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Strange religious bedfellows unite for letter against hotel porn
Hotels' in-room movie selections should not include porn, according to two religious scholars.
July 12th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Strange religious bedfellows unite for letter against hotel porn

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – A letter penned by two notable scholars a Christian and a Muslim and sent to a number of different hotel industry executives has asked those hotels to remove pornography from their company’s in-room movie selections.

Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton University and the past chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage, and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College, a Muslim school, wrote the letter to urge hotels “to do what is right as a matter of conscience.”

“We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good,” reads the letter.

The letter marks the joining of two unique men with two distinctly different faiths. Yusuf says they were able to put aside their disagreement on other issues because of  their commitment to this cause. “We need to see that those things that are threatening our society today are much graver than anything that may divide us,” he told CNN.

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Reaction to the letter from some adult film stars and even from some advocates for removing porn from hotels was negative.

Craig Gross, a pastor and the founder of XXXchurch.com, says the letter is an empty gesture with no power behind it.

“It has got to be one of the dumbest letters I have ever read,” Gross said. “It is like asking the Internet to stop selling porn. It sounds good and all, but it isn’t going to happen.”

But the letter’s authors argue that the Internet and hotels are different, with hotel owners directly profiting off the temptation of porn.

“We urge you to do away with pornography in your hotels because it is morally wrong to seek to profit from the suffering, degradation, or corruption of others,” states the letter. “You are placing temptation in their path temptation for the sake of profit. That is unjust. Moreover, the fact that something is chosen freely does not make it right.”

Yusuf continued to use this argument in an interview with CNN. “Just because we are able to do something doesn’t mean it is what we should be doing. And just because you can sell these things doesn’t mean it is something you should be selling,” he said.

In Gross’ opinion, this logic is a slippery slope. When planes offer access to WiFi, is that placing temptation in the path of those who may view porn on the Web? When hotels offer room service, he asks, are they tempting dieters?

Gross has a long history of helping those with porn addictions, and his website is dedicated to getting people help. According to him, removing porn from hotels is a futile endeavor because of the "unfettered availability of porn on the Web. “

According to a 2005 report on the state of the adult entertainment by Adult Video News, a trade journal on the adult-film industry, 55% of hotel movie rentals are porn movie rentals. The average revenue from movie rentals, according to LodgeNet, a company that provides in-room entertainment services, was $16.51 per room per month in 2008. In the third quarter of 2009, LodgeNet brought in $64.8 million. This, however, included more family-friendly options as well.

A 2011 report by Robert Mandelbaum at Colliers PKF Hospitality Research found that from 2000 to 2009, movie rental revenue for hotels in general decreased 39%.

Even with the reported slip, Gross and other critics acknowledged there is a demand for adult entertainment.

“This is supply and demand,” Gross said. “We spin our wheels doing all the wrong things. The issue is not that it is available; the issue is that people buy it.”

Prior to this letter, however, some hotels had already pledged to remove pornography from their programming or had removed it.

In 2011, Marriott International a company founded by a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that continues deep Mormon ties pledged to phase out adult content from all hotel rooms. The move came after groups like Focus on the Family met with Marriott officials to urge them to remove adult movies.

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“Adult content will be off the menu for virtually all of our newly built hotels,” read the Marriott statement. “Over the next few years, this will be the policy across our system.”

Marriott is not the first hotel group to do this, though. Omni Hotels, a Dallas-based luxury hotel chain, removed all adult films from its in-room systems in 1999. According to other reports, adult-free programming is helping the Omni differentiate itself in the hotel market.

Websites like cleanhotels.com look to help porn-free hotels by compiling a list of hotels that do not offer adult entertainment and leading people to them. Cleanhotels.com says it does so because its supporters want to know they are “supporting a facility that cares enough about the wellbeing of its customers not to make harmful pornographic movies available.”

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, however, defends the right of hotels to choose what services to offer in their rooms.

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“In-room offerings such as this are made available based on market demand, are not offered in all hotels, and are subject to the same legal review all hotel operations are subject to,” read a statement from Kathryn Potter, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the association.

Ron Jeremy, an adult-film star who has been in over 2,000 porn films, according to the Internet Adult Film Database, sees efforts to remove porn from hotels as attacks on freedom of speech.

“What they have to understand is that freedom of speech works for all of us, not just for them,” Jeremy said about those who want to get porn out of hotel rooms. “This is a country that is secular; you have freedom from religion and freedom of religion. Give me a break.”

While Jeremy said he is all for making sure kids in hotel rooms can’t get to porn “I think that is marvelous” he said he doesn’t see why adults shouldn’t watch “consenting adults have consenting sex.”

"If a guy has a hard day at work or is at a convention and wants to sit down in his hotel room and puts on an adult film and plays spank the monkey, why can’t he do that?"

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Islam

soundoff (1,415 Responses)
  1. Laurens

    I loved it! I was a bit worried when I saw how paekcd in the floor seats were. My mom and I were second row of the second section in the middle with no one in front of us. Luckily we're both tall enough to see over section one, but I'm sure the people behind us were super annoyed with the seating. The show in and of itself was amazing! Melanie was breathtaking!!! She's been my favorite since auditions and seeing her perform live was so exciting! Other standouts would have to be Caitlynn, Tadd, and Ricky! Everyone was so great though!!!I had an amazing experience!!! Go Season 8!!!!

    October 8, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  2. corpus christi hotels,

    I used to be suggested this website by way of my cousin. I am now not sure whether this post is written through him as nobody else recognise such unique about my difficulty. You're incredible! Thank you!

    September 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  3. Ivan

    This is so cool! I love it! Can't wait for you to capture our girls Is it okay if we have poohts taken at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center? Rowan just had her last day of preschool there, and it is where we hang out most of the time besides home! Let me know what you have in mind, and how much time you have available for us on July 6th (morning I hope?) I will try to be as organized as possible! Wade is taking off work that day or part of that day so he can see you too!!! Can't wait. You are magnificent.xo Jessica

    September 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  4. Bud Tarken

    Once again religious nut cases trying to shove their agendas down our throats. You don't need to watch it if you don't want to. Telling Americans and American business owners what they can watch or show is ridiculous. Of course the Mormons just made Happy Hour illegal in Utah this year so nothing unusual with bible thumpers. You like this type of control vote Mitt Romney and the Taliban like views can spread across America.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  5. northern light

    "We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good,” reads the letter."

    Truths revealed??
    Since when can a bronze book full of myth be considered truth?

    People of reason??
    Those who conduct their lives based on bronze age books and wish to control the conduct of others based on the same books should leave the word "reason" out of the comments.

    Human dignity??
    Religion only degrades human dignity it has nothing to offer to uplift the human condition that a "secular" view of life has to offer.

    July 27, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  6. phoodphite

    Silly notion these supposed scholars have. Does the hotel make you have the stuff on your TV in the rooms? And do they clamp your eyes open and make you watch it? (oops i got all tingly thinking about Malcolm McDowell just now)

    July 27, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  7. refugeek

    Hotel rooms are semen-soaked cesspits. Any UV light will show you that.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • edofchattanoogatn

      Wow, refugeek....which hotels are those ???? I would like to make a reservation there soon !!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • phoodphite

      does that stuff repel bedbugs I wonder?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  8. Evian Bidet

    please don't tempt our sheep with your vile videos!

    July 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • edofchattanoogatn

      Please mind your own business and stay out of other's bedrooms (Matthew 7:1-10 )

      July 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • phoodphite

      hmmm. Matthew sounds dreamy..

      July 27, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • northern light

      "please don't tempt our sheep"

      And that is exactly what those that follow religious beliefs are......"sheep and cattle".....they are led around by the ring in their nose called ......faith.

      July 27, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  9. Mark

    Just another case of some people trying to force their beliefs on others. Mind your own business thank you. That's what this country is really supposed to be about. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson; if it doesn't pick your pocket or break your leg, then it's none of your business.

    July 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  10. John Espot

    "If any of you causes any of these to stumble, it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and tossed into the sea." Mark 9:42

    July 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      What do you call 5 believing xstians with millstones tied around their necks heading for the bottom.

      Good judgment and a good start. Take your religion and crawl in a hole. The world is moving on without you. Religion won't be dead as soon as all the present day believers will be, but it's on the way out. Just SHUT UP and go to heaven, leave the planet for us.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • edofchattanoogatn

      Matthew 7:1-10 "judge NOT that you be judged " !!!!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • phoodphite

      At least some Xtians are quoting the gospels and not junk from the politician Paul.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • northern light

      ""If any of you causes any of these to stumble, it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and tossed into the sea." Mark 9:42"

      There is a legal term for the above......it is called ..."threatening"......only the bible and quran can get away with threatening.

      July 27, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  11. J. Andrews

    If you don't like it, don't watch it.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  12. Paul

    Why is it that the religious right when it comes to things like healthcare, education, gun control and the enviroment wants government to stay the heck out of it? But when it comes to whether or not I get my jollies watching the playboy channel or women want or need an abortion or a family decides to remove lifesupport from a terminally ill loved one then the role of goverment needs to be expanded?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • MDDon

      Very well put, Paul.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Brandon Brown

      Because the three things you mentioned degrade human dignity.

      Also, I really don't have a problem with gun control or education or environmental issues, and I'm an evangelical christian.

      July 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • edofchattanoogatn

      AMEN PAUL !!!!!!!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • edofchattanoogatn

      I feel sorry for you Brandon;....that you are an evangelical so-called christian. How much money does your church rake in each week; TAX FREE ???

      July 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • nategasser

      Did you even read the article? These two men are making direct appeals to the hotel owners. They're not calling for any government involvement at all. If you're going to criticize you gotta get your facts right and quit being lazy.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  13. jim

    amen – and there is so much more good we share that we can fight together on for the good of everyone.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • edofchattanoogatn

      PRAISE GOD AMEN !!!!!!!!!!! Go to church this Sunday...hey it's TAX FREE and they are making a fortune !!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.