Classic Footage of the Religious Right’s War on Porn

Decades after James Dobson spoke out against the evil horrors of pornography, I think it’s safe to say he lost that battle. (Video is SFW. Audio descriptions of sex, maybe not.)

Strangely enough, the audience members’ reactions to hearing James Dobson talk about pornography was the same reaction I had listening to James Dobson in the first place…

Also, what’s up with the one smiling dude at the 1:29 mark?

Winning comment on YouTube:

Hello 1980′s audience. I’m from the future. Let me show you a little something I like to call the Internet.

Yeah, that’s right. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

(via Christian Nightmares)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • cipher

    Also, what’s up with the one smiling dude at the 1:29 mark?

    He’s fantasizing about billions of his fellow human beings burning in hell. It’s what they live for.

    • B_R_Deadite99

       But, but, he LOVES you, cipher! He loves you so much he might even deign to pour a few droplets of champagne on your head while he masturbates to your eternal suffering from Heaven.

      Meanwhile, in the real world…

  • http://twitter.com/jacobkwright Jake

    This reminds me of something I found a while back while working for the southern baptist convention: The Disney Boycott http://youtu.be/tUHyFDV8ukw

  • JC

    I’m too cynical. I look at all those nodding, serious men and I assume they’re all thinking, “Hm…where can I find this stuff? This sounds incredible!”

  • http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/ Jonny Scaramanga

    I love that guy saying, “The transition from soft to hardcore… well, whatever you wanna call it…”

    It’s like he suddenly realised that he’d given away how much he knows about the subject. Shit! Bail out! Uh… whatever you call it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

    I don’t see the point of this post. Is it just to make fun of people or to tell us how society has come to accept the immorality of pornography as okay using some ridiculous justification. If it’s not wrong, then why do we limit it’s expose to minors?

    What if someday society determines murder is okay under certain circumstances? Will you look back and make fun at somebody who taught about how horrible murder is?

    • Tom

      If working, marriage, signing legal contracts, driving motor vehicles and paying taxes are not wrong, why do we limit minors’ exposure to them?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        To keep people safe from the potential negative side of all of those things.

        Side questions: Since when were minors exempt from paying taxes? I paid taxes on my jobs in high school.

    • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

      Murder is bad because it results in dead people. Why is pornography bad, again?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Because it results in broken relationships.

        • Glasofruix

          Hmmm, you mean just like alcohol addiction, Elvis addiction, whatever popstar name addiction, sports addiction, eating addiction, tv addiction, gambling addiction….

        • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

          You have evidence for this?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Yes, talking to people that I come in contact with. But alas, this community will say that personal experiences don’t matter somehow. That want a number with it. So…okay, from my memory I know of three marriages that have ended with porn addiction being the straw that broke the camel’s back. I won’t say that it was the only cause, but it was the last straw for sure.

            • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

              And, of course, you have no reason to believe that those marriages would have survived in the absence of porn…

            • http://www.facebook.com/Tracy.Bradley1 Tracy Bradley

              I know someone for whom porn addiction was a factor in the breakdown of their relationship. That, however, doesn’t then mean that porn is ‘bad’, or that watching porn always results in broken relationships. Kinda like how drinking alcohol does not always result in alcoholism, etc etc.

        • Annie

           I would venture to guess that excessive use of porn may be a byproduct of a broken relationship, but highly doubtful the cause.  Also, many very happy couples choose to watch porn together, as well as many  single people for their own pleasure.  I don’t have time to look for documentation to support these claims… more just my thoughts, as the above are yours, Momma J.

        • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

          No. Shitty relationships result in broken relationships. 

          Many relationships SHOULD break up…any one where one belittles the other, where one physically abuses the other, heck, when one wants the other to sacrifice more than the other is willing!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        It also has several different paths that come potentially come out as a result of “testing the water” of pornography. Call it a gateway if you will, just as some would call marijuana a gateway drug. 

        Child pornography is pretty bad isn’t it? You can’t tell me that this wouldn’t damage a child emotionally and possibly, ultimately physically. 

        Sex-trafficking? Ever hear of it? 

        Most of the time what happens with pornography is that a person becomes numb to the stuff and so they have to have something more shocking to engage themselves in or to get their endorphin high. And it just escalates from there. 

        I’m not saying that just because a person looks at porn, it means they will go out and commit a rape, spend time with a prostitute, molest a child and so on, BUT if those who committed such acts were asked if they were addicted to porn, I’d bet my house and my car that they would answer yes!

        It’s an easy stepping stone to go from porn to the other stuff. It’s also an easy stepping stone from porn to divorce.

        • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

          The idea of (adult, legal) porn as a “gateway drug” to rape or child porn has been pretty conclusively disproved. Rape rates are in general negatively correlated (or not correlated at all) with availability of pornography, and the explosion of porn availability over the past couple of decades has provided ample evidence of this.

          Sex trafficking is not in general linked to porn (there are very rare exceptions); in fact it is most prevalent in areas where access to porn is still limited. Sex trafficking has its own widespread myths, many of them intentionally promulgated; for example, almost every major world sporting event since the 2006 World Cup has been the focus of stories about sex trafficking – every single one of those stories has been proven false, yet the myth keeps on working as a low-cost publicity stunt. Similarly, figures quoted for numbers of trafficking victims in places like western Europe or the USA are vastly inflated – often one can even trace a sequence in which report A gives a range of figures (already corrected for under-reporting), report B picks the high end of report A’s range and then multiplies it up again to “correct for under-reporting”, and then report C does the same again…

          The idea that people “become numb to the stuff and have to have something more shocking” is another claim not supported by evidence. Surveys in fact suggest that most consumers of porn find a level that suits them and then stick with it.

          As for the rest, you’re obviously forgetting that correlation is not causation.

        • EivindKjorstad

           Really ? This happens “most of the time” ? [Citation needed]

          Most people I know use porn, atleast occasionally, I don’t know any who’s seen any “escalation” of the sort you describe, furthermore there’s no logical reason this should happen. (I’m not saying it -cannot- hapen, I’m just  seriously doubting it happens “most of the time”)

          If exposure to something generally desensitive people to it, thus making them crave “stronger stuff” in order to be satisfied, why then, does that not happen with masturbation or sex with your husband/wife ?

    • Glasofruix

      Yeah, but porn is not a new thing, it existed some thousands of years ago, so it should fit the usual “but it’s tradition, it must be true” bullcrap, don’t you think? Anyway, even murder was legal for some categories of people some time ago (hint, the religious higher ups had the right to kill anyone they liked or disliked), as you can see the concept of “morality” highly depends on place and time.

      As usual, you’re throwing around some fallacies hoping that they won’t be thrown back at your face…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Enlighten me on which fallacy am I tossing around. I love how anytime I disagree with a post I’ve committed some made up fallacy. Sad. It’s like a default goes off and no one wants to have a real conversation so they shout the word fallacy pretending that this somehow makes the other person disappear and puts themselves on a pedestal as debate king. The problem is they haven’t proven or disproven anything :/

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          p.s. thank you for reading my post though. I sincerely do appreciate it. Back to my original question though, I without much of a post besides just an old video, I was trying to determine what the purpose of such a post was. 

          One person responded by saying it was to point out that the Christians  are attempting at trying to force someone into our views. I don’t know if I see that from the video exactly, but isn’t that what a big chunk of the atheist community tries to do as well? So what’s the difference?

          The poster above said to “live and let live” yet if that’s what the atheist communities and LGBT communities would do, the whole Chick-Fil-A thing wouldn’t have had such crazy media around it I don’t think.

          • Glasofruix

            “but isn’t that what a big chunk of the atheist community tries to do as well? So what’s the difference?”

            Atheists do not force people to think like them, we don’t want to be forced to think like you, big difference.

        • 3lemenope

          I agree that people tend to throw around “FALLACY!” in order to shut down discussion, and it is annoying, not less when they actually misapply the fallacy.

          But just because some people have that annoying habit, it doesn’t mean that identifying fallacies in argumentation isn’t an important part of figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular presentation. For example: 

          “If it’s not wrong, then why do we limit it’s expose to minors?”

          …is problematic, if not directly fallacious, because it implies an excluded middle. There are, of course, many many things that we seek to limit minors’ exposure to which we generally do not judge to be wrong. I do believe someone above pointed out a few of those things in response. And even though that person made an error in that list which you pointed out (as it is always important for interlocutors to keep each other honest by pointing out errors in examples and arguments), their point, given the surviving examples, was an adequate refutation of your implied excluded middle of ‘either a thing is given freely to children or it is morally defective’. You even had to resort to a fallback to attempt to salvage your point that things being simply dangerous instead of morally wrong is sufficient to support your original argument, an attempt I hope you realize is a failure, since I doubt you want to argue in seriousness that there is a formal equivalence between danger and moral defect.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Thanks for the informative response.  I would say that the two (danger to individuals and moral defect are related) are related though? They aren’t the same obviously, but one can cause the other right? 

            Something as simple as thinking of themselves selfishly can lead to a murder.

            • http://blog.luigiscorner.com/ Azel

              Problem here being that an action can be dangerous for others for many causes besides being morally defective. There are even many times where there isn’t a moral defect in the chain of actions: never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
              So unless you really want to argue that incompetence is a moral defect, you can’t as a rule legislate that every moral defect should be crushed before it gives rise to harmful acts, above all when it’s excess which is dangerous.

              And that’s not even considering if porn is really morally defective in itself. Child porn, sure: children can’t consent meaningfully to such acts. Porn done against the actors consent, of course: rape is rape, no matter how do you see it. Other cases ? Well, that may be open to debate, don’t you think ? In any case you would have to state why porn is, intrinsically, a morally bankrupt act. (And we would have to define porn for the discussion to have sense…) 

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                Agreed, the other cases are open to discussion as far the act of creating them with consent. 

                I don’t fall in the camp of ignorance being bliss. I also don’t believe that stupidity is that far from moral adeptness as one can be chose to remain stupid. 

                Some are in the boat where they can not. I would argue that most can change their stupidness, but choose not to for various reasons. 

                I know a lot of people who seem to like to remain uninformed as possible. I guess it passes the burden of proof? It’s my biggest pet peave during election time :)

        • Glasofruix

          Oh please….

          “If it’s not wrong, then why do we limit it’s expose to minors?”

          ==

          “If we evolved from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?”

          Same crap, different package. The truth is, we keep A LOT of things away from minors, part of it being that they usually don’t have enough understanding about those things and it can be dangerous for them.

          “The problem is they haven’t proven or disproven anything :/”

          The truth is, no amount of proof seems to be sufficient for people like you who view science with a suspicious eye. I gave enough explanations for you to go and google up things you don’t understand about scientific methods.

    • Randomfactor

       The Nixon Administration put together a panel to study the deleterious effects of pornography on society.  They decided as  a group, that there weren’t any to speak of .

      That pissed off one Roman Catholic member of the group, who made sure that a minority report was also issued saying what a horrible, detrimental thing porn was.

      That fellow, who later went on to greater things, was named Charles Keating, Jr.

      I suppose you could argue that the porn he’d watched had an evil influence on HIM. 

    • Baby_Raptor

      Society already has determined that murder is okay under certain circumstances. It’s called the death penalty.

      No, the point of this post, as with a lot of other posts on this site, is to point out exactly how the Christian population of this country simply cannot live and let live. You constantly try and force all of us to live by your views. You simply cannot stand the fact that someone out there might be living by a belief that offends you, freedom be damned.

      • Stev84

        They also can’t stand that people who don’t share their beliefs live happy lives.

        • cipher

          That, and the idea that we’re leading lives of hedonistic abandon that they wish they were living. This latter one is constantly reinforced by their pastors.

          Both of these are, together,  a HUGE part of it.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Isn’t the video’s audience Christian though?

    • jdm8

      I see a string of non sequiturs.

      We limit youth exposure to alcohol, but that doesn’t mean it should be banned. That was tried. Prohibition rarely works.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Just because people act like lemmings and desire bad things for themselves doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to try to protect a population is it?

        • jdm8

          Making laws under the banner of protecting people from themselves sets a dangerous precedence.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Violent crime has been going down? Have you been paying attention to Chicago this summer?

            I agree that it does set up a dangerous precedence and it could have the opposite effect though. People like to rebel :/

            • http://blog.luigiscorner.com/ Azel

              Well yes, the number of crimes has been going down. Taking your example of Chicago, the murder rate as been going more or less regularly down since 15 years (30.0 murders per 100000 inhabitants in 1995, down to 16.0 in 2010), likewise for the robbery and aggravated assault rates (respectively 1094.1 and 1425.7 per 100000 inhabitants in 1995, down to 527.3 and 510.4 in 2010). The source for this numbers is the FBI’s UCR site.
              The perception of criminality might have gone up, due in part to the media, but criminality itself has been going down.

              And there is a better reason than “people like to rebel” for why such a prohibition is a stupid idea: The USA already tried to ban a potentially dangerous behaviour on moral grounds and it was a disaster. I am of course talking about the Prohibition whose greatest effects were killing the American brewery industry and boosting organised crime organisations.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                The murder rate in Chicago has gone up this year to date by about 38% according to the NY TImes when comparing to 2011 data. I’ve been called a lot of things on this site, but I’m pretty sure I can compare numbers.
                http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/12217-chicago’s-murders-for-2012-likely-to-exceed-2011

                • http://blog.luigiscorner.com/ Azel

                  And even that does not preclude the downward trend (hence my “more or less regularly” upthread) that even places like Chicago saw. Unless that augmentation is confirmed in the years to come, it is likely a single-year exception. In the period considered (the last 15 years for which I found statistics on the FBI’s UCR site) violent crime rates were cut in half (I didn’t put the rape rate because Chicago doesn’t seem to communicate rape statistics). So I think it is not that much of a stretch to say that violent crime has been going down as jdm8 did.

            • jdm8

              I honestly haven’t heard about Chicago before you mentioned it, so I have no answer for that one.

              Still, overall US violent crime per 100,000 has been steadily trending downward since 1990.

              This is just one example: http://www.utahfoundation.org/reports/?page_id=290

              There are lots of sites that have similar information. The figures are lowest since early 1970s and in general, still seem to be trending down.

            • EivindKjorstad

               Yes, it most certainly has — despite the existence of single-city single-year exceptions like Chicago.

              Overall the homicide-rate in USA in 1700 was about 30/100K i.e. about 30 dead for every 100K inhabitants. Today that number is something like 6, or a 80% reduction.

              The trend in Europe has been similar, but even steeper, today the homicide-rate in EU is about  2/100K

              http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/long-term-trend-in-homicide-rates.html

              You’re confusing weather and climate. It’s logical and natural that rates will go up and down randomly for single cities over short periods. If you look at the big picture, i.e. the nation as a whole over a period of decades, then the picture is clear.

        • http://blog.luigiscorner.com/ Azel

          Because it’s an hell of a slippery slope to protect adults from themselves, absent danger for others, of course (that’s why drunk driving is usually banned). That way lies the Miniluv.
          And assuming that something which is bad in excess is bad no matter what is naive, to say the least. Continuing on jdm8′s example of alcohol, there are studies which hint that a weak to moderate alcohol consumption may have health benefits. And there is the French paradox (low cardio-vascular problems despite an high proportion of fat in South-west France’s diet) which may partially be caused by a moderate red wine consumption.
          In short, protecting a population from excesses, of course. That’s the goal of prohibitions on drunk driving or driving on drugs. Protecting individuals from something which is dangerous in excess, you will need an hell of a justification for that to pass. After all, I heard that water and oxygen are quite nasty when you exceed the prescribed dose.

  • Annie

    Is the woman mouthing “Ow!” at the :49 mark Debbie Allen from Fame?

  • livinglife

    They might come at it for the wrong reasons, but porn is actually pretty dangerous:

    http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/

    But no, let’s just reflexively reject anything those crazy wingnuts are saying because it makes us feel morally and progressively superior.

    • Glasofruix

      Actually, many things can lead to destructive addiction. Ever seen those creepy stalkers some celebrities have?

    • Baby_Raptor

      Lots of things lead to addiction. The answer isn’t to start enforcing arbitrary morality. It’s to educate people and equip them to be responsible.

      The Right isn’t okay with that. They want everyone living how they think we should. 

      • livinglife

        OK, I can behind that. 

        But I’ve never seen a liberal (let’s be honest – this isn’t about atheism, it’s about social liberalism) try to “educate and equip” anyone about the dangers of porn addiction.  Instead, we get snarky posts like this that amount to, “LOL, those dumb wingnuts and their antiquated beliefs.” 

        • Glasofruix

          We never saw them to educate and equip anyone about the dangers of gambling addiction, music addiction, sport addiction, stamp collecting addiction….either.

        • 3lemenope

          As a conservative, I personally would like to say that this has little to do with liberalism. At the least, it has little to do with liberalism for me, and I have no problem with pornography being permitted, for people are generally responsible for their own well-being. Chesterton pointed out, rather pithily: 

          “The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.”

          Letting people do morally suspect things, so long as the direct object of those suspect things is themselves, is as much a conservative notion as it is a liberal one. A dispositional conservative will be the first to tell you that trying to force people to be better people is a rather pointless, wasteful, destructive exercise. That intuition has only been poisoned in the political discourse of the US by the introduction of religious strains of ethical thought into the mix. They seem to be the only ones who really have an aching desire for saving people from themselves by any means necessary. Chesterton for sure would look at his co-religionists in the US today and scoff.

    • Ken

      Uh, you believe this shit?  Seriously, where’s the blind studies, the repeated results, the statistics.  This hearsay crapola is about as authoritative as, well, the Bible.

      Honestly, you have GOT to have better arguments than “I believe, therefore it is so.”

  • Ken

    OK, if porn is so evil, do we need to lock up the MPAA ratings board before they flip out and start doing something bad with themselves during screenings?  After all, they see so many movies in their unedited form, and it must surely have rotted their brains to the point of unbridled, masturbatory behaviors.  And all the policemen who have seen sexual violence — must we separate them from society before they explode like perverted hand grenades.  But then who will protect us from those perverts with badges, since mere exposure triggers sadistic frenzies of orgiastic behavior.  And apparently NO ONE is strong enough to withstand the pernicious influence of a bare female breast — let’s not even discuss the supernatural influence exerted by an erect penis, but not in a homosexual way, since they have their own porn.  Oh my, it’s all so bewildering.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Oh my Middle of the Road Deity? In 32 years, are we all going to look that bad to those who will follow us?

    • EivindKjorstad

       That is actually an *excellent* question, and one that’s worthy of a post of it own.

      We all recognize, that in retrospect, we (as a society) used to believe and say some stuff that today seems totally crazy. That women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, or that the law should stipulate harsh punishment for gays, for example.

      It’s unlikely that we’ve now arrived at the ultimate truth.

      What practices and beliefs are generally accepted today – but will seem totally crazy in 50 years ? For that matter, what do you yourself believe now, that you’ll regret in 30 years ?

      Can’t think of anything ? Reached the “final truth” ? Ain’t that sort of unlikely, the same way we critique religious folks for claiming to have “final truth” ?

  • Gunstargreen

    Well you certainly, utterly and completely lost that “winnable” war.

    I like that guy talking about “softcore and hardcore porn” then correcting himself with “whatever you call it” to pretend he doesn’t know anything about it. I guarantee that guy was a porn fiend.

  • B_R_Deadite99

    Lol at 00:23.

    “…even the most commited people will often find themselves in debt(?)…”

    *drops gaze*

    Ah, did the Holy Spirit fail to stop you from watching Ron Jeremy go to work, 80s dudes? How sad. BTW, self-defeat right afterwards; “see, that’s the way you were made.” So sin is God’s fault, since he made us that way. Thanks, Dobby.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joequincy Jon Peterson

    Well. I’d consider that war won.

    … by porn. Hello, y’all people making VHS and Blu-Ray and HTML5 Video into things. :P

  • Tainda

    The images in my brain are sometimes way more graphic than any porn.

    • EivindKjorstad

       Yeah, that’s the ultimate sin, really – being human.

      He created you this way, and now he’s gonna send you to hell for the crime of being the person you are. It makes a lot of sense to most, if they’ve had it stuffed down their throat regularly since before they could walk.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    My favorite anti-porn diatribe is the classic Perversion for Profit from 1965.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcmdP1fMQzI

    I love the way the host is seething with moral outrage, LOL.


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