In an effort to promote his cause for federal regulation of video games, Rep. Frank Wolf of the House Appropriations Committee, has demanded a federal agency that he oversees funding for conduct a study linking video games to violence.
At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Wolf brought the author of the study, Dr. Brad Bushman, to testify about his findings. Bushman has previously authored a study linking Bible passages to violence.
“People who believe that God sanctions violence are more likely than others to behave aggressively themselves,” wrote Ohio State University Prof. Brad J. Bushman, in his study “When God Sanctions Killing: Effect of scriptural violence on aggression.” "We found compelling evidence that exposure to a scriptural depiction of violence or to violence authorized by deity can cause readers to behave more aggressively,” he wrote. “Even among our participants who were not religiously devout, exposure to God-sanctioned violence increased subsequent aggression. That the effect was found in such a sample may attest to the insidious power of exposure to literary scriptural violence,” he wrote in the study.
Naturally, Bushman also believes there is a link between video games and violence. Bushman was a perfect researcher for a federal agency -- the National Science Foundation -- to call before a chairman who believes in video game regulations and determines their future funding allocations.
The reality is that since the growth of the video game industry in the 1990s, violence in America has dropped steeply and quickly. Numerous authorities, including the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Surgeon General and Federal Communications Commission have examined the scientific record and found that it does not establish any causal link between violent programming and violent behavior.
Naturally, Rep. Wolf believes his efforts are part of a "three-legged stool" to reduce violence in America -- and gun control is part of the other two legs of the stool. But Bushman and Wolf are walking down a slippery slope. If the Bible or video games cause violence, why not music, the Internet, books and movies? The last thing we need is another government agency determined to censor the First Amendment rights of Americans. Unfortunately for Virginia voters, Rep. Wolf is proving himself to be a RINO.