Friday, May 17, 2013

A Moral Case against Pornography from a Christian Theological Perspective

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Never before in the history of mankind have there been pervasive real-life images of sexual immorality, married and unmarried adults fornicating with one another, procreating life for money instead of love, as there is today. Never before have images of lost men and women, reenacting the sexual abuses of their childhood, been so readily available for the world to view and gain pleasure from their misguided ways. Never before, as today, have the images of exploited children and psychologically troubled adults engaged in degrading acts been commoditized to satisfy the ravenous lust of millions of ungodly souls. 
Brothers and Sisters, today I call upon you to renounce the works of Satan, and renounce the spiritual hold he has over you through pornography.  Jesus loves you and wants to abide in you as our Father abides in Him, and empower you with the Holy Spirit to use your unique talents and gifts to do His will so that you may be called a child of God and inherit His Kingdom.
In Mathew 5:27, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus’ commandment unequivocally means that viewing pornography or sexually arousing imagery is morally equivalent to adultery. This transgression, however innocuous it may seem, as with any other act of disobedience, leads to spiritual death unless there is humble repentance followed by a genuine change of heart and action.
When a person decides to view pornography, lascivious imagery, or any material for sexual arousal or satisfaction, not only does he distance himself from Jesus but his name disappears from the Lamb’s Book of Life, where only the names of saints who truly love Jesus and follow His commandments are written.
When Jesus Christ came to earth he did so not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Mathew 5:17).  As a testament of God’s love, Jesus not only died for our sins so that we may be saved, but also empowered us with the Holy Spirit to overcome evil, and do God’s will on earth and in heaven.
When our Lord came to this earth He taught us that through the Holy Spirit we can overcome all temptations of the flesh.
Being empowered by the Holy Spirit frees us from bondage to sin. This truth allows us to overcome any temptation that causes spiritual separation from Jesus.  Since Jesus died to liberate us from sin, we can and are expected to live godly lives according to heavenly laws. To the world living a life in adherence to God’s laws may seem impossible but remember, with God all things are possible (Luke 18:26).  
Heavenly laws
You may wonder, what are heavenly laws, and how do they differ from universally accepted secular laws? Here are a few examples:
To the world the act of murder- in the context of civilian life- is unlawful.  But for followers of Christ, the mere feeling of hatred or resentment against another person is morally equivalent to murder.  (1 John 3:15)
To the world the act of theft is unlawful. But for followers of Christ, the mere withholding of tithes from God is morally equivalent to theft. (Malachi 3:8)
To the world adultery involves the physical act of intercourse outside of marriage. But for Christians, the mere desire of intercourse with someone other than one’s spouse is morally equivalent to adultery (Mathew 5:27).  Apostle Paul said the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and surely our spiritual destiny is jeopardized whenever we allow our minds and hearts to be entertained with impure thoughts.
My brothers and sisters, while carnal desires are natural and serve a legitimate biological purpose, God commands us to consummate our most intimate desires with only the person with whom we have made a lifelong commitment to in holy matrimony.
Does this mean God expects us to suffer sexual “repression” until marriage? Not at all. God wants us to come to Him, and He wants us to wholeheartedly trust that He and only He can relieve our personal burdens.
If you are burdened with strong sexual desires; If you are burdened with resentment against friends or relatives who have unjustifiably hurt you; If you are burdened with guilt for hurting someone you love; Jesus can heal your heart of all these pains, if you seek Him, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and willingly and humbly surrender your life to Him.
Jesus understands the desires of the flesh and knows firsthand the struggles we go through each day to follow God’s commandments (i.e. heavenly laws). He knows that strong will or moral conviction, alone, is not enough to sustain continued practice of a godly lifestyle.  
Since we are mere mortals expected to follow godly laws, we are compelled to recognize our natural shortcomings, and humble ourselves to God and admit that we cannot do it alone.
To do God’s will, we need God. We need the Holy Spirit to empower us spiritually, to heal our hearts, and make us whole again. Only with God’s help may the flames of desire in our hearts and thirst for righteousness be quenched. Only by embracing God’s unconditional love may we truly emanate His glorious light, and shun the darkness that once engulfed us.
Second Moral Argument
It should be suffice to assert that pornography is morally wrong on the sole basis that it is contrary to Jesus’ commandment against lust. On the other hand, even if Jesus’ literal interpretation of adultery is not accepted, I argue from a theological perspective that pornography is still wrong and just as morally detestable to God as the very act of sexual immorality.
For many uninformed Christians, unbelievers, and atheists, pornography is nothing more than a benign form of entertainment that evokes pleasurable feelings, feel-good stimulation, and sexual relief. But to Jesus, and those who truly know Him, pornography is an abomination of demonic works that exhibit lost and exploited men and women using their bodies as instruments for Satan to lure millions into hell.
If you gain pleasure from watching adults being sexually exploited, humiliated, degraded, violated, stripped of dignity, coerced or enticed to commit immoral sexual acts that destroy flesh, mind and spirit, then Jesus does not abide in you nor you in Him.
Apart from being our Messiah, Jesus is the highest and most absolute form of love. When Jesus abides in us, our hearts and spirits are uplifted and filled with His pure boundless energy of love. Such indescribable love enables Jesus’ followers to feel the pain of other people, hurt when others suffer, and feel compassion and a sense a duty towards others.  
When Jesus abides in His followers’ hearts, his love permeates throughout their innermost being. Such love can move God’s followers to feel an overwhelming sense of pain and sadness for adult entertainers’ misguided ways, and their emotional and psychological suffering, estrangement from God, and bondage to sin.
So great are true Christians’ love for humanity that they cannot bear the pain of watching their fellow brethren subject themselves to destructive and degrading acts that deprive them of personal dignity, humanity, and an eternal destiny with Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, if you have the love of Jesus in your heart then you would weep at the mere knowledge of pornography for it has led far too many people into a life of darkness ailed with demoralization, spiritual dejection, chemical addiction, harmful diseases, ostracism, self-hatred, and other troubles which combined do not compare to the worst tragedy of all, which is separation from our Lord.
If your heart is with the Lamb of God then you would weep for the adult entertainers who do not know Jesus’ unconditional love and therefore believe they are worthless, unloved, and unlovable. Because many in the industry do not feel worthy of love they allow themselves to be sexually and physically abused, dehumanized and subjected to unnatural and perverted acts, which are offensive to God and His children of light.  
Compassionate Understanding
For those who do not understand why many performers in the adult entertainment industry feel unloved and unworthy of love, it’s important to recognize that many of them were sexually abused as children.  Being victims of abuse at an impressionable age shattered their sense of self-worth and belief in love and an all-loving God.  
Without proper mental health treatment and spiritual healing, many pornographers have resorted to harmful drugs, alcohol, and other destructive means to sedate or avoid dealing with painful childhood trauma.  Such “coping” (or more accurately, avoidant) measures were adopted at a young age when it was safer and easier to channel negative emotions such as anger, shame, and guilt toward themselves (in the form of self-harming behaviors) instead of their perpetrator.
 Other common maladaptive behaviors include precocious sexual activity (which can provide an illusory sense of being loved), co-dependency, habitual involvement in abusive relationships, drug addiction, and behaviors tending toward immediate or gradual self-destruction. Suicidal behavior does not only imply the physical and potentially fatal act of self-injury but also the voluntary murder of one’s own reputation, good name, and character by performing undignified acts for public exhibition.           
For the unbeliever who asserts the moral permissiveness of pornography on the basis that not all sex workers were victims of child abuse, have mental health problems, or chronic chemical addictions; then I invite them to argue the permissiveness of consuming a bag of chocolate cakes, half of which were made from pure cacao and the remainder from cacao mixed with visually indistinguishable dog feces. Does not the unclean cake defile the other so that both cannot be consumed?
A Common Tragic Story
Consider a real-life inspired story that is representative of many pornographic actors and actresses’ personal stories.  Imagine yourself hearing the painful cries of a young girl being sexually assaulted and heinously violated by a “man” who by all legal and moral standards is supposed to love and protect her. After some time, the crying ceases but the child’s small heart screams in silent palpitations as her violator pulls up his pants and leaves her scattered on the floor, with warm blood streaming down her legs and tears flowing incessantly on a cold floor.  Feeling confused, lost, alone, robbed of dignity, betrayed and sorely hurt this girl sobs uncontrollably for her innocence was taken away and her sense of self-worth shattered.
Without proper medical and spiritual care and treatment, this girl progresses through adolescence seeking “relationships” with boys who mirror her original violator’s behavior because her self-esteem has been crushed to the extent that she no longer feels degraded by abusive treatment.  Moreover, the early experiences of repeated sexual abuse distorted her perception of what a normal and healthy relationship looks like, and lowered expectations for how she should be treated, especially by men.   
The young woman in this story, with the abused girl’s heart still throbbing within, feels worthless, and unworthy of love because she was deprived of it as a child.  In addition to low self-esteem she suffers chronic mental health problems, which makes her emotionally susceptible to form relationships with men who validate her poor self-image by abusive and harmful treatment.
Now one day an older man encounters this woman who, unbeknown to her, is a cold calculating, yet charming psychopath with a penchant for exploiting women for personal gain. Like many agents in the sex industry, this “man” has a history of using every trick in the book to lure female victims into counterfeit romantic relationships by promising them wealth, prosperity, and even real love. 
Enamored by the man’s well-rehearsed affection and mirage of success and stability from material abundance (which was shamefully acquired by dishonest and immoral means) she surrenders herself to him in hope of a better life.   
Like a serpent wrapped around its prey, the slithery psychopath goes for the kill by taking advantage of his young girlfriend’s low self-esteem and longing for love and security. Employing skillful emotional and psychological manipulation and deception, the he-devil accomplishes to seduce the young and naive woman into a life of prostitution.
Working as a prostitute, it doesn’t take long before the woman discovers that all the money her boyfriend receives for allowing random men to use her body as a tool does not and could never fairly compensate for the loss of dignity, and shame she feels. Her life as a prostitute further augments feelings of worthlessness, which in circularity result in more self-destructive outcomes, such as chemical dependency, and suicidal behaviors.
The young woman’s degenerated mental, physical, and spiritual health breaks down most of her vital psychological self-defense mechanisms, which are essential in all humans to make healthy decisions. Without a strong identity and personal boundaries, it doesn’t take long before the woman allows her boyfriend to lure her into the adult entertainment industry where she is promised a more romantic picture-perfect life emblazed with colorful aspirations.
Now as a pornographic actress the young woman finds herself reenacting and reliving traumatic childhood experiences by performing humiliating, dehumanizing, and perverted sexual acts with and for Satan-worshippers who do not recognize her value as a human being and creation of God.  
People with a healthy sense of self-respect, and self-esteem could never voluntarily commit the degrading acts this woman was led to perform –especially in front of other people and cameras - because it would simply destroy their sense of self-worth and dignity as a human being and individual person. But for those whose souls are lost, heart-broken, and mind clouded with beliefs of being worthless and unloved - sometimes no foul act can be too degrading or shameful. 
After performing in dozens of adult films, magazines, and internet websites, the woman is told by her manager that her commercial marketability has all but been exhausted in ‘mainstream’ porn and if she wants to continue in the business and remain competitive with younger actresses she would have to perform more extreme and dangerous sexual acts that involve violence, gang rape, and other abominations.  
Miraculously, the woman still has a spark of strength within her to firmly decline her company’s proposal. As a result, she is terminated. When her boyfriend discovers that she had been fired, he slaps her in the face for not consulting with him about her decision. Then he gives her an ultimatum.  She may either reconcile with her former employer or leave his lavish home and lifestyle for good.
 Choosing the latter, the woman’s life spirals into a degenerated existence ailed with sexually transmitted diseases, afflictions, mental illness, addictions, and Lazarus destitution.  Most painful of all is the realization that her ex-boyfriend never really loved her. Feeling abandoned, used, worthless, condemned, and rejected by family, and society for her widely publicized transgressions, she no longer finds any comfort or purpose in living.
Her only hope for redemption and healing is through Jesus Christ. But she is reluctant to reach out to Him because she hears hissing whispers that no one including God could ever forgive nor love her for all the sins she committed. Deceived by the enemy’s lies, the woman turns to alcohol and a bottle of sleeping pills in futile search for eternal rest and solace.
Where was God?
Some of you after reading this tragic yet typical story may ask why God didn’t directly intervene in the woman’s life to save her. To answer that question, it’s important to understand that God does intervene in people’s lives but often (not always, but often) it’s by working through His followers who are commanded to love and manifest love in the form of good works. Therefore, the real question becomes where were God’s faithful children to help this woman when she was alive?
The truth of the matter is very few self-professed Christians were willing to sacrifice even a modicum of personal free time, energy, and other resources to help this woman and others in similar situations (either directly or indirectly).  And regrettably there were not enough Seed Sowers spreading the Good News of Jesus’ salvation to captivate the woman’s ears so that she may have been personally enlightened of God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and amazing grace.
A crucial Message for Christians    
Many Christians today, especially in the United States of America, prefer to watch footfall, play golf, rock climb, indulge in music, dance, enjoy an entertaining movie with friends and family, and live as lovers of themselves and pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:2). By pursuing selfish interests we often neglect to be the Good Samaritan that Jesus Christ commanded us to be in Luke 10:29.
In Revelation 3:15, Jesus spoke the following about the churches in Laodicea: I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  The implication of Jesus’ metaphor is that “lukewarm” Christians who profess to love Him yet show indifference to God and their fellow man- for example by centering their lives on selfish, hedonistic, and worldly pursuits - are not worthy of God’s kingdom. For Jesus said Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the WILL of my Father in heaven(Mathew 7:21)
So what must we do to inherit internal life? The answer to that invaluable question can be found in Luke 10:25 where Jesus said, “If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself you will live.”
My brothers and sisters, God’s will is not for us to show callous indifference toward our fellow man, including our sisters and brothers who are being deceived, exploited, commoditized, and used by the sex industry for profit.
Additionally, it is not God’s will for man to gain sadistic pleasure from watching his brethren destroy themselves both in this world and the afterlife.
Those who pursue pornography as a leisure pastime do not have the love of our Father in their hearts, nor do they truly know Jesus Christ.
Apostle Paul proclaimed in his second letter to the Thessalonians in Chapter 1 verse 7 that Jesus will inflict “vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” And the disobedient (including lukewarm believers) “Will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1: 7-9)  
If you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, and aspire to an eternal life in heaven, then at this moment I plead for you to make a commitment to reject pornography and other works of Satan.
Jesus has a special plan for you both in this life and hereafter, and I promise you that giving up the unholy things and desires of this world will radiate new beams of God’s light within you.
To turn to God’s light, and allow Jesus into your heart, you must first shun the things that keep you in darkness. Pornography is just one of many evil devices that followers of the devil have created to lead many, including themselves, into the lake of fire referenced in Revelation 20:15.
If you are bonded to this deadly sin, then pray to Jesus for forgiveness and ask Him to cleanse your soul with His blood to heal any emotional wounds, pains, or unmet needs that underlie your habit. Also, in constant prayer and supplication ask to be guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit so that your obedience to God may endure. 
 A Call for Social, Economic, and Political Activism
The adult entertainment industry can be likened to a beast that feeds on the destruction of human souls, exploitation of human vulnerability, and all that is wicked in God’s eyes for sustenance and growth.  Indeed, the sex industry’s tremendous social, economic and political influence cannot be overstated. However, all such evil power in totality is but an infinitesimal speck in God’s eyes. If Satan has been defeated by God, then all the works of Satan’s followers can be destroyed by God’s children.
If you are with Jesus then join your brothers and sisters in Christ to destroy the sex industry before it destroys you and your loved ones.
You may start by eliminating all pornographic material in your possession, and boycotting all adult entertainment goods and services indefinitely. If you are suffering an addiction, then seek professional help and spiritual support without delay. If you are easily tempted while browsing the internet, then install an internet filter to block pornographic content from your computer. If dissatisfaction in your spouse is causing you to commit adultery, then seek marital counseling. Do whatever is necessary within the confines of the law and God’s commandments to renounce the works of Satan so that you may no longer be bonded to this deadly sin. And remember to always pray to God for strength, guidance and empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
In addition to reducing demand, another way to destabilize the adult entertainment industry is by hampering its recruitment of vulnerable adults who are susceptible to being recipients of inhumane, cruel, degrading, life-threatening, abusive and sexually exploitative treatment with little or no resistance. As mentioned earlier, a substantial percentage of performers in the industry suffer mental health problems (e.g. cognitive, emotional, psychological, and psychiatric), chemical addiction, and debilitating physical conditions that constitute disabilities under federal U.S laws. Because persons with disabilities are selectively targeted by commercial sexual predators for their inherent weaknesses and poor defenses, we as a society have a moral duty to advocate for laws that protect these vulnerable adults from exploitation and harm.
To cut the adult entertainment industry’s supply of victims, let’s advocate for Human Rights laws that make it unlawful to commercially exploid and profit from the vulnerabilities of persons with severe mental and physical health conditions. This, of course, would require additional laws that mandate the health screening of all current and prospective sex workers by independent medical professionals with essentially no financial or political ties to the industry. People with certain mental health and physical disabilities would be automatically disqualified from rendering sexual services to protect their individual human rights from being infringed upon by unscrupulous opportunists who value profit over human life.
Similar to the tobacco industry, which is taxed and legally compelled to finance government sponsored anti-smoking campaigns, let’s advocate for “restitution” taxes on the sex industry to fund the independent health screenings, and all additional public services that are essential to enforce laws to protect and defend the most vulnerable in our society. The additional taxes would effectively erode the profitability of the sex market and make it less economically viable. 
If political advocacy is not your strength then consider alternative ways to help people either abandon the sex industry or not enter it in the first place. Please show your Good-Samaritan support by donating time, energy or money to reputable Christian non-profits with a proven track record of effectively managing resources to care for homeless, battered, exploited, and trafficked people as well as providing them educational and employment support.
Making contributions to faith based non-profits in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, and Los Vegas is especially critical, as many U.S adult movie production studios are concentrated in these areas.
Lastly, I ask that you pray for all those involved in the sex industry (both the exploited and exploiters), and inspire and motivate His steadfast followers to lead them out of darkness, out of Satan’s kingdom, and into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.
My brothers and sisters, thank you for reading and sharing my message to all those who wish to be saved and help battle the pernicious forces that destroy humanity both in this life and the hereafter.
May Jesus Christ be with you always and inspire, lead and strengthen you to fight the good fight until the narrow gates of God’s Kingdom greet your arrival.
God Bless You!

Copyright 2013 Kenneth H. Franco