Religiously Motivated Anti-Porn Groups Sign Letter Endorsing KOSA

Religiously Motivated Anti-Porn Groups Sign Letter Endorsing KOSA

WASHINGTON — Several major religiously inspired anti-porn lobbies, including NCOSE, have endorsed a letter to the U.S. Senate supporting the controversial Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a bill that digital rights and free speech advocates have warned will limit online free speech.

The letter was initially obtained by NBC News, the first outlet to mention a summary of its contents and the number — though not the full identities — of the signatory organizations. That report, by tech reporter Kat Tenbarge, notes that more than 200 organizations sent the letter Wednesday “urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to schedule a vote on the Kids Online Safety Act first thing in January when Congress reconvenes.”

Tenbarge’s report also quotes Sacha Haworth, executive director of the Tech Oversight Project, one of the endorsing organizations behind the letter. XBIZ contacted Haworth, who offered a link to the full text of the letter and the complete list of the signatory organizations.

The complete list reveals that the letter was signed by NCOSE, formerly known as Morality in Media, along with several other religiously motivated pro-censorship groups that have sought to eradicate all adult content. These include the Parents Television and Media Council and Citizens for Decency, a veteran pro-censorship lobby whose motto is “Stand Against Pornography.”

Besides these venerable anti-porn crusading organizations, the letter was also endorsed by less prominent but active religious conservative groups devoted to making porn illegal again, such as Parents Who Fight and Enough Is Enough.

The Usual Network of Anti-Porn Crusading Groups

These less well-known organizations tend to share two things: generic sounding names and very vocal anti-porn agendas.

Parents Who Fight, which aligns itself with fellow crusading organizations Exodus Cry and Utah-based Fight the New Drug, actively promotes anti-porn propaganda material like the videos produced by Exodus Cry’s Benjamin Nolot.

Enough Is Enough, founded in 1992, became one of the first organizations to specifically target adult content online. The group’s efforts helped pave the way for the Clinton-era Communications Decency Act, which was almost entirely struck by the courts as unconstitutionally impinging upon freedom of speech.

Current Enough Is Enough director Donna Rice Hughes is a religious activist who in 2014 published a sensationalistic academic article in the Christian Apologetics Journal, titled "The Internet Pornography Pandemic: The Largest Unregulated Social Experiment in Human History."

KOSA and Sex Worker Censorship

The Tech Oversight Project’s Sasha Haworth told NBC News, “The 200-plus organizations in support of KOSA are unanimous in our belief that KOSA would not be used to censor sex workers, LGBTQ kids, the trans community or anyone.”

Despite Haworth’s assurance, some of the endorsing groups have repeatedly stated that there is no such thing as consensual sex work, which they exclusively link with trafficking and abuse, while others have actively campaigned against LGBTQ+ rights.

As Tenbarge points out, in September, one of KOSA’s main proponents, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) “caused alarm among some transgender advocates when she said ‘protecting minor children from the transgender in this culture’ should be a top priority for lawmakers in a video in which she also praised KOSA.”

Blackburn’s statements about how conservative DAs might apply KOSA in the future to chill free speech around sexual issues and LGBTQ+ education seem much more in line with the activism track record of NCOSE, Citizens for Decency and the other endorsing groups than with Haworth’s claim about her co-signatories’ intentions.

For more XBIZ coverage of KOSA, click here.

Letter Endorsing KOSA (full text)

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