Religious Scholars Ask Hotels to Pull Porn

Bob Johnson

NEW YORK — Despite a continuing drop in revenue from hotel room porn, two religious scholars want hospitality executives to pull adult movies out of their establishments for good.

Robert P. George, a Christian and Princeton University professor, and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College, a Muslim school, wrote a letter to the hotel chiefs urging them to “to do what is right as a matter of conscience.”

“We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good,” reads the letter.

“We urge you to do away with pornography in your hotels because it is morally wrong to seek to profit from the suffering, degradation, or corruption of others. You are placing temptation in their path — temptation for the sake of profit. That is unjust. Moreover, the fact that something is chosen freely does not make it right.”

George, who is also the past chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage, and Yusuf told CNN that they were able to put aside their differences regarding faith because of their commitment to the cause. “We need to see that those things that are threatening our society today are much graver than anything that may divide us,” Yusuf said.

But even some anti-porn supporters question the move.

The pastor of XXXChurch.com, Craig Gross, said the letter is virtually useless because trying to ban porn from hotel rooms won’t stop access that’s readily and easily available on the Internet.

“It has got to be one of the dumbest letters I have ever read,” Gross told CNN. “It is like asking the Internet to stop selling porn. It sounds good and all, but it isn’t going to happen.”

But the letter’s authors claim the hotels are directly tempting guests to buy porn.

“Just because we are able to do something doesn’t mean it is what we should be doing. And just because you can sell these things doesn’t mean it is something you should be selling,” Yusuf said.

Gross however, asked for example, that when hotels offer room service are they tempting dieters? He maintained that it’s a supply and demand issue and acknowledged the demand for porn. He said the problem is not that porn is available, but rather that people buy it.

Adult star Ron Jeremy also weighed in and said the letter is an attack on freedom of speech.

“What they have to understand is that freedom of speech works for all of us, not just for them. This is a country that is secular; you have freedom from religion and freedom of religion. Give me a break,” Jeremy said.

The veteran star told CNN that he completely supports blocking children from viewing porn in hotel rooms but believes there’s no reason why adults shouldn’t watch “consenting adults have consenting sex.”

"If a guy has a hard day at work or is at a convention and wants to sit down in his hotel room and puts on an adult film and plays spank the monkey, why can’t he do that?"

Although some chains like Marriott have chosen to voluntarily pull porn from their rooms, the American Hotel and Lodging Association defends the right of hotels to choose what services to offer in their rooms.

“In-room offerings such as this are made available based on market demand, are not offered in all hotels, and are subject to the same legal review all hotel operations are subject to,” read a statement to CNN from Kathryn Potter, senior vice president of marketing and communications.

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