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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. Hawkeye321

    Debbie Does Days Inn?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • lordnimrond

      AWESOME!

      July 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  2. lover of freedom

    there is zero reason for hotels not to offer anything that their customers want. nobody is forcing bible thumpers and other holier than thou types to watch anything they don't want to watch. I personally would like to see all religious houses of worship shut down because I find them all offensive.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Petercha

      Guess you don't believe in freedom of speech, eh, "lover of freedom"?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      If their people (cult members) were good followers, they wouldn't be tempted to order it. Then again, if they were good followers, they wouldn't need the religious leaders.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      petecha, I think what he's arguing is not so much "you can't say what you're saying". I think he's saying "Just because you don't approve of something, you can't force someone to refrain from it." That's not infringing on the zealots freedom of speech. The zealots are infringing on civil liberties.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • stacheman

      I totally agree

      July 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Thomas

      Perhaps the real issue is that these "bible thumpers" are watching these movies. Since they can't control their own impulses, they want the hotel to control it for them?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • ME II

      @petercha,

      "I personally would like to see all religious houses of worship shut down because I find them all offensive."
      Perhaps, LOF's meaning was, 'personally i would like this, but I wouldn't force on everyone.' Just guessing though.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Petercha

      "I personally would like to see all religious houses of worship shut down because I find them all offensive." – Sounds a lot like he (or she) is interested in eliminating the freedom of speech and freedom of religion to me.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      "Guess you don't believe in freedom of speech, eh, "lover of freedom"?"

      Guess you don't believe in actually understanding the English language, eh numbskull?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • lordnimrond

      Ummm,...Petercha,...I think that's Lover of Freedom's point... He thinks all churches should be shut down because HE finds THEM offensive,...but just because he personally believes this, doesn't mean it should happen... That's his point... Somehow you missed that...

      July 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      @Petercha

      "Sounds a lot like he (or she) is interested in eliminating the freedom of speech and freedom of religion to me"

      Sucks when the shoe is on the other foot doesn't it?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Petercha

      So let's see here, then.... "lover of freedom" wants to keep things that are bad for people and wipe out things that are good for people, and I want to keep things that are good for people and wipe out things that are bad for people – and these are supposed to be the same thing? Riiiiiiight.......

      July 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      @Petercha See, that's what's wrong with you religious people... you feel that just because someone likes something that your religion bars you from that we're all "evil". Meanwhile, your priests are running around screwing little altar boys and getting away with it, but that's ok.

      In YOUR opinion, p0rn is bad. In MY opinion, you forcing your religious values on ME is bad. Because I don't watch p0rn, but I have the willpower to do that... unlike you. That IS why you're trying to ban the stuff, isn't it?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Petercha

      2sc00ps, there are a number of things wrong with your post. First of all, ALL people are sinful – not just non-believers. The main difference between believers and non-believers in this respect is that believers are forgiven. Second of all, my religion has no priests – but if anyone in my religion were to engage in pedophilia, that would still be sinful. So it would seem that you have assumed that I worship at a Catholic church, which I do not. And it's not just some measly opinion that p0rn is bad – it's a fact. Ted Bundy, for example, said that he got his start with Playboy. How is that not bad?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • lordnimrond

      Petercha,...you seem to think that any of us have any care about what your opinion is concerning either the god you worship, your faith in general, or what you consider "right" and "wrong"... You can blather on all day about what you believe is "good" and what you believe is "bad", but there's absolutely no way you will be convincing ANY of us that these are anything more valid that your personal beliefs and opinions, and the writings in a book you consider "holy".... Sorry,...that's nothing but a waste of your time and ours,...seriously...

      Here's the only thing that matters, because it's more than opinion,...it's fact... If you don't like p0rn, then don't order it to watch... Don't try to have it emoved so OTHERS have that choice taken from them... Likewise, if OTHERS don't like religion, then they can choose not to go to a church... They shouldn't try to remove your churches and televangelist shows to steal that choice from YOU either! If you want your "freedom of religion", then you can bet others want their "freedom of s.e.x.u.ality"

      July 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      The point that I'm trying to make is that, like gay marriage, binge drinking, smoking cigarettes, and p0rn, all of these things that may be bad to YOU and YOURS are not bad to everyone. I happen to be a "believer", but I also understand that MY beliefs are MY OWN and I don't force them on anyone else. People who want to be saved will be saved. If I want to watch pr0n, smoke a cigarette, drink until I puke, then I will be forgiven if I beg for it, and that'll be the end. If I'm not, then oh well.

      You can't infringe on others civil liberties because it goes against your personal beliefs. So we'll all be sinners and you'll be saved when the time comes and you can laugh in your afterlife as we all suffer horrible deaths and burn for eternity. OK?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Petercha

      If something is bad, it is bad for everyone, whether or not they believe it is or not. Disease is bad for anyone who has it. Murder is bad for anyone who gets killed. Robbery is bad for anyone who gets robbed. In other words, there are absolutes. If you don't believe so, it doesn't matter, because they exist whether you like it or not. I'm not forcing my beliefs on anyone – it's reality that does that – like lung cancer for smoking, cirrhosis of the liver for heavy drinkers, and so on. Civil liberties such as disagreeing over politicians or some such are all well and good – but when they cross the line to being bad for people, that's where they have to stop. And your last line about "laugh in your afterlife as we all suffer horrible deaths and burn for eternity." makes no sense whatsoever – no one wants anyone to burn for eternity.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      *sigh* whatever dude. You're waaaay too into yourself and your religion to understand anything else.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • ME II

      @Petercha,
      So if an alcoholic gets his liquor stolen, that's bad?

      July 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  3. Petercha

    I am glad that a Christian and a Muslim (or an Imam) united on this issue. Even though I don't agree with the terrorism stuff, there are some positive things that Islam can do, like this, for example. We should look to get together with them, the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., on whatever issues we have in common.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • sam

      Whatever issues you have in common...re: what? Removing sin from the world?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Yeah ...positive stuff like limiting that whole freedom of speech stuff
      and imposing my views on others even in their own pirivate retreats.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Petercha

      Yes, Sam, this would be a step toward removing sin from the world. Reduced lust, exploitation of women, etc.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Hawkeye321

      Glad to hear you don't agree with "the terrorism stuff". It is rather inconvenient, what with the explosions and all...

      July 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Robert

      @ Petercha,
      Reduce lust...
      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      July 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Huebert

      "reducing lust" is what the p.orn is for.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • lordnimrond

      Sorry Petercha,...I'm just not buying what your selling... Your ideas sound like they come from the mouth of someone who has brainwashed you to believe that you and your faith have any capacity to judge what other people "need"... They don't "need" you or your god to help "save" them from themselves... Freedom of Choice has responsibilities that become diminished in value, truly cheapened, when those choices are taken away or made "safe" in someone else's opinion... If you don't like p0rn, then don't order it to watch... Don't try to have it emoved so OTHERS have that choice taken from them... Likewise, if OTHERS don't like religion, then they can choose not to go to a church... They shouldn't try to remove your churches and televangelist shows to steal that choice from YOU either! If you want your "freedom of religion", then you can bet others want their "freedom of s.e.x.u.ality"...

      July 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      @lordnimrod *golfclap*

      "Circle gets a square"

      July 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    And the churches and religions are profiting off the deluded, same thing.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • lover of freedom

      very well said.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  5. ME II

    "a Christian and a Muslim" Strange bedfellows?

    A Christian and a Satanist maybe, or a Muslim and a Pagan perhaps.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • שמיחזה

      oh i dated a Muslim 3 actually i also dated 2 jews,.. maybe your sentence would be better written never a christian though the cross just turns me off,.. its like hay baby i just killed your family now lets f4ck

      [...., or a Christian and a Pagan perhaps.]

      July 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • ME II

      I'm not sure what you are trying to say.
      All I'm saying is that Christians and Muslims still have quite a lot in common. Monotheistic, Abrahamic, God good – Satan bad, Jesus was awesome, etc.

      ...Satanists and Pagans, not so much.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  6. iojdhtr

    This Ron Jeremy guy is apparently not very bright. If a private organization is lobbying private hotel chains to take a certain action, that is not a violation of free speech.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Hawkeye321

      Bite your tongue for speaking ill of the legend, Ron Jeremy.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • ME II

      Considering his job, I don't think he needs to be too awfully bright.

      I think the whole point of putting him in the article was an unconscious homage to the notoriously weak plot lines in por.nography where actors frequently show up for no reason at all.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  7. F.E.S.

    I think writing a letter to the leaders of the world requesting world peace would have a better shot. Less intrusive, too.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  8. Sam Yaza

    if you don't like p0rn don't watch it, if you don't like drugs don't do them, some people do so let them do it,.. what give you the right to push your morality on others,.. that just immoral... and guess what I'm a pagan but I'm more drug free then every Mormon i know i literally never touch the stuff,.. i also don't watch p0rn,.. on TV or the internet,... been to a few exhibitions though, and you know i never feel tempted to, because I'm a strong honorable person

    its time we legalize Drugs, prosti.tution and gambling, legalize – regulate – tax

    July 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      "i also don't watch p0rn,.. on TV or the internet"

      It is your alter ego posting here, I presume, since you do not "watch" the internet.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      My bad.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      yes it is a litle of both
      i do watch the internet I'm inside here not out their k


      שמיחזה

      July 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  9. GAW

    As I understand it p0rn is not forced on anyone. In most motels one doesn't get it for free one has to spend a few minutes paying for it (Extra $$ on the bill) Why not bring a laptop and get it for free. There are plenty of free sites out there.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      Good point... who pays for p0rn anymore?! Free WiFi access + lotion + tissues = aweseome.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • .

      @2strokes,

      Hey, not in here alright.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  10. Jon O

    Hey look, now Religion is trying to force its ways on private industry and not just our government!

    Glad they think they have the right to take away my choices.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  11. hate on hater

    Tribling....

    July 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  12. 2sc00ps

    Also, I love how CNN can write a report based on p o r n but will not allow commenters to say p o r n without moderating the comment. Classic.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • GAW

      degrading material ? lol

      July 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      @gaw haha yeah, like this article.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  13. karl

    Remove the bible too then

    July 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • John

      Yes!!

      July 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • determined2bfit

      karl, you beat me to it lol.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      I beat Karl to it by a few seconds 😛

      July 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Beeves

      The bible is pretty racy.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  14. 2sc00ps

    Well, if you're going to take the pr0n out, you might as well take the bibles while you're at it.

    Both are there for your convenience. If you don't want to "finger" through it, you're not forced to.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  15. Anti-indoctrination

    If you don't like it, don't watch it! Stop trying to censor other people's decisions to suit your views!

    July 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Julian

      These religious scholars don't understand God's gift of Free Will and how it relates to sin and temptation. If something is a sin, it is between an individual and God. It is not up to other people. Hiding temptation is a simple-minded way of preventing sin. For example, the reason you don't kill people shouldn't be because you hide from people. The point is that it is supposed to be a test. Everyone has a right to sin, or not. That is the whole point. If God simply wanted to force everyone not to sin he could have done that, but then there would be no point to life, and no gift of Free Will. Just because these guys can't control themselves certainly doesn't allow them to try to control others.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  16. AverageJoe76

    Why are they protesting this? Like God said 'don't be hornknee'. "Thou Shalt Not Jerketh Off to False Boobies" is that the eleventh commandment?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      It's the 69th commandment.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • sam

      ....aaaand, rimshot.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      😀

      July 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  17. Happy Dancing Gerbils in a Teabagger's Butt

    How about a three way biscuit bump between Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin and Michele Bachmann? That would make a good movie.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • hate on hater

      Muff mashing!

      July 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Special Guest Appearance By Christine O'Donnell!!!

      Actually, I AM a witch. A very very naughty witch . . . .

      July 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  18. Flip

    The Devil made me do it

    July 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  19. the TRUTH - Atheist - Theist

    By 2100 – when all of us in this forum die – we will know if God exists or not so take your side.

    in the mean time choose one of the following answer:

    Christopher Hitchen a moment after he died what did he said:
    a. Oops God exist
    b. nothing – just disappear into oblivion cause he was just a talking monkey just like the rest of us and there is No God

    answer:
    wait for your time – your time will come

    July 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Keep it to yourself...

      Scare tactics... The sign of truly weak-minded, out-argued person... I'd say you have the mentality of a seven-year-old, but that would be an insult to seven-year-olds everywhere...

      July 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Keith

      Let me get this straight: I'm supposed to base my morality around the risk that a god exists, hides from us, and decides whether you are eternally rewarded or eternally punished or not based upon the criteria of whether or not you believe in him, despite absence of any evidence. Rumplestiltzkin was a less contrived fairy tale.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Well, since you don't even know enough sh1t to write a proper English sentence, I guess you can take your stupid questions and disappear right now. Your consciousness is an emergent phenomenon from you complex brain chemistry. When that stops, and you die, you will know nothing, and find out nothing more. If you need for big daddy to give you a sucker for doing what mommy says, be our guest. Your time will also come. You will die. Stone cold dead. Just like every other human who has ever existed.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Huebert

      Actually, you won't know anything after you die. You'll just be dead.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • hate on hater

      How could Hitchens say anything if he was dead?

      Your a dipsh•t. That I'm sure of.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      I swear there ain't no heaven, but I pray there ain't no hell
      but I'll never know from livin' only my dyin' will tell
      Laura Nyro

      July 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • More on that at 11

      You missed a few:

      c. Damn! It's Allah! Pascal's wager didn't help me.

      d. Oh, the Buddhists were right! No god, and I am reincarnating as a tap-dancing chicken in a redneck carnival! Pascal's wager didn't help me.

      e. Something else entirely is happening that does not resemble anything anyone ever said. Pascal's wager didn't help me.

      f. I don't believe it! Flying Spaghetti Monster really does exist! Beer and Strippers for everyone!

      July 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Um, I could be wrong about this but...... I think when the brain stops, learning and being remorseful, stops too 😦

      There will be no "Naaaaa-nana-naaaaaaa-na"- moment.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Hawkeye321

      You forgot option c. teleport back in time and fight dinosaur ninjas in the naked chick dimension. I vote c!!!

      July 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Tap dancing chicken

      NOOOOOOOOOOOO

      July 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Bert0529

      The fact that you limit the options to those two underscores how little thought you've put into it. That's what happens when you're indoctrinated rather than educated.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      Without scare tactics, Christianity is dead in the water

      July 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • just sayin

      sam stone

      Without scare tactics, Christianity is dead in the water

      .
      That isnt a factor until we get past the Pink Elephant...the OT came from another religion.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  20. Loren

    Yeah, keep it in the homes where it belongs.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Keep your opinion in your home, where it belongs.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:28 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.