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Pornography: Far From The Song of Songs

Responding to overtures from the presbyteries of Elizabeth and Cincinnati, the 196th General Assembly (1984) adopted a resolution on pornography that mandated the Council on Women and the Church (COWAC) and the General Assembly Mission Board (Office of Women) to "persevere in their work in the areas of pornography and obscenity and the education of the church and society to combat the abusive treatment of women."

Taking action to provide the budget necessary for this study in both 1985 and 1986, the 198th General Assembly (1986) directed the Council on Women and the Church and the Committee on Women’s Concerns to complete the work approved in 1984. In addition, the 1985 action directed the two women’s advocacy groups as follows:

  • to present the results of their research and proposals to develop educational materials and plans to distribute them to sessions and congregations;
  • to develop material for education purposes concerning obscenity, pornography, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual exploitation of persons, appropriate for study within sessions and congregations;
  • to make the church aware of educational resources already in existence that cover the topics of obscenity, pornography, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual exploitation. [The entire texts of the 1984, 1985, and 1986 General Assembly actions are in the Background Material of this report.]

These actions were consistent with the work done by the women’s advocacy groups since their establishment in 1972 in the PCUS and in 1973 in the UPCUSA. Previous General Assemblies had assigned studies on rape and battering, reported in 1978, on sexual harassment (1982), and on sexual exploitation of women (1986).

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