Lesson 10: Public Porn

Last week two of my face-to-face classes discussed “Is it a sin to view pornography in public, especially if children are nearby.” This problem was reported in a Washington Post article “Publicly, a Whole New Lewdness” by Monica Hesse.

We started by acknowledging we are saved by grace, God’s unconditional love, so the discussion of sin becomes an exercise about what is good for our selves, children, and society. It is not about accusations against other people. We also agreed the goal was to raise issues rather than resolve the question to everyone’s satisfaction. The discussion went something like this:

1. It is hard to define porn in terms of drawing a line on the spectrum of sexual presentations. Few people regard Michelangelo’s “David” as porn. The courts seem to do it by regarding porn as titillating in a way not approved by the general public.

2. Viewing porn publicly appears to be an invasion of privacy much like smoking which is unacceptable even in the freedom of our society. It is especially wrong when imposed on children. The difference is we can turn away from porn.

3. Jesus proclaims the spirit of the commandment “Do not commit adultery” is “Do not lust”. Although that convicts us all, it also states clearly Christians should not regard lust good for self, children, or society.

4. At first, porn seems a private matter, not harming anyone else. That passes the bottom line ethic of our society– “No harm done”.

5. It could also be argued that two consenting adults engaging in this also passes the “no harm done” ethic. However, Christians have always realized there are seldom two equals. Too often it is the strong taking advantage of the weak, and that is certainly a factor in sexual relationships.

6. Besides that simply using porn supports an industry that does consciously invade privacy by manipulating searches. 34% of Internet users report unwanted exposure to sexual material while using the Internet

7. The industry also targets children consciously. Certainly many electronic video games employ a form of porn. A group of computer pioneers in video games once told me they would like to be offering something else, but “until little boys stopped enjoying shooting big- busted women” they had to follow the money.

8. We regularly hear of people using the young for child porn.

9. It is a form of sexism which degrades women as it is primarily directed to men and presents women as sex objects.

10. Regardless of their consent, the women involved support men exploiting women.

11. Pornography is a big industry supporting the economy. “Top Ten Reviews” reports there are 4.2 million sites in the Internet, 12% of the total, 25% of the search engine requests are for pornography, 42.7% of internet users view porn, 35% of all downloads are pornography.

12. There is speculation that porn might provide an outlet for aggressive sexual urges and so reduce violence. However, others counter by speculating it might promote acting out violent fantasies by blurring the line between virtual reality and everyday relationships.

Do you think we should try to protect our children? should we try to minimize its effect on our society? Is it okay for us to engage in porn privately as entertainment?

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