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Ethics & Religion
January 5, 2017
Column #1,845
Pornography: "A Public Health Hazard"
By Mike McManus


Last year the Utah Legislature declared that "Pornography is a Public Health Hazard." Canada passed a version of it and other states are considering similar action: Virginia, Arizona, Texas, Florida, West Virginia and Alabama, according to Pat Trueman, President of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which drafted the resolution.

What has been the result in Utah or Canada? I asked two newspaper editors in Utah. Charles McCollum of the Logan Herald Journal told me, "I have seen no impact at all."

Similarly, Steve Kiggins, Executive Editor of The Spectrum in St. George, told me "Nothing is apparent. I am the father of an 11-year-old daughter, and I am thinking what kind of a world will she live in."

The resolution passed in Utah cited 45 pieces of evidence documenting the harm of pornography. First, it "has contributed to the hypersexualization of teens." For example, the Barna Group reported last year 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/girlfriend."

"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 boy image disorders and an increased desire among adolescents to engage in risky sexual behavior," Utah stated.

So, why haven't PTAs in Utah become active in helping parents block these images on their teenager's cell phones? Perhaps they don't know that Apple offers "Parental Controls" to block sexual images from phones. Why not buy Apple rather than another brand without Parental Controls? Similarly, the American Family Association offers a blocking mechanism to keep porn off of computers. Go to for a TotalWebGuard filter to protect your family.

Virginia Rep. Bob Marshall is introducing legislation to declare porn a "health hazard." Why? He recalled that Dr. Luther Terry, then Surgeon General, made a declaration in 1964 that smoking was a hazard to health, increasing the odds of lung cancer by 9-10 fold. Result: "There was a marked increase in public consciousness," he said.

Correct. In 1958 only 44% felt that smoking was a danger to health, but 78% agreed
by 1968. Congress passed a law in 1965 requiring all cigarette packs to carry a health warning and cigarette advertising was banned in 1970.

Result: the percentage of people who smoke has fallen from 42% of the population in 1955 to only 18% in 2013. Yet it is still responsible for 480,000 deaths a year, a fifth of all deaths!

Rep. Marshall says the first step to reduce pornography "is to recognize that there is a problem. I want to get the consent of my colleagues that it is a problem. We can then decide is making pornography prostitution? If so, we can go after it criminally."

"If a wife learns her husband has been looking at porn by seeing XXX on a credit card charge, she can complain," he added.

Users of porn are 300 times more likely to have an affair, according to one study. Divorce attorneys report that 56% of divorces involve one person being addicted to pornography.

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."

Research indicates porn alters the pathways of the brain and actually reduces grey matter, or intelligence! A 2014 survey reported that young men aged 21-31 did not want to marry because pornography was meeting their sexual needs.

However, there is some good news. Last April TIME published a cover story entitled: "PORN: Why Young Men Who Grew Up with Internet Porn Are Becoming Advocates for Turning It Off."

Noah Church, 26, began looking at nude women on the Internet at age 9. When streaming videos arrived at age 15 he watched them several hours a day sparking masturbation. However, for six years he was unable to have normal sex with a woman - no matter how attractive.

TIME reported, "A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents...So they're beginning to push back, creating online community groups, smartphone apps and educational videos to help men quit porn."

Declaring pornography is a hazard to health is the first step every state must take.

Copyright (c) 2017 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. For previous columns go to Hit Search for any topic.


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