Editor's Note
: This article was originally published July 14, 2007. We run it again now as part of Pornography Awareness Week, October 26 - November 2. For more information, click here.

Divorce lawyers are noting its increasing influence.

In Great Britain, it's blamed for a 20 percent jump in sexual assaults perpetrated by kids as young as 11.

In the United States, the adult film industry sees it as a $13 billion a year business -- more money than mainstream Hollywood generates.

The numbers are staggering: up to 45 million "unique" users visited adult websites in a recent month, as tracked by Nielsen Net Ratings.

With the advent of wireless handheld devices, porn is accessible via mobile phones and similar devices.

"Certainly, this is going to make it easier to view porn in more places than ever," Pamela Paul, author of "Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families," told USA Today.

"The flood of pornography in our culture has desensitized society and has contributed to the fact that our nation is wandering aimlessly in dangerous, uncharted territory," Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said in a statement e-mailed to the Southern Baptist TEXAN.

That flood has entered the church doors, leaving anecdotal and documented evidence that families and churches are being damaged, mostly by Christian men -- some of whom are ministers -- who succumb to what Land calls a cheap imitation of God-designed sex.

"Sexuality is a far bigger and more troubling issue in the church than any other moral issue," Land said.

The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity reports that an estimated 2 million Internet users are addicted to pornography. Christian men are among them.

In an August 2000 survey of its readership by Christianity Today magazine, 36 percent of laymen who responded had visited a sexually explicit Internet site, of which 44 percent visited such sites "a few times" in the past year.

Additionally, the six-year-old research showed that 51 percent of pastors admitted pornography was a possible temptation, 37 percent said porn is a struggle and 33 percent had viewed Internet pornography at least once a year.

A Pastor's Report

One pastor who spoke to the TEXAN about the problem said the incidence of sexual immorality in the church, with pornography as the culprit, has increased in the last five years.

The pastor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he has counseled two fellow ministry leaders regularly over the last year who have lost their ministries because of porn and related problems. One lost his marriage and the other is fighting to keep his, the pastor said.

One was a para-church leader whose wife discovered his addiction. "He's doing treatment, he's doing counseling, he's doing accountability," the pastor said. "He's doing everything he can do."

The man did not have extramarital intercourse, but "he was doing the pornography, topless bars.... He spent thousands of dollars on this type of stuff. This guy was in ministry."

The pastor estimated that "80 percent of all young ministers have at some point struggled with this on some level. Now, that may be as simple as he got sent a naked picture and he looked at it and that was the end of it. But on some level, I would say virtually every minister under the age of 30 has had some kind of experience with it in their adult lifetime."

He added: "If you're talking about just men in general under the age of 40, I'll tell you it's well above 50 percent that at least occasionally use pornography. I'm saying Christian men. Statistics show that as well."

Henry Rogers, corporate chaplain at Dallas-based Interstate Batteries and author of the book "The Silent War: Ministering to Those Trapped in the Deception of Pornography," told the radio audience of "For Faith & Family" that porn's proliferation is "ripping the soul out of the American male."

Rogers said the problem is "within the church walls and not only in the pews but in the pulpit as well."

The mind is the battlefield, Rogers said, noting the crucial Christian discipline of taking thoughts captive.

"We have an adversary who wants to take us out," Rogers said. "He may wait 10, 15, 20 years. There is no age at which we can relax, thinking we are immune to sexual temptation."

Rogers added: "Confession is a powerful deterrent to temptation."