Alan Sears on the Evils of a Booming
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, 28 JULY 2004 (ZENIT)
A lawyer who has been fighting pornography
for more than 20 years says it may be the "true hate literature" of our
Alan Sears, president and general counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund,
shared with ZENIT how pornography perpetuates hatred and exploitation of
the human person and preys upon individuals' weaknesses for profit.
Part 2 of this interview will appear Thursday.
Q: What is your background in fighting pornography?
Sears: I had the privilege of serving as the executive director of the
Attorney General's Commission on Pornography [AGCP] during the Reagan
administration and as the chief of the criminal section in an office of
the United States Attorney. My colleagues and I wrote state and federal
anti-obscenity laws, testified in Washington, D.C., and before 22
different state legislatures with 20 states adopting our recommendations.
God provided us the opportunity of speaking before committees of the
British Parliament and at the Vatican, as well as training hundreds of law
enforcement officials and attorneys
from Australia to Scotland Yard
on obscenity and related laws, and in how to successfully prosecute an
Q: How big of an industry is pornography?
Sears: First of all, let's define our terms.
Pornography includes several classes of material: obscenity, material
harmful to minors, child pornography, indecency, and lawful but
nonetheless pornographic depictions. The AGCP defined pornography as
"sexually explicit material designed primarily for arousal." This is not a
healthy "product"; therefore, I refuse to call its production an
Depending on the type of material, its offensiveness ranges from the
which depicts women and other persons as a subspecies of humans to be
used, to be abused and to amuse
to what I have always called "crime scene photographs," actual depictions
of unlawful sexual behavior for profit or exploitation.
I call those who produce material that is unlawful part of a "criminal
enterprise," not an "industry."
So, pornography is shamefully large in its scope and, depending on how
broadly it is defined, it is a multibillion-dollar enterprise. As large
and pervasive as it may be, however, it is not too large to be reigned in
and dramatically limited in any community with the will to do so.
According to Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America, pornography
production worldwide takes in approximately $56 billion annually. In
America alone, the figure is $10 billion to $14 billion annually.
As you can see from these statistics, this destructive, maiming refuse is
entrapping and devaluing hundreds of thousands of human lives while a few
ruthless, stone-hearted business people profit.
Tragically, this material aids and abets all too many in their fall to
despair, destruction or even death, while pornographers insist the
American public believe they are only "providing services"
and that those services are a private matter and hurt no one.
Q: Why has pornography become so culturally prevalent and acceptable?
Sears: Outside of the spiritual factors, there are two overwhelming
cultural reasons: Those who oppose it are largely silent and indifferent,
and those who want it will pay a high price culturally and financially to
The AGCP wrote a nearly 1,000-page report to go into great detail about
many other factors and what could be done about it. Virtually everything
from that commission's report is still current, except the names of the
players and the shift to the Internet as perhaps the primary form of
Our culture now allows a blatant disrespect to be made of our God-given
sexuality and in our media and magazines. This display is paraded in a
degrading, erotic and socially unhealthy manner and all because we have
remained silent, while pornographers, the national media and the music
industry have dictated to us what is and is not acceptable for our
At no time in history is the need greater for people of faith and moral
conviction to begin working together to stop this snowballing decline into
further moral decadence.
We cannot remain silent; we must be prepared and take credible and
decisive action in the public arena. If we do nothing, hundreds of
thousands of additional lives will be destroyed by pornography.
Its consequences are devastating to the marriages, families, friends and
businesses of our nation.
Q: Is the increase in pornography related to the abortion or homosexual
Sears: The short answer is yes. The longer answer would take a lot of
detail, but both answers are based upon the fact that pornography is a
result of a disordered view of the human person, sexual behavior and
The sexual union within marriage, between one man and one woman, is meant
by the Creator to be an act of supreme love, giving and unity. It's a
picture, if you will, of the supreme selflessness.
Virtually all advocates of secular sexual behavior center on an "it's all
about me" philosophy rather than mutual love and care for the other
Abortion is tragically too often the result of sex being separated from a
committed marital relationship that is both open to life and centered on
uplifting another, rather than using another person for
With regard to pornography and the homosexual movement, Craig Osten and I
co-wrote the book, "The Homosexual Agenda: The Principal Threat to
Religious Freedom Today" (Broadman & Holman) because we have witnessed
firsthand the pain of those who are trapped in homosexual behavior.
I have been exposed to it from the time I spent as a full-time and special
on both the local and federal levels
and as the head of several criminal investigative task forces.
In multiple prosecutions of people involved in every level of the
pornography trafficking industry, I learned firsthand, many times from
hours of conversations with defendants and their counsel, of these
individuals' real view of the First Amendment. It was a joke and a smoke
I learned what the profiteering pornographers thought of the homosexual
persons who were plied with every manner of video, magazine and appliance.
To be blunt, the pornographers had nothing but disgust and ridicule for
those who paid them hard cash.
In years of public speaking since that time, I have repeatedly referred to
pornography as the "true hate literature" of our age, because of its
hatred and exploitation of the human person, regardless of size, shape,
color or gender.
It reduces human beings to valueless commodities to be ogled at and
disposed of like used tissue. Sadly, many of the individuals whom the
pornographers dispose of are vulnerable young men and women who engage in
I've met young homosexual men and women who were struggling with the issue
of pornography and the various forms of sex trade outlets. These included
the so-called gay bars, many of which we learned were often owned or
controlled by exploitive heterosexuals and even criminal enterprises.
These manipulative individuals and organizations just wanted to "make a
buck" off the weaknesses of others.
I had the opportunity to talk with these men and women in depth about
their pain, their heart needs and the role that this material played in
their formation and their sexual behavior. Based on these years of
experience with those trapped in homosexual behavior, I must continue to
express real outrage at the merciless exploitation of those with
homosexual urges and temptations. ZE04072821
Alan Sears on Free Speech, Censorship
and Fighting Back
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, 29 JULY 2004 (ZENIT)
Pornography may be a thriving criminal
enterprise, but a legal expert in the field believes the Church and the
laity can stunt its growth.
Alan Sears, president and general counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund,
served as the executive director of the Attorney General's Commission on
Pornography under President Ronald Reagan.
Sears shared with ZENIT why pornography is not free speech, and why clergy
and lay people need to break their silence and take action.
Part 1 of this interview appeared Wednesday.
Q: Recently, the Supreme Court in the case of ACLU v. Ashcroft struck down
the Child Online Protection Act as violating the First Amendment right to
free speech. Why is pornography considered free speech?
Sears: First, the opinion was wrong. Advocates of a culture that supports
the affirmation of life must reject any notion that most pornography is
Of the five forms of pornography I mentioned earlier, at least four lack
much, if any, constitutional protection even by the furthest stretch of
the high court's imagination.
Obscenity and child pornography have never been within the bounds of "free
speech," the First Amendment or equivalent state constitutions, except
according to erratic decisions by courts in a few states such as Oregon
and Hawaii that would amaze their founders.
Second, the term "pornography" is a generic, not legal, term. It relates
to a broad range of sexual materials, some of which are protected by the
First Amendment and some of which are not.
As noted by the Supreme Court in Miller v. California, in 1973:
"Pornography derives from the Greek ('harlot' and 'graphos,' writing). The
word now means 1) a description of prostitutes or prostitution 2) A
depiction (as in a writing or painting) of licentiousness or lewdness: a
portrayal of erotic behavior designed to cause sexual excitement."
The 1986 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography defined pornography
as "material that is predominately sexually explicit and intended
primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal."
In most First Amendment litigation, the outcome does not depend on whether
the materials are characterized as pornographic. Ordinarily, courts begin
by determining whether the restriction on free expression is content based
or content neutral.
The answer to this question then dictates the amount of deference that is
afforded to the governmental restriction and determines whether the speech
restriction is constitutional or not.
Content-based laws focus on and proscribe certain unlawful speech. Such
laws are based on objections to the "content" of the speech itself.
Content-based restrictions are presumptively unconstitutional.
However, there are certain content-based categories of expression,
including certain types of pornography, that have no First Amendment
protection. The Supreme Court, in the 1992 case R.A.V. v. St. Paul, has
said that these categories include "obscenity" and "child pornography."
If the Supreme Court determines that a restriction on pornography is not
aimed at the content of the speech, it analyzes the restriction as a
Content-neutral restrictions attempt to regulate the time, place and
manner of the speech. Such laws focus on the negative secondary
consequences or harmful effects, which certain speech and speech-related
activities cause. Their impact on speech is only incidental in nature.
These laws regulate the time, place and manner of these activities in
order to minimize or vitiate the harmful effects. They generally take the
form of restrictive regulations governing the zoning and licensing of
sexually oriented businesses, or so-called adult establishments.
It is much easier for speech restrictions to survive First Amendment
scrutiny if they are deemed content-neutral since the government only
needs to show that: the law is within the constitutional power of the
government; the law furthers an important or substantial governmental
interest; the governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of
free expression; and the incidental restriction on First Amendment
freedoms is no greater than is essential to the furtherance of that
Q: Many people fear that limiting pornography is censorship. Is censorship
Sears: How do we define either term? Bad for the profits lost by organized
criminal activity? Bad for a child molester who wasn't able to trade his
"collection" of trophy photographs with others?
Bad for potential child molesters who could not get a magazine at the
corner store that they would use to lower their inhibitions and eventually
end up acting out when they sexually abuse a neighbor's child? Bad for the
Internet provider who couldn't let 12-year-olds view his wares at the
tax-funded neighborhood library?
And what is meant by censorship? Enforcement of state and federal laws
prohibiting the distribution of proscribed forms of pornography is not
I submit that the largest censorship organization in America is the ACLU
and its allies with their long and ongoing effort of fear, intimidation
and disinformation against religious liberty. Some radical groups even
believe libel and slander should not be "censored." As I often say, "One
man's censorship is another man's survival."
Q: How can the Church best combat pornography in the culture through the
efforts of both clergy and laity?
Sears: First, as laity, let's first get on our knees and ask God to
forgive us for our silence, to forgive us for our sin of omission and to
forgive those who exploit others through this evil
sins of commission.
Then we must get educated, get organized and demand that our state and
community have laws as broad as the Constitution permits, and that those
laws be promptly and vigorously enforced.
As to non-prosecutable forms of pornography, such as so-called men's
as if there is something manly about making women and their sacred bodies
and gifts into disposable commodities for profit
demand that your local merchants quit selling them. And be persistent
until we make a difference.
Second, the Church itself must first be willing to confront and talk about
this devastating issue because it is occurring within its own walls.
We need to ask our leaders to provide leadership and guidance as to God's
beautiful plan for men, women and their sexual unity in marriage as well
as instruction on the sin of other behaviors and the subject of the use
and sale of pornography.
Individual clergy need to clearly present, without compromise, what God
has to say on these matters involving personal purity and how, as
individuals of faith, the laity can overcome pornography
or, if needed, how to seek assistance in recovering from such devastating
Third, Church leaders need to implement focused and responsive small group
in concert with effective counseling ministries
in which healthy accountability and confidential, personal care can spring
forth, like life-giving water for the souls of each individual that
chooses to become an intimate part of a group of people whose goals
include moral, spiritual and personal purity.
The time to get involved is now
before your family is affected, before your children are victimized by the
pornographer who has no regard whatsoever for their God-given life or
May God find us faithful, as we work together by his grace, to stop the
further spread of pornography and its devastating effects upon on our
nation as we take back the moral high ground lost while we remained