Art or Pornography?

July 9, 1998

Should nude pictures of children be sold in your local bookstore? This isnít just a hypothetical question. Two chain bookstores (Barnes and Noble and Borders Books) have been selling controversial books displaying picture of nude children. Bookstore personnel call it art. Critics call it pornography.

The books in question are The Age of Innocence by Jock Sturges of San Francisco and Radiant Identities by David Hamilton of Paris, France. These books contain prints of naked and near-naked children.

Recently one member of Operation Rescue destroyed one of the books at Borders Books in Dallas as a protest and has been charged with criminal mischief for her actions. Her court appearance took place earlier this week, and Iíll probably have a follow-up commentary when we find out what the court intends to do.

Barnes and Noble has said: "In our view, the titles in question are protected by the First Amendment and to the best of our knowledge, no court in the United States has found these works to be obscene or pornographic." And while that is true, legal action has been taken against these bookstores and a court may indeed rule them obscene.

Meanwhile, we need to ask some important questions. Does nude pictures of children constitute art or pornography? Can a young child really understand the nature of being photographed and thus truly give consent to being published in a book? Wonít such images fuel the imaginations of pedophiles? Should these books be sold in a neighborhood bookstore?

These are questions all citizens, and especially Christians, should ask and answer. And then you should make your concerns known.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International