When speaking about porn, I’m often told that the perspective I share is different than what people are used to hearing. I make it a point to try making things very personal. I want people to realize that pornography involves real people with real feelings and real lives. I want people to consider those on the screen as if it was someone they deeply love.
Not long ago, I took the stage of a church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, just moments after a group of young children had departed it. I’d watched these beautiful, bright-eyed, hopeful little people sing their hearts out. As children often do, they’d brought tears of happiness to many eyes, mine included. In fact, their innocence had struck me in a way I couldn’t describe; as they sang I had to turn towards the walls because I was embarrassed to be seen literally weeping, yet not being able to put into words why I’d been so affected.
Standing in front of the parents of these children, I paused for a moment of silence before beginning. I was afraid of their potential reaction to what I was about to say, but I also had a point to make.
“Your children are beautiful. It won’t be long until they’re 18 and can make decisions on their own. How would you feel if, on a Sunday morning, I walked up to you before service and congratulated you on the scene your little girl performed for me the day before, when I’d paired her up with a few men for my latest pornographic production? Legal adult or not, and regardless of whether she’s ‘an adult making her own decisions,’ I guarantee you wouldn’t be okay with it, and you’d undoubtedly hate me. So if it’s not okay to watch porn when it’s your little girl in the starring role, why’s it okay when it’s someone else’s? They’re all someone’s little girl, and they’re all daughters of The King, which literally makes them princesses. No princess is supposed to be treated like that.”
People were impacted.
These children had not yet hit puberty. That being the case, I wonder what the impact would have been if I’d have said, “Your children are beautiful. It won’t be long until they’re old enough to really start feeling butterflies inside as they discover a new love interest. What if that love interest shares their same gender? … so if it’s not okay to make your little boy or little girl feel like crap about themselves based on who they find attractive, why’s it okay when it’s someone else’s…. ?”
If it’s not already obvious, I’ll admit this article is inspired by the recent flap over Phil Robertson’s comments. I’ve read the entire article in question half a dozen times, and personally find nothing offensive about it. When it comes to my opinions on gay marriage, they are quite similar to those shared by Elton John in 2008 (for the record: Elton later changed his opinion). It’s easy to share these opinions freely. Perhaps too easy. I wonder if it would be so easy for me if one of the children I love were in tears before me, begging me to pray with them in asking God to remove a same-sex attraction with which they didn’t want to live.
When I leave the stage, few people in the audience feel judged or condemned. Many of them come up afterward and share their personal struggles relating to pornography. Because they feel it is safe to do so. Even though they’ve heard me share a message against pornography for the last 45 minutes to an hour.
God help me and God forgive me if there’s ever a time in the past, present or future when a person with a same sex attraction doesn’t feel equally safe around me.
What if it was my son? What if it was your daughter?
We’re all children of the King. May I always keep in mind that I’m called to bring people to His love. May I remember that His love is what changes lives. May I always recall that when it comes to “fishing for men,” God has a “you catch ’em, I’ll clean ’em” motto, releasing me from the need to clean up anyone other than myself, and that only with His help. I really don’t need to concern myself about whether or not God wants something changed in any life other than my own. Admittedly, it’s quite hard for me to keep that in mind.
There’s lots of preachin’ to myself going on here this morning. God help me to listen.