Volume > Issue > Note List > It's Always the Family

It’s Always the Family

Whoever said that pornography is a victimless crime?

“The family is usually the first to suffer from pornography,” said Pope John Paul II in an address to the Religious Alliance Against Pornography back in 1992. “Con­sequently,” he continued, “as the primary cell of society, the family must be the first to champion the battle against this evil.”

It is apt, then, that the Family Research Council would authorize a study on “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community,” released this past November.

By 1992 the porn industry in the U.S. was firmly established, having emerged from the seedy, back-alley urban environs to which it was largely confined in the 1970s. The home-video boom of the 1980s (of which porn was arguably the cause) offered Americans the opportunity to welcome porn discreetly into their own bedrooms. Still, when John Paul identified it as a “serious threat to society as a whole,” porn had yet to burgeon into the mammoth industry it now is.

The decade of the 1990s marked the beginning of the current golden age of pornography. Pornographic culture rippled all the way into the Oval Office, resulting in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. And once the Internet took hold of our daily lives (thanks, Al Gore), pornography became America’s open secret. Indeed, it could be argued that pornography fueled the success of the 1990s Internet boom.

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