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More Than 300 Churches Discuss Pornography on Super Bowl Sunday

More Than 300 Churches Discuss Pornography on Super Bowl Sunday

Craig Gross is the founder of XXXChurch.com, an online ministry claiming to help people resist their temptation for pornography.  In conjunction with his website’s mission, Gross has produced a video featuring current and past NFL players, among others, discussing their struggles with porn.  This video was set to air on Super Bowl Sunday as part of what Gross called “National Porn Sunday.” More than 300 churches will participate in the event, which Gross believes will get churches around the country talking about the touchy subject. 

Gross’ primary theory as to why church ministers have trouble discussing pornography is that the pastors themselves struggle with “temptation.” Perhaps their struggle comes from what’s natural and silently, these Godly men have a personal understanding of what little harm it causes others, and therefore don’t carry any of the guilt Gross is hoping to create or restore by talking about pornography and masturbation.

The guilty feeling that comes from desires we are embarrassed to share is only created when it goes against the social norm. Gross tours around the country with his website ministry trying to create a reality where people are so afraid of the consequences from watching pornography, the industry will collapse. “Instead of the church boycotting or picketing or legislating against pornography, if the church would just stop consuming porn, we’d put a big dent in the porn industry,” says Gross. As unlikely as the “dent” in the industry is, it does seem churches across the country would be better suited to spend their time and money addressing healthy relationships and self worth rather than trying to further suppress a private act that frankly serves the individual well.

The issue isn’t necessarily that Gross and his supporters don’t find porn appropriate for their families, it is rather their spread of ideas that lead to self loathing and even deeper, by giving Gross’ ministry permission to define what sexual acts are appropriate, it also allows him to apply unrealistic and misinformed constraints on sexual acts that are also deemed “immoral.” Any sexual preference, fetish, or act that does not cause harm to another being is not only acceptable, but also, generally healthy.  There is a power in, not only understanding what one wants, but also in celebrating it as an outlet.

The real concern shouldn’t specifically be about porn, but rather, addiction.  Is porn wrong? People may disagree, but the few people that suffer from addiction have some life decisions to make and will probably require a great deal of support.  But, that isn’t what Gross is trying to articulate.  He simply wants to destroy the porn industry as a whole, and in attempting to do so, he is also using his site as a platform for control of anything sexually related.

Making people feel guilty, not to mention spreading ignorance and self-hatred to homosexual individuals in his “men on men” section, is not only wrong, it is socially irresponsible, particularly in the wake of so many LGBTQ youth suicides. It is close to a form of cyber-bullying.

On his website, an appalling phrase reads, “Porn Sucks, So Does Poverty.” Self-identifying as a first generation Egyptian-American, I can affirm that poverty does suck.  In fact, global events show us exactly what can happen when poverty is pushed to the brink. Pornography does not compare to miseries of poverty.

What makes all of this worth mentioning?  Access.  Spiritual people take God more seriously than most other aspect of their lives, and when a so-called leader of their particular faith is telling them they are wrong for their natural desires, they will listen.  Fear has proven to be a powerful weapon in mass media.  In order to combat a society shaped by ignorance, we must take the opportunity to also speak up.  

A great quote that you might find on a magnet at a bookstore comes to mind.  “Shape your world, or someone else will.”  We create our social norms.  Will you let people like Craig Gross shape how you feel about yourself or the ones you love?

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63 comments

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1:06PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Is there exploitation in the porn industry? Yes, of course. Is it any worse than other industries? Absolutely not. That whole line of reasoning is a red herring. The same sort of exploitation occurs in every major industry, it is the basis of capitalism. It is only because so many people find pornography, nay sex itself, distasteful that you can say this without being called a socialist.

As for mental harm caused by pornography, that's basically an outright fabrication. There's a well-known study that claimed to show porn made men more likely to be violent rapists. That study is an object lesson in how studies work and how you have to really dissect them to see what they mean. Studies get to define what they are studying you see, and in this famous study the key is how they defined pornography.

If you define pornography as written or visual sexual explicit material, than you aren't talking about the same stuff as this study was. You see that is what they defined as "erotica". "Pornography" was DEFINED as sexual explicit material that is specifically degrading to women. Even then there wasn't a very noticeable increase in anti-social tendencies in the subjects so they needed a 3rd category, "violent pornography" which viewers of did show a noticeable increase in rape-related thought processes. In fact for this category they had movies of things like women being glad to have been raped afterward. This is the "scientific" basis for most harm arguments I've heard.

8:59AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

WAY too much of the raison d'etre of religion these days seems to be the control of people's sexuality. I don't object to them trying to control their own sexuality, or even that of the members of their congregation. But I DO wish they'd quit trying to control that of others.

And trying to control porn on the internet is like trying to bail water with a fork. It just won't work. The 'net is international, so not subject to any national jurisdiction. Some semi-effective measures have been put in place which have cut down (though FAR from eliminated) child porn on the internet. But trying to take this further will not work.

And as I say, I resent churches trying to get into controlling other people's consensual sexual behavior by militating for legislation that would make things illegal, whether I have any desire to do them or not. For example, I would never be interested in entering into a gay marriage, but I don't want them to be illegal.

9:55PM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

Although I don't read or watch it, I have no problem with others enjoying pornography (so long as it doesn't involve children or animals, of course.) But it's perfectly reasonable for a church to object to that which violates its religious teachings. In fact, it would be extremely hypocritical if it didn't. So long as we don't base our laws on any church's teachings, I'll put up with their objections as their right to freedom of expression.

8:48PM PST on Feb 21, 2011

noted :0

1:50AM PST on Feb 14, 2011

It's about time that the church comes out of the closet and discusses the importance of human sexuality. Any time it's exploitative, you are abusing. Then people become desensitized, and so on and so forth. So maybe the churches need to start promoting the celebration of physical unity between a couple, rather than looking at sex as a dirty taboo. Because seriously, sexuality should be celebrated, not abused, exploited, used, thrown away, etc...

Gloria H. - I think it's an exhaust pipe coming out of a piece of metal, thus implying that like porn, it's full of hot air that can't be used to educate anyone on how to please one another.

12:35AM PST on Feb 11, 2011

Unfortunately, the big games exploit women as well as sexuality as a whole. Look at the cheerleaders who are often so cold that they have to jump around dizzy just to stay warm.

The industry is a bit abusive to their performers, and well, some of the commercials and other shows that get put on, we'd never think about putting men in those situations. Until we can get equity, it will always be an exploit of some kind or another.

Unfortunately, children are brought into the mess too, which is why we need to ensure we protect our most innocent. Please keep signing April's Law -

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/worldwide-petition-for-aprils-law-in-the-us/

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/aprils-law-wisconsin/

7:35PM PST on Feb 9, 2011

Why can't a church talk about its beliefs? I thought this was America. It is a bit unusual approach to talking about porn (using the NFL as a promote) but it MIGHT get people thinking. I don't belief in objectifying women [and men]. Sexuality is something to be taken seriously, between two people and not turned into an industry. Women [and men] need more respect. Trust me, I'm not just another 'preacher'. I caught a classmate of mine in college looking at porn--graphic porn--during class and was quite engrossed. Do you imagine how one might feel about the person after that?

11:14AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

I have the impression that the porn industry is extremely exploitative to both sexes as well as to children and animals. Regardless of the religious implications involved, I do not support an industry that makes money from exploitation. Metaphysically speaking, porn comes from a dark place and is definitely not a positive industry that brings peace and justice to the world.

7:43AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

porn is disgusting. why do you want to watch 2 people do the most intimate thing in the world together? it is not your business, and it is not your place to watch that.
and it is an addiction for a lot of people and it tears families apart. how do you think it makes a wife feel when all her husband does is watch that crap all the time and fantasize about other women. she feels like crap. she feels like she's not good enough. then it starts to tear their marriage apart. I've seen it all too much.
as for getting churches to talk about it, they talk about it a lot already. at least the churches that I've been to have.

1:29AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

Sounds like Gross has some issues he needs to resolve.....

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