Sutherland Newsletter – July 15, 2010


For years now, tobacco companies have been held liable for billions of dollars in damages because an overwhelming body of scholarly research confirms that tobacco is a toxic substance that destroys both health and life.  Some scholars are now asking why pornography purveyors are not held to similar scrutiny and responsibility in light of overwhelming evidence citing the detrimental effects of their product.


In Make Big Porn the New Big Tobacco, co-authors Bryce J. Christensen, Ph.D., and William C. Duncan, J.D., of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society indicate  that there is a growing body of comparable research establishing that pornography is more addictive than tobacco and is a toxic substance that causes neurological, psychological, and social harm.


Consistent with how large tobacco companies have come under fire for the production of their destructive products, pornography-pushers should also be held financially liable for the individual and societal impacts of the obscenity they produce.


The authors comment on Utah’s cultural heritage as one which reveres womanhood and respects manhood.  The increasing pornography problem in Utah is affecting citizens’ ability to interact normally with those of the opposite sex, to maintain strong family relationships, and even to think rationally.


For these reasons, Dr. Christensen and Mr. Duncan argue that responsible Utah citizens and policy makers should address the growing body of scientific research which shows that pornography: 1) erodes human capacity for rational thought and judgment, 2) leads to delinquency among children and criminal activity among adults, and 3) destroys healthy family relationships.


And just as they have done with tobacco companies, policy makers should place restrictions on pornography producers’ ability to market to children, especially on the Internet.  In short, producers of pornography should be held financially liable for the individual and social damage their product has inflicted.


Dr. Christensen is associate professor of English at Southern Utah University and adjunct fellow of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society.  He is a contributing editor to The Family in America and author of Divided We Fall: Family Discord and the Fracturing of America(Transaction, 2005).  He has also published articles on family issues in SocietyThe Public InterestPolicy ReviewModern Age, and other journals.


Mr. Duncan is director of the Marriage Law Foundation and is the director of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society.  He formerly served as acting director of the Marriage Law Project at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and as executive director of the Marriage and Family Law Research Grant at J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, where he was also a visiting professor.



For the past 115 years, the responsible citizens of Utah have made this magnificent state a beacon of hope and an example of good government to all others.  Adopted in 1895, the Utah State Constitution established the framework for Utah as the 45th state to join the Union.


Sutherland Institute, the state’s leading conservative public-policy institution, is now offering free pocket-sized copies of the state’s founding document to every Utahn committed to responsible citizenship.


You can honor those who have worked to make Utah what it is today by becoming familiar with Utah’s constitution.  With a greater knowledge of that document, you will be better prepared to help maintain the principles upon which this state was founded and help make Utah a better place to live, work, and raise a family.


Order your free copy of the Utah State Constitution by calling Sutherland Institute directly at 801-355-1272.  You may also visit and click the button for a free copy of the Utah Constitution.