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Ethics & Religion
February 3, 2016
Column #1,797
Porn: a Public Health Hazard
By Mike McManus


The Utah Legislature is considering declaring pornography a "public health hazard," urging education and policy changes to battle it. The resolution cited 45 pieces of evidence such as:

"Pornography is contributing to the hypersexualization of teens." For example, the Barna Group reported last month that "Most teens are 'sexting' - either on the receiving or sending end of sexually explicit images" of themselves or their friends! Nearly two-thirds (62%) of teens and young adults have received a sexually explicit image and 41% have sent one (usually to their boy/girl friend)."

"The average age of exposure to pornography is now 11 to 12 years of age. This early exposure is leading to low self-esteem and body image disorders, an increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages and an increased desire among adolescents to engage in risky sexual behavior."

"Because pornography treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer's use, it teaches girls they are to be used and teaches boys to be users."

"Recent research indicates that pornography is potentially biologically addictive, which means the user requires more novelty, of in the form of more shocking material, in order to be satisfied." Thus, porn is a driver of prostitution and sexual trafficking.

The Utah bill was drafted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation because "The harms and consequences of pornography are so pervasive that it is beyond an individual or family's ability to handle alone," said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the center.

"The mounting research is clear: today's hardcore pornography is significantly linked to increases in sexual violence, along with decreased brain matter for regular users in the regions used for motivation and decision-making, and we are finding that porn induced sexual dysfunction is on the rise," she asserted.

Public attitudes are changing quickly. Most Americans "do not believe full nudity or especially partial nudity qualify as porn," Barna reports.

Millions of people have become addicted to pornography - with severe consequences.

Porn alters the pathways of the brain and actually reduces grey matter, or intelligence! A December, 2014 survey reported that most young men aged 21-31 did not want to marry because with pornography their sexual needs are being met.

Porn is linked to increased sexual violence against women, as men become more accepting of the rape culture. Porn addicts think women want to be raped!

Even more alarming, a 2003 study reports that 56% of divorces involve the addiction of one spouse to pornography. Undoubtedly, that percentage has grown over the last decade. One spouse of a porn addict wrote, "My confidence has been shaken because I believed all along that my husband was being true to his vows, only to discover that he has been untrue to me."

In fact, users of porn are 300 times more likely to have an affair, according to one study.

Proverbs 6:27 warns: "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished."

Therefore, it is reasonable for a state like Utah to declare that pornography is a "public health hazard." Hopefully many other states will follow Utah.

However, what difference can a state declaration of porn as a "public health hazard" really make? States can begin to enforce laws that declare sexually explicit materials to be illegal. Stores that cater to selling porn magazines and DVDs can be prosecuted and put out of business.

But most hard-core porn is comes from Hollywood, and is on the Internet. Utah can do nothing about that.

What about the U.S. Department of Justice? It has "abandoned its post in the fight for freedom from sexual exploitation and violence," asserted Dawn Hawkins. "The DOJ refuses to enforce existing federal obscenity laws against pornography even though these laws have been upheld by U.S. Courts and have been previously enforced. Federal law prohibits distribution of obscene, adult pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, through the mail and by common carrier."

"The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld obscenity laws against First amendment challenges because obscenity is not protected speech."

Consequently, the U.S. Department of Justice has been named by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation as the top of the "dirty dozen" facilitators of sexual exploitation. Other on the top dozen list include Verizon, and Resorts and Intercontinental Hotels Group.

What can parents to do protect their kids from porn? Request that Parental Controls be imposed on the i-Phones of their children.


Copyright (c) 2016 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers.

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