For one week in October, the government declares pornography awareness week.

Oh, wait, wait, I take that back. The Bush Administration renamed it “Protection Against Pornography Week” a few years ago. I know, puts a whole new spin on it, doesn’t it? Because when I first saw, “Pornography Awareness Week,” I thought, hey, cool! We’re gonna have open debates about condoms in porn, AIDS and STDs, childrens’ safety and exposure and pornography addiction, right? What a good idea!

Erm… no?

Apparently not.

Instead, groups like WRAP (White Ribbons Against Pornography–that’s right, they’ve even appropriated a ribbon color for this one, folks. It was pink for breast cancer and yellow for the troops, and now it’s white and pure as the driven snow for the anti-porn movement) and Girls against Porn (GAP) have taken up arms against all things sexually explicit.

(What, you didn’t know? That’s right, informing young girls about sex and birth control simply encourages them to have it, so you should definitely tell them to “Just Say No”–but you should encourage them to take up the fight against porn. Uhhh…nevermind the question, “What’s porn, Mom?” If you must supply an answer, just say: “Um, it’s pictures and movies of people doing that thing we don’t talk about and you’re not allowed to do until you’re married.” Right. Silly me. What was I thinking? And if these “girls” are trying to market their message to WOMEN… I suggest they take off their Bratz Girlz Brigade logo and the Charlie’s Angels Theme playing in the background…)

So during this whole week, right-wing conservatives and evangelical Christians will don their white ribbons of purity and campaign against the “degradation of Western culture” and for “safety and decency and the American way.”


The American Way?

Hold on. Last time I checked, this country was formed by those who were being religiously persecuted and who argued that no one should have the right to define how someone else lived their life. (Well, except for those indigenous peoples with those weird polytheistic views… those we had to slaughter… and then there were those colored folks we found on another continent… they had strange ways, too, so we had to “reform” them… oh, and enslave them…)

Hm. Gee, maybe they’re right. They are fighting for “The American Way,” aren’t they?

At least, the one we put into practice, rather than the one that’s written down on paper. That’s rather unfortunate, because the original wasn’t a bad idea. That free speech thing? Kinda cool.

But the religious extremists (who are getting more and more extreme, and growing in number, it seems) are now even going so far as to argue (get this!) that pornography itself causes terrorism.

woppitywoppitywoppity (<—the sound of my head shaking in disbelief)

That’s right. Morality in the Media’s (MIM) Robert Peters said that toughening obscenity laws and banning pornography “will…improve our national image in the war against religiously based terrorism.”

Religiously based terrorism? Um… wait a minute here. Beep Beep Beep. Back the truck up a minute.

Let’s look at the Principles of Terrorism, shall we?

1) No matter how horrific the act, it is justifiable to the terrorists as a means to achieve their goals. (like, oh, I don’t know, bombing abortion clinics?)

2) Common concepts of law, ethics, morality, logic or religion do not apply to terrorists. (Yep, we want to be able to impose our views upon an entire nation and curb your right to personal freedom, which, ya know, yeah, was kinda that freedom we came over here to fight for and base our country on and all… because it’s for your own good, we said so, and we’re just… right!)

3) The creation of terror, mass hysteria and to demonstrate the powerlessness of government are all designed to force submission to the terrorist goals. (Porn is evil! Anyone who watches porn becomes immediately addicted! Everyone who works in the sex industry does it for the money and is being exploited! All pornographers are pedophiles! Children everywhere are being victimized! Mass hysteria anyone?)

4) Terrorists do not view themselves as terrorists. (We’re working for the good of the people, for safety and common decency, and who can argue with that?!)

5) If the terrorist does not have to have the ability to carry out the act they only need to convince you that they have the ability (hoax). (We’re going to wear white ribbons and write long diatribes on the Internet without any statistical backup or proof about the evils of porn, we’re going to lobby our government and get that pesky Bill of Rights rescinded!)

6) May result in backlash against the terrorist group if the attack is too horrific. (Say… bombing abortion clinics?)

7) Sometimes by forcing the government to take protective measures the terrorist can gain publicity and effect the public without actually launching an attack. (Like lobbying for the government sponsored CP80 Initiative to “protect” people from unintentional exposure to pornography?)

8 ) Terrorists seek recognition and acceptance for their cause. (Making Internet websites with Bratz Girls images and Charlie’s Angels Themes?)

9) The objective is concession with or without negotiations. (Wasting resources by pursuing the evils of consenting adults involved in the production and viewing pornography with other consenting adults instead of other, more important, issues?)

10) Most terrorist organizations have a legal / public branch for negotiations and public support. (MIM , GAP, WRAP? Or perhaps other terrorists group fronts like Operation Rescue?)

Now… who’s the religious terrorist organization again?

Don’t MIM and GAP and WRAP (and other rhyming acronyms just like them) look like they’re wearing the same shoes they’re trying to put on those “religiously based terrorists” out there? And if the shoe fits…

Yet, they accuse the pornography industry of being “the most powerful network of cultural terrorists in the world?!”

“Um, Kettle, hi there, it’s Pot. I was wondering if you hadn’t noticed, perhaps, your own particular dark hue?”

It’s not that I don’t think there shouldn’t be awareness. I’m all for awareness, where we talk openly about the sex industry, what’s involved, the problems, the issues. I’m there for that one! But protection from pornography? No thanks. If you want protection from it, protect yourself. If you want to protect your children from it, then feel free. There’s lots of ways to do so that don’t involve government involvement or control.

The problem isn’t sexual freedom at all. It’s sexual repression. The more religious groups like this campaign for the abolition of sexually explicit material, the more it’s going to show up. Remember Prohibition? Yeah, that didn’t work either. Anything can be addictive. Even religious ideals, if zealots are any indication.

MIM’s mouthpiece, Dr. Victor Cline, says: “In my experience as a sexual therapist, any individual who regularly masturbates to pornography is at risk of becoming, in time, a sexual addict, as well as conditioning himself into having a sexual deviancy and/or disturbing a bonded relationship with a spouse or girlfriend. A frequent side effect is that it also dramatically reduces their capacity to love. Their sexual side becomes, in a sense, dehumanized. Many of them develop an “alien ego state” (or dark side), whose core is antisocial lust devoid of most values.”

Well, in my experience as a psychologist (hey, I can say that!) the risks of become a sex addict from masturbating to porn aren’t all that great. For either gender. And banning pornography is analogous to banning Snickers because some people are food addicts. The problem isn’t the substance… it’s the addiction and addictive behavior.

Also, in my experience as a psychologist, I can tell you that it’s actually the repression of the very sexual freedoms and inhibitions they’re trying to prohibit that causes that “alien alter ego” and “dark side” to show up.

Think I’m wrong?

HBO did a documentary called Friends of God: A Road Trip in 2006, where Reverend Ted Haggard was quoted as saying: “Surveys show that evangelicals have the best sex life of anyone in the world.”

Hm. Really? Perhaps he meant “the most deviant sex lives of anyone in the world?” That’s where the dark side comes in…

Soon after the documentary finished filming, Pastor Ted was accused of and admitted to purchasing methamphetamine from a male prostitute. He later admitted to having sex with the prostitute.

If you’re not going to be open about your sexuality, it’s going to sneak up and bite you in the ass one way or another. Banning porn isn’t going to stop that. Talking about it? Bringing awareness to sexuality, including the pornography and the sex industry?

Gee, that just might. We should give that a try some time.