By Brett Bezzant, Reprinted from Citizen newspaper, American Fork, Utah
March 1997 – We recently noticed a funny brown stain where the hall carpet met the bathroom floor. Upon further investigation, we were horrified to find that toilet water had been seeping under the entire floor.
The nauseating fluid had corroded the carpet tacks, resulting in rust-stained carpet. When I pulled up the vinyl, the subfloor was saturated. Don’t try to imagine how it smelled; I get sick just thinking about it. After tearing up the subfloor, I noticed that part of the last layer of floor looked almost as bad. We opened the bathroom window, turned on the fan, closed the door and hoped it would dry up and recover.
By the time you read this column, the insurance adjustor will be telling us how much of the floor we have to replace.
After attending last Thursday’s community meeting about the availability of X-rated and similar non-rated videos in the area, it seems there is even a worse kind of seepage right here in our own town. The response to this community clean up-effort has drawn a surprising amount of attention – especially from the broadcast media.
Whenever a sensational issue involving “censorship,” “prior restraint,” “privacy,” and other First Amendment issues comes up, the media often have a feeding frenzy. Unfortunately, this media hype usually serves as free advertising for the purveyors of such material. Instead of losing money, they do better than ever before ... at least for the short term. And with today’s legal emphasis on personal liberty (read “license”), the chance of winning such a battle in the courts is pretty slim.
However, in the face of such difficulty, a gutsy young couple in American Fork is organizing an effort to turn the tide (or at least clean up what has crept into our own communities).
[A local petition can be a] very important part of that effort. By signing it yourself, along with your neighbors and friends, it makes a strong statement about what our community standards are. And that goes a long way in legally defining what “pornography” is.
The courts have made its definition relatively subjective based on contemporary community standards. It also sends a strong message to the local video establishments and other outlets about what is morally acceptable.
Last Thursday’s meeting also included a sensitive and sensible presentation by Tom Young of Citizens for Positive Community Values. Who can question that pornographic material (regardless of whether it is “soft” or “hard”) is really addictive and dangerous. It can eventually affect nearly every person in the community.
By exploiting eroticism, it rapes relationships, abuses the innocent, strangles the spirit, and contributes to crime. Considering how prevalent it has become in the last 25 years, what will our children face?
Pornography producers function much like drug dealers (and often they’re the same people), only here they have a certain degree of legal protection. Initial targets are the youth, especially young men ages 11 to 17.
They start with a “soft-core” entry level sexual stimulant. After a certain period the user becomes “hooked.” Numbness or desensitization sets in with reality checking out. Coarser material is needed and accepted to achieve the same sexual high. Before long the only thing left is to perform or “act out” the fantasies that have been played out hundreds or thousands of times in the mind.
Though relatively few resort to acting out violent fantasies, even one such prospect is chilling enough.
The closing of the Circle K store in Lehi and an adult bookstore in Mesquite, Nevada, are two examples of what can be accomplished by concerted community coalitions – even if it comes to outright boycotts and picketing.
I recommend Tom Young’s personal pledge against pornography. It is reprinted below.
Pledge against pornography
I pledge not to partake of any form of pornography for my own best good and my family and those close to me.
I pledge to remove and destroy all pornographic materials from my home, my office, or any other place over which I have control.
I pledge if I have tendencies toward using pornography to substitute such materials with uplifting educational, spiritual, or mind improvement resources and force myself upward to a higher plane of thinking.
I pledge if I am using or have become addicted to pornography, to stop these practices now and seek professional help to break my addiction.
I pledge to guard children and minors against the ever increasing and insidious intrusions of pornography into their lives from magazines, books, videos, movies, music, the internet, the telephone, and other sources.
I pledge to educate myself to the public health hazard and major social illness pornography really is.
I pledge to quietly seek our and take advantage of opportunities to discuss with friends, associates, youth, and others the evils and dangers of pornography.
I pledge to involve my friends, family, and neighbors to survey businesses in my neighborhood who sell or rent pornographic materials, and inform such “merchants of smut” to keep these materials out of sight and out of reach of our children and youth; or better yet, to dispose of their current stock and cease selling or renting such materials entirely.
I pledge to myself with all I hold sacred, that I will stand up and be counted about those who oppose pornography.