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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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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