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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. Doc Vestibule

    God commanded Onan to impregnate his sister, but Onan kept pulling out at the critical moment, so God killed him.
    And that, boys and girls, is why whacking off is wrong.
    In tomorrow's lesson, we'll talk about how God is A-OK with incest.
    Read up on Eve and her sons, Lot and his Daughters and Noah's family,

    July 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Along the same lines . . .

      Just love that Bible!

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

      July 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      epic response

      July 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Along the same lines
      That video is 10kg of awesome in a 5kg bag!

      July 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      that my wife keep up the good work Betty my dear

      July 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  2. mb2010a

    Religion has no place in the bedroom. Please stop trying to tell everyone what they can or can't do there. That includes hotel rooms. Damn Christians (and apparently Muslims)...

    July 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • 2sc00ps

      You show me one religious nut that only has se x in a missionary position. No blowies, no muffdivin, no t u r d surfin. Oh what? What's that? There are none? AH HA! Sinners.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      In Catholicism, any s.exual activity that is unlikely to result in pregnancy is the sin of Onanism.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Durundal

    I would submit that any personal misgivings and 'moral' outrage regarding p@rn are merely a fools masquerade for personal failures and insecurities. Where is the taboo in the body (natural) or in consensual relations? Get over yourselves

    July 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  4. Rynomite

    Ignore the stupidity of religion for a moment, the more important question is who would bother paying $12-$16 for a hotel PPV when wifi access (and online Pron) is usually free?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Oz in OK

      True, but how long do you think it'd be before these 'moral crusaders' turn their attentions to blocking pron sites from Hotel ISPs?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  5. Throb Porkherhard

    That picture is what all the rooms of the hotel look like after the Focus On Family convention is through for the day.

    Rev. Dave has a nice suit, doesn't he?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Barry McKockner

      Nice name.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  6. Johnjon

    I wouldn't mind seeing the guy in the photo that accompanies this article in some action with a bellman.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Oz in OK

      That *would* be pretty hot....

      July 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • mb2010a

      Hey...it happens.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  7. all religions are cults LOL

    I read a story on CNN this morning about a sweet 3 year old girl who had lighter fluid spilled on her body by her father during a BBQ, and her skin "melted and bubbled"

    REALLY? YOU BELIEVE IN A GOD THAT WOULD DO THAT?

    FK your god

    July 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Anthony

      your lord your christ

      July 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  8. s

    Personally I think they should ban all religious nut job channels from hotel tv's......but keep the bible it's good for propping the bathroom door open

    July 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      And the pages are good when you run out of TP.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • mb2010a

      Also when you run out of rolling papers...

      July 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    because s.e.x is evil! lol.

    sounds like these two have trouble not turning to the skin flicks when they travel.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  10. Wondering

    Why is it that Man was given freedom of choice but religious leaders want to take that away so everyone has to think as then do.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  11. JudgeDB

    No one who stays in a hotel is forced to watch adult films. Why don't these idiots make better use of their time and write letters to all the governments of the world and ask them to stop killing people? Or ask criminals to stop committing crimes? Or maybe ask their imaginary friend, god, to come down here to fix his defective "creations"?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bob Baden

      Is the temptation too much? Is the $15 cost too much. What's the problem? Every single one of these religious leaders must think that their "flock" consists of willless individuals. Judge DB has it right. Don't these people have anything more important (and possible) to fix? I'm a solid, strong gay man. I'm capable of resisting the urge to spend money on what I can get within the confines of my marriege. Oh wait...these people have a problem with that too. Oh yeah.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Eded

      Ignorant!!

      July 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  12. allah the baboon

    who the hell give a flyihng F. what a muslim thinks.
    and to the catholic's, dont go to those hotels if if bother you.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  13. all religions are cults LOL

    As an athiest I'm going to write hotels and ask them to remove the bible because it is offensive and a lie...

    Oy vey... religious wackos....

    Let the traveling salesman have his entertainment if he wants it, better then cheating on his wife

    And who is suffering... the starlets seem to be enjoying it and the fancy cars they buy with the $

    July 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  14. Oz in OK

    Ah yes, let's get the hotels to remove p0rn because too many 'good Christian men' can't control themselves... yeah, okay.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  15. pgangel

    The earth is 4.5 billion years old, humans are 6 million years old. No garden, no talking snake, no magic apple tree. The Buy-bull is total horse manure and is for those who live their life in fear and ignorance.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  16. YCB5479

    The point of being a Christian is living in the world but resisting temptations (not being OF the world)... not removing all temptations so its easier to live in. Come on people, have you read the Bible?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Oz in OK

      Apparently too many 'good Christian men' aren't doing too well at resisting, so they're just getting the hotels to remove the 'temptation.'

      July 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  17. ME II

    It's a moot point anyway. Most so-called por.n in hotels is only the "soft" core variety, which doesn't really count.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  18. alex

    i thought all the christians were created in gods image........what's wrong with nudity?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Throb Porkherhard

      And by extension, God must really like porn too!

      July 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • ME II

      What do you think the garden of Eden was for?
      ... naked people 24/7 or 24/1000, I guess.

      (oh, I'm gonna burn for that one)

      July 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  19. What's a brony?

    I should keep my faith only at home and in church?

    Atheists take your own advice.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Robert

      The atheists aren't telling you what you can and can't do in your home or church or hotel room. That's all you.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      Actually many atheists want to.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Atheism in not a faith, fool.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      By definition it is.

      When you deny any gods exist its different.But when that denying becomes believing its faith.

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

      "Actually many atheists want to."

      No, that's a childish straw man argument Xtian use against Atheist to villify them.
      The simple fact is that the majority of Atheists do not care how and when you practice your faith so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others or require them to join you against their will.

      The next time you want to paint someone a villain, please remember to have a greater understanding of the issues so you don't make yourself look like a complete lackwit.
      Then remind yourself of the xtian movements in the Western world that are trying to dictate who people can marry, who they can sleep with, who they can worship, procreation and birth control, and pretty much want to rob people of their free will.

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

      "Christianity".

      Think your so cool you don't have to spell it out?

      •Facefalm•

      July 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Oz in OK

      So how about using that faith-thing of yours to, oh I don't know, *not* watch p0rn – instead of pushing the hotels to remove it altogether because you're too weak to 'resist the temptation'?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      Than its ON the person..not the faith.

      Atheists take pleasure in that..when the PERSON wants to..not the faith.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • JudgeDB

      Do whatever you want with your faith, except force it down other people's throats.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • all religions are cults LOL

      I expected a dumb response from religious wackos. Mainly because if you weren't so dumb, you wouldn't fall for the story of an imaginary dude in the sky. Only a weak minded individual would need to turn to a fairy tale.

      VIVA LA OBLIVION!

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

      No. I just don't think your beliefs deserve the respect of being addressed properly.
      When your religion and its proponents stop trying to subjugate everyone to the will of a nonexistent, evil, invisible tyrant, and then apologize for the damage it has done to this world, I may reconsider.

      Until then, get over it. And way to dodge everything else I addressed, by the way.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      Everybody point and laugh at the adult who still has imaginary friends.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Your own prophet told you to pray in your closet, not on the street corner. Or do you not have to follow his teachings?

      Matthew 6:5-6
      5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
      6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Scott

      What's a brony?
      Actually many atheists want to.

      -

      Really?
      When and who want to tell you "what you can and can't do in your home or church or hotel room."?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Scott
      don't bother
      brony goes by many names...unknown, unknownman, trollman...
      he's just a 6 year old troll trying to bash atheists and doing a bad job of it....just ignore it.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Rowdy Roddy Piper

      Hey brony, you're late for work! McDonalds can't get by without your fine condiment application skills!

      You all know brony is an 18 year old troll, don't you?

      July 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ What's a brony?
      Once again wrong. By definition atheism is a LACK of belief. We have no more faith that your god isn’t real than we have ‘faith’ unicorns are not real. You are a great example of why atheist think theists are stupid.

      July 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Karaya

    He, crazy religious dudes, really... It is XXI century, nobody watches hotel pron – except you. So don't shoot yourself in a foot.

    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.