Morality in Media stays vigilant about illegal pornography

Published: Monday, March 19 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Morality in Media is also involved in circulating a letter addressed to two influential Republican committee leaders in the House, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas and Michigan's Rep. Fred Upton, that asks for "a (Congressional) hearing on the pandemic of harm from pornography." That initiative nicely embodies Morality in Media's strategy of attacking problems from both practical- and policy-based paradigms, because the letter has already attracted more than 5,000 grass-roots signees as well as nearly 200 signatures from national luminaries — including Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board member Robert P. George.

Morality in Media at 50

In 2012 Morality in Media celebrates its 50th birthday. Even after so many years of building its base, in 2011 the organization experienced unprecedented levels of outreach and influence as indicated by the substantial increases in its charitable donations (50 percent), email list (500 percent) and mailing list (400 percent).

For Hawkins, undergirding that growth is a rather simple principle: people are now better informed about pornography than ever before.

"It seems like people are really coming together because they know that pornography is harmful," she said. "And so today it's not such a taboo topic. When we say 'pornography is harmful,' it's not like we're trying to convince people anymore — they already know."

As for Hawkins, following her in-flight run-in with pornography she posted a YouTube video in which she retells the encounter in rich detail. The video went viral and quickly exceeded 200,000 views. As a reward for speaking her mind about pornography on a commercial flight, Hawkins became the recipient of an ugly brand of persecution including profane YouTube response videos, the posting of her personal contact information on several Internet sites and harassing phone calls to her parents in Colorado.

But much like Morality in Media, the organization for which she works, Hawkins remains undeterred in her determination to continue fighting illegal pornography.

"If the (obscenity) laws continue to not be enforced, then it will become much more accepted to sexualize children," Hawkins said. "We can already see the breakdown of marriage and the porn-ification of children. … I can't even think about that right now — it makes me cry."

Morality in Media, by the numbers

0: number of federal obscenity prosecutions initiated under Pres. Obama

50: percentage growth in MIM fundraising, 2010-11

50: age of Morality in Media

125: number of state and national groups that are part of the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition

400: percentage growth In MIM mailing list, 2010-11

500: percentage growth in MIM email list, 2010-11

EMAIL: jaskar@desnews.com

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