GUEST EDITORIAL: The greatest unspoken threat to families and churches today
The following editorial is written and endorsed by the BGCO’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee to help raise awareness about Sexual Purity and Pornography Sunday on Aug. 2. “Pornography is a ravenous cancer destroying modern society. It is Satan’s corruption of God’s design for us as sexual beings. It is one of the most wicked and powerful weapons in Satan’s arsenal as he seeks to encourage an ever-increasing sexual lust that enslaves and consumes its victims” according to Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is an epidemic that is damaging the lives of young people, destroying marriages, producing false views of sex and beauty and degrading women. With more outlets for hard-core pornography in America than McDonald’s restaurants, Christians face the growing accessibility to a vile corruption.
Pornography no longer has to be viewed in steamy theaters or perilously bought at an adult bookstore; the Internet’s useful and productive tools have also proven to be a tool of immorality. Porn on the Web is accessible, affordable and anonymous. Accessibility allows small children as well as adults to view explicitly obscene images.
Those who in the past shied away from purchasing pornographic books or magazines now have access to hundreds of thousands of free Web sites with pornographic images. In fact, 69 percent of the online consumer market consists of adult sites.
According to Family Safe Media, pornography is a $57 billion world-wide industry, including $12 billion in the United States alone. According to their statistics, pornography revenue exceeds the combined revenues of all professional baseball, football and basketball franchises and the combined revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC. Family Safe Media also reports that there are more than 4.2 million pornographic Web sites, which include more than 373 million pornographic Web pages. The average e-mail user receives 4.5 pornographic e-mails each day, and the average age of first exposure to Internet pornography is 11 years old.
While pornography is typically only associated with men, a significant portion of Internet pornography users are female. Family Safe Media reports that 72 percent of Internet pornography viewers are men, and 28 percent of viewers are female. The biblical passage most explicitly related to pornography is Matthew 5:27-28, where Jesus declares, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In this passage during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expands upon the understanding of the Law. God created people to be physical, psychological and spiritual beings, and He designed the marriage covenant to be a faithful union of a man and a woman in all three areas. Therefore, mental adultery, or lust, is unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant that binds a man and a woman physically, spiritually and psychologically.
So, what can you do?
Protect yourself—No matter how strong you think your willpower is, continually protect yourself from the dangers of pornography. Like most things, it is much easier to resist pornography if you are never tempted by it.
Protect your family—Be careful about what types of media your family is consuming. Be watchful of the Web sites, chat rooms and Weblogs your children and adolescents participate in. Many popular Web sites for teens and youth can be dangerous places for pornography and Internet predators.
Protect your computer—Install Internet filtering software, such as Bsafe Online (http://bsafehome.com), on all computers to prevent your family from accessing pornographic material online. Parents should also monitor the Web sites visited and time spent online by their children.
Contact your member of Congress—Contact your local member of Congress and your state representatives, expressing your displeasure with the accessibility of obscene material. Additionally, be watchful of when Congress is considering bills in committees and on the floor dealing with obscene material. Studies have shown that a vocal minority expressing their opinions before votes can have an impact on votes in Congress.
Report obscene materials—Obscene materials encountered on the Internet or via e-mail should be reported. The Department of Justice recommends http://www.obscenitycrimes.org, a project of Morality in Media, Inc.
Learn about God’s design for sex and marriage—God has designed marriage and sex for sacred purposes that glorify Him. Sex is not a selfish action to pursue lustful desires. Rather, it is a selfless action that intimately connects a husband and a wife committed to love each other in all dimensions. Gaining a proper understanding of God’s view of sex and marriage will help you see how much greater His view of them is than the world’s.
Learn to appreciate true beauty—The world’s view of beauty is a distorted view of what God deems beautiful. The world largely discounts inner beauty and instead focuses on physical beauty, giving men and women a false understanding of true beauty. Commit yourself to seeing beauty as God created it rather than how the world defines it.