research compiled by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation:

"It's Everywhere: Young children are now exposed to hardcore (mainstream) pornography at an alarming rate, with 27% of older millennials (age 25-30) reporting that they first viewed pornography before puberty. Sixty-four percent of people 13–24 actively seek out pornography weekly or more often."

"Pornography Teaches that Women Enjoy Sexual Violence: Analysis of the 50 most popular pornographic videos (those bought and rented most often) found that 88% of scenes contained physical violence, and 49% contained verbal aggression. Eighty-seven percent of aggressive acts were perpetrated against women, and 95% of their responses were either neutral or expressions of pleasure."

"The Research Is In: Since 2009, there have been 30 major studies that have revealed porn has negative and detrimental impacts on the brain."

"Extramarital Affairs: A study found that persons ever having an extramarital affair were more than 3 times more apt to have used Internet pornography than ones who had lacked affairs. Other research affirms that pornography consumption is associated with more positive attitudes towards extramarital affairs."

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