Santorum’s Porn Indecency

Staying Away in Droves
March 28, 2012
One on AIDS
April 2, 2012

Santorum’s Porn Indecency

O.k., I’m going to lose half of my followers with this one—I think my mother will still read, though she may not speak to me anymore.

According to Rich Galen, who writes a blog called Mullings, Rick Santorum had at one time posted on his campaign web page a position paper which contained this astonishing statement:

While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration.

According to Galen, Santorum
wants to use the full might and reach of the Federal government to forbid the distribution of pornography “on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier”

I will have to take Galen’s word for it, because when I tried to click on the link to Santorum’s position paper, I get to Santorum’s campaign website, but I also get a message stating that the requested page could not be found.  Therefore, I cannot independently confirm the quotes, contexts, or policies presented therein.  However, if these statements say what they look like they say:

Santorum’s wrong on porn.

Oh, Santorum’s not wrong on the morality of it.  It’s despicable, demeaning, empty, addictive, destructive, and lots of other things.  But this isn’t about porn.  It’s about federalism and conservatism.  Santorum again reveals that he hasn’t quite gotten his head around those ideas.

First of all, let’s be clear: Santorum is talking about legal porn—adult porn.  The kind you find in retail shops and on cable/satellite TV and on hotel/motel TVs.  Child porn (and bestiality and other types of perversion) is illegal, but then you don’t find that kind of stuff in those outlets.

Let’s start with this basic premise: the Constitution does not speak directly about pornography.  In fact, if we were to infer some sort of porn position in the Constitution, we would probably have to look first to the First Amendment right to free speech, and then be bound by Supreme Court precedence that finds an emanation of a penumbra of privacy in the Bill of Rights.  While I don’t subscribe to such an interpretation, that’s about as close as we can get to porn in the Constitution.

If you agree with that basic premise (and you may not—that’s fair), then you have to agree that the Constitution does not give the federal government the right to regulate, fight, or ban pornography.  It’s just not there.  In short, it’s not a federal government issue, and to make it one exceeds the bounds of the Constitutional mandate for the presidency or Congress.  Again, we’re not talking about child porn—were talking about the stuff you find behind the counter of the local convenience store or in the truck stop of your choice.

Santorum has argued strenuously against government intervention in the private spheres of life (for example, oh, I don’t know, let’s say contraception).  The same Constitution, the same amendment that gives us freedom of religion also gives us freedom of speech (and, by the way, freedom of the press).  Principles of federalism and conservatism both dictate that the federal government stay out of the porn industry.

If we want to use the power of the government fight/ban pornography (and I’m all for that), it should be done at the local level—city by city, county by county, state by state.  Many local governments have successfully done just that, by banning sales in their jurisdictions.

By his own words, Galen doesn’t care if you like pornography or not.  That’s fine.  I do.  I care because porn is a huge problem, both for individuals and for societies.  But the solution is not a federal War on Porn.  The solution is Jesus Christ, acting through the Church, which can offer an alternative (the only Alternative) to fill that place inside that people try to fill with porn.

As much as we may like it to be—as much as it thinks it is or should be—Washington is not our savior.  It never will be.

Scott
Scott Gosnell founded Pros and Cons in 2003. He also has a day job as a practicing attorney in Birmingham, Alabama, which explains his complete irresponsibility with regards to his blogging schedule. In a former life he worked in several churches as a youth minister, where he was forced to do unspeakable things like chew ABC gum (Already Been Chewed), bob for liver (uncooked), and participate in condiment wrestling. Hey, would you look at that – I guess they are speakable. In addition to the practice of law, Scott is a certified law enforcement officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Alabama Historical Ironworks Commission, and a tactical firearms instructor. Scott and his wife, Donna, have three children, Caleb, Hannah Beth, and Austin. He also has a dog named Sierra and a cell phone named Curtis.

1 Comment

  1. [...] week I posted about Rick Santorum and pornography.  On the off chance that I have any readers left, I am again going to step off where angels [...]

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