Men Will Be Men? A Landmark Act In Ramsey

RamseyXXXIn my younger days, I used to be the sort of guy who would insist that I’d rather have a world that included pornography, obscenity, and the like, than live in a world of restricted expression. It sounded almost noble: I may disagree with what you’re saying, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it.

In those days I also fell prey to the temptations of online pornography. People were free to “express themselves” directly into my computer, and I listened to the destructive siren song. My struggles to clean up my own act helped me to realize what a scourge porn is — especially now that it’s delivered free to anything with a screen for viewing. I took to praying the Hail Mary whenever I passed a so-called “adult entertainment” store or “gentlemen’s club.” And no establishment heard more of my prayers than the XXX Adult Book Store in Ramsey. The dilapidated bright green building stood on a weedy lot along U.S. 10, with three bright red Xs on white sign boards, beckoning to passersby, seedy, sordid, and doing a steady business.

For years I’ve prayed every time I passed — that the red hardtop Thunderbird wouldn’t be parked out back (the owner’s, I guess, or a regular customer’s), that it would go out of business, anything Our Blessed Mother could arrange. Then finally a week or so ago, I saw a black and orange For Sale sign on the side. I smiled, and said an extra prayer that afternoon.

A few days later, I drove by, and the For Sale sign was gone. So were the Xs. I said a prayer of thanksgiving.

Today I learned the whole story from Fox 9: tired of its most infamous landmark, the City of Ramsey learned it was for sale, and bought it from the retiring 87-year-old owner in order to close it down and demolish the building.

Too often, people are dismissive of porn. “Men will be men,” they say — but the locals tell of customers concealing their identities when the store was open…and dumpster diving for leftover inventory after it closed. These are not men, but slaves.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is stronger and more than direct than I remembered on this topic:

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials (CCC 2354).

I doubt the city had the Catechism in mind when it took action, and its motives likely encompassed something more (or other) then public morality — the building was an eyesore and an unfortunate and highly visible point of reference, plus the land is worth money. But whatever the complete rationale for its action, the City of Ramsey has set a solid example for others to follow. Where there is sin, we can, and should, work to uproot it. Then we’ll be men.


  1. Fr. Nathaniel Meyers says:

    Timshel, thank you for all of your prayers to close down pornographic and other sexually illicit stores. Pornography is a scourge on our society that impacts every single person, even those who have never directly experienced it. As a priest, I can say this is easily the most commonly confessed sin and it is also behind a whole host of other sins in the lives of individuals. I cannot pretend to know exactly how God’s Providence provided for the closure of this establishment, but I am confident your prayers did play a role. Like you, I suspect the City of Ramsey’s officials were not doing this to simply promote public morality, but God nonetheless used them as part of His plan to cast out sin and instill virtue.

    • Timshel says:

      Thank you, Father, for all you do to bring an end to this scourge, as well.

    • Maria Buchholz says:

      Father, maybe you should show up to the council meetings to really undestand what’s going on! We are glad that the bookstore is gone but what I can’t excuse is the money that the city paid for this property. The owner was in default so we could have saved the taxpayers almost 400 thousand dollars. And soon after they allowed a new smut store called Fantasy’s to come to Ramsey, and believe me when I tell you that this is not a Victoria Secret, I did visit the place and it didn’t leave much to the imagination. So don’t let these folks tell you how they really care about the image of the Ramsey City.

  2. Michael Robeck says:

    I believe pornography is the root to a lot of the sins we have in our world today, abortion, birth control, affairs to mention a few. I know other influences play a part also, but pornography is in the forefront of a lot of evil in this world.

  3. J. Thorp says:

    A friend of mine is on the city council in Ramsey. I would characterize him as a small-government conservative with some libertarian leanings. He was, by his account, the lone voice in opposition to this purchase. His rationale:

    1) There was no specified purpose for purchasing the property, other than that it sold smut, which is legal.

    2) The proprietor owed $25K in back taxes to the city, and the city could have conceivably gotten the property via tax forfeiture, rather than paying for the property to enable him to pay his back taxes.

    Also, it appears our fallen nature abhors a vacuum: he says an exciting new smut shop is opening or has opened in a much nicer location just a little ways away on Highway 10. Let the prayers re-commence, my friends…

  4. Jim Bendtsen says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with your whining commentary on your fears, your personal inability to control yourself and your insane dictatorial desires to control the thoughts and actions of everyone else. You project your internal dilemma and boogeyman under the bed onto everyone else in the human population, and posit that your demons should be, must be, theirs. That’s not only pathetic, but shows others just how irrational your thought processes have become.

    • Didymus says:

      Not really sure what the point of this comment is, but it is a classic example of the logical fallacy called an ad hominem attack. There are no premises stated to support a conclusion, just a series of unsupported statements intended to impugn the character, morals and motivations of another person. (“whining, insane, your internal dilemma, your demons….”). Since a logical fallacy is intrinsically irrational, perhaps that label shouldn’t be flung too casually at others.

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