WASHINGTON, D.C.—The not-so-surprising conclusion of a just-released "research synthesis" by the right-wing Family Research Council (FRC) has found that pornography is a corrosive influence on everyone and everything it touches. The study, authored by Pat Fagan, Ph.D., FRC's senior fellow and director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion, is actually an academic review of a number of articles, studies and research done over the years.
The announcement of the research comes a day after the release of a somewhat limited but still interesting study by the University of Montreal that found the harmful effects of pornography on men were greatly overstated and that pornography itself was in general overly demonized. Needless to say, Fagan (no relation to Dickens' Fagin) came to a different conclusion.
"This is a ground-breaking review of what pornography costs families trying to create a life together,” he said, in a press release issued Wednesday. “Men, women and sometimes even children are saturated by sexual content, and more significantly, are told that it has no real effect. It's just a little amusement.”
The very first sentence of the paper reveals a problematic definition of the subject matter. “Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual’s concept of the nature of conjugal relations.” Based on that foundation it is hardly surprising that the conclusions of the study are, as follows:
* Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression and sexual promiscuity.
* Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
* Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs, which in turn lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
* The presence of sexually oriented businesses significantly harms the surrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases in property values.
* Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.
* Pornography eliminates the warmth of affectionate family life, which is the natural social nutrient for the growing child.
While these lopsided conclusions also obscure any constructive insights that might have been gleaned from the study—and in many ways make a mockery of the Family Research Council’s ongoing attempts to demonize all adult content and entertainment—its role in the FRC’s aggressive political lobbying could not be more serious, as exemplified by a comment from Fagan revealing the twisted reasoning that FRC would like legislators to use, and which they all too often do use, when crafting new laws.
"The science is clear: children from families without married parents have much higher poverty rates as well as poorer health and other socio-economic difficulties. Nations with low marriage rates suffer the same fates. And underlying the social trends is the impact of pornography on family formation. It's a quiet family killer."
The Family Research Council argues that in quietly killing the family pornography also is killing the nation, sending it on an inexorable path to Third World status and, ultimately, hurtling us all headlong toward an individual and collective thumbs down from God. Considering such a scenario, would it not be incumbent upon responsible politicians to take corrective measures to save the nation and our souls?
The problem is we already get an identical message from the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other theocratic totalitarians. It's one of the main reasons we go to war with them.