That Our Founding Fathers Gave Us. Liberty
I. Warm-up: My privilege to be here. I want to compliment you for being a part of this group and learning more about our Constitution and the freedoms we have. Hopefully I can put forth some ideas that will help you utilize the liberty that the founding fathers gave us. I put a quotation on your outline. If we don’t use the freedoms we have, we will lose them. That is a concern.
II. Our founding Fathers cared that people have a voice. Today I want to give you some examples of how you might want to utilize your first amendment right to speak out. And yes, in case you are wondering, I was really nervous when I first started to do this.
III. We need to remember that our Founding Fathers did a great deal of study before putting the constitution together. They followed Natural Law, i.e., God’s pattern and believed in the family life-style of the American colonies. It was interesting for me to learn that Benjamin Franklin tried to talk a young friend out of having a mistress. He said, “Marriage is the proper remedy. It is the most natural state of man, and therefore the state in which you are most likely to find solid happiness.” That’s true. I just read were a study that was done and 88% of the couples interviewed who were married said they were happy. That’s neat.
According to Skouson in The 5,000 Year Leap, the core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family. The constitution was set up to protect the family.
The American Founders felt that the legal, moral, and social relationships between husband and wife were clearly established by Biblical law. Parents had a responsibility to their children and children to their parents.
IV. Let me explain my concern about what is happening in today’s world:
1. We need to protect our families in a society that is ever more promiscuous. Why is our society becoming more and more morally depraved? Because not enough good people who care are willing to use our first amendment right to speak out. If we do nothing, more and more sexually explicit material moves into our community, on our airwaves and ultimately if we are not careful, into our homes.
2. Another concern and the one I want to spend most of my time today on is establishing decent communities so our children have a good environment to grow up in.
If we don’t use the freedoms we have, we will lose them. The United States Constitution has given us the right to speak up. I have worked with a number of ecclesiastical leaders on a statewide basis as well as local ecclesiastical leaders and they have told us as citizens to “speak up” -- not only to speak out but they have told us how to do it. – in quiet and polite ways. Check with me after if you need sources. (Sept. Ensign, 2004) (Bishop Niederhauer of the Catholic Diocese)
V. To protect our families I have prepared lots of materials, which are in your folder. One sheet contains a checklist. Read it carefully. Parents need to understand that one exposure to Internet pornography with some children can cause instant sexual addiction, according to Dr. Rick Hawks, a psychologist who evaluates juvenile offenders for the State of
There are two articles concerning video games.
There is a picture that children can color to help open up discussion in your homes. Children need to monitor what goes into their minds. If a child sees an inappropriate picture, it goes into their mind in 3/10 of a second and remains there to influence their thinking for the rest of their life. Children need to be taught to stay away from inappropriate pictures.
Go to www.strengthenthefamily.net and look at the White Ribbon Material. There is a lot of material there that you can use in your home or hopefully in February or March of next year help the PTA sponsor a White Ribbon program for your school. You may copy freely from the web site or these materials.
On my web site, www.strengthenthefamily.net on the left hand side of the home page there is a heading called “A Minute for Parents.” There are a lot of articles on a multitude of family subjects. Again, copy and use whatever you wish.
VI. We can have decent communities if we exercise our God-given rights and our constitution-given rights. I want to explain what a community standard is and teach you how to help establish a wholesome child-appropriate community standard.
1. This is not just my idea. The 1986 Final Report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography states: “To the extent that citizens have concerns about the kinds of sexually explicit material that are available in contemporary America, they should not only recognize that the First Amendment protects and encourages their right to express these concerns loudly and often, but should as well appreciate the fact that in many aspects of our lives to keep quiet is to approve. Every time you say nothing, you have just voted in favor of it. Moreover, communities are made by what people say and by what people approve and what people disapprove, and by what people tolerate and what people reject. For communities, and for the sense of community, community acceptance and community condemnation are central to what a community is.” (End quote) (P. 71) So we can have a child-appropriate community if want it and are willing to speak out.
2. There is a law called the Harmful to Minors Law. You have a copy in your folder. It is a national law. It states that “it is illegal to sell, exhibit or display Harmful to Minor pornography (i.e. soft core) to minors even if it is not unlawful for adults.” It can be written material or pictures. This law is based on three prongs, or rather three criteria. One has to do with if it is artistic. The other two have to do with the contemporary community standard.
3. So what do we do to have to develop a decent community standard? Dr. John Harmer’s group, The Lighted Candle Society, sponsored a community standards symposium a couple of years ago and we learned that it helps to build a community standard if the city council makes a resolution.
4. A resolution is a statement of policy NOT a law, but it is like one big stone in the wall you are building to establish a community standard. Each resolution means that the city council believes that they represent the citizens of their community when they state that they feel that the desire of the citizens is to have all of the stores and community buildings appropriate for children, in other words not displaying sexual images or words that entice sexual interest. Experts say children up to adolescence should not be exposed to sexual concepts and images.
5. What is displayed particularly in grocery stores in a community matters. At this symposium we were delighted when an attorney there pointed out that if he had a law case involving indecent material and wanted to establish the fact that the community standard did not accept what was being prosecuted, that the jury needed to be aware of what the local public permitted to be viewed by their children in their local grocery stores. He pointed out that everyone goes to the grocery store so what is displayed there is indicative of what the community standard is. That’s why the covers on magazines that are inappropriate are important.
5. So what can you do? Those covers are difficult for the managers to keep up because people move them, they get stolen or the person distributing the magazines ignores them. It is important that we thank these stores for having them. Let me share an easy way to do it.
As you get to the clerk to check out your purchases, politely ask her if she would call the manager. She will get on her speaker and ask him to come to her check stand. Then you first of all let him know that your really appreciate the covers that make it so the magazines are appropriate for children. If there are more magazines that need covering you might add, “There are a couple more that need covers. I know it must be difficult for you to keep them covered, but I wanted you to know how much we appreciate it.” I had a situation with our Smiths/Fred Meyers where lots of covers were on but no one said anything. I watched the store get sloppy with them. As it turned out I pleaded with a man who was a counselor in an LDS bishopric to talk to his people about the need to complement and request those covers. He had a short talk to give that Sunday. I don’t know what he said, but the people in his ward reacted and that store was awesome with their covers in a two week period of time.
Being nervous is okay. I surely was and still get a little uncomfortable as I do this, but I feel wonderful as I walk away, knowing I just made a difference.
Anger and threats never work, and even though we have a resolution here in Bountiful you do not wave it in the face of a manager. You might give him a copy just as an indicator of what the desire of the community is.
6. There is a natural tendency for people to get upset at the stores that are most offensive. I know people who have made requests that they remove displays and nothing happens. So how can we handle this? If we first get the grocery stores and any other dominant stores in our city appropriate, i.e. everything is covered that is inappropriate for children, the law says that if we have a community standard, all stores have to meet our standard. These big chain stores understand this but will not react until there is an established community standard and then dropping off a copy of the law and a copy of the city’s community standard is helpful.
a. I can tell you a different story about every store in Bountiful. Let me share a few just so you have some ideas about how to do this.
(1) There was a tanning salon in a strip mall with a picture in the window that was sexual in nature. Children had to pass it to go from their dance studio to buy a taco. One lady went in and threatened the tanning salon. She said, “We have lawyers and you have to take that down.” They said, “We have lawyers and we are not going to.” What did we do? I told the people I was working with to wait a couple of months, then humbly take a little box of Cavanaugh’s candy or something, give it to the manager, apologize in behalf of the other person, explain that she did not belong to our group and then explain how the image in the window was hurtful for the children passing by. The manager covered the image immediately while our people were still there.
(2) I didn’t get to the head manager of Albertsons at first, so the person in charge would move magazines, promise covers and not produce them. Finally I dropped in and the head manager was there. I asked about his family. Yes, he had children under ten years of age. I picked up a copy of Maxim, a copy of Stuff and a copy of FHM that he was selling in his store. I asked him, “Would you want your children to see even the covers of these magazines?” He said, “My children will never see them in my house.” I replied, “No, but the neighbor kids will have them and they will show them to your kids.” That day he went to Kinkos and made covers for magazines he considered inappropriate. It took him a couple of months but he got a district policy to cover 51 stores, all of Utah, Idaho and part of Colorado and Albertsons discontinued selling those three magazines. Why did he do it? Because he understood. Education is the key to many managers.
(3) But what of the store where the manager is not convinced? I had a group of people make polite requests for weeks in one local grocery store. Finally I went in to see why there was no response. I found the head manager. As we talked, he picked up a magazine, opened it to a very sexual page and said, “I don’t care if my eight year old boy sees and reads this.” Then I knew the problem. This manager was never going to make a change in his store.
I found out where the area manager was located, made an appointment with the public relations person and made a request. I was not convinced she was going to do anything, so as I gave talks I asked my audience to sign a paper. The paper said, “I am going to avoid shopping at Smiths because they do not cover magazines that are inappropriate for children.” About every 10 days I duplicated perhaps 80-100 names and sent a copy to the public relations lady and a copy to the president of Smiths, whose name I didn’t even know. I did this for about six weeks. I also telephoned the State Attorney General and asked him to make a phone call to the company, which I think he did. The covers went on.
(4) How about gas stations? Many don’t sell magazines. Those I thank. Sometimes I scribble a note and see that it is left on his desk. One time the manager of our local Common Cents gas station had no interest in covering the 10 magazines he had on display that were very sexual in nature even though I explained the damage they did to children and the growing community standard that we had. I gave him a copy of our resolution and a copy of the law. He was not pleased, so I gathered up one each of six or seven of his magazines and proceeded to purchase them. He was watching me and asked me why I was purchasing them. I said, “I really think these are prosecutable. I’m going to see.” He said, “I’d like to meet with you next week at 1 o’clock. Would that be all right.” He really had a change in attitude. I met with him the next week and he designed his cover. He was so very nice. Let me show it to you.
(5) What about television commercials/programs? I am aware of a television show that was to be broadcast in this area a number of years ago that contained full frontal nudity. Three or four women met with the station manager, and it was cancelled.
There was a television commercial that I found offensive. I called the local company and they said they had no power to change it. They gave me a national number to call. I called it and asked if I could speak to the highest person possible to deal with a problem with the commercials. The lady assured me that she was the right person. Then I started with a positive comment and, by the way, that is one important thing to do. I said, “You are such a good company. Your commercials are usually appropriate for families and we appreciate it. I was surprised when you used a sexual commercial. I am a member of an organization of 4,000 families and I wondered how many phone calls you needed to get that commercial changed. Do you need 500 or would 50 be enough? We talked for a few more minutes and then I repeated my request. Do you need 500 calls or would 50 be enough. She assured me that my one call was enough. In this case Valerie Mills also called. A week and a half later that commercial was no longer aired, and now two or three years later, they still have appropriate commercials. Just think what this group could do if each of you called on a commercial, perhaps once a week or even once a month.
Sometimes nothing happens as a result of a phone call, but usually it does. One time I went into a place that sold phones. There was an inappropriate poster and I said to the young man behind the counter. That poster makes me uncomfortable. He said, “What’s wrong with it?” I said, “Well, do you really think its appropriate for children to see?” (I always talk about children because then people more readily understand.) He looked at it again said, “Well, I guess it isn’t.” Then I said, “Why don’t you take it down?” He said, “I can’t. It’s company policy to display it. Then I asked for his corporate number.
It was probably 11 p.m before I got around to calling. I was surprised that anyone answered the phone. I said, “You are a wonderful company, but today I saw a poster in your office and it just wasn’t appropriate for children to see.” I was so surprised when she said, “Oh, I’m glad you called. There have been so many complaints about our TV ads that we are changing them. I am sure I can get the poster changed, too.” And it got changed.
All of you can us your first amendment right to make comments wherever you shop. You can hank the managers or make requests. Perhaps you can just leave a note or circle the money you just spent in the store and write a note on the receipt. Remember to be polite. Ask the manager to decide what is good for a six or eight year old boy to read and see. Make these managers your friend.
You might get together as a group and go after a commercial.
You might want to join the American Family Association in their boycott of McDonalds. (See the handout.) American Family Association encourages us to call the local manager and ask them as a corporation to stay neutral on the gay and lesbian issues rather than give them financial support.
Remember: Silence means acceptance – and our Founding Fathers allowed us liberty to exercise our first amendment right to speak up and establish the community standard we wanted. We must not sacrifice the moral values of our children because we are nervous about saying something in a positive way that will help us establish child-appropriate community standards.
In closing let’s remember that silence means acceptance. We need to utilize the liberty that our founding fathers gave us. Thank you.