When the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on “virtual” child pornography by citing First Amendment guarantees of free speech, it made a grave constitutional error.

Pornography is not a constitutionally protected form of expression. Obscene images are not speech. It’s just that simple.

No one on the court came to this conclusion, but it is an important one.

If we can’t have consensus as a nation that the promotion of children as sex objects is wrong, we are going to have serious problems reaching consensus on anything.

The main argument against the 1996 law aimed at cracking down on computer-generated child porn was that it might stifle the kind of artistic expression we witnessed in award-winning movies such as “Traffic” and “American Beauty.” In fact, that argument is specious as these films were made well after the passage of the law.

That’s right. The Child Pornography Prevention Act was approved by both houses of Congress and signed by former President Clinton – hardly known as a prude insensitive to the interests of Hollywood.

What the court has done with this decision is give license to a whole new generation of child porn.

With new computer-imaging technology, pornographers can make video images of real children being abused sexually, yet defend themselves successfully in court by saying they are mere digital creations. Already statutes exist in 19 states banning such child porn and closing that loophole.

The Supreme Court just blew that loophole wide open – providing carte blanche legal protection to kiddie porn purveyors.

“This decision has set back years of work on behalf of the most innocent Americans,” said Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus.

On the other hand, Ann Beeson of the American Civil Liberties Union, had this to say: “… Congress may not overstep the boundaries the court has laid out in distinguishing constitutionally protected speech from obscenity and child pornography that harms actual children.”

Let me ask you a question: When the founders of this great country enshrined in the Constitution of the United States the Bill of Rights, do you really think they were interested in protecting child pornographers? Is that what you think they meant by the right to freedom of speech?

I don’t think so.

But America has lost its moral bearings. It can no longer tell right from wrong. Sometimes the most “well-educated” among us have the most difficulty. And that is evident once again in this 6-3 court ruling.

The acceptance of the most vile forms of pornography as protected by the First Amendment is a very new phenomenon.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln explained that the test for obscenity was anything that “tended to stir the sexual impulses or lead to sexually impure lustful thoughts.”

“This definition was acceptable until the 1957 Alberts and Roth cases,” explains Judith Reisman, a Ph.D., president of the Institute for Media Education and author of “Kinsey, Crimes & Consequences.” “In that fateful year, the ACLU pressed the fraudulent Kinsey sex data into service, citing it before the U.S. Supreme Court as proof that a new classification of obscenity – pornography – is harmless. The high court accepted the ACLU’s Kinseyan-based cases, and established a new test: ‘whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to purient interest.’ In the ensuing legal muddle, pornographers’ fantasies have fallen under the protection of the First Amendment, which was never intended to protect obscenity. Since 1957, courts have sought to measure dirty pictures by concepts in current vogue as opposed to yesterday’s ‘outmoded,’ albeit more honest, standards.”

What’s at stake in this misguided decision? There are forces at work in our society actively promoting the sexual objectification of children – even the youngest most innocent children.

Those forces are celebrating this week. Our nation’s moral compass is a little bit more out of whack. We’ve just slipped another notch down the slippery slope.

Hide the kids, America. The Supreme Court is back in session.

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