John Jalsevac

Christians must start talking openly about porn: creators of ‘Shamed’

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac
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LOS ANGELES, November 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Every minute Americans spend more than $3,000 on pornography. The average age of exposure to porn is now 11 years old. An estimated 25 percent of all internet searches are for porn. Every second, more than 28,000 people are looking at porn. And more than half of all divorces cite porn as a contributing factor to the breakdown of the marriage.

Indeed, from a statistical standpoint, odds are that you have looked at porn, and that either you or someone you know is seriously hooked on it. Yet, despite the fact that porn and porn addiction is practically ubiquitous, even amongst dedicated Christians, can you think of the last time you had an open, frank conversation about porn?

Chances are you can’t.

According to the creators of a new documentary called Shamed, which is currently in production, this deafening silence is precisely the environment in which porn addiction flourishes – leaving those struggling with sexual sin isolated and trapped in a self-destructive cycle of shame and deception.

“It’s imperative that we shift our culture’s current attitude of not speaking openly about pornography and sexuality for the sake of our children, emerging adults, and young adults with sexual secrets, confusion, or addictions,” reads a message from the creators of Shamed.

According to Jessica Mockett, co-producer and director of the film, the goal isn’t to talk about sex in the same way the wider culture talks about sex – to trivialize it or affirm immoral behavior. The movie, she assured, will approach the issue of porn from the standpoint of traditional Christian sexual ethics. But, she told LifeSiteNews.com, it will also seek to teach “from a compassionate and hopeful place.”

“Removing the mass amounts of shame does not mean we condone acting out sexually,” according to a synopsis of the project on the website for Shamed. “What it does, is allows for a safe place for those entrapped by pornography to come forward and begin to heal.”

The creators of the film draw a distinction between guilt – which they say is a good thing, because it can drive someone to change and healing – and an unhealthy “shame” – which they say “is a constricting emotion.”

“Shame tells us that we are not worthy of love or support; that we have to conceal the worst parts of ourselves in order to be accepted and loved,” they explain.

To break the cycle of unhealthy shame, Shamed has compiled a who’s-who list of experts on porn addiction, as well as a variety of men and women who have struggled with or otherwise been affected by porn addiction and who are willing to share their stories.

Recently, Mockett and her team released an eight-minute segment from the film, as part of an effort to raise publicity – and funds.

The first thing that strikes a viewer is the top-notch production quality - the crisp camera work, the visually striking set, and the music that perfectly sets the mood. But then comes the testimony - earnest, honest, hope-filled and frequently heartbreaking. Men and women whose lives have been torn apart by porn addiction - either their own or that of a loved one - and who have since climbed to a place of hope and healing.

“There’s something in [porn] that kept me from having a whole life, and I mean just experiencing things to a depth that’s rewarding and fulfilling,” recounts one tearful man interviewed in the clip.

Another woman, Jessica Harris, agrees. She recounts how she accidentally encountered porn while researching for a school project. After this she began to “sex chat,” before being pulled deeper and deeper into the world of hardcore porn.

“I think the biggest thing,” she says, “is that I lost my joy. When I was little I can remember just being so full of energy and life and creativity, and I wanted to go outside. I would sing because I was happy. But when I got exposed to [porn] I lost that, and I lost the connection that I wanted to have with real people.”

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Every testimony approaches the problem of porn with an understanding of the power of the addiction and the difficulties inherent in overcoming it – but also with a profound conviction that a porn-free life is a much happier and joyful life than one tainted by it.

Mockett doesn’t hide her eagerness to see the film hit the shelves. “Of all the video material on the subject that I have seen to date, I feel our work is the most viable in helping to get to the root of the issue and to bring healing,” she said.

But at the moment the project has come to a temporary standstill.

While there have been some very positive developments - the film has already secured a distributor who is willing to market and shelve the DVD, something that Mockett observes “is a big feat, especially for an independent project” - at the moment the production team lacks the funds to finish the project.

The production schedule calls for another cycle of interviews, which requires the use of a studio, the proper film equipment, and the experts to operate it. And then there is the business of post-production.

While Shamed has the enthusiastic support of numerous anti-porn organizations, Mockett says these groups have understandably been unable to offer major funding for the project, and so instead she has turned to the grassroots. Last year a fundraiser in Kickstarter raised $40,000. But this fall, a fundraiser on indiegogo to cover the costs of the second phase of the project has stalled at just under $5,000, far from the $50,000 they need to complete stage two, and the $110,000 they need to finish the project completely.

“How amazing that so much money is spent on the destruction of our culture and how ironic that it has proven so hard to find the needed $160,000 to complete Shamed, an amount that pornographers make in under a minute!” Mocket says.

Mockett attributed the difficulties they are having in completing the project to the widespread addiction to porn, and the effectiveness of the porn industry’s marketing.

“So many people believe the porn industry’s well placed lies that it is harmless entertainment, many others are involved as users and too ashamed to go near the subject in any way, many naive people think that pornography doesn’t affect them personally,” she observed, “so there is only a small group of folks who really get that pornography is damaging and are willing to make a stand against it.

But despite the present setbacks, the Shamed team is determined to forge ahead.

“We know this film has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of people to find the much needed hope, tools, and motivation to remove pornography/lust from their lives in healthy, realistic ways,” they write on their indiegogo fundraising page. “The producers are dedicated to the cause and movement.”

To learn more about Shamed, click here. To contribute to Shamed, click here. To see more videos from the film on the Vimeo page for Shamed, click here.

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Judges order Arizona and Indiana to recognize gay ‘marriages’ on death certificates

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By Kirsten Anderson

Two federal judges have ordered Arizona and Indiana to recognize same-sex “marriages” on death certificates, although both states have laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

In Arizona, Judge John Sedwick ordered the state to issue a death certificate for George Martinez listing his marital status as “married” and his spouse as Fred McQuire.  The two were “married” in California in July, and Martinez died in September.  They had previously sued Arizona to recognize their out-of-state “marriage” as legal – a case that is still ongoing.

In his decision, Sedwick said that the majority of federal appeals courts have found that “marriage laws which discriminate between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples infringe a fundamental right.”  He said he thought it was likely that Arizona’s marriage protection law will soon be overturned. 

Sedwick’s decision applies exclusively to Martinez and McQuire.   The judge explained that given the likelihood of same-sex “marriage” becoming legal in Arizona, he didn’t want McQuire’s “marriage” to be excluded from recognition just because his “husband” died before the law could be overturned.  He said he hoped the decision would prevent “the loss of dignity and status coming in the midst of an elderly man’s personal grief.”

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Meanwhile, in Indiana, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen presided over an agreement between the state and a lesbian couple, Veronica Romero and Mayra Yvette Rivera, who “married” in Illinois in March. The state agreed to recognize the couple’s “marriage” because Rivera is dying of ovarian cancer, and said they will issue a death certificate bearing Romero’s name as “spouse” when Rivera passes away. 

Indiana opted to concede the case mostly due to its striking similarities to an earlier case the state lost, in which Judge Richard L. Young ordered Indiana to recognize the “marriage” of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, who “wed” in Massachusetts in 2013.  Quasney also has terminal ovarian cancer, and the couple had argued that Sandler and her two children would suffer irreparable financial harm if the state does not recognize their “marriage” so that Sandler can collect death benefits when Quasney passes away. 

Both Indiana decisions apply only to the couples named specifically by the court; however, last week, a federal appeals court upheld an earlier ruling by Judge Young declaring the state’s marriage protection law unconstitutional. 

The state of Indiana has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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A topless activist with Femen attacks Belgian Archbishop Andrè-Joseph Leonard, who is known for his strong pro-life and pro-family stance.
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Why are pro-abortion protesters always taking their clothes off?

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By Jonathon van Maren

I’ve seen a lot of bizarre responses to pro-life activism. There’s the crude picket signs, the illiterate chants, the flashes of violence, the incoherent threats that so often seem to involve used tampons, and even activists dressed up like giant genitalia.

But there is one phenomenon that never ceases to stagger me with its counterproductive stupidity and moral blindness: The increasing prevalence of “feminist” protestors, almost exclusively women, stripping down to “protest” something—usually protection for the pre-born or some other dissent from the totalitarian death cult of the Sexual Revolution.

When people ask me what the weirdest response to pro-life work is and I try to explain this phenomenon, they find it hard to believe. So do I. But yet it happens, time and time again.

The suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

One student stripped down and sat on a folding chair in front of our pro-life display at the University of British Columbia. A few protestors decided to protest the launch of our 2012 national tour by going topless. Then, at a presentation in London, Ontario, a bunch of pro-abortion protesters showed up at a counter-protest organized by the Canadian Auto Worker’s Union, sans clothing. And of course, at last year’s March for Life a topless Femen protestor flung herself at a remarkably composed Catholic bishop as he spoke to the crowd, shrieking “F*** your morals!”

You’d think such behaviour would attract ire rather than admiration. But this is 2014 and most of our municipal governments use our taxpayer’s cash basically to fund a day dedicated to that type of behaviour when the Pride Parade rolls around.

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Instead, these women are now generally referred to as “brave.” Even the popular, but tiresomely far-left website Upworthy recently pushed a video with a street activist protesting harassment by misogynist pigs by standing on the street in her lingerie. (Little tip: Protesting the fact that some misogynists define you by your body by voluntarily showing them what they wanted to see in the first place isn't defiance, it's acquiescence. Protesting the fact that these guys aren't treating you with dignity by acting like you have none is counter-productive. “That guy crudely suggested he wants to see me naked! Well, I’ll show him! By showing him exactly what he wants to see! Wait…”)

A bit of research into the infamous nude activist group Femen (“Our mission is protest, our weapon is bare breasts”) shows just how exploitative (inadvertent though it may sometimes be) this entire phenomenon is. In recent documentary the group’s leader, Viktor Svyatski, admitted that he had perhaps started the group to “get girls,” and that he carefully selected only the most attractive girls for his group. The documentary also revealed that Svyatski had described the Femen girls as “weak,” and was often verbally abusive with them.

Again, the suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

But the phenomenon of public nudity is also more than just incoherent protest—it is a way of forcing people to accept any and all manifestations of the Sexual Revolution. As I noted some time ago:  The public is now regularly subjected to crude and wildly exhibitionist “Gay Pride Parades” and “Slut Walks.” These are not considered to be optional festivals hosted by tiny minority groups. No, politicians who refuse to attend are labelled as heretics by the high priests of the New Moral Order, which is of course not an order at all, but a proud lack thereof.

Liberal activists don’t want the State to be outside the bedroom anymore, they want the State in the bedroom—loudly applauding the acts they see taking place, refraining from any judgment but one of approval, and paying for pills and bits of rubber to ensure that such acts do not go awry and result in reproduction or infection.

Your prayers are not welcome in public, but your privates are. The Emperor has no clothes, and is quite enjoying it—so long as the chilly breezes of moral truth don’t leak out of drafty cathedrals to cause discomfort.  

There may be hope on the horizon, as indicated by the wild popularity of such books as Wendy ShaIit’s A Return to Modesty, as well as increasing disinterest in topless beaches in places like France. Some “feminists” have responded to such trends with irritation, grumbling that all the hard-won ground they had fought for is being spurned by the ungrateful brats of today. But perhaps, instead, many women are realizing that allowing men to freely objectify them in public is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Perhaps people have begun to rediscover a human value that was once enormously prized, but now almost forgotten: Dignity.

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Abortion ‘doula’: I was trained to ‘support’ women choosing gendercide

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By Ben Johnson

A young woman who volunteers as an assistant in the abortion industry says she was trained to be “supportive” of women who chose to have sex-selective abortions and 11-year-olds who opted to remain in a sexual relationship with their much older rapist.

Alex Ronan also describes the conscious decision to lie to patients and the graphic, bloody details of her first year as an abortion doula in an article published Sunday in New York Magazine.

An abortion “doula” – a Greek word that literally means “female slave” – is supposed to comfort women during the abortion procedure. The 23-year-old received her training from Lauren Mitchell, who co-founded The Doula Project with Mary Mahoney in 2007.

“We sat in the park, eating pie,” Ronan remembered:

She gave us a sheet with situations so exaggeratedly horrible they seemed unreal: An 11-year-old in for an abortion who asks for birth control when she’s alone with the doctor. Her mother works nights; she’d been left with a friend who has a twentysomething son. She calls him her boyfriend; he will go to jail. A woman who says she’d like to do another ultrasound to see if it’s definitely a girl, because she’ll only keep it if it isn’t. A drug addict covered in track marks with two kids in the foster-care system who refuses birth control.

“What do you assume?” Mitchell asked of each case. “How can you be supportive?”

The 23-year-old said, as the training went on, she realized these cases were not hypothetical. “Later, I learned from Mahoney that all the examples were real cases that had come from her first six months working as an abortion doula.”

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have repeatedly been caught covering up statutory rape – by pro-life sting operations and outraged parents – as well as facilitating sex-selective abortions.

Faced with the reality of abortion, Ronan said she felt “embarrassed” by “the limits of my compassion. I judged these women on the worthiness of their reasons ('Would she really only keep a boy?' I wondered) and found myself questioning why those who come in for late-term abortions had waited so long to decide.”

Soon, she would see cases she would never forget. She bookends her article with two stories that reveal the pain women suffer in the process and the gory details the procedure burned into her mind.

She saw an emergency that ended in a hysterectomy on her first day.

The abortionists moved up the late-term procedure after seeing the woman's reaction to laminaria. “I hear one doctor tell the other that there’s too much blood,” Ronan writes. “They have to cut into Dee’s abdomen to get a clearer picture of what was going on...Eventually, they have to remove the uterus; there isn’t any other way.”

After the procedure, “What’s called the products of conception bucket is mostly filled with bloody gunk. I make out a doll-size arm, fist curled. It feels like I shouldn’t look, but I can’t turn away,” she admits.

Soon, she got her opportunity to “support” a minor in an “abusive” relationship. Afterwards, “Eliana” asked Ronan, “Do you think I’m too young for an abortion?”

“I tell her no. I think she’s making a really responsible choice,” she writes. “She looks at me, says, 'Do you even know how old I am?' I shake my head no. 'I’m 14,' she says.”

Ronan did not indicate that she or anyone at the abortion facility reported the abuse, or encouraged Eliana to do so.

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When abortion volunteers speak to one another, they acknowledge they have seen everything – “the patients who have second thoughts, and the ones who get abortions for reasons that make you feel uncomfortable. These images are the stuff of pro-life campaigns, the ones that try to make women change their minds.”

Rather than help women face the facts, she said she often acts as a “distraction” to women. “When the patients stand, I see the blood stains on the white paper, a little or a lot,” she writes. “I step between them and the bed, to block their view of the blood.” Mitchell suggested doulas make small talk about astrology, but the writer chooses to talk about the Kardashians.

Part of that abortion industry's “distraction” involves lying, Ronan confesses. As a part of the abortion process, you “quickly learn that you do whatever you need to and ... sometimes you are dishonest. In the beginning, I shadow a more experienced doula as she reassures a patient that the woman in the next room screaming wildly is not here for the same procedure, though, of course, she is.”

She has also seen women who did not want to have abortions but feel they have no other option.

“A doula tells me a story about a woman who wanted to continue the pregnancy but had lost her job, run through all her savings, and was living in a homeless shelter.” For this reason, crisis pregnancy centers offer free medical procedures, diapers, baby clothes, and sometimes financial support to struggling mothers.

Another woman chose life too late. She scheduled a second-trimester abortion, because her child might not belong to her boyfriend. That morning, after the two-day procedure had been initiated, he told her they should keep the child anyway. “I can't, though, right?” she asks. “Since she’s already done laminaria, it’s unclear what would happen if she stops at this point.” She ended up aborting to assure the child would not be born with a birth defect. “I don't know what she wants and I don't know that she does, either,” Ronan says.

Ronan also reveals the often icy indifference of the industry to women's suffering.

She remembers another second-trimester patient named “Princess” who began having contractions, yet the doctor pushed her abortion back all day long. When she feels her child coming out, about to be born alive, the doula seeks help, but the coordinator tells her “coolly” that the doctor is unavailable. After she pleads for help, the abortionist dispatches an attending physician who performs the abortion.

“The fetus comes out easily; they put it in the bucket and shove it near me. It is fully intact, curled on its left side, fists closed, knees bent up,” Ronan writes. Looking at the dead child's mother, she thinks to herself, “He sleeps just like you.”

She immediately has “a second thought, an act of distancing: He looks more like an alien than a person.” An employee at Dr. Kermit Gosnell's late-term abortion facility, Sherry West, said one child who was murdered after being born alive screamed and screeched “like a little alien.”

But for all the pain they have witnessed, abortion doulas are relatively unmoved about what they are doing.

Doula Project co-founder Mahoney has admitted “those pictures pro-life activists flash are real.”

“When you see the procedure, you must decide, as a pro-choice person, whether you are in or out,” Mahoney said. “I have never been more in.”

Ronan seems to be in for the long haul, as well. Abortion “strikes me as strangely similar to birth, only the opposite word and a different outcome.”

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