Saturday, July 15, 2006

Letter about Pornography

[Apparently, The Denver Post is not going to print this letter to the editor. So, here it is. The reporter who wrote the stories emailed me that there would be another article on July 16 that would feature comments by religious leaders. Nevertheless, my point stands with respect to the first set of articles. Moreover, I don't remember reading anything in the July 9 articles about more articles to follow.]

Dear Editor:

All three articles on the emergence of Pornopolis (7-9-06) omitted something. None quoted anyone arguing that pornography is deeply immoral and unhealthy. One article mentioned those in 12-step programs trying to overcome pornography addiction and another quoted one social critic saying something mildly critical. Yet no philosopher, theologian, or religious leader was consulted. Why not? Despite the fact that what was once rightly condemned as lewd, crude, and demeaning is now big business and immensely popular, there are still many among us who won’t strip to the beat of that deranged drummer. Pornography is a tragic perversion of an originally good gift of the Creator. Like ancient Rome and other civilizations in decline, America is exchanging moral and religious standards for illicit sexual gratifications without restraint. Yet restraint is the price of civilization—in every area, not just the sexual. And repentance with self-discipline is the only way out of the despair and into the light.

Douglas Groothuis


Ed Darrell said...

Minor nit, but I think we need to be careful. What we should campaign against is not pornography, per se -- the Sistine Chapel ceiling is not evil.

Obscene pornography is the issue. But then, all obscenity is damaging, including obscene violence, and obscenity in war.

Arguing against the human body is, at some level, self-defeating, and futile.

Douglas Groothuis said...

Good grief! Whoever said all nudity in art is pornography?! Not me.

Ed Darrell said...

"Pornography" is nudity in art. I suppose that, out in Denver, careless usage may have given the word a new meaning? Your letter doesn't distinguish the pornography on the Sistine Chapel from any other.

The usual, legal distinction is drawn with the word "obscenity."

Douglas Groothuis said...


Your definition is simply false. Pornography is hard to define, but your's is wrong. Nudity is a necessary, but not a sufficent condition for pornography (of the visual kind).

Ed Darrell said...

I'm sure my more technical definition will lose out in the end, to common usage if nothing else.

My concerns are two: One, that there is little distinction between nudity in art and obscene pornography; and two, there are plenty of other obscenities that are just as damaging, if not moreso.

Carry on.