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What’s Next For The Dallas Porn Busters?

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Even before Southland Corporation pulled Playboy from 7-Eleven shelves and before the Dallas city attorney recently tightened two city ordinances designed to regulate sexually oriented businesses, two private non-profit organizations in Dallas were circulating literature and organizing rallies to spotlight their beliefs that porn is linked to sex crimes.

One of the groups is The American Renewal Foundation, the brainchild of Billy and Joyce Burden. Since opening the foundation’s doors last year, the Burdens have mounted an active campaign to stamp out porn. The privately run foundation- “dedicated to the preservation of the things that made America great in the first place”-was a formal supporter of the anti-porn march last summer at Southland’s headquarters, and it was preparing to run an open letter to former Southland CEO and Board Chairman John P. Thompson in full-page newspaper ads across the nation before Southland decided to pull adult magazines from all its 7-Eleven stores. The ad. signed by businessmen, entertainers, and ministers, said the group had pledged “as long as 7-Eleven sells pornography we will not spend another penny with 7-Eleven.” The foundation’s next target, says Mrs. Burden, is Stop ’N Go stores.

The foundation tells its story in a variety of ways (one pamphlet, written by Billy Burden, is titled “From Porn to Pornomaniac”) and conducts rallies, like the one held recently in the Richardson Civic Center that featured such speakers as U.S. Senator Jesse Helms.

“Pornography is Enemy No. 1 to the family,” she says. “It’s become so widespread and accepted that we can’t just stamp it out. But most Christian people don’t know that it’s going on. Those people who go to X-rated movies and places like that have a problem. Pornography is addictive. A person once addicted, like an alcoholic, can’t just say he’s going to quit looking at it. He needs treatment.”

The other anti-porn organization, calling itself the Dallas Association For Decency, is concentrating its efforts on lobbying for stronger state and local obscenity laws. “There is a definite, direct correlation between crime and pornography,” says Dallas commercial developer Austin Lewis, treasurer of the group whose membership comprises about fifty Dallas businessmen. “Our obscenity laws are not being enforced. Adult video clubs are opening up all over-they are not just limited to the Harry Hines, Industrial, and Mockingbird locations. We’re working toward putting some teeth into anti-pornography laws and ordinances, but we’re not trying to be moral watchdogs for people.”

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