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Current Page: Politics | Saturday, January 18, 2020
Robert P. George urges AG Barr to take action against porn industry

Robert P. George urges AG Barr to take action against porn industry

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Chairman Robert George speaks during a Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing in Washington, D.C. on April 19, 2016. | The Christian Post/Samuel Smith

Professor Robert P. George, who's described by many as the most influential conservative Christian thinker in the country, is urging U.S. Attorney General William Barr to address the pornography epidemic.

In an interview with The Daily Wire, George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and one of the founders of the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, explained why he's advocating that action be taken at the federal level to combat pornography.

“The rise of online pornography for children — even young children — has made this issue resurgent again,” George told The Daily Wire. “Addiction and sexual addiction connected to pornography has contributed to this. People know about it — people who are married to addicts.”

He added, "One additional piece of the puzzle: We have become much more cognizant, over the past decade or two decades, with the way the porn industry has become intertwined with sexual enslavement.

“You put those things together and you can see why the issue has come back — and come back with an urgency. The moral issues remain, but the public health dimensions and our sensitivity to sexual exploitation has increased. And the #MeToo movement has helped here.”‘

His words come amid a trend in conservative states where Republican-led legislatures have passed resolutions calling attention to the public health harms of porn and its demonstrable link to domestic violence and human trafficking.

Thus far, 15 states have passed anti-porn resolutions, many of which have been based on a template by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a Washington-based advocacy group that believes the porn industry must be fought on a social level given how it saturates culture.

Last month, four Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives also reached out to Barr, urging the Department of Justice to follow through with President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to restrain the porn industry.

Those who often argue against laws restricting or regulating porn assert that explicit content falls under the umbrella of the First Amendment, that it is essentially another form of constitutionally protected free speech.

“The goal of government is to protect health, safety, and morals, along with the common good — certainly in conjunction with protecting individual rights,” George told The Daily Wire.

“There are social interests here that need to be balanced and I’m usually happy to err on the side of freedom, but for the vast amount of pornography, we’re just not talking about materials that are legally protected.”

The Princeton professor's letter to Barr requests clarification on federal policy as it pertains to the enforcement of obscenity laws already on the books and whether they will be applied to internet porn.

“As everyone knows, the online pornography industry has exploded,” the letter reads.

“There has been a dramatic rise in illegal pornography production and distribution. Hotels, cable and TV companies, and internet pornography distributors regularly sell pornography featuring horrific themes such as the rape of teenagers, incest, sexual assault, sex trafficking and slavery, suffocation, bondage, and even cartoon pornography targeted at minor children. … A 13-year-old with a smartphone now has unlimited access to his own personal theatre of sexual horrors.”

In December, The American Principles Project and other conservative media outlets deliberately raised the spectre of the harms of pornography in an effort to stir debate about the government's role in restraining it to protect children. But talk of taking more action has been percolating for years among conservatives. In a February 2018 New York Times article, columnist Ross Douthat called for a porn ban.  

The reaction against porn from conservatives also comes amid shifting opinions among the general public. Gallup research from June 2018 found that 43 percent of survey respondents said they believed porn was morally acceptable, a 7 point uptick from 2011 when questions of that nature were first asked.

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