Last night, in honor of our pet cockatiel - creatively named Paulie (he is a male) - my family and I watched some goofy online videos of singing birds. Listening to a bright-green parrot whistling opera is guaranteed to make children, and their parents, laugh.

After one of the videos ended, another came up - this one for what was, evidently, a pornographic short-film. To describe it would be to offend moral decency. We exited the site as quickly as possible.

We had laughter, innocence, togetherness, my little girl scrunched between her brother and me, my other son standing close by and my wife and I seated next to one another.

Love and family, gifts of God. And then the sordid, the crass, the debauched: From one to the other, in a sudden flash of electronic neurons.

This brief episode reminded me of the broader character of life in a fallen world. Beauty marred by the smear of filth. Joy not untouched by pain. The quiet, glad life of a family intruded upon by garish sin.

It is to sustain the family as God intended it, to protect the innocence and thus, ultimately, the character of our children, and to defend and nourish these things as the bedrock of our civilization that the Family Research Council exists. No legislation can substitute for the protection of a vigilant parent, and no law can build a moral wall thick enough to prevent the persistent trickle of sin from seeping through it. Sometimes, that trickle is more like a raging current.

We know that. But we also know that public law and personal character are entwined. That without the protection of just law, families and all private citizens are at the mercy not just of an imposing, threatening state but the creativity of evil in myriad forms. That without personal virtue, liberty descends visibly into license. Personal, private, public: Interrelated, inextricably.

So, Family Research Council makes public arguments about political policy, advances good laws, and seeks a justice system that adheres to the Constitution as it was written. We seek to do this with grace and truth, firmness and patience. And whatever our visible successes and failures, we know Who wins in the end.

To help fight pornography:

It is estimated that one-third of all children are accessing online pornography by the time they are ten years-old, according to a new study in the U.K. By age 16, eight in 10 of them are regularly seeking it out. Unfortunately, children are only part of the pornography puzzle. Men, women, and families are harmed irreparably by the proliferation of these images on the Internet and other media.

What can Congress do about it? Well, it can start by enforcing the current laws, which was the subject of an important briefing on Capitol Hill in June of this year. FRC helped facilitate the event, which featured experts like our former policy fellow Pat Trueman.

In December, 2009, FRC's own Dr. Pat Fagan released a major paper on the effects of pornography on society, which confirmed that Capitol Hill has a vested interest in protecting Americans against pornography and pornographers. To learn more about what's at stake in this debate and what you can do to help, click here to watch video from the Capital Hill briefing.