The purpose of the courtAugust 18, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
This is actually a couple weeks old, but I wanted to comment on it. Chuck Colson is upset about a “problem” in our criminal justice system. And I might even agree that there are some serious problems with our court system, starting with the way Gitmo detainees are being denied habeus corpus. But that’s not the problem that has Colson all worked up. So what is the problem then? Well, you remember a while back when Janet Jackson suffered a “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show?
Jackson’s wardrobe is not the only thing that malfunctioned; so did the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Last Monday the court threw out a $550,000 fine the Federal Communications Commission assessed against CBS. The three-judge panel ruled that the FCC fine was “arbitrary” and “capricious.” Apparently, exposing oneself no longer qualifies as broadcast indecency.
That’s right: the proper function of our criminal justice system is to protect Americans from seeing other people nude. Or partially nude.
In Colson’s eyes, the human body is “filthy” and unwholesome, especially if it’s a female body.
While many Americans are angry at the court, they ought to understand this story is not just about activist judges second guessing the FCC: It is also about a willingness to corrupt. It is not enough, it seems, to make strippers available to those who seek them out in seedy clubs. It is about a desire to expose everyone to filth, whether they want to be exposed to it or not—even innocent children.
In this case, pop performers considered shocking adults and corrupting kids an acceptable price to pay for the publicity and career enhancement. And, indeed, if it did not enhance their careers, it must have amused them to force vulgarity before millions of innocent eyes.
Yep, nothing corrupts a kid like seeing a breast.
Well, frankly, I think Chuck is overreacting just a tad, and so did the people who tried to make CBS pay a half-million-dollar-plus fine just because they were the ones running the cameras at the time. Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” was more an issue of poor taste than some nefarious scheme to “corrupt” innocent children. And “career enhancement”? Please. Jackson and Timberlake have spent a good deal of time and effort since then on damage control and career rescue. If anything, the reaction to the halftime show has made it less likely that we’ll see future repeats of that kind of performance. It’s a self-punishing embarrassment, no legal or judicial penalties needed.
In fact, Colson’s reaction is more likely to corrupt America’s youth than Jackson’s original offense. By portraying the female body as “filth,” and suggesting that the mere sight of a breast is bad for children, Colson is sending a message of rejection and inferiority to women everywhere. Get out your burkas, ladies, some man might be corrupted by the sight of your skin!
Oh, and did I mention? Colson wants his minions to do something:
First, call Senator Harry Reid and ask him to schedule a vote now on Senate Bill 1780, the Protecting Children from Indecent Programming Act. It would cover instances of “fleeting nudity” like the one that so disgusted Super Bowl fans, and caused the Muslim world to mock Western decadence. Then call Senator Jay Rockefeller. He authored the bill, but has showed no willingness to move it. Third, call your own two senators and ask them not only to support the bill, but to urge Senators Reid and Rockefeller to move the bill. It has been passed out of committee; they could vote on it today if they wanted to! We need to let senators know that lip service to traditional values is not enough. Lastly, email FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, and thank him for his strong stand; urge him to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Isn’t that nice? I especially like the part where he links Janet Jackson to 9/11. “You know, the Muslims think our women are too loose, so really 9/11 is the ladies fault for not wearing their burkas.” Yeah, and they’re not circumcised either. But let me ask this: why would we want American women to have to live up to Muslim standards for “proper” handling of females? Is Saudi Arabia really the moral standard that Colson wants Senators Reid and Rockefeller to establish in this country?