SMOKE, MIRRORS & SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KANSAS CITY ANTI-SEX CRUSADERS

By: Danny Alexander


In grand PMRC style, the Coalition Against Pornography (CAP) of Kansas City launched its 1992 "Enough Is Enough: Women Against Pornography Campaign" with a November 6th luncheon at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. The luncheon drew 600 people, the majority paying $15 a plate, to hear the wives of prominent politicians and pseudo-psychologists explain the need for the largest ever women's movement against illegal pornography.

Though the speakers repeatedly asserted the cries of "censorship" were merely a smokescreen used by those who make money off the "carnage" caused by pornography, the censors were the ones boldly brandishing smoke and mirrors and anything else available to fog over their real agenda. Blurring the lines between legality and illegality, between terms like pornography, obscenity, sexually explicit and suggestive, the coalition made it clear its real goal was to control all sexually-oriented material. CAP leader Chris Cooper repeatedly referred to sexually explicit materials in convenience stores, hotels rental soft porn, and films depicting group sex as the targets of this campaign against "illegal pornography." In the most ludicrous example (that would have worked better for our side of the issue than their's if anyone listening had accidentally left his or her tightly-locked mind open), Christian psychotherapist Grace Lee explained that this problem had been around for a long time; she knew of a case where a woman had been sexually abused in her youth by a grandfather who used pictures from the Sears catalog lingerie section to get turned-on. With this logic, it is more than reasonable to assume CAP-KC's real goal is to make the world safe from all depictions of sexuality that veer from their narrow list of acceptable options.

And these urges to censor art don't stop with photographs. When rock writer Dave Marsh spoke against censorship at a Community College campus here last year, CAP-KC's Chris Cooper offered the pro-censorship position to local TV. And CAP-KC's parallels to the PMRC don't stop there either. CAP-KC is actively involved with the power elite of the nation. The Executive Director Clarence Kelly is a former FBI head, while the keynote speaker at this luncheon, Dee Jepsen, was President Reagan's special liaison on women's issues.

How did she gain that status? By being married to a prominent Senator of course. Her husband, former Iowa Senator Roger Jepsen, served during the Reagan Administration as chairman of the Joint Economic Committee in a career littered with one scandal after another. Cited in a 1982 WASHINGTON MONTHLY article as one of the eight worst Senators, not only was Jepsen know to have appointed a Pentagon-paid Marine Colonel to his personal staff to help gain government contracts of Iowa firms, but according to a 1984 NEW REPUBLIC, he "was dogged by controversy over omissions in his personal and campaign finance disclosure reports, his ties to conservative fund-raiser Richard Viguerie, published allegations that the government of South Africa was illegally funding his candidacy, and his own comments, such as an off-hand suggestion that Social Security perhaps ought to be turned over to private business."

An anti-abortion leader and a proponent of conservative social values, Jepsen often saved-face (after hypocritical revelations such as his membership to a Des Moines sex club) by praying with his born-again wife, Dee. She told him, "If you walk around with one foot in this kingdom and one foot in the secular world, all you get is a bloody crotch."

So, beyond her husband's corrupt, conservative political agenda, one thing none of us should ever forget about this self-proclaimed leader of the women's movement against pornography is that she doesn't see herself as living in our secular world at all. Dee Jepsen is on a mission from God--which no doubt explains one of CAP-KC's key tactics, prayer. Prayer requests were passed out at the luncheon calling for the active prosecution (in addition to the salvation) of retailers of pornography. But don't misinterpret this to mean CAP-KC won't resort to stronger tactics to get what it wants: the luncheon speeches called for involvement in sophisticated letter writing campaigns, boycotts of retailers who handle adult materials and boycotts of hotels and motels which make adult videos available.

So the GREATER KANSAS CITY COALITION AGAINST CENSORSHIP has to fight fire with fire. We are structuring our own letter writing campaign as well as declaring support for those few businesses who ensure free speech in our community. We also plan to host workshops and educational programs dealing with the realities (not myths) of sexuality and the positive and negative effects of its depiction in art. Though CAP-KC may be an organization of religious zealots, they are not a fringe group, their influence touches the mainstream of Kansas City society (one of the board members was until recently the station manager of our ABC affiliate). The only way we can offset the tremendous power and influence of this group is to organize. Write us at: 201 Wyandotte, Suite #209, Kansas City, MO 64105 if you would like to get involved.

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