By Jim Gauger
Special to The CS&T
When Damian Wargo, who cofounded the King’s Men organization with Mark Houck in 2006, learned that the group Morality in Media was planning a week to take action against pornography he decided to take the information campaign to the streets of Philadelphia.
More accurately, to the west side of City Hall. The campaign, named “White Ribbon Against Pornography” (WRAP), began on Friday, Oct. 23, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 1. Its theme: “To raise public awareness about the hardcore pornography problem and to promote enforcement of obscenity and related laws.”
It was the campaign’s first day Wargo and seven volunteers were at City Hall from noon to 2 p.m.
“This was the first time we did something like this at City Hall,” said Wargo, a former teacher of mathematics, computer programming, web page design and theology in both Catholic and public high schools.
“It went really well,” he said. “We handed out 1,000 fliers and literature that described the dangers of pornography. We also had dialogue with a bunch of people about who we are and what we do. “We had resistance from some people, mostly men. By and large, when you hand out literature on the street in Philadelphia people are a little hesitant. Most people took it. Hopefully, they looked at it later.”
Wargo estimates that the King Men’s network has organized over 100 protests against adult book stores and strip clubs in the Philadelphia area.
The Duquesne University graduate has seen the King Men’s non-profit organization grow steadily during the years.
“We started first as a part-time, small men’s group, meeting week to week,” he said. “We call men to grow in virtue and be accountable to one another. We realized that many Catholic men have grown up in a culture that is basically telling them that women are sexual objects. It has a devastating impact.”
Wargo’s mission is to educate through the King’s Men and WRAP. “We want to empower people to take on these issues, especially parents,” he added.
Morality in Media has outlined six “action steps” which Wargo endorses.
Briefly, they are:
* Display white ribbons, wear a WRAP lapel pin, put a WRAP magnet on your car.
* Make copies of “What you can do to combat pornography during WRAP Week, and throughout the year, and distribute it to members of your church or other religious/community organizations.
* Send a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
* Ask your governor, state legislature, mayor, or city council to issue a proclamation in conjunction with the White Ribbon Against Pornography Campaign.
* Ask your state prosecutor to enforce state obscenity laws.
* Tell others about the www.ObscenityCrimes.org web site. Complaints about Internet pornography submitted to the web site are forwarded to the Justice Department and to the U.S. Attorney in each federal district where a complaint originated. More information can be found on the web site, www.wrapfamily.com.
“Morality in Media has a lot of resources, legally with spending power and through prayer,” Wargo said. “We are taking part in their initiative, raising awareness of how people can fight pornography.”
Wargo also said that the King’s Men camping retreat, “Into the Wild Weekend” held at French Creek State Park in Elverson in September, was a success. The group is looking at holding three outdoor retreats in 2010, two in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh.
Jim Gauger is a freelance writer, and a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Glenside.