Jonathon van Maren

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Be encouraged: There is some surprisingly good news about porn

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - I’ve written hundreds of pages on the porn crisis, and the number one complaint I get from readers is that my columns are too depressing. This is a fair accusation, since I cover a lot of depressing topics. But today, I’d like to share good news with you: There is light at the end of the tunnel.

For starters, The Washington Post just published a full exposé of the porn industry, titling their article, “Is porn immoral? That doesn’t matter: It’s a public health crisis.” This is perhaps one of the most resoundingly anti-porn pieces published in a mainstream newspaper in years, replete with quotes like this:

The thing is, no matter what you think of pornography (whether it’s harmful or harmless fantasy), the science is there. After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence and gender equality — for the worse.…

Extensive scientific research reveals that exposure to and consumption of porn threaten the social, emotional and physical health of individuals, families and communities, and highlights the degree to which porn is a public health crisis rather than a private matter. But just as the tobacco industry argued for decades that there was no proof of a connection between smoking and lung cancer, so, too, has the porn industry, with the help of a well-oiled public relations machine, denied the existence of empirical research on the impact of its products.

The Post is not the only mainstream publication finally acknowledging the scientific consensus on pornography. TIME Magazine, too, published a front page story called “Porn and the threat to virility,” detailing the widespread evidence that compulsive porn use can lean to erectile dysfunction. “Porn,” the cover of the magazine announces, “Why young men who grew up with Internet porn are becoming advocates for turning it off.”

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It is encouraging to see that increasingly, pornography is not being treated as a “free speech” issue or a “sexual freedom” issue, but a health crisis. It is a very positive sign that publications which generally cheer on any new manifestation of the Sexual Revolution are beginning to recognize pornography for the cultural cancer it is. I was shocked when Utah recently decided to declare compulsive porn use a “health crisis,” and much of the media coverage was not scornful. Some was even thoughtful.

From FOX13, for example:

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 9, which declares that pornography is creating a “public health crisis.” The resolution states that pornography is leading to hypersexualization of teens, addiction, prostitution and other problems.

“WHEREAS, 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,” Weiler wrote. “Pornography normalizes violence and abuse of women and children; WHEREAS, pornography treats women and children as objects and often depicts rape and abuse as if they are harmless.”

“Whereas pornography use is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity,” the resolution states.

SCR9 asks the “Legislature and the Governor recognize the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation.”

It’s not just Utah, either. Canadian Member of Parliament Arnold Viersen recently put forward Motion M-47, which would ask the House of Commons standing committee “to examine the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women, and men.”

The Toronto Sun reported:

Statistics suggest the average age of first exposure to Internet porn is between 10 and 12 in Canada. This makes Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen worry about how it could affect his children. "They are growing up in a world that's completely different than the one I grew up in," he said…

Health professionals have been warning about the harmful effects of violent media on children and adolescents for decades. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, thousands of studies have "associated exposure to media violence with a variety of physical and mental health problems for children and adolescents, including aggressive and violent behaviour, bullying (and) desensitization."

And before you scoff and point out that Canada has a Liberal government that is sure to ignore such a motion, remember that when he was asked about violence against women, even Justin Trudeau pointed a finger at pornography, noting, “I think there’s probably an awful lot of factors that come together to shape societal behaviour — whether it’s certain types of music? There’s a lot of misogyny in, you know, certain types of music. There’s issues around pornography and its prevalence now and its accessibility, which is something I’m really wrapping my head around as a father of kids who are approaching their teen years. And there’s also just the shifting parental roles as well. There’s a lot of communities in which fathers are less present than they have been or they might be in the past, and there’s more need to have engaged positive role models.”

Great Britain has made moves against pornography, too, with some sources accusing Prime Minister David Cameron of a “war on porn.” From Fight the New Drug:

The UK government is proposing new legislation that will require all sites containing pornographic content to request age verification of visitors to their sites. Rather than porn sites putting an “18+ to enter” button that can be clicked just as easily by an 8-year old as a 28-year old, internet providers will access public information that will help to identify the age of the visitor. This is a huge step forward in protecting kids from the harmful effects of pornography.

The motivation behind this effort, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, is to keep children safe on the internet, preventing them from viewing material which is proven to be damaging to children. A press release from the Prime Minister’s Office states, “Viewing pornography at a young age can cause distress and can have a harmful effect on sexual development, beliefs, and relationships.”

A “war on porn”? Bring it on!

So to those readers who review the statistics on porn use and despair, take heart. There are some in our culture who are waking up to the reality of what pornography has done to our culture, and how many have been swept away by the avalanche of sleaze that the Internet has unleashed. There are now editors and journalists willing to cover this health crisis, and even politicians willing to call it that. We have a long way to go, but for today, at least, be encouraged.

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

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