Culture

Porn Industry: Porn isn’t ‘obscenity’

The very moral fabric of society is tearing when we no longer condemn pornography as offensive obscenity and it starts becoming mainstream

The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) announced yesterday the launching of a lobbying effort to oppose enforcement of anti-obscenity laws.

The ASACP is an association of internet porn sites who claim to support efforts to protect children from viewing pornography, as well as the elimination of child pornography from the web.

In a letter to Congressional legislators, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and state attorney generals across the country, ASACP CEO Joan Irvine claimed that there was “no needfor the enforcement of obscenity laws, since “the legal adult entertainment industry is not involved in obscenity.”…

Patrick Trueman, CEO of Morality in Media and former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, told LifeSiteNews that the ASACP’s claim that its members are not involved in obscenity is tantamount to a claim that they do not distribute hardcore pornography, which, he said, is “a bald-faced lie.”

In the 1973 decision Miller vs. California, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional legitimacy of laws regulating or prohibiting “patently offensive ‘hardcore’ sexual conduct,” and rejected the argument that such materials were protected by the First Amendment. 

“The distribution of hardcore pornography in America subjects one to federal obscenity laws,” Trueman explained. “Distribution of hardcore material is the lifeblood of the porn industry. They don’t make money on softcore pornography.”…

They continue to break the law, said Trueman, because “they know the justice department is looking the other way.”

He further explained that vigorous enforcement of the law, which has been declining since Clinton took office, is virtually non-existent under the current administration. Under Attorney General Holder, there have not been any indictments of adult pornographic producers, and the Department of Justice’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force has been shut down.

Anti-pornography groups such as Morality in Media are joining with recent Congressional efforts to support renewed enforcement of these laws.

“Only 20% of households have any blocking software, and the porn industry knows that. Even if parents have blocking software, their kids can get pornography on cell phones, at the homes of their friends, they can get it at some public libraries,” said Trueman. “And it all comes from this porn industry that pretends to be concerned with protecting children.”

“The battle is now joined on Capitol Hill. Congress can choose. Do they want to help the porn industry or do they want to help American families?”

There is a good website to that end, Pornography Harms, and it can be visited here.

This site is dedicated to providing the most accurate peer-reviewed research on the harm from pornography, along with relevant news and opinion.

Bible Archaeology

Jordan Codice: The First Ever Portrait of Jesus?

The image is eerily familiar: a bearded young man with flowing curly hair. After lying for nearly 2,000 years hidden in a cave in the Holy Land, the fine detail is difficult to determine. But in a certain light it is not difficult to interpret the marks around the figure’s brow as a crown of thorns.

The extraordinary picture of one of the recently discovered hoard of up to 70 lead codices – booklets – found in a cave in the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee is one reason Bible historians are clamouring to get their hands on the ancient artefacts.

If genuine, this could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus Christ, possibly even created in the lifetime of those who knew him.

The tiny booklet, a little smaller than a modern credit card, is sealed on all sides and has a three-dimensional representation of a human head on both the front and the back. One appears to have a beard and the other is without. Even the maker’s fingerprint can be seen in the lead impression. Beneath both figures is a line of as-yet undeciphered text in an ancient Hebrew script.

Astonishingly, one of the booklets appears to bear the words ‘Saviour of Israel’ – one of the few phrases so far translated.

The owner of the cache is Bedouin trucker Hassan Saida who lives in the Arab village of Umm al-Ghanim, Shibli. He has refused to sell the booklets but two samples were sent to England and Switzerland for testing.

A Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed that the artefacts were originally found in a cave in the village of Saham in Jordan, close to where Israel, Jordan and Syria’s Golan Heights converge – and within three miles of the Israeli spa and hot springs of Hamat Gader, a religious site for thousands of years.

According to sources in Saham, they were discovered five years ago after a flash flood scoured away the dusty mountain soil to reveal what looked like a large capstone. When this was levered aside, a cave was discovered with a large number of small niches set into the walls. Each of these niches contained a booklet. There were also other objects, including some metal plates and rolled lead scrolls.

The area is renowned as an age-old refuge for ancient Jews fleeing the bloody aftermath of a series of revolts against the Roman empire in the First and early Second Century AD.

The cave is less than 100 miles from Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and around 60 miles from Masada, scene of the last stand and mass suicide of an extremist Zealot sect in the face of a Roman Army siege in 72AD – two years after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

It is also close to caves that have been used as sanctuaries by refugees from the Bar Kokhba revolt, the third and final Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire in 132AD.

The era is of critical importance to Biblical scholars because it encompasses the political, social and religious upheavals that led to the split between Judaism and Christianity.

It ended with the triumph of Christianity over its rivals as the dominant new religion first for dissident Jews and then for Gentiles.

In this context, it is important that while the Dead Sea Scrolls are rolled pieces of parchment or papyrus containing the earliest-known versions of books of the Hebrew Bible and other texts – the traditional Jewish format for written work – these lead discoveries are in book, or codex, form which has long been associated with the rise of Christianity.

The codices seen by The Mail on Sunday range in size from smaller than 3in x 2in to around 10in x 8in. They each contain an average of eight or nine pages and appear to be cast, rather than inscribed, with images on both sides and bound with lead-ring bindings. Many of them were severely corroded when they were first discovered, although it has been possible to open them with care.

The codex showing what may be the face of Christ is not thought to have been opened yet. Some codices show signs of having been buried – although this could simply be the detritus resulting from lying in a cave for hundreds of years.

Unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls, the lead codices appear to consist of stylised pictures, rather than text, with a relatively small amount of script that appears to be in a Phoenician language, although the exact dialect is yet to be identified…

… the British author and journalist Nick Fielding was approached by a Palestinian woman who was concerned that the booklets would be sold on the black market. Fielding was asked to approach the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and other places.

Fielding travelled to Israel and obtained a letter from the Israeli Antiquities Authority saying it had no objection to their being taken abroad for analysis. It appears the IAA believed the booklets were forgeries on the basis that nothing like them had been discovered before.

None of the museums wanted to get involved, again because of concerns over provenance. Fielding was then asked to approach experts to find out what they were and if they were genuine. David Feather, who is a metallurgist as well as an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, recommended submitting the samples for metal analysis at Oxford University.

The work was carried out by Dr Peter Northover, head of the Materials Science-based Archaeology Group and a world expert on the analysis of ancient metal materials.

The samples were then sent to the Swiss National Materials Laboratory at Dubendorf, Switzerland. The results show they were consistent with ancient (Roman) period lead production and that the metal was smelted from ore that originated in the Mediterranean. Dr Northover also said that corrosion on the books was unlikely to be modern.

Meanwhile, the politics surrounding the provenance of the books is intensifying. Most professional scholars are cautious pending further research and point to the ongoing forgery trial in Israel over the ancient limestone ossuary purporting to have housed the bones of James, brother of Jesus.

The Israeli archeological establishment has sought to defuse problems of provenance by casting doubt on the authenticity of the codices, but Jordan says it will ‘exert all efforts at every level’ to get the relics repatriated.

The debate over whether these booklets are genuine and, if so, whether they represent the first known artefacts of the early Christian church or the first stirrings of mystical Kabbalah will undoubtedly rage for years to come.

The director of Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, has few doubts. He believes they may indeed have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.

‘They will really match, and perhaps be more significant than, the Dead Sea Scrolls,’ he says. ‘The initial information is very encouraging and it seems that we are looking at a very important and significant discovery – maybe the most important discovery in the history of archaeology.’

If he is right, then we really may be gazing at the face of Jesus Christ.

There is a lot more here.

Things are becoming more than a little bizarre now, it has to be said.

HT:   Thanks to Billy in a comment here.

Culture

China: Highly Contagious AIDS-Like Disease Spreading

Not nice news to start off with today!

In a small hotel across from the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a reporter from New Express Daily, dressed in an isolation suit, interviewed a dozen “unusual” patients from different areas of China. Their symptoms are painful and debilitating, and AIDS-like, but repeated tests for HIV have come up negative.

Lin Jun, one of the patients interviewed in the March 24 New Express Daily report, said he used to be chubby, but now he is skin and bones, and his joints have become all deformed.

Lin is referred to in the group as “big brother” for his kindness and giving fellow patients hope when they feel hopeless, with some having considered suicide.

In 2008 Lin’s mother received a blood transfusion at a hospital. Afterwards, she experienced frequent night sweats, numb limbs, aches all over, creaking joints, rashes on her hands, and weight loss.

In May of that year, Lin accidentally became infected through contact with his mother’s blood. Fourteen days later, he fell ill with swollen lymph nodes on his neck, sore knees that made clicking sounds, and pain all over his body. He also started vomiting after every meal, and the left side of his face swelled up. In half a year, his weight dropped from 82 kilograms (181 lbs) to 52 kilograms (115 lbs).

Three months later, his wife and child developed the same symptoms.

Lin said he went to every major hospital in Shanghai, but could not get a definite diagnosis. He has taken the HIV test eight times, and each time the test turned out negative.

Then he found an Internet blog called “The Negative Group,” which he learned stands for “HIV negative.” He realized that writing on this blog were all people like himself, with the same kinds of symptoms, desperate to find a cure.

Several Chinese media have recently reported that the Department of Health of Guangdong Province has confirmed that people in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong have fallen ill after being infected with an unknown virus. The patients think they have AIDS, but they test negative for HIV.

Guangdong has organized clinical experts, epidemiologists and psychologists to work together on these cases. The Health Ministry has also selected six provinces with more patients, including Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangsu and Guangdong, to conduct epidemiological studies, but there are no results yet, the reports said.

In most of the 30 cases investigated by New Express Daily for its March 24 report, people said their relatives and friends are also infected. Most of the 30 patients were infected through sexual contact. Some experts diagnosed them as having AIDS phobia.

However, the disease seems to be highly contagious and can spread by contact via any bodily fluid—through kissing, shared utensils, sweat, and even protected sex. Once infected, the immune system appears to be attacked, which results in a decrease of white blood cells and the body’s ability to defend against infectious disease and foreign materials.

In the past, official health agencies have only conducted HIV tests on these patients and have not checked for other, similarly pathological viruses. With HIV results coming up negative, many patients then stopped taking protective measures with their relatives. Subsequently, all their relatives and friends were infected, many have said.

A retired officer in his 40’s told The Epoch Times for a previous June 16, 2010 report that he had been infected with a disease with similar symptoms in 2009, at a get-together at a friend’s house. “I thought it was just a cold at the time, so I still participated in all kind of gatherings. Consequently, over 100 of my comrades in the army, relatives and friends were infected by me,” he said.

Read the original Chinese article here.