Concerned Americans are being encouraged to help raise awareness of the harms of pornography and highlight the need to enforce obscenity and related laws as they observe the 22nd annual White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week.
From Sunday until Nov. 1, WRAP Week supporters will be displaying white ribbons, sending letters to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, contacting state and local officials, distributing flyers, and simply informing members of their church and the general public of the importance of obscenity laws at a time when such laws are not being enforced vigorously.
"It is clear that the explosion of hardcore pornography on the Internet and elsewhere is fueling this moral crisis," says Robert W. Peters, president of Morality in Media, which sponsors WRAP Week.
"It is also clear that ignoring the problem (the Clinton administration) and failing to take necessary steps to effectively curb the problem (the Bush administration) won't solve the problem," he adds. "The government's ongoing failure to enforce federal obscenity laws should be a matter of great concern to President Obama and Attorney General Holder."
Notably, however, while Peters named the U.S. Justice Department, the FBI and Congress as those at fault for the largely absent enforcement of obscenity laws, he and others have confessed that lack of public action has also played a large role.
Obscenity laws, they note, are based in part on contemporary community standards.
So although national opinion polls have indicated that most adults do not consider pornography morally acceptable or harmless and that they want federal obscenity laws enforced, if there is a lack of action from the public, there is likely to be less action from officials.
"If law enforcement officials do not receive complaints from the community, they are prone to translate that silence into acceptance of the hardcore pornography being sold in your neighborhood," former MIM Executive Vice President Betty Wein explains in an article that has been circulated each year in conjunction with WRAP Week.
Knowing this, participants of WRAP Week are being encouraged to ask their state prosecutor to enforce state obscenity laws and to send a letter to Attorney General Holder.
"In addition to harming children morally and psychologically, addiction to hardcore 'adult pornography' also contributes to the breakup of marriages, to sexual assaults against women and children and to sexual trafficking in women and children," states a sample letter in MIM's website, which provides other action items for WRAP Week including sample sermons for pastors and WRAP Week Flyers.
"The flood of obscenity emanating from the United States also tarnishes our national image in the war against terrorism," it adds.
Though Peters admits that enforcement of obscenity laws is not the whole answer to the pornography problem, the conservative leader says vigorous enforcement by officials will put many hardcore pornographers out of business and encourage others to get or stay out.
"It will also send the message that pornography is a moral and social evil," he adds. "Youth especially need to hear this message."
But Peters notes that in addition to law enforcement, "parental involvement, public education, the involvement of religious groups, and corporate responsibility are all desperately needed."
"Our nation is facing a moral crisis which is giving rise to, among other things, teen promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases (including AIDS), abortions, children born to single mothers, divorces, sexual abuse of children, rape, trafficking in women and children, on-the-job sexual harassment and lost worker productivity," he says. "The costs associated with these problems are incalculable."
Groups that have helped to promote WRAP Week include Concerned Women for America and Focus on the Family, among others.