- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2003

A pair of odd bedfellows will speak out today about a problem afflicting Americans of all political stripes.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and Christian Coalition President Roberta Combs appear at a late-morning Capitol press conference to discuss the junk e-mail known as spam and the senator’s bill to impose tougher penalties on spammers. The two also will conduct a demonstration of e-mail spam.

“Christian Coalition cares about issues that affect the family,” Mrs. Combs said. “This affects kids, young people that are our future. Just because the senator and I don’t agree on all issues doesn’t mean we can’t agree on some issues. And I’m willing to work with anyone who’s concerned about the family.”

According to Mrs. Combs, the senator decided to take on the issue upon learning that his teenage daughters are deluged with pornographic messages whenever they open their e-mail.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that pornographic pictures appear in almost one out of every five e-mail messages that spammers used to advertise adult Web sites. Many of these explicit images reach the in-boxes of millions of young people.

Mrs. Combs, whose conservative advocacy group claims 2 million members, says the senator sought out her endorsement for his bill, the Stop Pornography and Abusive Marketing Act.

But the senator opposes the Christian Coalition’s stances on many issues, such as abortion and homosexuality. They are also on opposite sides of whether the Senate should confirm Miguel Estrada to the federal bench, with Mr. Schumer leading the filibuster against the nomination.

The Christian Coalition has not researched spam as an issue, but its link with pornography intrigued Mrs. Combs.

“Since pornography affects the family, we felt this was an issue we could own,” she said. “We’re broadening our base on the issues we are working on.”

The senator said he wants the support of the Christian Coalition and other conservative Republicans to head off a fight with direct marketers who might sabotage his legislation.

“If I can line up a bunch of Democrats, and then she can line up a bunch of Republicans, we can make this happen finally,” Mr. Schumer told the Associated Press. If passed, Mr. Schumer’s law would also create a no-spam registry like those that have prevented calls from telemarketers.

A new survey by Symantec, a computer security software seller, reveals that 47 percent of children reported receiving junk e-mail with links to pornographic Web sites.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in five children between the ages of 10 and 17 are sexually solicited on the Internet, and one in four had an unwanted exposure to pictures of naked people or people having sex. Only 40 percent of these children told a parent.

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