A Congressional Cacophony

Stephen Yagielowicz
"Dear Friends & Supporters," begins the most recent series of pleas from our friends at Morality In Media (MIM), as they begin another Congressional annoyance campaign.

"Congress has already passed the laws; it is now the responsibility of the Department of Justice to enforce them and they're NOT doing it," states a recent MIM missive aimed at convincing the U.S. Department of Justice that the Victoria's Secret catalog is actually hardcore pornography. While that might be a slight mischaracterization, it's doubtless that some of MIM's more dangerously zealous membership would include such fare in its demands that the Justice Department "enforce federal obscenity laws and prosecute those violating them."

Head's up MIM: "illegal pornographers" are being prosecuted — and rightfully so, it's just that your own personal definition of what constitutes "porn" is so far away from what mainstream society considers to be adult-oriented entertainment, that no realistic enforcement actions will satisfy your puritanical demands. Not in 2011 America, anyway, where "porn" is protected speech and so many more important issues require addressing.

Attempting to conflate "obscenity" with "pornography" may work with those having a limited vocabulary, but the terms are NOT interchangeable, either as a matter of diction or in the courtroom — and remembering this may yield better results.

For those who haven't heard about it, MIM's latest effort has involved a persistent campaign encouraging its core supporters to make repeated calls to their Senators and Representatives, online or by phone, demanding that they sign one of the letters to the Attorney General, Eric Holder.

"Pressure from Congress and the public will encourage the Department of Justice to once again focus on prosecution of major distributors of hardcore pornography," MIM CEO, Patrick Trueman, the self-proclaimed Director of the War on Illegal Pornography, stated in a letter to supporters, in which he hinted that A.G. Holder is aware of its efforts to bring book burning into the 21st century.

At the time this post was written, dozens of Senators and Representatives had signed the Hatch or Forbes-McIntyre letters — indicating their support of MIM in its war against legitimate adult entertainment and the very notion of "free choice" on the part of adults.

"The porn industry makes billions of dollars each year in exchange for selling pain and destruction," Trueman added. "Our cause can do so much good with much less money, but we do need some! Anything you can give helps, so please consider a monetary donation."

I would hate to be cynical and think he's just doing it for the money, because I fully understand the costs of supporting a mission and of the need to pay staff and operating expenses, regardless of the worthiness of an endeavor. But if he really wanted to make a positive difference, Mr. Trueman could be supporting ASACP (www.asacp.org) in its decade-plus long campaign to keep children out of, and away from, adult entertainment.

By protecting those who are most vulnerable and at risk, rather than trying to eliminate the legal choices available to consenting adults, society benefits as a whole — and this difficult work takes people of faith and conviction.

I admire anyone who stands up for their beliefs, whether I agree with them or not, just because standing up isn't easy and often has painful consequences; especially in today's politically correct and overly-judgmental world. While I sincerely feel that Mr. Trueman is misguided (and he likely feels the same about me), we do agree on at least one thing — .XXX — even if some of our reasons are different. Where we don't agree is on the issue of freedom of choice — including the choice of consenting adults to consume, to produce and to share pornography that features other consenting adults.

While I don't expect a vast outpouring of consumer counter-complaints to Congress demanding that legislators leave porn alone and focus on important things, one hopes that our elected officials have a better sense of balance than to allow the books to burn.