Christians and porn. Why protesting is not the answer.

How we treat porn stars or page 3 models is a question that is often absent in any discussion on the exploitation of women and to some extent men, in the mammoth porn industry that is in our faces more often than not.

Most people don’t like sexism, most people believe that male or female bodies should not be used for the sexual pleasure of a 14 year old cracking open the pages of Zoo in his bedroom. And an end to publications that promote these thoughts and ideas would benefit a lot of people.

Yet, I see a problem with the promotion simply of boycotts or protests of magazines like Zoo or “newspapers” like the Sun.

Namely, they make the men and women involved, issues rather than real life people. You know, people who probably shop in Tesco or get pretty excited for the new season of House of Cards or Portlandia or poo on a toilet everyday, just like you and I. People who may even believe in God like you do. Think about that for a minute.

I once even read a post by someone who wanted everyone to boycott a long list of magazines simply because they shared the same publisher as a popular Lad’s mag. Last time I checked though, the writers and employees of Horse and Hound are not a murky cover for a huge illegal porn racket.

But why let that get in the way of a good cause. Especially if we can keep the cause faceless. Because once we introduce a name, things get personal.

Even using the term “Porn Stars” only further exacerbates the problem. Not because using the word “star” suggests that the porn industry is all glamour and red carpet when it rarely is, but because we don’t have to call them by their name and admit that they are real. And even if we do know their name it’s never their real name.

Another example I recently came across involved an article I read that compared non make up faces and make up faces of female adult film actors. As far as I could tell the post’s purpose was to evoke feelings of disgust and realism and to show that porn stars can just be as ugly as the rest of us. Maybe with the goal of turning you off porn.

After all, If I really knew what these porn stars looked like underneath the make up and out of the lens of expensive HD cameras, I wouldn’t find them quite so attractive and that fact alone should make me think twice about watching porn. It’s important to have standards when you’re sitting alone making an ungodly mess in your pants at 3am.

But is that why I shouldn’t look at porn? Is that why any of us shouldn’t look at porn? Because underneath it all, they look terrible first thing in the morning too?

By removing the identities of those actually affected by porn the most, namely those who work in the industry, we make it a black and white issue without having to get our hands dirty.

I hate porn. I hate the effect it had on me. But when people are involved we do have to be graceful and compassionate. (Tweet this) That doesn’t happen by hoping hundreds of innocent magazine writers of magazines unrelated to porn (unless you have a very specific niche porn taste) lose their jobs, if that’s what it takes to shut down porn.

We can quickly ignore the truth that many who work in the industry do so because they feel like they have no other options. That porn is a quick way to make a lot of money. Then there are the actresses who have spent years enduring abuse and are left with a self image in tatters and have finally given into what everyone has been telling them their whole lives. That the only thing useful about them is their body.

Or what about those who want to work in the porn industry? Who don’t want to leave, who don’t want us to swoop down and scoop them out like a Christian Superman, kicking and screaming to put them down as we ignore their pleas as misguided. Misguided they may well be, but forcing someone out of something that they don’t want to leave only makes us feel better, not them.

I’m not naive. I know that there are many in the porn industry who like being there, who want to be there but should how we treat them be different from how we treat those who do want out? We love to talk about loving people where they are. Really? Even if they don’t want out? How far are we willing to go to meet someone where they are? Where are we willing to go?

To a porn show?

Do we stand outside porn disgusted, never once thinking we could go in as a church and love people without being jerks? (Tweet this)

Several months ago xxxchurch posted this video of a porn star named Sheena who talked about what she does for a living while mentioning her love and belief in God. She had met some of our volunteers from xxxchurch at a recent porn show and was talking about how kind and graceful they had been to her.

Many of the comments elicited by the video on social media were not so graceful. How could we not condemn her behavior? Grace is good and all, but we can’t let people live in their sin. She obviously doesn’t know God if she is still engaging in porn.

(By the way, most of the stats around porn use and Christians are less than flattering. I know, I helped keep them propped up. So we should be very slow to judge someone for being involved in porn and loving Jesus, while you’re jerking off over a nameless girl on our laptop. I know Jesus never had high speed Broadband but still, WWJD).

At the heart of many of these comments was a fear of the unknown. A fear of getting involved in a world where we imagine everyone in porn is evil. Where, if we get sucked in we’re going to end up down a rabbit hole even Alice couldn’t get out of.

But this is quite frankly just a lame excuse to not go where we should. Instead of just trying to figure out ways that we can limit the amount of porn our kids and ourselves are exposed to, instead of thinking of ways to boycott the porn industry we should actually be searching deep within ourselves to discover why individually and communally as people who follow Jesus’ teachings, we want to look at porn so much.

By beginning the process of becoming awake to the pain and doubts and darkness that we are trying to drown out by escaping into porn. I’m not interested in boycotts or protests. We’ve done that enough and it’s not helped us.

I’m interested in becoming free and helping others become free. Not from addiction but from the things that bring us to the point of addiction.

I don’t ever remember hearing about Jesus protesting divorce or sexual sin. What I do remember though is Jesus not being afraid of what others would say and being able to look past whatever people were or were not accused of doing and being, to see and hear the stories of everyone regardless of how many men they have given blow jobs to in front of a camera.

Ok that never happened but if Jesus was walking around San Fernando Valley today you can be sure those are the people he would be hanging around with.

So if we want to impact the porn industry as a church then let’s stop doing it by trying to shut down the porn industry and let’s start by opening our ears, listening to their stories, seeing past our fears of sin and most of all,

hearing their names.

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3 thoughts on “Christians and porn. Why protesting is not the answer.

  1. Hey

    How we treat porn stars or page 3 models is a question that is often absent in any discussion.

    -yeah it is. And the reason is that they are not often respected.

    It is easy to judge.

    Bottom line is-a international project is needed to train church leaders to speak about porn, openly.

    I´m not afraid.

    Currently trying to do that. Allready being ignored in some places.
    Could I contact you to tell my plan ?

    Love changes everything.

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