Art Bondy, left, and Deacon Mike Horoky take part in a recent anti-pornography picket in Windsor, Ont. Photo by Ron Stang

Deacon leads Windsor anti-pornography protest

By  Ron Stang, Catholic Register Special
  • February 15, 2013

WINDSOR, ONT. - On one of the coldest days so far this winter a small group of men walked back and forth on the sidewalk in front of a central Windsor shopping plaza to protest the proliferation of pornography.

The men have been holding their silent anti-pornography protests for almost three years.

About four or five of them gather the first and last Fridays of each month at 5 p.m. for the one-hour picket along one of the city’s busiest streets, Dougall Avenue.

Their picket always takes place at the same location in front of a small shopping plaza where there is a store called Adult Video, which rents pornographic movies.

Their signs read: “Pornography Hurts Children, Pornography Destroys Marriage, Pornography Degrades and Enslaves Men.”

Mike Horoky, a Catholic deacon, started the protest. He said the location was chosen because of its high profile, especially during the rush hour.

“It’s a pretty busy road, it’s high visibility, there’s all kinds of traffic going back and forth,” said Horoky.

On this day most of the traffic doesn’t respond one way or another but there is the occasional honk of support. However, Horoky said that over the many months of picketing there have also been a number of not so pleasant remarks — “a lot of verbal attacks.”

“People stop, and then they’re swearing at us,” he said.

Horoky recalled once incident where one man was “yelling at us, screaming at us, threatening to get his buddies to come and beat us up.” In another “we had a woman give us the finger and yell at us and said, ‘Get in the 20th century.’ ”

But the small group carries on, and occasionally receives compliments. Female staff at a nearby shop brought them coffee, and one man thought twice about entering the store after speaking to them.

Horoky says even negative comments mean the pickets have an effect, since they’re making people look at their consciences.

“So it’s doing what it’s intended to do,” he said.

Horoky decided to start the picket after seeing a similar group on TV in Pittsburgh, “a group of men who heard the Lord calling them to do something in terms of pornography.” He said he originally obtained ”mixed reactions” when he tried to get support from other men. But now “there’s a core of us, about five of us, who have been meeting.”

Meanwhile a group in neighbouring LaSalle started a similar protest during the past year in front of a store in the suburban community, a store ironically called Family Video.

“They sell and rent pornography,” said Gerard Charette, a local resident and deacon. “It’s kind of odd that they would call themselves Family Video. They have an adult room.”

Charette is a member of the Archbishop Dennis O’Connor Knights of Columbus at Windsor’s Assumption parish. The council officially backs the pickets.

The LaSalle protest takes place the second Saturday of each month between 3-4 pm. Charette said the number of pickets is also small.

“It’s for the brave of heart (or those) who don’t mind walking, we’re right on the sidewalk there.”

Charette, who has taken part in right-to-life pickets, equates the anti-porn protests to the pro-life movement.

“It’s a protest in favour of the culture of life against the culture of death,” he said.

Charette said his group contacted Family Video’s U.S. head office and asked if the store could remove the pornographic films.

“They thought about it and decided not to, so we did what we said we would do.”

The group is planning a special Father’s Day march.

The local Family Video manager said she was not allowed to comment.

David Chau, an employee at Adult Video, called the pickets “not fair.” He said selling such films was an example of free expression and complained the protesters only picket his store.

“If they do every store I don’t mind,” he said.

(Stang is a freelance writer in Windsor, Ont.)

 

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