The BIRTH CONTROL Movie Project presents the thrilling and adventurous true story of how one godly young man put his trust in the Lord, battled peer pressure, stood against the culture around him, and ended up at the center of the fight for national purity… and won!
Outlawed! How Anthony Comstock Fought & Won the Purity of a Nation is a newly republished and retitled authorized biography of the great fighter for purity, Anthony Comstock. Originally written in 1913 in the present tense of Comstock’s ongoing work, the story is one of life-and-death adventure, moral and physical heroism, and incomparable achievement. Editor Scott Matthew Dix brings a fresh, relevant discussion to the book with an engaging preface and postscript, and included is an eye-opening foreword by Allan Carlson, PhD.
What is Outlawed! About?
At the age of 28, Comstock made an unconditional surrender of his life to the will of God; he gave up his personal ambitions and took God’s will for himself, no matter what might be the cost. He entered the fight to rid this nation of obscene materials and to protect the innocent. He used his faith to make a difference, a real difference, in the prevailing culture around him – and his determination actually rid this nation of impurities for almost 100 years.
By the 1870’s, a young Anthony Comstock arrived in New York City in the middle of the Second Industrial Revolution. America was changing. As the world’s first billion dollar company was being formed, rural families flocked to the city and immigration exploded. New technologies coupled with metropolitan anonymity enabled the rapid spread of obscenity, contraception, and abortion. Insufficient laws had not caught up to new challenges and Comstock saw how these vices would have a detrimental effect on the family and American culture if not properly checked.
Comstock entered the fight. He began by making citizen’s arrests and incredibly within a year he found himself in Washington, DC meeting with congressmen and drafting the Postal Act of 1873. The Comstock Act, as it soon came to be known, passed in dramatic fashion during the final hours of the 42nd Congress and Comstock himself was shortly thereafter surprised with an appointment to be its chief enforcer with the newly created office of U.S. Post Office Special Agent.
Thus, he embarked on the life work in which he would serve for the next 42 years. This thrilling and remarkable story tells the account of how Anthony Comstock fought the battle for national purity and won.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” -Isaiah 41:10; 54:17
Most defenders of the Christian moral order conveniently forget that over the last 75 years, American legislatures and courts have already given their blessings to fornication, adultery, pornography, contraception, easy divorce, abortion, and sodomy. Most of these innovations faced at the time only token opposition. The cultural line that social conservatives now defend is actually the last redoubt on a battlefield mostly lost in the recent past, through indifference or neglect.
All of which raises in high relief the career and achievements of Anthony Comstock. His legacy is far-reaching. The contraceptive aspect of the Comstock Act stood for 63 years; the abortion component stood for exactly 100 years, and some historians say that Comstock “went further than any Pope or canonist.” It is a wonder that this heroic story is forgotten today among Christians, even those who are ardently pro-life. Comstock himself risked his life, his reputation, his future – his all. His goal was mainly to protect the populace, and in particular the young, from the evils of the day. The statutes and their methods of enforcement were tested before the Supreme Court, and were upheld. And when Comstock died, all of these laws were still firmly in place.
Anthony Comstock was a man of high integrity and uniquely equipped to carry out what he believed were his God-ordained duties. Men carefully watched his every step, looking for ways to attack his character and damage his reputation to put an end to his work, to no avail. He turned away immediately when he was offered enormous “name your own price” bribes. He withstood continual ridicule, being a regular topic of the era’s literary cartoons. He risked his life, often being in personal danger. And Comstock was prophetic in his ability to see contraception as the link between obscenity and abortion, and what would happen if it was accepted in society.
In all of these things, Anthony Comstock put his trust in the Lord. He was keenly aware that he could do nothing apart from God. Our endeavors may not have national impact as those of Comstock. But, within our own spheres – family, church, and community – we might personally get involved in the battle to protect purity and champion the blessing of larger, stronger families as the bedrock of a healthy church and society. We can lead by example.