Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 9, 1960

Beyond The Horizons

By Wm. E. Wallace, Box 399. McAlester, Oklahoma

(Charles A. Holt, Box 80, Florence, Alabama) Pornography — Traffic In Obscenity

Pornography is the utilization of obscene writing and obscene pictures to arouse sexual or exploit sexual curiosity. Obscenity has been defined as the tendency of the matter to deprave and corrupt the minds of those who are open or susceptible to immoral interests. There is a tremendous commercial exploitation of sexual curiosity constituting a multi-million dollar business in our country. Business interests are taking advantage of the freedom of the press, and the United States mailing system, to distribute undesirable and immoral material.

Those who are involved in this business appear to have little concern for the social damage involved. Children and young people have become targets of obscene literature sales. Newsstands openly display lewd and evil publications. This commercialization of the factor of sexual curiosity has become a critical problem in our nation. It is a critical problem not only because it constitutes encouragement for the sexual deviates; it also creates perversion and corrupts the morals of youth.

The control of pornography lies in two areas: the courts, and the home. Since 1957 there has been an extensive effort to create legislation which will control the publication and distribution of obscene literature. It would appear on the surface that such legislation could be expedited with little difficulty. However, there are some constitutional principles involved. Statutes to control obscene literature must of necessity define obscenity. Standards and tests must be set up. Such legislation must not infringe on constitutional rights, and lawmakers are concerned about defining obscenity in such a way as not to restrict legitimate anatomical and higher art publications. So there is a state of confusion now among lawmakers and in the judiciary, relative to the nature of obscenity. What is not obscene is entitled to constitutional protection.

When adequate legal definitions are advanced and restrictive legislation is passed, there may be some degree of control in this matter of pornography. However, the legal restrictions cannot completely eradicate the publication and distribution of obscene literature. When legislation is passed there will be too much obscene publication which exists above the definitions of the law, and there will always be bootleg material available. Such socially approved magazines as LIFE and LOOK will continue to display nudity and suggestive pictures.

The point of control is in the home. The problem of Pornography will not particularly trouble a family if there is no interest or demand for such literature in the family. If children and young people are not legitimately and adequately informed in the home, they will turn to other sources of information to satisfy their sexual curiosity. They will go to the newsstand and to the shady corner. If parents are unconcerned, or if they are uncomfortable and embarrassed in imparting sexual information to children, the young will not be properly satisfied with what is told them.

Control of what comes into the home in form of television, periodicals, and books can help to develop the young towards maturity. A home with a proper Christian atmosphere, with church centered activity, with mature understanding of the problems of life, is a home relatively unaffected by the problem of pornography.

We live in a wicked society, but we can withstand the evil of the world and "do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

"Tell Us What We Believe"

E. S. James, editor of the Baptist Standard, laments the inability of "too many" Baptists to tell what Baptists believe. In an editorial, April 13, 1960, Mr. James contrasts the Baptist condition on this point with the Catholic' quickness to talk about his church. To further project his point he says, "Ask a Campbellite about his faith, and he will immediately quote about eight verses of Scripture and then tell you why he thinks you are lost."

Besides being humorous, the editor's statement is paradoxical. He labels us with a designation he knows we do not appreciate, but compliments our readiness to give "reason of the hope that is in you." Baptists in particular have felt the force of our scriptural thrusts, and such recognition as that which the Baptist editor affords us indicates our scriptural thrusts are still being felt. Error fears the cutting edges of the two-edged sword. And, I suspect that the eight verses we quote are seven more than what editor James can quote on behalf of his Baptist faith.

A Catholic For President?

In an article in Our Sunday Visitor, April 3, 1960, John A. O'Brien, a Roman Catholic priest and professor at the University of Notre Dame answers the question: "Hasn't some pope condemned the American principle of the separation of Church and State?" His answer follows:

No pontiff has ever condemned the present relation between the Church and State in this country, nor has any pope suggested that it be changed. In a country such as ours, characterized by widespread diversity of religious belief, union of Church and State is utterly unworkable. This does mean that we are to generalize from the conditions peculiar to this country and lay down the universal position: "The Church must be separated from the State and the State from the Church." This was the proposition which Pius DC condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, so sadly misinterpreted by many non-Catholics.

All that is implied in this condemnation is that the Church need not always be separated from the State, in a country where uniformity of religious faith obtains citizens may establish a close working relationship — or union — between Church and State so that both may work in complete harmony for the achievement of their respective ends: the promotion of the spiritual and material welfare of their citizens. This is precisely what has been done in England, Norway, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. We in America would not fancy such an arrangement. But who would presume to deny to the people of other countries the right to work out the relationships which they deem most suitable?

The matter which O'Brien discusses offers no little difficulty to Roman Catholic apologists. O'Brien's comments mean that the Roman Catholic hierarchy is willing to go along with the present relation between church and state in this country because of the pluralistic nature of our society. But a careful reading of the statement reveals that hierarchy's real love is in a situation where there is a uniform religious faith — uniform in that it is a sizeable majority — where a close working agreement between the Catholic Church and the state is established. Spain is an example.

It seems quite clear that the hierarchy will tolerate the American system as second best, but we can be assured that every opportunity to move toward their first love will be viewed and studied by the hierarchy, and decisions, legal restrictions cannot completely eradicate the publication of the hierarchy will be respected by devout Catholics in public office.

In the April 10 issue of Our Sunday Visitor the same authors quotes from Francis J. Connell who is the head of the school of theology of the Catholic University of America, stating that Connell sums up the teaching of Catholics on seeking union of church and state. Connell says, "Catholics have no obligation to seek special privileges for their Church in a land where the bad results of such a procedure would surpass the good effects." O'Brien adds, "In other words, religious error is to be tolerated in the modern state 'in order to promote a greater good' — the peace and order of society." So the Catholic Church is willing to tolerate our constitutional principles regarding church and state. But her tolerance is based on a matter of expediency; her history and her union with state in other countries sets forth her first love.

It would be an affront to non-Catholics to have as president one who owes allegiance to a religious order which considers our constitutional principle of church and state separation as something to be tolerated for purposes of expediency.