The Thorny Debate over Art vs. Pornography
Lefevere, Patricia, National Catholic Reporter
Many might agree with the Religious Alliance Against Pornography and its call to fight the producers and purveyors of hard-core pornography.
But the issues become tangled and complex the deeper the search goes for a legal remedy. People drawing up laws eventually run up against the thorny question of where art or more innocent, soft-core pornography stops and where hard-core pornography begins. Obscenity laws have been used, say some, as a lever that enables enforcement personnel to infringe on First Amendment rights.
Clarifying the issues seems to be part of the process for those who oppose the hard-core pornography purveyors. When Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, one of the founders of RAAP, delivered an address on an entirely different topic recently at Rockhurst College, a Jesuit school in Kansas City, Mo., someone in the audience praised his work in opposing pornography.
Bernardin quickly explained that as a priest he opposes all pornography and obscenity but emphasized that the religious alliance did not deal with any matters protected by the First Amendment. Alliance efforts, he said, are aimed primarily at the most extreme expressions of pornography - involving children and violence - and against the trafficking of hard-core pornography by electronic means and international sex trade.
Even among women, who in the past might have been portrayed as unified against pornography, the issue has become extremely divisive. Some feminists - many Christians among them …
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Publication information: Article title: The Thorny Debate over Art vs. Pornography. Contributors: Lefevere, Patricia - Author. Magazine title: National Catholic Reporter. Volume: 31. Issue: 16 Publication date: February 17, 1995. Page number: 12. © 2009 National Catholic Reporter. COPYRIGHT 1995 Gale Group.
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