The recent proposal in the UK by David Cameron’s Government to filter pornography on the Internet sparked an interesting discussion among LifeSiteNews writers and editors.  We all have seen the terrible damage porn has caused to individuals and society and we all realize this social cancer has to be eliminated. But how to do so presents considerable challenges.

First off, the production and distribution of pornography should be made illegal and prosecuted actively as part of an international cooperative effort. It’s hard to take any proposal to restrict porn seriously if there is no effort to curb it on the production end.

But, of course, even if countries worked intensively (as they should) to shut down the porn producers and distributors working within their own borders, it would be almost impossible to stop the flow of X-rated material originating elsewhere via the Internet.

And thus Internet filtering becomes a necessity, and a challenge.

Of course, we can, and must, use freely available porn filters to protect ourselves and our children from this gravely harmful material. But the state also has a legitimate interest in eradicating pornography so that it never even has the chance to reach our computers or our children, in much the same way as it has a legitimate interest in banning dangerous drugs.

On the other hand, there is a legitimate concern about granting even more power to invasive and corrupt governments to deny even more of our legitimate freedoms. 

The case is well illustrated by David Cameron.

Some experts on both sides of the political spectrum are concerned that Cameron’s proposal to impose porn filters at the ISP level – while unquestionably laudable at face value – may simply be a ruse to get conservatives to agree to a precedent that would grant him a far too great future control over the Internet.

There are good reasons for these concerns.

In the first place, there is precedent for such an abuse of power. We have already seen the alleged authority to “control porn” given to libraries in North America, with the result that porn is still widely available while pro-life, pro-family and faith-based websites have been added to library blacklists.

Secondly, there is David Cameron’s political history. Remember, Cameron campaigned on a platform decrying the liberal attack on the family, and then when he got into office as a ‘conservative,’ immediately pulled out all the stops to push for and pass same-sex ‘marriage,’ despite virulent opposition from within his own party.

In fact, since his election, Cameron has taken no concrete action whatsoever to prove that he legitimately cares about conservative social values or the welfare of the family. On the contrary, he has done everything possible to undermine those values and the traditional family.

Under Cameron’s watch, religious and conscience freedoms have dramatically declined, particularly in relation to anything related to homosexuality. Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to shut down simply for refusing to adopt children to gay couples; Christians have lost their jobs and street preachers have been arrested simply for saying homosexuality is a sin; and gay activists have been given unprecedented say in the policies of the government. It is well known that pornography is a major component of gay culture, with much pornography not only used by active homosexuals, but also produced and promoted by them.

That Cameron should suddenly have rediscovered his passion for social conservatism, particularly that he should have developed so intense a dislike for pornography, while having taken no action whatsoever against pornographers operating within the UK, seems not only inconsistent, but much too convenient.

Cameron’s legislation, which calls for a “blacklist” of banned search terms, is suspicious because the list will not be open to public scrutiny. It will be created by a government-approved “watchdog” group and be kept secret. That is almost a guarantee that legitimate rights will be endangered and that the Cameron agenda is about more than porn control.

The Internet has been a Godsend for many life, family and faith activists precisely because it is not controlled by the usual power elites.  Information, true information that was once restricted from public access by the agendas of those who owned or had great influence over the mainstream media and other means of communication, is now available to everyone. And thanks to this freedom, lives have been saved, many dangers to life and liberty have been more effectively fought, conversions and other positive life changes have taken place, and truth has been made more available than ever before in recent history.

At the same time, the Internet has also opened the door to a tidal wave of pornography, which has swept through our culture, wreaking untold social, psychological and spiritual damage.

While the goal of stemming this tidal wave is admirable and of the highest priority, there is every reason to fear that Cameron’s plan is not everything that it seems. If we are wrong, we would be most happy to be wrong on such an important issue, but there is nothing in Cameron’s sorry record to indicate that he can be trusted not to abuse such a great power.

Pornography is a very real addiction and an evil cancer for all societies and must be stopped. Getting there will require honest and courageous discussion and actions.  However, we are justified in being wary before signing over more of our freedoms, even in the name of a greater good, to those who have not proven they are worthy custodians of the gift.