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Child pornography has got to be one of the more despicable crimes an individual can commit. Frankly, it makes me sick to write about it. But it’s real.

In an article in the February 19, 2006 issue of Parade magazine, attorney Andrew Vachss, notes that child pornography is one of the fastest growing “businesses” on the Internet. He observes that the production of child pornography is incredibly inexpensive and easy, requiring only the equipment on can purchase in any discount store. Once a picture is taken and posted in cyberspace that picture lives forever. As Vachss says, “Images on the Internet can never be destroyed. The only things ‘used up’ in the child pornography business are its victims.”

Pornography of all kinds is more available, accessible, and affordable than ever before. Literally, anytime you get on the Internet you are just two clicks away from some of the most morally reprehensible material ever produced. Pornography of any kind is about presumed pleasure and profit. But for the victim it’s about exploitation, abuse, enslavement, violation, emotional destruction, and sometimes physical death. Child pornography simply takes all these tragic outcomes to an even deeper level of debasement.

As Vachss puts it, “No child is capable, emotionally or legally, of consenting to being photographed for sexual purposes. Thus, every image of a sexually displayed child—be it a photograph, a tape or a DVD—records both the rape of the child and an act against humanity.” So called Kiddie porn is egregiously named. There’s nothing cute about it.

As gambling is driven by compulsive gamblers, yet it sucks money from many casual gamblers as well, so child pornography is driven by pedophiles, yet it entices the curious and the emotionally crippled too. Certainly it attracts the corrupt—those who demand the product and those who profit from it. Men are primarily responsible, of course, but women are also participating as purchasers and purveyors, sometimes using their feminine personas to attract and reassure the victims.

Other than pedophiles, probably no one but the most extreme libertarian or maybe no more than a very few members of the American Civil Liberties Union would defend child pornography. It is a heinous crime.

Resources are available for those wanting to help. The National Association to PROTECT Children is one such nonprofit agency.  This organization offers assistance to victims of childhood sexual abuse as well as knowledge and contacts for those wishing to work the political process on behalf of children.

This is admittedly a very ugly subject, but it seems to me that Christians ought to be talking more about it, perhaps even leading the charge for appropriate legal, social, and ministerial response. Obviously we care about child victims. We can also demonstrate care for pedophiles as human beings tragically in the grip of horrendous sin.

I don’t think it is self-contradictory to push for more stringent laws and consistently applied criminal justice for child porn perpetrators even as we work spiritually to reach their hearts. Accountability and forgiveness are twin themes in Scripture from which I and every other believer have benefited. So it can be for those who seem the worst among us.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

 

First Sirius pays Howard Stern $500 million to take his vulgar, obscene, profane, and pornographic version of entertainment to satellite radio and now cell phone companies are getting into the pornography act. Cingular Wireless, the nation’s largest cell phone provider, is taking steps to match its access devices to Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association content ratings standards, opening the door for mobile porn.

Communications companies are eyeing the $10 billion per year pornography business in the United States, and they want a part of the action. With a move to cell phone video sex the country is taking another step toward a virtual culture of pornography. More than 800 million pornographic videos and DVDs are rented by American consumers each year. Pay-per-view movies in hotel rooms now account for the largest portion of in-room entertainment revenue at major American hotel chains. Pornographic videos on automobile DVD players are becoming more common. Of course Internet pornography is the second largest business in cyberspace, running behind only gambling.

Pornography is one of those things that is difficult to describe, but everyone knows it when we see it. Pornography flourishes under the umbrella of free speech protection. It’s been difficult for some time and becoming increasingly so to make a case for legally restricting another adult’s entertainment choices or “freedom of expression.”

But a society does have a compelling interest in the impact of pornography upon the individuals caught in its web and upon the moral climate of any given community. Insofar as pornographic activities destroy lives and degrade communities, legal restriction seems warranted. The question is, where do we draw the line?

In the end, it’s a matter more of the individual heart than government regulation. Howard Stern may hold forth on satellite radio, but I don’t have to subscribe. Internet pornography exists, but I don’t have to access it. Pornographic DVDs may be available, but I don’t have to rent them. Cell phone pornography may soon be marketed, but I don’t have to buy or view it.

When I was a kid, pornography was only available in a magazine or book you had to purchase in a store in full view of the public. Then, you had to get rid of the evidence before a sister, mother, or some other village adult gave you a comeuppance. Now, pornography is virtually universally available, accessible, affordable (much of it is free) at anytime anywhere in as much privacy as you choose. Now, you’re only two clicks away at any given time.

So pornography is increasingly pervasive, but it’s still personal.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2005

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.