If you had any doubts about the pernicious hold of pornography on American life, recent headlines should lay them to rest: The Ashley Madison website hack … the well-publicized scandals involving Josh Duggar and Jared Fogle … the spectacle of heavily painted topless women parading around Times Square in broad daylight . . . it’s all overwhelming.
We’ve gone over some of the stats on BreakPoint before, but here are just a few from the Covenant Eyes website: there have been about 1.5 billion internet searches for porn since the start of the year. Porn in America is a $13 billion industry every single year. Nine out of 10 boys are exposed to pornography before they reach 18; and about 64 percent of Christian men and 15 percent of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month.
And of course the impact goes deeper than any statistic can measure—lost marriages, private and public humiliation, ruined lives and ruined ministries.
It can seem that this porn culture is unstoppable. But I have some rare good news—it is possible to push back.
The Hilton hotel chain has just removed all pornography channels from its hotels in 85 countries. And you know what prompted this decision? Hilton’s executives were receiving as many as 1,000 emails a week asking them to take that step.
A key factor in this development was that Hilton already had a policy against their properties being used for sexual exploitation.
Pat Truman, president and CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which organized this three-year campaign, said that Hilton eventually “realized it didn’t make sense to be against [sexual exploitation] while promoting pornography, which is so closely connected to it . . . Sex traffickers use pornography to sell prostitution. It’s all connected.”
He’s right. In addition to all the other ills linked to this social ill, the link with sex trafficking has been well documented. According to a report in Scotland, for example, a statistically significant association exists between pornography use by men and the frequency of their use of women in prostitution. Another study states, “Interviews with 854 women in prostitution in 9 countries…made it clear that pornography is integral to prostitution . . . [A]lmost half … told us that pornography was made of them while they were in prostitution. Forty-seven percent of respondents were upset by attempts to make them do what their clients had previously seen in pornography.”
In an era where top dollar is the bottom line, it’s great to see a corporation like Hilton do the right thing. So let’s congratulate Hilton hotels.
And I should mention that Hilton joins a short but a growing list of hotels who have previously made the same decision. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation says that Omni, Drury, Ritz-Carlton, Nordic Choice Hotels, and Marriott have all dropped pay-per-view pornography, although some still allow guests to access porn through their own wi-fi connections.
To all the folks who emailed Hilton, congratulations to you, too. Well done! Thank you for the role that you played.
Now, Hilton’s decision won’t eliminate this demonic snare from American culture, but it’s a great reminder to all of us about the power of an e-mail message or phone call delivered winsomely in the cause of decency and human dignity. It reminds us that the bad ideas that seem to dominate our culture are vulnerable because bad ideas create victims. And that’s a window for redemptive cultural action by Christians to reach out to the victim, confront evil and promote good.
The wreckage caused by the sexual revolution is becoming all too evident—even to the most hardened of secularists. Rather than panic and despair, let’s push back against pornography—certainly in our households, and also in our communities. Why? Because businesses and legislators are listening.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: September 17, 2015