(LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump has become the first presidential candidate to sign an anti-pornography pledge, promising to crack down on obscenity after an eight-year-long hiatus at the federal level.
Although he signed the pledge on July 16, the release is just making the news today, after the Republican and Democratic National Conventions dominated the news cycle for two weeks.
“Mr. Trump’s leadership and commitment to uphold the rule of law is demonstrated by his signing of the Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge,” said Donna Rice Hughes, the president of the anti-porn group Enough is Enough, which drew the vow up. “Making the internet safer for children and families is a critical step in making America safe again.”
The heart of the promise requires the president to prosecute existing obscenity laws by “appointing an Attorney General who will make the prosecution of such laws a top priority in my administration.”
President George W. Bush founded the Justice Department’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force in 2005, warning pornographers that the feds would prosecute video depictions of rape or pedophilia, even if simulated by consenting adults.
Since Obama’s shuttering of the task force, incidences of simulated – and reportedly, real – rape in the porn industry have continued apace.
Hughes called on the government to enforce “all the laws on the books, not just some of them. Over the last two decades America’s children have paid an unnecessarily steep price for the lax enforcement of federal obscenity laws. Obscenity is not protected under the First Amendment.”
Democrat Hillary Clinton declined to sign, with campaign officials saying she has a policy against signing pledges. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson did not reply.
“The Clinton campaign’s support of the pledge’s goals is also a step in the right direction. This is a bipartisan issue, and I remain optimistic that Secretary Clinton will reconsider signing this important pledge,” Hughes said. “I also hope Gov. Johnson will do the same.”
In 2016 politicians are debating the harms caused by exposure to graphic sexual material, especially at a young age, as never before.
The 2016 Republican Party platform branded porn a hazard to young people’s well-being and promised to support obscenity prosecutions.
“Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions,” the platform reads. “We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and well-being.”
Phyllis Schlafly demanded that Donald Trump support the party platform before she endorsed the billionaire early in the primaries. At a private meeting in March, “I asked him to promise to support the platform, and he did,” she said earlier this month.
The Democratic Party has been more liberal on pornography and other social issues.
Yet leaders in other nations have investigated the way unprecedented access to an unlimited number of pornographic videos and images affects children, moving toward a global consensus on filtering porn or requiring users to opt-in before viewing graphic material.
Dr. Jill Manning, a mental health practitioner who sits on the Enough is Enough board, “it is groundbreaking to have corporate and political leaders reexamining the controversial topic of pornography and concluding that the research substantiates a public health approach.”