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Proposed Oklahoma Legislation Would Ban Lewd Content and Explicit Material in Digital Media

by | Jan 24, 2024

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In Oklahoma, a conservative pastor, Dusty Deevers has now emerged as a big league player in the political sphere. His background as a Southern Baptist mirrors quite a bit of the religious landscape of the state, known for its conservative leanings and emphasis on faith. Deevers’ rise to office in Oklahoma is a reflection of the state’s alignment with leaders who share its core values, at least in his district.

The trajectory of Deevers’ career, as promised, is closely tied to his religious beliefs, common in Oklahoma, where faith often intersects with public life. His Christian roots, which prioritize the Scriptures and living a life in accordance with Christian principles, have been a consistent undercurrent in his approach to governance.

Amidst this backdrop, Senate Bill 1976, a legislative proposal poised to be introduced by Deevers in Oklahoma’s 2024 legislative session, delves into the complex realm of digital content regulation, particularly focusing on lewd activities and the broader sexualization of culture and media. This bill, while addressing a range of issues, places a significant emphasis on the regulation of content deemed inappropriate or explicit, particularly in the context of social media and digital platforms.

One of the key components of SB 1976 is its detailed definition and categorization of what constitutes unlawful and obscene material. The bill states, “unlawful pornography means any visual depiction or individual image…in which a person is engaged in any of the following acts with a person: a. sexual intercourse which is normal or perverted…b. …sodomy…c. sexual activity with an animal…” and goes on to include a range of other acts such as sadomasochistic abuse, flagellation, torture, and physical restraint in the context of sexual conduct​​. This exhaustive list illustrates the bill’s intent to cover a broad spectrum of inappropriate activities, reflecting a commitment to setting clear boundaries in the digital realm.

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Further specifying the types of activities that the legislation seeks to regulate, the bill mentions “lewd exhibition of the uncovered genitals in the context of masturbation or other sexual conduct” as well as the lewd exhibition of genitals, buttocks, or breasts for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer​​. These provisions indicate a focused approach to addressing content that is explicitly sexual in nature, particularly content that might be accessible on social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook.

Additionally, the bill addresses the exhibition and observation of such acts by minors, underscoring the legislative intent to protect younger audiences from exposure to explicit material. The text specifies that “where the lewd exhibition of the uncovered genitals, buttocks or if such minor is a female the breast has the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer or wherein a person under the age of eighteen (18) years observes such acts or exhibitions” is subject to regulation​​.

The bill also makes a distinction between materials that possess “serious literary, artistic, educational, political or scientific purposes or value” and those that do not, exempting the former from the definition of obscenity​​. This clause suggests an acknowledgment of the nuanced nature of content regulation, where not all materials with sexual content are automatically deemed inappropriate, but rather are subject to a contextual evaluation based on their overall purpose and value.

Overall, SB 1976 presents a comprehensive approach to tackling the issue of lewd content and the sexualization of culture and media, particularly in the digital space. By setting clear definitions and guidelines, the bill seeks to establish a legal framework that aligns with the values and standards deemed important by the legislative body, reflecting an effort to balance the need for free expression with the protection of public morality and the well-being of minors.

As SB 1976 prepares to make its journey through the legislative process, one can’t help but wonder: Will this legislation fly? Probably not, but it undeniably represents an effort to steer a part of our culture away from that which is in rebellion to God and His statutes. However, the human tendency to seek what they desire persists—should the bill pass, it’s almost certain to face legal challenges questioning its constitutionality. Ultimately, it would require nothing short of a miraculous act of divine intervention to truly transform hearts and minds, turning them back to their Creator whom they rebel against daily.

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