MBC attorney leads fight against porno video in KC
By Bob Baysinger
April 27, 2004
LEE’S SUMMIT – James Freeman is known to most Missouri Baptists as a member of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) legal team, involved in the legal war to return five breakaway agencies to the MBC.
Freeman, who is also a Lee’s Summit city councilman, has now gotten involved in another struggle in his hometown – a struggle to keep a video store from selling and/or renting smut.
“Family Video came in and presented a proposal to put in a family-oriented video store,” said Freeman, a member of Oakwood Baptist Church. “It was anticipated that the family would go in and buy ice cream and rent movies — very family oriented.”
Freeman learned afterward that Family Video wasn’t telling everything when they made their presentation to the city council.
“Some residents called and said, ‘What’s up with this place?’ They had heard that Family Video sells X-rated videos,” Freeman said.
The deception came to light in late March when the neighboring town of Blue Springs rejected a proposed Family Video location because the store would have carried the porn videos. The Lee’s Summit council had approved a Family Video store last November.
Freeman and other Lee’s Summit officials say they were misled by the store’s name.
Bob McKay, Lee’s Summit’s director of planning, told the Kansas City Star that city staff had no idea that Family Video’s inventory would include adult-oriented material. “It didn’t cross our minds,” McKay said.
The company, based in Glenview, Ill., has been embroiled in court and zoning challenges in Michigan, Wisconsin and Rolla, Mo., because of its practice of renting X-rated material.
“We’re exploring our legal options,” Freeman said. “The mayor and I are attempting to establish a meeting with Family Video. It would be in their economic best interest to be a family video store and not bring this type of merchandise into our neighborhood. If they do, people will not use their store.
“I will work to make sure families do not go into that store and be subject to the X-rated materials. It is not in the best interest of the community. This part of town is truly a family-oriented part of the city.”