Dr. Paul J. Dean Christian Blog and Commentary

The proliferation of pornography in our culture is alarming to say the least. What was years ago considered to be deviant is now mainstream and what was difficult to obtain years ago is now available with the click of a mouse button. Ease of access to pornography for children on the internet, among other sources, is largely ignored by most parents busy pursuing the American Dream. Parents don't even have to be at work as thousands of children now have computers in their rooms. Teenagers all over the country are up half the night passing instant messages to their friends while their parents assume they are sleeping. Discussion regarding various subjects including sexually explicit websites is part of the information transferred instantaneously and continuously throughout the cover of night.

We face a scourge today. Consider that in 1998, over thirty percent of the sites on the Web were pornographic. One wonders what the figure is today as close to one-thousand porn websites have been added daily since that time.

This scourge is not relegated to the world but has swept into the church on a wave. In 2002, a New Man Magazine online poll reported that 75% of Christian men have viewed pornography in the last three months and that 43% have done so repeatedly. "Focus on the Family's Pastors Helpline finds that 35% of their contacts from pastors surround the issue of sexual compulsions and addictions." "Recently, 37% of pastors admitted in a Christianity Today survey that they struggle with Internet pornography." Staggering, is all that comes to mind.

A local newscast this week highlighted the rampant sexual activity among teenagers in our high schools. When interviewed, the general tenor expressed by the teenagers was simply this: "if you think your child is not involved in sexual activity, then you are truly in the dark." We were told that children as young as ten and eleven years of age are engaging in the same. Of course, from their perspective, the great comfort is that many are refraining from intercourse for fear of AIDS. The problem is that they've opted for the casual, frequent, and quick encounter of the Clinton-Lewinski type. Kids "hook-up" in this way for the fun of it with anyone they like anywhere they like. A school dance, a party at someone's home, or even the mall are common places for engagement in this illicit and dangerous activity.

Another news outlet reported that a group of high school students recently held a Playboy party. Even some of the students were outraged as young girls showed up in lingerie of the "Victoria's Secret" variety. No doubt exists that we live in a sexually charged culture. One need only watch television for a few minutes to come to that conclusion. Every form of media known to man is full of sexual imagery, most of it often irrelevant to the product or cause being promoted. One cannot ride down the highway without being confronted with massive billboards of flesh on display.

Hardees has been in the news lately with its controversial add featuring Paris Hilton in a revealing bikini washing a car while eating a hamburger. Various groups have objected to the ad which prompted the cavalier response from CEO Andrew Puzder of the parent company for Hardees and Carl's Jr., "Get a life." But typical comments on the ad include this one from Alexandra Campbell: "My female coworkers and I were at lunch today and everyone of them was appalled by this outrageous smut." Melissa Caldwell of PTC appeared on the Fox News Channel and said, "If you didn't see the Carl's Jr. tag at the end, you wouldn't know what she was trying to sell. You could think that she was selling a soft-porn video or a 'Girls Gone Wild' tape. It's very suggestive and it's meant to be."

The problem with rampant sexual activity among teenagers including internet porn, "hooking-up," and Playboy parties, is due largely to the message being propagated twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week that sex without commitment and/or responsibility is natural and right. Ads of the Hardees variety are part of the problem and many of us are weary of hamburger restaurants engaging in the sex business rather than the food business. More than weary, many others are being destroyed both morally, physically (by virtue of sexually transmitted disease), and eternally as the cultural message mitigates against the biblical message that what we do with our bodies does matter before God (1 Cor. 6:18-20)."

Still worse, the "American Family Association Online" now reports that pornographers are set to go after our children with cell phones. Pornography will soon be available to our children over their cell phones as Playboy hopes to make their porn available to the 170 million cell phone users throughout North America. 55 million of those users are children between the ages of five and nineteen (33.2%). Other pornographers will no doubt follow suit. Pornographic "pop-up" adds will appear on cell phones in attempt to lure persons into the world of pornography and sexual deviation, even on those phones that are in the hands of children. "Playboy says their new venture will allow more people to experience 'the sexiness of the classic Playboy lifestyle.'" According to the mega porn machine, the Playboy lifestyle is not destructive, but sexy, desirable, and good. The point is that pornographers are actively going after our children and they going after those children at a younger and younger age. It is not extreme to call them sexual predators.

Of course, this activity by Playboy raises the issue of free speech and/or at least freedom in terms of selling and/or marketing a product that is no doubt desired by many. While many are reluctant to outlaw certain activities in the name of freedom, even activities to which they would object, the issue here goes beyond personal choice and liberty. Even though a great objection to state power limiting the freedom of its citizens to engage in activities of their choice exists from a biblical perspective, a deeper issue is in view here. No doubt exists that Christianity cannot be forced on people as a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit is necessary for persons to fly to Christ, but another biblical/social issue is in play.  While salvation is not mechanical and cannot be legislated as the Constantinian change loudly testifies for all to see, the role of government in a civil society must be considered. To reiterate, Playboy, and no doubt others, are targeting and pursuing the children of America.

Having noted that Playboy is targeting our children, and having defined Playboy as a sexual predator, the government must step in here. If the primary role or function of government in a civil society is to protect its citizens from one another or from predators, then the government clearly must intervene here. Sexually charged "pop-ups" whether on the internet or the cell phone must be outlawed and heavy penalties must be levied against those who violate the law in this context.

The worn out argument that one can simply turn off the television if something objectionable appears will not work here. The internet has become part of our daily lives in terms of information gathering and communication. Cell phones are a primary means of communication as well. One cannot realistically discard the internet or cell phone because of objectionable "pop-ups." One has no choice but to see what pops up. Thus, government must step in.

Moreover, a vast difference exists between what an informed adult chooses to avail himself of and what is forced upon another by someone else, especially if the individual on the receiving end is a child. That child receives the intrusive "pop-up" through no choice of his own. Frankly, children, including most teenagers, do not yet have the moral or rational ability to navigate through philosophical and worldview issues, especially in this area. Hormones are raging, culture is preaching, and they are practically helpless victims.

Those who prey upon them are predators of the worst kind and should be dealt with severely. Freedom of speech or marketing is not the issue here. Rather, the mental and spiritual rape of our children is the issue. To that, the government must say "no." They must protect us or they fail in their mandate both in theory and in terms of the specific wording of the U.S. Constitution.

At the same time, government intervention is not the ultimate solution, though we do need protection from these predators. The Scriptures are clear when it comes to God's view of sexual immorality including that activity of targeting and pursuing others in an effort to draw them into a particular lifestyle. "...as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, [and] wickedness, ...who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (Rom. 1:28-32)." Even those who approve of sexual immorality or approve of those who engage in such are deserving of death. Much more clear are the words of Jesus with regard to the activity of Playboy toward our children: "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin (Lk. 17:2)."

Yet, those who fly to Christ will be saved. Because of that reality, now is not the time to be ashamed of the gospel. Now is the time to say that porn is an addiction. Now is the time to call it sin, but, that's good news, for Christ came to deliver sinners from their sin.

As noted, the message of sexual freedom is being propagated on every front. Juanita Broaddrick's story of being raped by Bill Clinton is a central piece of a newly released book citing the mindset of many who feel that power gives them the right to take what they want. The homosexual agenda is being promoted to our children in school. A video entitled "It's Not Gay" presents the little heard truth from former homosexuals along with medical and mental health experts that "the sanitized version of homosexuality being presented to students is not the whole truth." We can thank God for that message from the American Family Association.

But, is it enough? With the world's message being proclaimed so loudly, pervasively, and continuously, should we not be proclaiming God’s message with equal vigor in love? If we don't, the next wave of what is acceptable in this sexually charged culture will be less likely to move us to action than it will be to wash us away. Talk show host Paul McGuire of Los Angelos said of the Playboy effort that "soon cell phones will open a tsunami of porn images." Want a peak at the wave already approaching like a tsunami that has not arrived yet? The door has been opened in England by Ofcom as they unveiled their long-awaited new broadcast code which will now allow programming related to people having sex with animals. A Guardian article cited a man having sex with his pony and a woman having sex with her dog. If we've learned anything from the sexual images 'round about us, we've learned that they influence the behavior of our young people. A wave regarding sex with animals is coming from England. Beloved, it's time to figure out how to stop a tsunami before it gets to shore.


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