Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 7, 1957

Salacious Literature (II.)

Arthur W. Atkinson, Jr., Columbus, Ohio

We refer our readers to our previous article on this subject that they might be up to date.

Salacious literature is not confined to the 25 or 50 cent novels. There are many weekly and monthly magazines such as "True Story," "True Confession," "Secrets," etc., which carry a variety of salacious material. Then, there are several magazines which glorify the sinful lives of Hollywood magazines. Still other magazines appeal to the men only — or at least they are advertised as "the magazine for men," etc. These are not without their suggestive pictures and stories. Other magazines capitalize on the "sensational" or "secret" things in the lives of important (?) people in show business, sports, etc. These are fairly new to the market and are enjoying a phenomenal sale. One of these has recently had trouble with the U. S. Post Office. It seems so strange that the U. S. Government can see the evil in some of the magazines but some brethren cannot. Or at least they do not seem to be able to for they continue to read and sell them.

One mother once defended her and her daughter reading some of the above mentioned books by stating, "it teaches us about life." Yes, but what kind of a life. Certainly not the kind I would want to lead or would want my children to lead. Why not turn to God's book and learn ALL about life? You will learn therein that the righteous are rewarded and the unrighteous are punished. You will not learn this in the salacious literature on the newsstands today.

But adolescents and adults are not the only ones reached by salacious literature. Our youngest children are subjected to this evil as soon as they become old enough to hold a magazine before their eyes. The medium: the comic (?) book. Dr. Frederic Wertham has an excellent book on the effect that comic books have on our children. This book is entitled: "The Seduction of the Innocent." I suggest that all parents read it.

Here are some salient facts from this book:

1. There are 60,000,000 comic books published each month.

2. Children spend two to three hours a day reading them.

3. Children in grades 4 to 6 read 14.5 comic books a week.

4. Over 75% of the comic books published are crime comics.

5. Comic books bring about sex perversion and illicit sex acts.

6. Canada has banned crime comics.

7. Sweden, Holland, England, Russia, Eastern Germany and Portugal restrict, or refuse to allow, entry of American comic books.

8. Much crime and violence in juveniles can be traced to comic books.

9. Drug addiction is related to comic books. Brethren, comic books are not comic. Dr. Wertham testified before the Post Office Department and said of them: "They interfere with normal sexual development, make violence alluring, take away the dignity of women. In most every comic magazine the girl is bound, gagged, about to be tortured, sold as a slave, chained, whipped, choked, or thrown to wild animals. These situations are developed on one page after another, showing young girls with prominent secondary sex characteristics dashing around half nude. At the last minute the heroine is rescued — but only after the reader has seen the suggestive and shapely love object abused in some way."

The Pacific Fleet Command has banned the sale of most war comic books in ship stores on the grounds that they are too gory for the American sailor. But, of course, they are just right for the 4th and 5th graders??? We are deceiving ourselves.

What can we do about the evil of salacious literature? I believe the following suggestions are in order:

1. Pray about it. Nothing should be attempted without prayer.

2. Strictly supervise our children's reading. Comic books have no place in a Christian home. Nor do the pulp novels and other suggestive magazines.

3. Read only the best of literature.

4. Exalt the Bible and read and study daily from it.

5. Subscribe to several good religious papers.

6. Buy good religious books.

7. Put the emphasis upon spiritual things and cultural things which will be to the up building of the body and soul.

8. Raise our voices against the sale of salacious literature. Exhort druggists, news stand operators, etc., to handle only good material.

9. If we sell literature — sell only the best and stop this traffic of evil literature.

The best things that can be said for salacious literature is that it brings 80 cents per 100 pounds at most junk yards. Otherwise it is of no value whatsoever. Let us "abstain from the very appearance of evil."