Oklahoma Adult Material Ban Drafted By State Senator

The American Civil Liberties Union will have it in Federal court before the .pdf file is saved on the state website. It will be mocked by the depraved left. It will be fought by large and profitable industries.

Former pastor and recently elected Oklahoma State Sen. Dusty Deevers (R) drafted a bill that would ban a range of inappropriate activities, such as explicit text messages as well as pornography. It carries a $2000 fine for using pornography and a $10,000 fine for producing it.

The bill, which Deevers plans to introduce next month, has a working definition for pornography as any inappropriate material that “lacks serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific purposes or value”. The bill also defines “obscene” material as “normal or perverted, actual or simulated.” He also enumerates body parts whose exhibition would define “lewd exhibition”.

While Sen. Deevers’ heart and values are in the right place, his definitions will be fraught with endless slippery slopes and free speech implications.

The list of exceptions to this law would be ponderously long. The draft legislation addresses some of these. For example, married couples would be exempt from parts of the law. Also, nudity in classical paintings would be exempt from his pornography definition.

But what about advertisements for women’s intimate wear, such as catalogs for Victoria’s Secret? Would some swimsuits be illegal depending on coverage? What about nude photographs in which body parts are strategically covered? How about nude models in art school? Would naked pictures of adults taken from a vacation in the French Riviera become contraband in Oklahoma?

The bottom line is that the bill is subjective and is a hopelessly moving target. It would be the subject of constant viral memes and would damage the credibility of values-oriented people.

Pornography made by consenting adults and consumed by consenting adults is immoral, and society would be better without it. However, it also falls under the definition of Constitutionally protected free speech. A true supporter of the First Amendment defends the right of others to express opinions which he himself finds abhorrent. That, in turn, protects his right to express opinions that may offend a different group of people. That might include the LGBTQ community, for instance.

Many people of faith believe that some immoral behaviors still make bad secular law. Catholic scholars St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas both concurred regarding prostitution. It is unquestionably a terrible sin, yet Christians should not necessarily fight for its legal prohibition.

When actual trafficking of humans comes into play — perhaps involving minors —clearly the state has a role in protecting people from being victimized. Abortion also involves non-consenting victims, making this a valid matter for secular law as well.

But pornography involving consenting adults constitutes free speech. Sen. Deevers is honorable in his values, but the battle against adult pornography is best fought in people’s hearts. People of faith should not necessarily die on this particular secular hill.