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Robert P. George: Pornography, public morality and constitutional rights

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  • Arioch Virginia Beach, VA
    Oct. 23, 2011 5:51 a.m.

    Blah Blah blah, if you don't like porn don't buy it, and the tax payer are supporting porn, they are supporting art. I am sorry that you can't appreciate it as art,but then again there are many things I don't' recognize as art that are called art. Thankfully we live in a society, that doesn't allow a small minority to decide what is best for the common good. I may not get Pollock,but I don't' try to run him out of town just because I don't either. We should seek after all that is good, not become judgmental, and run in fear from that which confuses us. Putting fig leaves on the statues, or repainting the classic, or decrying it isn't art because it is nude, diminishes art, and doesn't make us better as a society

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 8:18 a.m.

    Recognition and belief in God would to wonders for understanding these concepts. It is always a mystery to me that people can't, won't, or don't make the connection between the problems outlined here and how the lack of belief in God is the primary reason we have these problems. It is as if they are so determined to propose the faulty supposition that we can have a civil society without Him that they will do anything to eliminate His power or influence at any cost. Well, we are pretty much seeing that cost! To admit the reasons is too simplistic for these 'logical' intellectuals! I'm not saying that this professor is Anti-God and I agree with the professor's point, but wonder if he understands what can be done to solve it. If he doesn't, he doesn't offer anything worthwhile. Understanding the problem is not the same thing as knowing what needs to be done to solve it.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    What, specifically, does Dr. George propose to do about pornography, and how would any such proposal fare in the context of genuinely legitimate First Amendment issues?

    Do clothing manufacturers market bathing suits to 12 year-old girls that incorporate underwire and push-up features because of pornography - or because they know that appealing to adolescent anxieties is an effective sales tool?

    The objectification of women is less an effect of pornography than it is and underlying cause of it.

    If you want to eliminate porn then begin with a strong movement to recognize that women are valued, fully equal members of our society and that the toxic sexualization of women knows many forms, from the extreme fear of a woman's sexuality (think burqas), to the extreme commercialization of sexuality.

    When a woman's physical attractiveness is no more significant to her personal and professional life than it is to a man's, and six year-old girls are no longer put in make-up for beauty pageants, then you'll see a decline in the popularity of porn.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 9:11 a.m.

    Is the Deseret News really advocating for nanny state legislation? I thought this was the conservative paper in town. Don't conservatives claim to be lovers of freedom?

  • Morality RUSH VALLEY, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    Another side effect to the "lost innocence" pornography imparts on our youth/society, it also helps to lead to a more promiscuous lifestyle in our marriages. Our society accepts affairs as no big deal. Marriage as an institution is in danger. Divorce rates are rising and people are more willing to "give up" than work together to get through struggles. Society's acceptance of divorce has undermined our next generations in everything from their emotional development to education. Divorced parents become less involved in their children's education, putting it off on the school's and teachers to educate their children when they are supposed to be an active part in it as well. Teachers are condemned for the results when they are trying to do their job without parent involvement. The outlook is bleak. You decry the minority in society who sees pornography as an evil, but right is still right. Curbing pornography is what society must do, whether the majority wants to or not. The side effects are harrowing is we do not act. The decision is ours as a society. We can either work through this or divorce ourselves from the issue.

  • CSWolffe SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    Morality does not come from god, let's get that straight right now, THEN we can talk about the effect pornography has on society, and the far worse evil of censorship in the name of 'public morality'
    I am an atheist, and i do not lie, cheat or steal, I do not commit acts of violence, rape or murder. And I do these things WITHOUT god or a fear of hell or divine retribution. Do you? Now, imagine for a moment there is no god, would you then? If you answer 'yes' then you must admit you are not moral. If you answer 'no' then you must admit that morals do not, in fact, come from god.
    Now, pornography. In every major city where an XXX movie has been released, incidents of rape DECREASED noticeably.
    Humans are intensely sexual creatures, and to pretend otherwise is sheer folly. No creature on earth spends as much time pondering, trying to have, and enjoying sex as we humans do. Porn is no more than a natural outgrowth of that sexuality.
    Trying to repress it is dangerous, ignorant, and evil.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Oct. 23, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    I wouldn't discard constitutional rights so quickly.

    Society has been down this road before. What if some important "experts" make a case that religion is bad for society and atheism more beneficial? We wisely decided long ago to allow individuals to make those choices for themselves and their families not the state. If you decide to put the state in charge of social engineering is to "sow the wind" and soon you will "reap the whirlwind."

  • Sutton Cedar City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    bandersen, Religion is a lot like alcohol, the more you imbibe the less coherent you sound.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    George's arguments are a typical totalitarian justifications for the priority of society's "rights" over individual rights. Oddly, although George states that  "An epidemic of drug abuse, however, though constituted by discrete, private acts of drug taking, damages the common good in myriad ways", he then fails to enumerate those ways.

    How, exactly, do private acts of drug taking "damage the common good"? And is such damage empirically demonstrable, or is this another argument "in principle"?

    George then invokes what amounts to an appeal to majority rule, stating that a society should be able to create "the cultural structure they think best" in the name of "the force of the public interest". Who is "they"? Well, obviously, it is "they" who are the majority, or "they" who "know best" ("Christians?).

    George's arguments that private acts influence "the common good" is a trivial statement of the obvious. That is not the legal or political question. The question is whether or not the influence of private acts so harms the public good as to be the justified subject of legislation in a democratic society. The answer to that is obviously No, and George fails to provide convincing arguments otherwise.

  • TheAtheist SLC, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    I do not even understand why this is an issue, every one is left to their choices and thoughts. Unless your choices have a direct effect on those around you in a genuine fashion, it shouldn't be regulated or controlled by anyone.

  • korn75 Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    Ha. You won't see a decline in porn just because women are made to feel more valuable. There will always be sexually hungry men in this world who will view porn and there will always be women who will want the easy money by participating in pornographic films. Eliminating young beauty pageants may help girls with personal self-esteem issues and eating disorders, but it's not going to affect or eliminate the porn industry.

    Let's face it, porn is here to stay whether you like it or not. It's a huge money making industry. And I have come to learn that there are actually many women who also enjoy viewing it! If you don't like it, don't watch it. There are plenty of resources for making sure it doesn't get into your home computers.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    While I hate pornography, I don't know if the answer to it is more government regulation.

  • Dr. Andrew Los Angeles, CA
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    unbelievable and surprising comments. I can now empathize with he who looked out over his beautiful city and the society that he loved and lamented, "O ye fair ones". Thankfully my trust is not in this world.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    To Arioch,

    There is a difference between porn and art. There are plenty of "nudes" both is painting and sculptural forms that are tasteful - with or without the fig leaves - art. And there are plenty of examples of depictions, not even fully nude, that should be considered porn. In my opinion, that which is created with the express purpose of eliciting arousal, erotic thoughts or actions has stepped away from art and has become porn. To compel the public to pay for such depictions against their conscious through taxation is not right.

    The human body is beautiful and can be portrayed as such either clothed or unclothed in artistic ways. But please, don't lump the terms 'art' and 'porn' together under one banner.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    Morality wrote:

    "pornography ...helps to lead to a more promiscuous lifestyle in our marriages."

    Please provide support for this assertion. You claim divorce rates are rising, but the data shows otherwise. You assert that "Our society accepts affairs as no big deal." That is not true. Most every married person whose spouse cheats on them considers it "a big deal". Just because movies and TV shows may portray affairs does not mean "our society accepts affairs as no big deal." There is no basis for your claim.

    You assert: "Marriage as an institution is in danger." How so? Couples can get married now just as they could in the past. What is the threat to marriage as an institution? If legislation continues as it has in recent years, marriage will be expanded and made available to an even wider range of couples than ever before. How is that a danger?

    bandersen,

    You assert that belief in god is the solution to society's problems, including "pornography". So are you suggesting that belief in god be legislated? By law we must all believe in god? If so, you must believe the theocracies in Iran, Iraq, etc. have NO social problems?

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    The article stated, It is the attitudes, habits, dispositions, imagination, ideology, values and choices shaped by a culture in which pornography flourishes that will, in the end, deprive many children of what can without logical or moral strain be characterized as their right to a healthy sexuality.

    There is no more a right to healthy sexuality than there is a right to healthcare, jobs, housing or food. Ones civil rights arent violated by one not having any of them. Perhaps the author should move his family to a remote LDS town and away TV, the internet and newspaper ads showing women in bras.
    Should we outlaw stores from selling short shorts, bikinis and dresses that are above the knee? Selling them harms childrens right to a healthy sexuality.

    Blue
    When a woman's physical attractiveness is no more significant to her personal and professional life than it is to a man's.. then you'll see a decline in the popularity of porn.
    LDS4
    Hardly. Men are visual creatures and prefer physically attractive women, often over other substantive criteria, when choosing a date (physical or an image). Women do the same with short men. We're all wired that way.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    You can have your cake [Freedom] and eat it [restrict it] too.

    Freedom is a two-edged sword.

    I will always choose freedom,
    with all the good and bad that goes right along with it.

    ulvegaard | 10:16 a.m. Oct. 23, 2011
    Medical Lake, Washington

    You nailed it!

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    Athiest: It is impossible to divorce morality from God. If there is no God, then how is rape wrong? It is not good enough just to say 'because'. Because if you do, then all you are saying is that your 'morality' is better than your neighbors. Without God there is no morality. Let's start with the truth. With the truth, discussion can begin.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 23, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    %bandersen; What does god have to do with it. Take responsibiliy for your own choices and actions, you should know right from wrong with out playing the god card; if not, then god can't do much for you.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    Dear Robert P. George,

    Well written article. It's nice to see intelligent discourse on this subject.

    However, the last 3 paragraphs were my favorite and I wanted an entire article regarding them. I wanted more than 'it degrades society' as I already know this. While important, I feel that the 'individual freedoms' side of this carries equal importance and received less attention.

    If you or other D.N. staff are inclined to comment, I would appreciate further commentary or a reference to where more can be read touching this point.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:09 p.m.

    LDS Liberal,

    One cannot justify freedom AND the 'free exercise' of what eventually destroys freedom.

    God's kingdom is free AND does not permit evil- protecting the majority who've chosen God and the minority who choose evil. You either live here and abide this law, or live elsewhere. Segregating evil or succeeding from it, has one premise- choice. We choose our laws, our kingdom. The idea that people have a right to do 'whatever they want' anyway is an exemption from law altogether. We ordained our constitution to protect our right to live free; 'expressing' acts that harm freedom can not be justified by 'freedom of expression'. Threatening someone, murder, driving drunk, etc. We CHOOSE laws which we believe threaten or destroy our freedom.

    Obviously no one agrees on what does, so we FREELY VOTE on what is prohibited. If society refuses porn, drugs, and yes- even homosexuality, it is our democratic and free right.

    Freedom doesn't necessitate the anarchic premise of permitting everything. Freedom means we choose our kingdom. Voting support for God's laws (morality) does not negate others freedom to choose another kingdom or else vote otherwise while living and practicing according to the laws freely chosen.

  • CSWolffe SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    Banderson:
    Your position is even more tenuous than you claim mine is. You would say rape is wrong 'because god said so'. All you have done is pushed the question back one step. I, however, say rape is wrong because it caused demonstrable harm.
    Morality is based on the elimination or prevention of suffering. Any action that can be shown to cause suffering is bad. Read my earlier post and you will be able to see clearly how easy it is to remove god from morality: If there were no god, would YOU still choose to act morally? Either you would not, in which case you are less moral than an Atheist, or you would not, which proves that you do not need god to live a moral life.
    This article is nothing more than conservative mormon propaganda, it is an appeal to a very narrow mindset. A dangerous mindset, a mindset that would force its view upon the rest of us, freedom be damned.

  • isrred Logan, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    If you are for the regulation of Drugs, pornography, prostitution, etc then you ARE NOT for unregulated free market capitalism. You can't pick and choose and expect me to give credence to your moaning about "over-regulation" in other areas.

  • isrred Logan, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    "It is impossible to divorce morality from God. If there is no God, then how is rape wrong?"

    You realize rape isn't one of the 10 commandments, right? You realize that of all the "moral" issues, when God decided that the Isrealites could only handle 10 of the most basic, most important ones he didn't put rape up there but he did include saying his name with a bad attitude. Nice morality for ya.

    If you're going to base your morality on "God" you better be prepared to answer for some pretty screwed up things in scripture.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:31 p.m.

    Skeptics and athiests: How do I take responsibility for my own actions if I don't know if my actions are right or wrong? Athiests live in a world protected from their illogical and dangerous conclusions that God is irrelevant to choices of right and wrong. God is the foundation of right and wrong. Without God, there is no right or wrong. If you claim that there is a 'moral' or 'right and wrong' without God, then what you have also said is that your 'right' and 'wrong' come from someone or something else, a dangerous conclusion in a world where Governments and men abound that think it is 'right' to slaughter, maim, or pillage whoever they want. This is naivete at best, and dangerously apocalyptic at worst. Hasn't the world come to the conclusion yet about Communism? I guess not. Athiests are getting a free pass from those who of us who provide the stability that allows for them to express such foolish opinions.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    Sutton: Liberty can cause ignorance as well as understanding. Jesus said the truth will set you free. If you are making the claim that pornagraphy sets you free, I doubt any other argument will change your mindset. If you are making the claim that there is right and wrong without God, I'm curious as to who or what creates that right and wrong and how you will bridge the gap between God's right and wrong and Atila the Hun's right and wrong?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    @banderson
    "How do I take responsibility for my own actions if I don't know if my actions are right or wrong?"

    I'm a Christian while you were asking atheists but I can still answer this. You don't need religion to have discussions about morals. It seems pretty straightforward to think through "I would not like to be murdered, that is wrong, as such nobody should murder anyone". After all, New Hampshire Vermont and Maine are the states with the highest percentages of atheists... and the lowest crime rates. (Note: While they're 1-2-3 in both categories, looking at all 50 states there's no discernible overall trend, but I'm not trying to prove that atheists are more moral... just that they can just as easily be moral as religious people).

  • Mizzica Orem, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    "God is the foundation of right and wrong."

    Which god founded morality? The Christian God? The Muslim God? They seem too recent. The Zoroastrian God? One of the Hindu Gods? Perhaps it was Baal? Or one of the Mayan Gods? But didn't they also dictate human sacrifice?

    "[H]ow [will you] bridge the gap between God's right and wrong and Atila the Hun's right and wrong?"

    I assume it is the same way that you bridge the gap between all of the different Gods' moralities. The golden rule predates the Judeo-Christian tradition by at least a millennium. Humans have built civilizations based on it for longer than that. Political leaders have used the Gods' edicts for just as long to justify genocide, slavery, rape, murder, etc. for just as long (the Jews elimination of the Canaanites is a good example).

    We all know how we would like to be treated. We don't need a divine mandate to determine that. Conversely, many have been and continue to be manipulated by religion into performing atrocities they otherwise would be appalled by.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    bandersen,

    I you believe the moral repugnance of forced sex with another human being depends on the existence of a fictitious creature you call "god", then it is YOUR claim to being a moral person that is in question, not the morality of atheists, NONE of whom I have ever met who believe rape is not immoral and wrong.

    You could use some serious soul searching.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    bandersen,

    Western societies have built moral and legal frameworks upon secular bases for centuries. More humans have been "moral" without god than with god.

    I suggest you start by reading:

    Morality Without God? (Philosophy in Action) by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

    Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. Wielenberg

    THEN we can talk.

  • Ann Amberly Greenbelt, MD
    Oct. 23, 2011 1:45 p.m.

    I agree with "Blue" above. How is it possible for Dr. George to have written an entire opinion piece on pornography and not once mention male-female relations? Viewing women as objects; viewing sex as domination of women; valuing women only for their appearance--these are the foundations of a porn culture. You won't get rid of the leaves until you get rid of the tree. As culture, we must rethink what male-female relations--including intercourse--should be. Until Dr. George is prepared to have a conversation at that more basic level, the prevalence of pornography will not change.

    It's not just about the kids, Dr. George--it's about the women. Can you talk about that?

  • CSWolffe SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    Bandersen:
    Where are you getting your morals from the bible? Leviticus? Dueteronomy? The 10 commandments? Do you know what the first four commandments are? They are not about morality, they are about worship. And btw rape, which you brought up, is not listed. Should we base our laws on those commandments? Since rape is not listed, should it be legal?
    And what about Shari'a? Would you be willing to live in a country with laws based on Shari'a?
    And I notice how banderson pointedly refused to answer my question: If there were no god would you lie, cheat, steal or commit acts of violence, rape or murder?

  • Timp South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    love conservatives.. they want government to stay out of people's lives but only for issues they see fit.. otherwise they want govt to regulate it. love it.

  • Freedom-In-Danger WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 2:35 p.m.

    CSWolffe:

    "Morality is based on the elimination or prevention of suffering."

    According to you. There has been no definitively proven morality to which all have bowed to. I believe that we are free to CHOOSE what we believe. I am free to believe that morality comes from God. You don't. And we are BOTH free to vote into a government that we both control.

    "Demonstrable damage" is yet another philosophically unproven point.

    All that matters is this: The assumption that someone's beliefs trump others is a violent one. Thus why we vote democratically. Freedom is the only universal solution if the goal is peace. We CHOOSE our government.

    Our government was founded for a religious people. There is no way around that. The design of this government was for a moral and religious people and Adams wasn't the only one who said this. But I suppose atheists knew them better than they even knew themselves?

    In my vote to government, I suggest that without God and the accountability he holds us to, no morality can exist.

    Banderson: what you said about communism and how we provide the stability they use to destroy such a system is absolutely brilliant!

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    If its permissible to outlaw private behaviors because they MAY affect the public in a way the majority feels is negative, then there is no limit on what may be outlawed. We can outlaw junk food because obesity affects insurance costs and public health. We can outlaw shopping on Sundays because doing so inculcates ideas of focusing on God and family rather than commercialism. We can also outlaw guns because of their societal costs (real and potential) and disregard individual rights and choice.

    Was outlawing plural marriages 125 years proper since polygamy potentially sends a bad message about the equality of women? Let's ban religion since religion MAY lead to sacrificing virgins.

    Vices are not crimes. They are acts which are subjectively immoral (sins) that in and of themselves objectively harm no one else. Outlawing sin is contrary to the concept of men being free to act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity according to moral agency.

    Satan advocated violating ones right to choose sin and as I have said here before, conservatives advocate big government to keep people from likewise choosing sin.

    Lets punish REAL harm, not acts that in and of themselves dont harm.

  • Makoto13 SAINT CLAIR SHORES, MI
    Oct. 23, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    "All books can be indecent books though recent books are bolder.
    For filth I'm glad to say is in the eyes of the beholder.
    When correctly viewed, everything is lewd.
    I can tell you stories about Peter Pan.
    And the Wizard of Oz, there's a dirty old man."

    --- Tom Lehrer

    Tom Lehrer hit the nail on the head. One person's smut is another person's art. How can we regulate and control it if we can't even define it?

  • mare54 KIHEI, HI
    Oct. 23, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    What about "rights' of the individual? And what about "free agency"? I am not a fan of pornography, but to suggest getting rid of it to make marriages more successful? That is plain rubbish. If an atheist decides to live his life with a "moral" code of life, and not believe in God, then good for him. Some people really need God and religion in order to keep them on a "moral" path, but let's face it, some people don't! It's all about who we are and what we believe. We all know a lot of BAD has been done in this world in the name of religion, so it' important to not be naive about it. To say, without God there is no morality, is not an accurate statement. It sounds too much like "holier than thou", in my opinion.

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    to Ann Amberly | 1:45 p.m. Oct. 23, 2011

    Exactly right, and well-said. You went to the heart of the issue. Kudos to you.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 23, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    @bandersen:

    "... and how the lack of belief in God is the primary reason we have these problems."

    If God would show up now and then it wouldn't be so hard to believe in him/her/it. All we have to go by are machinations of people think they know what God is about, what he/she/it thinks, and what he/sh/it thinks mankind should be about. Which is why we have thousands of different religions on the earth today, all strongly believing they have the correct picture.

    -------------------------

    @Blue:

    "If you want to eliminate porn then begin with a strong movement to recognize that women are valued, fully equal members of our society..."

    I doubt that will address the issue. The Muslim world is full of non-porn; of women who are covered from head to foot and are valued far less than the master's camel or donkey.

    -----------------------

    @A voice of Reason:

    "Dear Robert P. George, Well written article. It's nice to see intelligent discourse on this subject."

    I personally have never read a more convoluted, wordy, incoherent article.

  • MormonConservative A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Oct. 23, 2011 3:59 p.m.

    Radical feminist's talk about (in public schools) for kid's to read books like "Heather has two mommies" hogwash, along with the attitudes, habits, dispositions, imagination, ideology, values and choices shaped by their own liberal culture in which pornography flourishes that will, in the end, deprive many children of what can without logical or moral strain be characterized as their right to a healthy sexuality and at the same time demand more local, State and Federal Union monies to fix the problem when it gets way to much out of hand. In todays world, parents have enormous difficulty transmitting to their children, they are not allowed to, about the capacity to view themselves and others as persons, rather than as objects of sexual desire and satisfaction. It's all about the sexualization of adolescents from K-9, even through a beauty contest of them wearing, by peddling thong swimwear, to twelve-year-old girls as well as depicting young people in sexually provocative poses. AMERICA is not Thailand, where there is no public morality and constitutional rights, if there were legal regulation the GOP would turn it into deregulation anyway.

  • Miss Piggie Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 23, 2011 3:59 p.m.

    I suppose the author would like to take his sledge hammer, go to Italy, and smash the giant statue of Michelangelo's nude David to smithereens.

    Porn is bad only because people, like the author, say it's bad. If if were considered wholesome and good, it would be wholesome and good.

    If everyone went around nude there'd be no need for porn nor would there be the perceived evil effects of porn.

  • Robbie512 PROVO, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 5:06 p.m.

    There are really three arguments being made here. First, the government has a responsibility to mediate for the common good, whenever individual freedoms (interests, desires...) come into conflict. Second, this responsibility should include indirect influences. Third, pornography constitutes such an influence.

    Now, few would disagree with the first argument; its the second and third that need defending. However, only the second is supported. There is almost no explanation of why pornography is bad or how its influence can extend beyond the bedroom. Now, I realize that most of the readers here agree with this idea already, but if one really wants to change public policy, he must address the beliefs of those who disagree with him. Like it or not, there are those who dont think pornography is that bad. Personally, I believe that problems arising from pornography are more a matter of excess than of substance, such as is often claimed with alcohol. If one doesn't address such beliefs, he's just preaching to the choir.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 5:31 p.m.

    mare54,

    You would do well to read a great deal from Elder Oaks. He has constantly shown how the doctrine of "free agency" is used against Latter-day Saints to seduce them into a belief that contradicts the doctrine altogether.

    Take "pro choice" for instance. The choice was already made to get pregnant. Escaping the consequences is not protecting agency in the slightest.

    Pornography is something that traps its users into addictive patterns, leading to rape, incest, sexual abuse of children, divorce, and many other things that only take away our freedom. Imagine a teenager that refuses all reason based on this logic- "But I have a right to light my hand on fire".

    There are two problems that many people miss with this logic:

    1) Harming one's self will in reality make that person less free.

    2) Making it illegal, does NOT take away God given free agency or the state's protection to exercise the freedom of conscience. - Making rape illegal won't stop anyone from thinking rape is okay and people will still get raped. Free Agency isn't a permission slip; it is the right to choose your beliefs and actions- NOT to escape their consequences.

  • Freedom-In-Danger WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 5:37 p.m.

    Miss Piggie:

    1) The author didn't say all nude art was porn, but that it can just as easily be pornographic as what we define as porn today.

    2) You're second statement would also lead to the same conclusion as this: "Murder is bad only because people, like the author, say it's bad"

    Would you agree with that also, or would you revisit the logic in that statement and provide us with a new version of your morality?

    3) Regarding your third statement, there are plenty of logical reasons we don't run around nude. If you disagree, you are more than welcome to live on a nudist colony or go elsewhere. In the meantime, I suggest you consider one of the basic tenants of all civil debate and discourse- know your audience.

    If your intention is purely to offend or provoke, then so be it. However, if you intended to actually make a logical point against the author or those with similar beliefs, I'm afraid you were not successful.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    I find it perplexing that the liberal will blindly support pornography,

    I find it equaly perplexing that the left, the liberal, will come up with absurd conclusions about conseravtives or the right, or what they would do,

    How can one justifify that immorality, moral decay, obcenity, it good for society and the nation, that is even should be publically funded, that freedom exists only with the acceptance and embracinbg of porn and immorality.

    The horrifying thought is there can be nothing wrong, no muderous or depraved activity, in a Godless world.

    While you can argue society or man can make laws and rules (which limits freedom arbitrarily), there can be nothing intrinsicly wrong or immoral with any bad behavior,

    survival of the fittest is the law of the jungle in an atheistic world, how else can one expainl the murder or starvation of tens of millions. in communst countrties,

    or decaptiation of children in the french revolution,

    or the slaughteer of children in bolsheivik revolution.

    or confiscation of property and slaughter of jews by national socialists,

    or intern of japanese, reservation of indians, gulags, reedication camps, etc, etc, etc.

    morality becomes relative.

    men rule by whim over other men.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Oct. 23, 2011 7:44 p.m.

    Sad day when Americans are confused by the right or wrong of:

    1. pornography
    2. a mother killing her unborn baby
    3. gay rights
    4. marriage or living together
    5. coveting their neighbors property
    6. choosing just leaders

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    What a circular, convoluted, and inane argument! Certainly one of the weakest, and most intellectually dishonest, arguments against pr0n I've seen in a while. While the others openly admit their motivations an reasons, this one hides behind complex argument that essentially says apples can be compared to oranges, because people eat both!

    He also avoids the real issue. The reason even conservatives Justices error on the side of free speech, as in the recent Supreme Court ruling on "mature" video game sale to minors, is that there is a fear of the issue spiraling out of control. The author of this article never attempts to define pornography, which is that is necessary for laws against it, because there will always be someone even more prudish. Say goodbye to all the arts and fashions you love, cause I promise you there are loads of people that find it offensive.

    This wont even be an issue in 20 years. All tech savvy teens these days have seen pr0n. And give up the argument that it causes moral decay: there is less violent crime per capita today than there was in the 1950s. Society is better than it has ever been.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    I think I just went in a circle?

  • Freedom-In-Danger WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    "Society is better than it has ever been."

    Today we see a few things different than the 50's...

    Father's abandon their families more
    Our divorce rates are higher
    Teen pregnancies are higher
    Drug abuse is higher
    Child sexual abuse is higher
    Less American's vote
    More people aren't assisted, but LIVE OFF of welfare today (FAR more, fyi)
    People spend less time in the great outdoors
    People spend less time with their families
    Far fewer families even eat dinner together
    Far less people enlist to protect, more for education and job benefits.
    Infidelity and dishonesty is far higher and even expected in today's "culture"
    Less people share the same basic value system today as in the past (we're more divided)
    We have grown more indifferent to violent, hateful, traumatizing, and quite frankly- sickening imagery on television, gaming, and our daily activities.
    We have less respect for our dead today than before, showing graphic REAL imagery to even children.

    This list could go on and on. This country is falling apart in regards to moral values. I dare say that anyone in denial of this is partly responsible for such acceptance. I personally do NOT accept such false "moralities".

  • Miss Piggie Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:41 a.m.

    @Freedom-In-Danger:

    "The author didn't say all nude art was porn, but that it can just as easily be pornographic as what we define as porn today."

    Both you and the author need to make up your mind... is nude art porn or not? If not, then all porn could logically be classified as art.

    "You're second statement would also lead to the same conclusion as this: 'Murder is bad only because people, like the author, say it's bad.'"

    Murder is bad because it harms another. Porn doesn't.

    "Regarding your third statement, there are plenty of logical reasons we don't run around nude."

    There are societies on this earth that run around nude and think nothing of it. Thus, have no use for porn.

    "In the meantime, I suggest you consider one of the basic tenants of all civil debate and discourse- know your audience."

    How can my audience be known? I've never met the author. And posters use mostly fake monikers.

    "If your intention is purely to offend or provoke, then so be it."

    Most posts are intended to provoke. Anything less is mundane pablum.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:45 a.m.

    Religion is in the business of selling "salvation" - specifically, salvation from sin.

    But they can't sell you something you don't need, so they have to convince you that you are a horrible sinner. You are rife with sin. You are filthy with it. Just ask them. They will tell you all the sins of which you are guilty.

    Then they will tell you they (and only they) have the solution to your sin problem.

    But if there is no "sin", then the "salvation" they offer you is worthless: who will pay 10% of your income for something you don't need?

    Much pornography is disgusting. It is fake. It is twisted. It is abusive. It is morally repugnant. But it is not "sinful". Some people like it. Some people can't handle it without it affecting their public lives.

    But Mr. George's arguments fail to make the case for legislative action, and are a subtle but sophisticated way to try and make pornography "sinful". Religious people have to convince you of sin in order to stay relevant to contemporary life.

    Don't buy into it.

  • glennlab1 Dallas, TX
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:51 a.m.

    So society has been irreprabily harmed by Gogan and the rest of the renaisance painters since their works are of dubious value at best. I think your panties are way too tight when you try to blame art for societal ills.

  • Normal Guy Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 6:04 a.m.

    You can count the number of people who enjoy pornography as 'art' on one hand. If that or 'individual rights' are its only defenses then it's fair to regulate it - which doesn't mean you have to ban it. Pornography is every bit as addictive as drugs or alcohol because it can be used to self-medicate. Essentially to adjust your mood. Like those that addicted to substances and inevitably use them to excess and become a drain on society, those addicted to pornography lose their self-esteem, objectify women, and often learn habits that are already criminalized, such as public indecency or worse.

    I find it interesting that the first atheist to post indicates he is moral because he doesn't 'lie, steal, or cheat'. The only reason these are considered universal moral virtues are because they were in the 10 commandments, which a majority has always believed came from God. While it doesn't mean that morality comes from God, it is true that society can only agree on virtues if they believe they can from God. We wouldn't be having this ridiculous discussion about pornography being moral or not if the 10 commandments covered it.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 7:01 a.m.

    @VoR;

    Until you PROVE that there is a God, you have no business legislating based on him/her/it.

    Morality is not derived from fictional beings.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 7:28 a.m.

    Haha, you are just making up every single one of those claims, dangerman.

    You are too funny.

    To the people that claim there is no morality without a belief in god: don't be silly. There are many reasons to be moral that have nothing, whatsoever, to do with religion. Get over yourselves.

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    @ alsatheist,

    I'm curious: You wrote that one of the commenters needs some "soul searching." What is a "soul" to an atheist? This question may sound sarcastic, but is not meant to be. I'd really like to know. Is it just a popular figure of speech, or does an atheist have a definition for "soul?"

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    @korn75: "Ha. You won't see a decline in porn just because women are made to feel more valuable. There will always be sexually hungry men in this world who will view porn and there will always be women who will want the easy money by participating in pornographic films. Eliminating young beauty pageants may help girls with personal self-esteem issues and eating disorders, but it's not going to affect or eliminate the porn industry."

    You misunderstand the whole issue. Not only do we need to teach girls that they are valuable, but more importantly, boys need to be taught that women are valuable beyond their sexual appeal. If a man truly respects women as people he won't be inclined toward porn. Although the girls are "pretending" to be raped, abused, or mistreated, they are still, in actuality, going through those experiences (just as an actor "pretending" to play basketball for a movie is still playing basketball).

    Education is the key, not regulation. While porn is never going away (it's been around forever), we can certainly help contain it.

  • roswell Saint George, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    It is apparent from the comments that many 'lie in wait to deceive', using false logic to denigrate the author who is one of the clearest and brightest thinkers morality in our times. Those who criticize the author's point fail to see how the very decline of western civilization is influences by your lack of moral conviction. Oh yes! You can think you are being open minded, that pornography and other sinister practices have no influence on politics, economy, and fundamentally the happiness of a society...but we see the slippery slide you create for those of us attempting to raise children free from addictions.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    Robbie512,

    An excellent breakdown of the arguments. Thank you. I am not sure there is such universal agreement (in today's political environment) reference govt. responsibility to mediate even direct negative influences but that is a topic for another day.

    I think the third argument (that pornography constitutes a negative influence) is strong. But, it is difficult to make that argument to the general populace for two reasons. First, some enjoy it and are willing to turn a blind eye to the negatives. Second, that many of the resulting negatives have become so ingrained in our culture that we do not understand them to be harmful. We think of them as simply normal. It is extremely difficult to argue effectively what is "normal" or "right" when the two sides do not perceive these in the same way.

    The Atheist,

    Sin is simply that which does us harm. Specifically long-term harm (and no, not just from an eternal life perspective). The name is less relevant.

    The point of religion is to not to subjugate but to liberate and provide a way forward out of destructive behavior.

    Don't need it? Okay. But please do not deny its power to help.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:59 a.m.

    RanchHand,

    Until we pass laws stating that I can't vote according to what I believe, this remains a free country. I have no more proof that you are real than I have that God is real. I read something claimed to be the word of a deity. I read something claimed to be the word of another commenter. All I really know is that I wrote neither. So, I shouldn't debate based on what I don't know is real either... therefore we are done in this discussion.

    See the problem?

    I could argue either way, but none of that really matters. What matters is that we are FREE. I believe people should be able to vote what their believe is right or wrong, regardless of other people who claim moral superiority and would strike down such freedom by invalidating the vote of those they disagree with.

    Would you remove my voting rights simply because of WHY I voted the way I did, or would you rather not prevent me from voting freely. Do you accept freedom or fight it? Because your comment there was CERTAINLY not in support of it. So I ask you, please clarify. Free or no?

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    @VoR:

    All you have is hearsay. Someone said that "god" said....

    You have no right to vote on the rights of others. No right, unless you are willing to have others vote on your rights as well - which you obviously refuse to do.

    We are FREE, yes - as long as we harm NO others. Voting to restrict or take away the right of others HARMS those others. You HARM GLBT couples and our families when you vote on OUR rights.

    When I have the right to vote on YOUR marriage, then, and only then, do you have the right to vote on mine.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 24, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    Will legislating pornography include removing most of the romance novels from the market? You know, the ones the women read while they are complaing about men viewing pornography? Just saying ....

  • T-Jeff Uinta Basin, Utah
    Oct. 24, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    Hey Editor, it's your site so you have the right to censor how you want but that's it for me. I'll be voting with my feet now.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    Normal Guy
    society can only agree on virtues if they believe they can from God.

    LDS4
    No, people can agree that individual freedom is good and should be maximized, thereby maximizing agency. Restrictions on actions should be limited to things that objectively cause harm to others. Consider a few quotes from the prophets on restricting the rights of others to get them to behave

    A man may act as his conscience dictates so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others. (David O. McKay, General Conference, October, 1938)

    There is not a being upon the face of the earth... that would be deprived of the free exercise of his agency so far as he does not infringe upon other's rights. (Joseph Fielding Smith)

    You are free to choose exactly what you want to do, as long as it does not restrict or impose on the rights or liberties of others..(N. Eldon Tanner - General Conference, April 1970)

    Men may think as they please, but they have no right to impose upon others their ... views. (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball)

    Forcing morality on others was Satans plan. Why do so many want to advocate it?

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    *Utah No. 1 in online porn subscriptions, report says By Elaine Jarvik 03/03/09 DSNews

    That's the conclusion of a Harvard economics professor who tracked subscriptions to online porn sites. Utah ranks No. 1 in subscriptions, according to Benjamin Edelman, who reported his findings in the article "Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?," published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Moderator, this is from your own paper.

    Utah has one of the most 'anti-smut' laws in the country.

    And, one of, if not the highest usage of online pornography.

    'Public Morality' is fiction, as the public cannot even agree on one faith, let alone morality.

    The continued focus against pornagraphy is what leads to drastic usage in other venues.

    As, with prohibition, it only leads to Utah be the leader in other 'black market' materials.

    Which, is perfectly legal if you are a consenting adult.

    Strange that such groups choose to focus on this, and not the removal of inividual freedoms to Americans.

  • JimE Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    The right for a little girl to walk safely down the street exceeds the right to view porn. And yes, I am linking porn with pedophiles.
    It's an ugly, dirty industry that does lots of harm and zero good.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    We stopped advertising cigarettes on TV years ago and for what purpose??? We stopped the advertising to save young people from becoming smokers. Many young people still smoke but what would have happened if the Marlboro Man would have continued on TV advertising? The same must be true for porn. There must be some acknowledgment that porn destroys and is a huge negative on a persons mental and physical health and thus some sort of mandated regulation must be legislated. Voluntary filters aren't enough as seen by the stat's of porn site for young people and older. A free society will destroy itself without laws and restraints.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    patriot:

    The Marlboro Man is gone, but it is still legal to smoke. It is a personal right - as long as it does not affect others.

    Porno has not been advertised. I do not allow it in my house. That is what I can control. I do not ban it from my neighbor's house. That is their right and I do not need to run their house. As long as the highest court in our country says that it falls under our constitution, I will not try to make my neighbors live by my standards.

    Why are you trying to? What type of country are you looking for? Do you really want the government to enforce your religious beliefs? Is that why you would vote to restrict others in their own homes? I do not understand this thinking. Could you explain why to me?

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    'Many young people still smoke...' - patriot | 11:55 a.m. Oct. 24, 2011

    You completely shot your argument in the foot with this statement.

    Advocating in support of banning pornography, alchohol and smoking may have all logical arguments (sometimes) to support it's merit...

    but still creates a 'nanny state' that restricts the personal liberties of American citizens.

    We restrict what affects other people. Murder, theft, assault, etc.

    But we CANNOT restrict what others do, that does NOT have a factual effect on another person's life.

    Smoking at home, consuming alchohol at home, watching pornography, gay marriage, etc.

    Examples are:

    'Gay marriage wins rulings in pair of federal challenges' - By Denise Lavoie - AP - Published by DSNews - 07/08/10

    'The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.'

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    You spend part of your editorial in trying to equate drug use and pornography, but drug use can not claim an association with the Constitution, pornography can. The argument does not fit.

    Your comments on pornography and marital sex in relation to the Constitution are weak as well. The US Supreme Court has ruled on many pornography cases. It has been recognized as free speech under the 1st Amendment. Your comments about art are simply a miss-direction in stare decisis. The US Supreme Court has also struck down a Texas law on sodomy as unconstitutional, indicating what happens in the privacy of the bedroom is not subject to government interference. (Utah has yet to repeal its sodomy law, although it is also unconstitutional.) You make a long case against pornography and try to diminish the role of judges in this matter. But, it is extremely difficult to overturn US Supreme Court decisions, and I believe that, as well intentioned as this editorial may be, it is going down a dead end road. Like it or not, pornography is here to stay. The best solution is to teach your kids about sex and the potential impacts of pornography.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Oct. 24, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    Pagen,

    Utah is also going through a transformation with a high number of out of staters moving in. It's not quite the same Utah I once lived in.

    It's all George Bushes fault.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 7:28 p.m.

    This breaks no rules and responds to posts!

    Ranch: Let's be clear and candid, okay? You left the LDS church because of your homosexuality. You have a clear antagonistic attitude regarding your former church because they preach the unadulterated version of the gospel of Christ.

    You can have sexual relations with whomever you choose, I guess as long as they are legal. But let's not confuse your chosen behavior with marriage. Homosexuality is not, nor will it ever be, marriage.

    You have lds4homosexualmarriage confused along with you thinking that you have a "right" to get married to another of the same sex. It's not a "right" otherwise there would be absolutely no restrictions on marriage by the state.

    For LDS folks to not see the harm that porn does on the family, marriages and society is to turn a blind eye to reality. Frankly, it's disturbing to see so many blinded by the adversary with their moral relativism.

    Dear Atheists, your posts are so comical yet sad. You claim there isn't a God but you have no answers for anything regarding life, death, science, etc. You also have no morals because you don't believe in right or wrong.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:13 p.m.

    'You can have sexual relations with whomever you choose, I guess as long as they are legal. But let's not confuse your chosen behavior with marriage. Homosexuality is not, nor will it ever be, marriage.' - @Charles | 7:28 p.m. Oct. 24, 2011

    Six states disagree with you.

    And considering MA was the first one in 2004, that's almost one state per year.

    I dosen't have to be YOUR marriage. But you have no right to dictate another persons marriage. You rights and with your person. It does not BEGIN with another's marriage options.

    Also, let's not be offensive and claim that people have no MORALS because they do not agree with you.

    I will never, ever, understand how those who claim religious reasons to be against gay marriage can insult others by claiming they have no morality, or they are sinners, or they are sad...

    and people like the moderator think that throwing these insults every day somehow make it part of 'civil discourse.'

    Saying 'I disagree with you because...' is one thing.

    Claiming the person you are arguing against has no morals because they disagree with you?

    Is an insult.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:53 p.m.

    @Charles
    You have lds4homosexualmarriage confused along with you thinking that you have a "right" to get married to another of the same sex. It's not a "right" otherwise there would be absolutely no restrictions on marriage by the state.

    LDS4
    There is absolutely no objective reason to oppose gay marriage. You can't bring up the issue of them not being able to produce children or you'd have to prevent the aged and infertile from marrying as well. You can't bring up subjective religious/moral beliefs because this is not a theocracy and many others have religious and moral beliefs allowing gay marriage.

    All you have left is the "ick factor"...that you personally find it disgusting. I feel the same way about hard boiled eggs and/or blue cheese dressing in a salad, but I'm not going to sue Texas Roadhouse to prevent them from offering them.

    People should be able to marry the consenting adult of their choice, even if they are of another race, social class or religion or even the same sex. There is NO objective reason to deny any of them.

  • Thanda Pretoria, South Africa
    Oct. 25, 2011 2:34 a.m.

    It appears to me that one of the problems we have is defining harm. For example it is assumed that women are abused more than men in marriage and other relationships because sexual and physical abuse (which are both physical of course) are considered REAL abuse causing REAL harm rather than psychological, verbal, and emotional abuse which women must surely be as guilty of in not more than men.

    This is where the God and spiritual issue becomes important. When you believe in God you consider all aspects of being a human being and not just the ones you can see and hear. You will consider a wife emotionally abusing her husband just as bad as him sexually abusing her and you will be as prone to legislate (or not) the one as you would the other. (I hope I don't sound like I support rape in any way).

    My point is, we need to understand there is more to things than "meets the EYE". Even unseen things cause real damage.

  • BalancedFulfilledLife MISSOURI CITY, TX
    Oct. 25, 2011 7:29 a.m.

    Kudos to Voice of Reason for your comments! I enjoyed the article. "We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote the measures designed to strengthen and maintain the (traditional) family as the fundamental unit of society." I will use my freedom to vote for leaders and laws that do just that - protect and strengthen the traditional family.

  • Freedom-In-Danger WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 8:01 a.m.

    "You have no right to vote on the rights of others. No right, unless you are willing to have others vote on your rights as well - which you obviously refuse to do."

    Ranchhand: The United Nations just said that "internet access is a right". STATE INVOLVEMENT of marriage is something that I vote on and have every right to. The state could just as easily not get involved in all marriages altogether. The fact that this option even exists PROVES that state recognition isn't a right, but a choice of the people. But I guess liberal arguments are perfect and exempt from all debate... because us conservatives don't have the right to vote what we believe now?

    "He won't endorse me, so I'll make it so he can't vote anymore!"

    Don't you see that liberals are the ones destroying freedom?

    And if you think I'm crazy for believing in God... that is your right. But I have just as much right to think your crazy for not. What makes us free is that we can believe and voice that belief freely. If you can't agree with that, then you disagree with our current constitution and it's protected freedoms.

  • Ranch HUNTSVILLE, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    Freedom-In-Danger says:
    "... because us conservatives don't have the right to vote what we believe now?"

    "Don't you see that liberals are the ones destroying freedom?"

    "And if you think I'm crazy for believing in God... that is your right. But I have just as much right to think your crazy for not. What makes us free is that we can believe and voice that belief freely."

    ---

    (1) You do not have the right to Vote on the rights of other Citizens, regardless of your "belief". Unless you give those others the SAME right to vote on your rights.

    (2) Conservatives are the ones destroying freedom - you TAKE THE FREEDOM of others away and then complain that they are "destroying freedom" - hypocritical and Orwellian.

    (3) Believe whatever floats your boat. Keep it to yourself. Enacting laws based on your fiction is wrong because it infringes on the rights of others. You use your "god" to deny Freedom to others. When you believe others are not free to do the same things you do then you are being a hypocrite. BTW, Jesus condemned the hypocrite right along with the "sinners".

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    'The fact that this option even exists PROVES that state recognition isn't a right, but a choice of the people.' - Freedom-In-Danger | 8:01 a.m. Oct. 25, 2011

    And when that opinion turns on you?

    *'Gallup Poll: Majority of Americans support gay marriage' - By Elizabeth Stuart - DSNews - 05/20/2011

    This is contradicted by another poll just six months later:

    *64% dont support gay marriage new poll says Deseret News 10/12/2011

    Gary Lawrence is the president of Lawrence Research in Santa Ana, Calif., and is very familiar with both the topic and the polling. His company conducted polls in 2008 for the "Yes on 8" campaign, which successfully pushed for the passage of Proposition 8 in California to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

    Which, has been largely discredited.

    *Gay marriage poll touted by Mormons seems dubious By James Peron Huffinton Post 10/14/2011

    Pollster Gary Lawrence responded to DeGroote's email by suggesting that I buy his book on Mormonism instead. He offered no information as to the demographics of his survey.'

  • 8plex Alpine, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    If the Atheists are right then none of this and their banter matter. If the God believers are right then all the pontificating from the other side is a moot point. Either way, the Atheists and religion haters don't really have a stand when it comes to moral matters. In the end they will not be able to bring meaning to their arguments one way or another without one of them playing God and deciding what is moral and what is not which is what they accuse the God believers of doing.

    God is obvious and all the words and rhetoric to diminish this fact won't change it one bit. It is only because of God that the non-believers have the right to choose as they will.

    Again, if the Atheists are right then all of this and our existence is nonsense and doesn't really matter.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 25, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    After reading the posts, it is evident that there are two points of view:

    1. We don't need God. We don't need laws. We don't accept help in choosing what is "right".

    2. We need God. We need direction. We accept help in choosing what is "right".

    It all depends on the goal.

    From the posts that those who accept laws limiting access to porn are those who believe in strong, traditional families, where there is a Father and a Mother who want their children to be protected from all sexual deviation.

    From the posts that those who reject laws limiting porn are those who have rejected traditional families, who want homosexual "partners" to be considered married, who think that it is perfectly acceptable for children to be raised in a home where homosexual relations are practiced.

    It's quite clear that there is a division. It is clear why there is a division. It is clear who accepts the concept of limits and law just as it is clear who rejects limits and law.

    Those of us who believe in God accept the doctrine of absolute law and of His requirement that we curb our "natural" desires.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 25, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    Pagen/Pagan,

    Does the 'Episcopal Church' speak for God? Is their leader His prophet to the world? When did that happen?

    Does any "association" have the right to set eternal laws? Who gave them that authority? Why would anyone accept their judgment, except those who want "an authority" to speak in favor of their sexual desires?

    Do you know that "curb your natural desires" means no sex outside of marriage? That is means No sexual relations with anyone of the same sex at any time. That it means care and consideration for your wife or husband? That it means NOT viewing porn because of the respect that you have for your wife or your husband? That it means NEVER looking at the naked body of anyone to whom you are not married?

    Yes, "curb" means NO homosexual activity by anyone at anytime, inside a "homosexual marriage" or outside a "homosexual marriage".

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    That there is morality without god is not a new idea. Plato's "Euthyphro" argued persuasively that religion is not needed for morality. Socrates puts the point thusly: "Do the gods love something because it is pious, or is something pious because the gods love it?"

    Whether from evolutionary development or from the demands of sociality, we humans have an intuitive sense of right and wrong that trumps even the commands of god. We have the ability to judge which of the gods is good or bad. So, even if god did not exist, we could fend for ourselves in matters of conscience. Ethics, not divine revelation, is the better guide to life.

    Only if you accept and obey EVERYTHING contained in the Old Testament can you possibly disagree with this. To reject one idea from religious scripture is to exercise your superior moral judgement against "god's word."

    We cannot count on either God or morality to back up our personal preferences or clinch the case in any argument. Morality as a weapon against the nonbelievers has been notoriously immoral. Perhaps we should no longer be in the business of trying to derive "ought" from "is".

  • 8plex Alpine, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 3:44 p.m.

    Without God and a belief in the next life none of the blathering even matters. I figured this out when I was 8 years old. If when you die there is nothing then nothing really matters now. You live and then you die -- who cares what happens -- really who cares? Do you really think that I would care about your position on abortion or gay rights if there is no afterlife? If there is no judgment then I will do as I please -- if I want to be seen as nice then I will do that according to what I believe (it still won't matter) -- if I want to be seen as intellectual then I must really not be in touch with what I believe.

    Blather on non-believers but if you are right your arguments are meaningless. Who cares if you were a "good and moral person" or even an "evil person". In the end it all ends and then there is nothing. The pathetic meaning you find now will end in a few short years and then who cares?

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 4:31 p.m.

    8plex wrote:

    "Without God and a belief in the next life none of the blathering even matters...If when you die there is nothing then nothing really matters now."

    There is no more sinister, immoral, and unethical notion than this. What a selfish, horrible idea.

    Nothing matters?

    My relationship with my beautiful wife still matters.

    Helping an elderly person feel important by a visit to a nursing home still matters.

    A rich, thick chocolate shake still matters.

    Passing legislation that will improve the economic and unemployment conditions in this country still matters.

    Reading the Grapes of Wrath while sipping hot Jasmine Oolong Tea on a winter evening still matters.

    Breaking the Curse of the Bambino still matters, as does Jeter's 3000th.

    A trip to Indonesia to help following the 2004 tsunami still matters.

    What an impoverished and pathetic life it would be if nothing mattered without some belief in a fictitious magician watching over everything!

    Believe me when I tell you, it all matters! Human life matters!

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 5:00 p.m.

    Dear Vanka: the reason that all mankind knows good from evil is because of the light of Christ that is given to all, even atheists. Human life matters only because their is a God and afterlife! :)

    "15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

    16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

    17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one."

  • Ranch HUNTSVILLE, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    @Charles;

    Proof please. Otherwise its all just blah, blah, blah.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 8:10 p.m.

    BalancedFulfilledLife
    "We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote the measures designed to strengthen and maintain the (traditional) family as the fundamental unit of society." I will use my freedom to vote for leaders and laws that do just that - protect and strengthen the traditional family.

    KJK
    The prophets have stated that the only official doctrine of the Church is in the standard works and that everything else is commentary and opinion. They've stated that if even their own words contradict scripture, scripture prevails. The quoted statement above was they rallying cry against SSM.

    1 Cor. 10:29 & D&C 134:4 denounce the use of one's morals as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. In the case of CA's prop.8, where gays DID have the right/liberty to marry, the call to strip gays of those rights was therefore in objective violation of those verses. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    The Proc. isn't scripture and in the case of Prop.8, that last paragraph you quote is objectively false doctrine.

    You may not agree, but I'd appreciate you showing me where my logic and/or scriptural interpretation is wrong. Thanks.

  • StandAlone South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 8:45 p.m.

    "Let's face it, porn is here to stay whether you like it or not."

    Actually, it's not here to stay. There will come a day when people will weep bitter tears over their actions, participating in porn, viewing it and supporting it, wishing they had chosen differently.... and it IS a CHOICE.
    I happen to believe our morals do come from God and there are consequences for our thoughts and actions.
    As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

  • StandAlone South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 8:51 p.m.

    The worst part of all of this is reading many of the comments in here,talking about rape, porn and sexuality in a nonchalant way as if there's no harm done. You people are part of the problem. Why don't you try talking to someone who is actually addicted to porn, maybe you'll find out it's not so glamorous.

  • Ranch HUNTSVILLE, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 6:52 a.m.

    @StandAlone;

    As you can also see reading many of the comments, addiction to religion isn't so glamorous either.

  • StandAlone South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    @Ranch:

    You believe and do what you want to do, I'll do the same, and let the pieces fall where they may. Fair enough?

  • 8plex Alpine, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    @Ranch

    For proof -- look at your hand. Go outside and look at the earth, the moon and the stars.

    Watch a baby be born.

    Read the Book of Mormon.

    Talk with others who have experiences beyond the grave.

    If you need further proof then explain life. If you can explain it then create it. If you can't you have your proof. If you can't create life and yet all you would have to do is copy it then explain how the universe supposedly created life by chance when you can't on purpose.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    Ranch: What would you accept as proof? I highly doubt anything except your final PPI will be sufficient for you. At that point in time, all things will be brought to your remembrance and it will be too late.

    Everything around you denotes there is a God. Life, plants, animals, Earth, Sun, moon, stars, everything. All things testify of God.

    If you want to deny God and all things that He has created just because He rejects and disapproves of your chosen lifestyle, then so be it.

    We are all still waiting for any God-denier to cogently detail on what basis you have morals. If there is good and bad or right and wrong or whatever you want to call it then you are admitting that there is a higher power. If you deny their is a higher power then you are stating that man is the end all be all of the universe.

    So, which is it?

    Vanka: where did you run off to????

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 11:32 a.m.

    @8plex

    The proof you propose can easily be disputed. The examples you present can be disputed. The Book of Mormon can be disputed. Experiences beyond the grave can be disputed. God can be disputed. There are naturalistic explanations available. There are other explanations available. Our knowledge is incomplete. Even if science cannot explain some event or object, it is not reasonable to believe or assume that a god is responsible for the event or object. The mere fact that we cannot explain something is not a valid justification to rely upon something else, even more mysterious, as an "explanation." Filling the gaps in our knowledge with God is not certain proof. We have no certain proof.

    As for pornography....when a person has an addiction to pornography that is creating a problem.....the problem doesn't lie in the pornography, but rather with the person viewing it. Take blame for your own actions and stop blaming the source. You can eliminate it yourself rather than making the government do it for you. Yes, porn can be harmful to various people, but to claim it is harmful to ALL people is false.

  • Ranch HUNTSVILLE, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    8plex says:

    "For proof, look at your hand. Go outside and look at the earth, the moon and the stars.+ -- BTDT

    "Watch a baby be born." -- BTDT

    "Read the Book of Mormon." --- BTDT

    "Talk with others who have experiences beyond the grave." --- Don't know any ghosts.

    "If you need further proof then explain life. If you can explain it then create it. If you can't you have your proof. If you can't create life and yet all you would have to do is copy it then explain how the universe supposedly created life by chance when you can't on purpose."

    --- Biology 101 - a good place to start

    @Charles;

    Again, Bio 101

    I'll accept that God exists when HE/SHE/IT comes and talks to all of us. If there is a God he/she/it doesn't need a mouthpiece.

    "We are all still waiting for any God-denier to cogently detail on what basis you have morals." -- Do unto others... (basis of morality) needs no Diety.

  • 8plex Alpine, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 12:16 p.m.

    @Joggle
    "it is not reasonable to believe or assume that a god is responsible for the event or object."

    To whom? It is not reasonable to me to believe that there is not a God. We can explain things with God it's just without him that they are not explainable. That is exactly the point.

    I get that it requires faith to believe but faith is present every time someone trusts another or believes in their character i.e. character witnesses for court.

    For some reason atheists still refuse to see the absurdity in them being a moralist. It is the height of hippocracy to claim Christians have it wrong on pornography or homosexuality from an atheistic view. I don't expect you to see the absurdity - but I state again -- if you are right then all of this talk is meaningless.

    Atheists must live for today, there really is no future for them or anyone, this means that the morality of the day or claiming that something is right or wrong based on the passing fad of the day is an absurdity. Morals come and go but they are here and then -blip- they are gone.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 12:30 p.m.

    @Charles

    You and others have certainly not demonstrated that an objective morality exists, and the burden of proof is on you.

    The simplest explanation for morality in human society is the fact that human social groups need predictable rules and behavior to function. Morals have evolved and changed over time rather than being exclusively made from religion or belief in God. We cannot make responsible, moral choices without having reasoned through our choices and the consequences of what we do. This applies to everybody, including atheists. This means that a truly moral system must emphasize the importance of the intellect and reason as much as love and compassion. A truly moral choice cannot be made on the basis of seeking rewards and certainly cannot be made in hopes of attaining an eternally blissful afterlife. If a person does things merely for a reward, their choice is based upon selfishness, not moral values. Real morality, cannot be mere obedience: for a person to be morally responsible, they must be able to reason out their choices and decide for themselves. Morality is as integral to human society rather than being in the exclusive realm of a god.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    @8plex

    The process of becoming an atheist usually involves questioning a great deal of what a person has taken for granted in the past. This means that many atheists not only end up questioning beliefs about religion, but they also question many popular political and social beliefs often beliefs which themselves tend to be justified or defended with religious arguments. Atheists are thus perhaps among the least likely people to simply follow along with the crowd and accept whatever "whims" society has established for behavior and morality, much less anything else. This myth acts as an effective way of dismissing what atheists have to say because few people will be interested in listening to anyone who simply follows "whims," regardless of where those whims originally come from. People who promote this myth communicate the idea that atheists shouldn't be listened to when it comes to ethical or social issues, but without actually addressing any of the arguments atheists make. It's a cheap way of getting out of having to offer anything substantive and promotes false assumptions and myth. I suggest you educate yourself on atheism to dispell the false assumptions you perpetuate.

    Your argument is understandable, but is still absurd.