(433) Jesse Helms Essay 433

Escaping water's injury;
Obliterating the wound's scars.

The strange world of the unconscious from which the artist works brings out from the artist images and actions which may offend others who look for mere entertainment from art. The following is an article written by Jesse Helms for the The Scottish Rite Herald published by the Scottish Rite entitled, "We Become What We Condone":

"Son we become what we condone." It seems only yesterday that I heard those words from a kind and gentle father who so often took the time to talk with me about principles that deserve to survive. As I look back on it, he was not lecturing. He was merely a devout, loving man, with a conviction. He believed that morality and integrity and honesty - and the courage of one's convictions - were absolutes that cannot be violated without the risk of destroying the character of both people and nations.

It was more than half-century ago when he led me, a teenager, to ponder some of the things that are inescapably destructive to decency and honor. At the time I was certain in my own mind that America would forever be strong and resolute - mankind's greatest symbol of all that is good in civilization. Has it worked out that way? Or is it time to examine what has been allowed to happen in our time? Could it be that the epitaph for America may one day read: The American became a part of what they condoned?...

There's a bewildering number of facts and figures warning us that pornography is corrupting the very soul of America, gnawing at the core of our nation's moral foundation. Pornography is a multibillion-dollar industry in our land today. Its volume and pervasiveness have reached epidemic proportions. It cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence that at the same time pornography is rampant, America is experiencing record levels of teen pregnancies, venereal diseases, AIDS, and broken families. Yet groups of homosexuals and lesbians regularly, in mass public demonstrations, demand the government to confer upon them a respectability they do not deserve. And much too often there are politicians and editors who applaud them!

The National Endowment for the Arts cried "censorship" when a U.S. Senator protested the use of the taxpayers' money to reward "artists" who had produced nauseous photographs of men's genitals in clear advocacy of homosexual conduct. Another "artist," Andres Serrano, received $10,000 in federal funds for filling a glass jar with his own urine and sticking a crucifix in it. A photograph of his "art," given the title Piss Christ, won acclaim throughout the art community. I was the senator who protested, and I was promptly subjected to the fury of editors across America who joined the cry of "censorship," which of course it is not.

It is an established statistical fact that pornography has induced countless deviants to commit violent sexual crimes such as rape and child molestation. There have been studies showing a correlation between pornography and rape. A study conducted at Canada's Kingston Penitentiary, for example revealed that 86 percent of the inmates who had been convicted had indulged in pornography regularly. And 56 percent admitted that while committing their crimes they had imitated the details of pornography they had seen...(He goes on to describe various incidents in which pornography has been seen as the cause for horrible crimes.)

A report from the U.S. Surgeon General reached this conclusion: "We know children imitate and learn from everything they see...It would be extraordinary indeed if they did not imitate and learn from what they see on television."

The good news is that citizens are now showing their indignation and resentment. Many splendid men and women are rising and making their voices heard in protest. That is comforting to those of us in public life who have been ridiculed and condemned for having the audacity to blow the whistle on the arrogant pornographers. It must be a discomfort to the "liberal" editors and politicians who have been unconcerned about the rewards and subsidies handed to pornographers at the expense of taxpayers. I do not presume to speak for anyone else, in or out of public life. But I am convinced. as one U.S. Senator, that there needs to be a renewed emphasis on the importance of The Family so that decency and morality can again be passed along effectively to our children and grandchildren.

As for Congress, I see a need for tough, uncompromising laws - and tough enforcement of these laws. Free enterprise must never include - or condone - a freedom to corrupt a nation and its people. The distinguished French statesman, philosopher and economist, Alexis de Toqueville, came to America a number of times in the middle of the 19th century to pinpoint the genius of this land that had grown to such greatness in such a short time. He went to the cities and towns, he visited the farms and the factories, he studied the commerce of this new nation. It was at none of these stops that he found the genius of America.

He found it, he wrote later, in the churches of America. He saw people who wanted to be good, and who wanted their country to be good. His conclusion was that as long as America remained good, America would remain great. But, he predicted, when America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. So it does matter - doesn't it? - what we condone. Like it or not, my father, ..., was right when he said: "Son, we become a part of what we condone."1

1 Helms, Senator Jesse. "We become What We Condone," The Scottish Rite Journal, September 1990.

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