Religious Fanatics Need Help
(Printed in the Elmira Star Gazette on 10/2/97, and the Towanda Daily Review on 10/8/97.)

It appears that the Radical Religious Right is again attempting to impose their "divinely inspired" morals on humankind. James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Randall Terry of Operation Rescue are encouraging their gullible followers to vandalize books (on sale in bookstores) by Jock Sturges. They claim that the books contain pornographic and obscene images of children.

Sturges' books do contain photographs of nude children and adults in naturist and nudist settings. Is this child pornography? In 1990, Sturges' studio was raided by the FBI; all of his equipment and photographs were confiscated. After an 18 month investigation of only the prosecution's evidence, a grand jury threw the case out "with a vengeance." Obviously, the grand jury had much more sense than the FBI. And in most cases, rocks have more sense than religious fanatics hell bent on finding a demon to castigate.

Would Dobson and Terry and company label the Renaissance paintings of Madonna and Child as "child pornography" -- a minor's penis is prominently displayed. How about Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel depiction of the expulsion from Eden, where Eve's head is extremely close to Adam's penis? Remember that Adam and Eve must be considered to be minors because they were recently created.

There are very strict laws against child pornography; anyone sexually exploiting minors should be severely punished. However, never confuse simple nudity with obscenity or pornography. That religious fanatics cannot separate the two comes as no surprise to me since they have a consistently amazing talent for ignoring reality in most of their endeavors.

John L. Ferri

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