“Now is the time to act! Now is the time, in light of what is happening in our nation, and what is happening to the children and young people of our country to act…” challenged Dr. Jerry Kirk, founder of the Religious Alliance Against Pornography.
The Religious Alliance Against Pornography began as an ad hoc group of religious leaders. During the mid-1980’s, in New York City’s St. Patrick's Cathedral, twenty-eight religious leaders were present in that meeting, representing a constituency of millions of Americans. These religious leaders came from different Christian denominations, from other faiths, and from other religious organizations, to hear the keynote speaker, noted author and child psychologist, Dr. James Dobson, Ph.D., speak on the harms of pornography. Representatives at that meeting came from the Catholic Church, including five U.S. Cardinals, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Episcopalian Church, three leading Rabbis from the Jewish community, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the National Council of Churches."
Dr. Jerry Kirk and Cardinal Joseph Bernadin of Chicago were two of the twenty-eight religious leaders, who organized and led that meeting at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Prior to that momentous meeting of influential religious leaders, Dr. Kirk sat through some of the hearings that led to the 1986 Final Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, silently praying for his friend, James Dobson, one of only eleven members of the Commission.
Key observations included in the 1986 Final Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, include the following:
1. “… Issues of human dignity and human decency, no less real for their lack of scientific measurability, are for many of us central to thinking about the question of harm. And when we think about harm in this way, there are acts that must be condemned not because the evils of the world will thereby be eliminated, but because conscience demands it.” (Emphasis added.) McManus, Michael J., (1986) Final Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, p.32 Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, TN.
2. “Law may influence belief, but it also operates in the shadow of belief. And beliefs, of course, are often a product of deeply held moral, ethical, and spiritual commitment. That foundation of values is the glue that holds a democracy, which functions according to the will of the majority, together.” (Emphasis added.) McManus, Michael J., (1986) Final Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, p.74 Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville TN.
The Religious Alliance Against Pornography, Inc. (RAAP) was incorporated as a non-profit organization on October 6, 1988, in part, as a response to the challenges described in the 1986 Attorney General’s Report. For more than thirty years, RAAP has sought to educate various religious communities on the harmful effects of pornography and pornography’s role as a major factor in the assault on human dignity and well-being.
Dr. Jerry Kirk, in partnership with Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas, continues to lead RAAP in these efforts. Recently, when asked whether this struggle has really been worth the effort, after considering today’s burgeoning pornography industry, an industry now fueled by the Internet, Dr. Kirk fired back,
“Now is the time to act! Now is the time, in light of what is happening in our nation, and what is happening to the children and young people of our country, to act even more strongly and to speak out even more clearly.
“It is also the time to pray, to pray more, and to pray more passionately. It is time for people of faith to re-unite on this issue, and to take a stand against pornography’s current assault on human dignity and well-being.
“This is no time to stand on the sidelines. This is a battle that can be won. This is a battle that must be won. Are you ready to stand together to protect the young people in your life and the lives of others. I believe millions of people are ready to say 'Yes.' Will you be one of them? Will you join with us?”