November 21, 2017

X-Rated TV (4)

by Elmer L. Rumminger

How Should a Christian Family Deal With Pornography On Television?

This article first appeared in the first issue of the magazine, Faith for the Family, published March/April, 1973.It is reproduced here by permission.

Editor’s note: The article speaks of the problem of immorality on display on television from a 1973 perspective. The situation has hardly gotten better, but we offer it for its historical viewpoint and for the spiritually edifying exhortation it offers. Current readers will want to transfer its applications to present day media of all kinds.

In Part One, Elmer Rumminger explained the shock that fundamentalist Christians were experiencing in the 1970s as broadcast television began to pump out increasingly immoral content. He predicted “it will get worse, much worse!” We who observe the scene in the 21st century should realize that he was right about that.

Part Two attempted to assess blame for the declining morality of television in the 1970s. “Television is to blame. Society is to blame. Satan is to blame. Existentialism — the philosophy of the age — is to blame. No doubt you could add a few more. But,” says Rumminger, “fixing the blame does not solve the problem.”

Part Three offered warnings about the “good programs” — programs that seem very tame by today’s standards! — and a warning that “It Will Get Worse”. We have seen that prophecy come to fruition.

And that brings us to part Four and some suggestions about solutions to the problems on Television.


What can you do about the problem of “X-Rated Television”? Two things: you can fight it on the community level, and you can fight it on the family level. But merely thinking about it or talking about it will not do the job. You must take action!

Several national organizations are already active in the fight against television smut. Among them are MOTOREDE, Morality in Media, and Stop Immorality on TV.

MOTOREDE, the MOvement TO REstore DEcency, is an adhoc committee of the John Birch Society. Local committees exist in communities all over America. The majority of committee members are non-Birchers, but the Society provides leadership and supplies filmstrips and printed’ materials concerning the dangers of pornography, drugs, premature sex instruction, etc., for showing in neighborhood discussion groups. The approach is educational. Parents and youth are urged to equip themselves with knowledge about the problem and to speak out against these evils.

Morality in Media was formed about ten years ago by Rabbi Dr. Julius G. Neumann and Jesuit Priest Morton A. Hill of New York City. Hill was a member of the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography and was a co-author of the “Hill-Link Minority Report,” which condemned the majority’s white-wash of the smut issue. A Lutheran pastor and a Greek Orthodox priest are among the five vice-presidents now serving with Board Chairman Neumann and President Hill. Headquarters of the organization is 487 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022. The telephone number is 212-752-7611. An informative newsletter is available for one dollar per year. Theme of the current anti-TV-smut campaign is “Monitor TV — and TALK BACK.” Methodology is quiet and reasoned, but persistent and vocal opposition to all pornography.

Stop Immorality on Television is a function of the “Society for the Christian Commonwealth, Inc.,” which has headquarters at 287 Broadview Avenue, Warrenton, Virginia 22186. The telephone number is 703-347-4700. The Society publishes a magazine entitled Triumph. Director of the TV Campaign is Robert Fox, a Warrenton area businessman. Among the national figures listed on the advisory board of Stop Immorality on TV is Dr. Bob Jones, Chancellor of Bob Jones University. One of the principal methods employed and recommended letter — writing campaigns to the networks.

There are others. The fact that these three are mentioned here does not imply full endorsement of them, nor does the fact that others are not listed indicate any lack of interest in their efforts. Those mentioned are the best known and are among the best sources of information on how to go about fighting the obscenity boom.

Numbers of religious organizations have passed resolutions condemning pornography in the media, among them the Southern Baptist Convention and the American Council of Christian Churches. Fundamental churches in local situations should speak out strongly on this issue as well. Pastors and groups of pastors can be very effective — both with the television stations and with their church members.

Local PTA’s, service organizations, and civic clubs certainly should also be involved in this battle. Usually one or two key members in any club can precipitate positive action by the whole group.

A word of caution: Before you actually join with any group, investigate thoroughly to be sure that you are in accord with the organization’s structure, philosophy, and methodology. Be especially careful if the group has a religious orientation. It would be better to start your own movement, or even to operate strictly as an individual, than to compromise your Christian testimony by holding membership in a Liberal or purely “social gospel” society.

Whether you act as a group, a coalition of groups, or an individual — be reasonable in your approach, but be firm, be vocal, and be persistent. You will gain nothing by antagonizing local television station managers unnecessarily. They might even be on your side. You will quickly dilute your effectiveness if you rant and rave to the extent that you become typed as an extremist.

This means that you must do some homework. Be sure of your facts. Gain as broad a base of support from community leaders as possible. Seek advice from persons who know how to put a project over. Pray much. Do not expect immediate and dramatic results. You must be prepared to “keep on keeping on.”

To be continued…


At the time of original publication, Elmer L. Rumminger was head of the Radio and Television faculty of Bob Jones University, a post he held since January, 1972. For nine years previous to this, he was manager of Radio Station WAVO-FM/AM in Atlanta, Georgia. He had also served as news director of the Bob Jones University Hour on WAIM-TV, Anderson, S.C. While residing in Georgia, he was a member of the Advisory Board of the Greater Atlanta Movement to Restore Decency; and he was active in efforts to keep SIECUS-related sex instruction programs out of Georgia public schools. During the Maddox Administration, he was one of five lay members from throughout the state appointed to the Private Education Study Committee of the Georgia Senate, on which he continued to serve under Governor Jimmy Carter. A founding director of Christian Communication Consultants, he has lectured widely on the dangerous anti-Christian influence of modern-day radio, television, movies, and recordings. On the eve of his return to South Carolina, a committee of Atlanta area pastors and laymen honored him with a plaque naming him “Mr. Christian Broadcasting of Atlanta.”

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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