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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.

The church of porn and football

“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. Lucy

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Uml_sNBLU&w=640&h=360]

    July 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Lucy

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sYCFbBDe8w&w=640&h=360]

      July 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actions cause change; prayer wastes valuable time.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Kegan

      Yes prayer does change things.

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,341574,00.html

      This girl was alive and then prayer killed her.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • שמיחזה

      hah hahahahah

      one for (Magic) non for prayer

      by magic i mean using that strange talking stone and pressing the 9 1 1 glyphs in those order then communicating with the spirits in the stone to summon a mystical white chariot that will escort your daughter to a magical realm of healing called the Hoss-Peetal were she will be giving the magical elixir of In so-lian

      seriously western-modern-medicine can trace its roots back to the Craft the magic art called apothecary that was called witch craft by the church ,... thanks Pagans

      July 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • שמיחזה

      now the Magical Talking Stone that's still a mystery to me?????

      July 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  3. What's a brony?

    Why do atheists consider Hitler a "Christian" even tho Jesus himself was a Jew? Jesus never EVER preached violence towards Jews or any other.How could believe all these lies?

    So much for being so educated in Christianity.Jesus knew the Jews would have him kill,what did Jesus do?

    Atheists if you wish to bash Christianity for what people have done,I can bash atheism for what Mao and Stalin did.

    July 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Joe

      This is incorrect because atheists do not have any sort of cohesive behavior, they do not stand for any sort of platform and so on. Bashing atheists is like bashing people who don't play golf, you are hitting so many different random variables. Atheists are not a single united group that adopts many similar traits like religion. They are only united by not following one thing. Making talking about atheists as a group pointless.....actions committed by atheists do not reflect on other atheists because they are not a group.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      Every religious person is not the same.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      So what your saying is,I'm held accountable for someone elses actions even if they live on the other side of the planet?

      Even if I have not committed the action nor have I ever met the person?

      Gee atheists do have "logic" that makes them soooooo smart..lies.All lies.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And the only way to know what they are is what they profess to be. If Hitler stated that he was a Christian, then no one other than he is in a position to say otherwise. What if he had some kind of revelation that led him to his actions? Here's what you're not getting brony, it's not so much the actions that are important when it comes to this conversation, it's the reasons behind it. The Nazi regime was well known as being highly religious, and yes, Stalin and Mao were atheists, but they did not do what they did in the name of atheism.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @brony

      "So what your saying is,I'm held accountable for someone elses actions even if they live on the other side of the planet?"

      What is ironic here is that your religion promotes the idea that you are held responsible for what Adam did (original sin), and even in the 10 comandments, any person that didn't believe in god, the family would be cursed for 4 generations.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Yuu

      Dude, do you know anything about history? The Catholic Church was heavily anti-semitic at the time and even supported Hitler in a number of ways. Being a Christian does not exempt you from hating Jews.

      As for the difference between Christian leaders who commit atrocities and atheist ones who do, you can make that comparison when an atheist leader says "Because I'm an atheist, I am compelled to do this and that. Because there's no god, we have to kill all these people." Because when I talk about Christian atrocities, I'm talking about leaders who regularly said "God told me this war is His will and He supports me" and "as a Christian, I am compelled to kill those who don't accept Christ."

      Check out Hitler's speeches. How many times does he reference God and Christianity? A lot. How often do Mao or Stalin reference "no god" as a reason to kill? I've yet to see one instance.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @brony,

      Because Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic, born and baptised in Austria. While he stopped taking the sacraments after his childhood and clearly he did not live his adult life according to what we would deem 'Christian values' he made speeches affirming Christianity and opposed atheists.

      Speech at Koblenz, 1934:
      "National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity. The Church's interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, in our fight against the Bolshevist culture, against an atheistic movement, ... These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles."

      You can find this reference (and many others) here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler%27s_religious_views

      Whether he truly believed in a Christian God or not is moot. He motivated the German people using Christian rhetoric as his ally.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Jesus never EVER preached violence towards Jews or any other"

      “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB)

      sounds like jesus is saying he is not coming back for peace, but for war.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • שמיחזה

      wow i guess he had nothing but love for the pharisees,...

      July 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  4. Professor Kill-Joy and Shaykh Buzz-Kill

    We believe in ghosts,
    and we have boring sex lives.
    Everybody else should be like us!
    Religion is sooooooo awesome!

    July 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  5. FRIDAY THE 13TH !!!!

    FRIDAY THE 13TH !!!!
    OUCH !!!! OUCH !!!! OUCH !!!!
    BAD FOR MANY !!!!

    July 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  6. masterdavid

    Heavensent. You my dear are beyond brainwashed. It gushes from your every statement. Please seek education and better yourself for the betterment of the species

    July 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • 2LiveJew

      Darn good thing I don't have 24/7 access to naughty sites with my smart phone now. I was spending a FORTUNE on hotel rooms just trying to get my fix...

      July 12, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  7. PAUL

    YOU GOTTA LOVE JESUS!!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lThuhz45pDI&w=640&h=360]

    July 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  8. Cyn507

    I do not want any religious leaders deciding what is or isnt ok for me to view. It isnt their decision. I dont need their morals inflicted upon me. I have a brain and will decide for myself what i choose to view or not. Get lost!

    July 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  9. PAUL

    MY RESPONSE TO THIS IS DESERVING AT BEST!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPDirIhy5Zs&w=640&h=360]

    July 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Come on bro, keep the bandwidth down!

      July 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  10. LittleHero

    If you are a "seeker" and feel the need for a spiritual experience – I would suggest you attend a Unitarian service. All are welcome, in fact atheist are welcome as well. In all my years as a closet atheist (since about 7 or 8), I was awe struck that one of the only places I've felt comfortable telling strangers that I am an atheist was in a church. I love one of their slogans – No hell for over 150 years.

    For those of you that do not want to live in our secular society, I know of several Amish communities in Wisconsin. It's real fun in the winter with 6 hours of daylight and temps below zero. Chopping wood by hand is alot of fun, and you better have some canning skills and like working like a dog all summer long in order to keep from starving and freezing the rest of the year.

    July 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "In all my years as a closet atheist (since about 7 or 8)" I call BS

      July 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • LittleHero

      Santa = not real
      God = not real

      Adults lie – even if they believe it themselves.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • PAUL

      AND YOU MEAN TO SAY?

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUMfDOLA1G8&w=640&h=360]

      July 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  11. Voice of Reason

    p**0*r*n is defined as:

    television programs, books, etc., regarded as catering to a voy*euris*tic or obse*ssive interest in a specified subject...

    According to this we could call the bible, god and religion a form of p**0*r*n,right?

    July 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice of reason, is your post what Christians can expect from an aging 75 y.o. atheist, Cough!

      July 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      If so, it proves how lost you stay, as you age,

      July 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      The only thing an aging christian can expect is that they are all going to die just like the rest of us and it will stop there, nothing more.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice of unreason, I wished I copied and saved the post of a Christian that posted a year 1/2 ago ... he wrote something along this line ... When an atheist dies, they get all dressed up, with no where to go.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      No one is going anywhere once they die. You have no proof but you do have the burden to prove it.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • sam

      Holy crap, HS, how much stuff DO you copy and save in your digital war on the unholy? Does the inside of your computer look as scary as your trailer?

      July 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • OTOH

      HeavenSent: " I wished I copied and saved the post of a Christian that posted a year 1/2 ago ... he wrote something along this line ... When an atheist dies, they get all dressed up, with no where to go."

      1. Do you mean you wish you would have copied it. Remember, it's "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener"... not "I wished I was..."

      2. "All dressed up and nowhere to go" describes Christians in their coffins too.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  12. What's a brony?

    atheism does not benifit mankind at all.

    July 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • .

      atheism does not harm mankind at all.

      Can religion say that?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      faith cannot harm a person at all.

      Can atheism say that?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The facts do not agree with your opinion. You should be thankful for the many atheists who have made many great scientific and medical discoveries that have saved lives and made this world a better place.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @What's a brony?

      Oh yes faith doesn't hurt people. Children dying from faith healing cr.ap, parents sli.tting their childrens throats because they have faith that the world will end soon. Wars started because of a difference in faith. Shall I go on?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • just sayin

      What's a brony?

      faith cannot harm a person at all.

      Can atheism say that?

      >

      Ask the people that died in the name of their faith. Hitler was a Christian and had his faith...how did that little story end. Faith in imaginary things and following people in the name of it can be quite harmful.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Yeah...doesn't 'benifit' anything. But does benefit many things.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      Hitler was for from a Christian.Jesus not once ever preached violence towards the Jews.Nothing in the bible supported HIS own ideas.

      Do you consider Stalin an atheist even tho he considered himself one?

      You think like that to attack the "Theist" for something they themselves never did.

      You should be ashamed of yourself.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      •far from

      July 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @brony

      Nice no true scotsman fallacy. Here's the point that your "conveniently" avoiding. Faith has, does, and will harm people, and it doesn't matter whether YOU think that they have the "right" faith, what matters is that they had religious faith, and it was directly linked to them harming themselves, or others.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Of course atheists harm us. What? Do you believe we want enemies of God walking among us?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alpa Chino, you posted "Yeah...doesn't 'benifit' anything. But does benefit many things."

      Answer: You're taking over Tommie Tom's obsession of assuming she needs to make corrections. No one can be that obsessive, unless, this is JUST another phony dummy handle. LOL.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      HeavenSent, nobody anywhere is like me. Don't you worry your head, girl.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      just sayin, stop lying. Hitler was not a Christian, no matter how much you atheists want to re-write history.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • jwt

      I'll say one thing about HS – he shows how Hubbard did it.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Hitler was a christian. Just because you don't like his record now, doesn't mean you get to kick him out of your club after the fact. Too late.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Hitler was as much a Christian as HS is and thats a fact. He was raised as a Catholic, baptized a Catholic, confirmed a Catholic, claimed to be Catholic and made his cabinet and soldiers swear allegience to him and God on a bible and promoted Catholicism among his ranks. He certainly isn't going to any cloudy heaven, but then again, neither is HS...

      July 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      You're getting the crap beat out of you and rightfully so!

      July 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • PAUL

      MANKIND IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM:

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZaNZ-jlZ-w&w=640&h=360]

      July 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • MMarkle

      Religion has caused more harm to human beings than just about anything else. Most wars in history have a religious or faith motivator. The Crusades, which changed the middle east from a center of knowledge in the old world to what we know it to be today, was about religion. All the terrorist running around have a religious motivation, or at least use it as an excuse to do what they do. Hitler was indeed a Christian. The truth of the matter is that IS the history of the organization you follow like an idiot. You are one of the members of their base of power. They profess that they have actual "faith" like you do, but more likely they just like being in charge of legions of people that follow orders and don't ask a lot of questions. They do not drink their own proverbial cool-aid and are smart enough to manipulate you, which seems to contradict the lack of intelligence required to have your kind of blind faith. Granted, many intelligent people do proclaim some kind of idea that there is a lot more going on than we can perceive, but they do not have the audacity to claim they know the will or word of "God". Only a fool would be so arrogant.
      Now atheists...who have they harmed? Ever? Have they ever started a war against people that do not agree with them? Ever tortured anyone until they agreed? Find an example from an actual history book and show me how atheism has caused such things?

      July 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  13. Denise

    Ain't it funny how Christians want to be in everyone's drawers...

    July 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • A CHRISTIAN

      Certainly not your drawers for sure Denise! Were you born beyond repair Denise?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Gecul

      Well, "christain" maybe you should get a look at Denise before you slam her. I'd guess you are the one needing repair!

      July 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Apatheist

      Denise is smoking hot man, I don't know what you're talking about...

      July 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Always_Amused

      Well "A so-called CHRISTIAN" what makes you think Denise NEEDS repairing? Denise is not the one sticking her nose into other people private business, is she? I do not know anything more about Denise than YOU do, but I DO NOT have any reason to think that Denise is BROKEN! Perhaps it is YOU that is broken, hmm?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      How about a damp mormon diaper?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Stephen Prothero

      I'd do her.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  14. Coflyboy

    Who cares? I get mine off the internet. The one thing I despise is religious freaks meddling with my life, my rights and my privacy. Besides, I keep the paper cup and the tissue industry in business, helping the economy.

    July 12, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  15. humtake

    Why can't religious people just preach to their own religion's followers and leave everyone else alone? This world has already proven since the Crusades that religion does no good when you force it on people. Most people do not have any problems with anyone who chooses to practice a religion. The problem ALWAYS comes in when the religious person wants to force others to follow their ways. God gave us free will and religious people are trying to take it from us. Hypocrites.

    July 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  16. gods are gay

    Dear Robert P. George and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf:
    Please die of rampant cancer.
    Thanks.

    July 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And I believed I would have a who posting time without hearing or seeing "GAY"

      July 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Horton

      I heard a who.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  17. Godzilla

    Notice the guy in the pic is alone ( no woman ) Ill bet he has an alter-boy in the closet

    July 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ummm, yes?

      I think the point is that he is alone – which is the most common p0rn watching scenario.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I think the point is on your head! Ha! I crack myself up!

      July 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  18. KyleGlobal

    If you don't want to watch it; don't watch it. Quit trying to Talibanize the United States.

    July 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  19. KS

    My biggest concern is, who actually pays for adult films at hotels? If you have an internet connection, you can satisfy your needs for free...

    July 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Or, here's an original idea, skip the internet entirely and get a real woman! Hell, hotels have been my favorite hangout for years. I've never even paid for a room! Not once!

      July 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  20. phearis

    Here's an interesting idea .... Hey Churches ... G T F O of my bedroom. 😀

    July 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
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About this blog

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.