John Jalsevac

Porn: devil or an angel?

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac
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Note: This is part two of a five part series on pornography

Part I: My porn addiction
Part II: Porn, devil or an angel?
Part III: Three ways to kick porn out of your life
Part IV: The fight for sexual sanity in a world awash in porn
P
art V: The pointlessness of pornography

November 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - But there is no use going any further until we can all agree that porn really is a devil.

Strange as it may seem, many of our modern sex educators believe that porn use is simply a natural part of the healthy development of an adolescent sexuality, and that it is only harmful in cases where the habit interferes with the user’s capacity to perform his or her daily duties. In this view porn is, at worst, a mischievous but usually “harmless” sprite, or, at best, an angel.

I once read an article about pornography under which hundreds of people had posted comments. One of these, a young man, confessed that he had several hundred gigabytes of lesbian pornography on his computer, but assured his readers that his attitude towards women had not changed, and that in real life he always treated them with respect. His comment was only the most extreme of many to the same effect: arguing that porn use is a purely private affair, and kept within its proper boundaries, is no more or less harmful than having a gin and tonic every now and again.

This argument has about it an aura of reasonableness, if you accept its underlying premise: namely that the purpose of life is to get as much pleasure as you can while causing the least amount of harm to others. But it is exposed as absolute rubbish the moment you reject this premise and accept the competing worldview: namely, that the purpose of life is to learn how to love. Let me explain.

There are some critics of pornography who will immediately cite cases of serial killers and rapists who have been porn addicts. They will accompany their sordid list with dire warnings that it is only a matter of time before porn users begin to “act out” what they have seen. It’s not an altogether wrong-headed approach. After all, it makes a certain amount of sense that the most inhuman criminals would be immersed head-deep in something that essentially dehumanizes others. And certainly, there is some solid evidence that in some cases the danger of “acting out” is real: which is likely why we are seeing, for instance, an increase in reports of young children performing sex acts on one another, growing complaints from women that their boyfriends or husbands are demanding that they do things in the bedroom which they find naturally repellant, and the widespread practice of “sexting” among young teens. 

But both of these arguments have the same basic weakness: that they put the emphasis on fringe actions that porn may lead some people to commit. And in response most porn users will respond, “Well, I have no desire to violate and kill strange women,” and will place themselves outside the scope of argument. The same weakness applies, to a lesser extent, to the argument that porn use leads to addiction, since there are men and women who only view porn occasionally, and who do not find that the weekend hours they give to it interfere with their ability to function as responsible members of society.

To really show why porn is so harmful we have to go deeper than that, to the root of the problem, which is simply this: that porn is always and everywhere, in every single case, without exception, a profound corruption of the true meaning and beauty of sex, and that every single minute spent looking at it debases its user, no matter how “in control” their porn habit may seem to be. The problem is not that porn may cause some users to perform perverse or violent actions (though in some cases that may be a problem), but that it is in itself a perverse and violent form of entertainment.*

In the first place, we cannot ignore everything we know about what goes into the making of a lot of porn - the abuse, the coercion, the drugs, the disease, and the violence. Donny Pauling, a former highly successful Playboy pornographer who quit the business after a conversion, once told me, when I asked if he still struggled with porn addiction, “There’s nothing appealing about a girl curled up in a corner sucking her thumb because her mind is so blown by what she’s been doing.” In other words, when Pauling sees porn, he doesn’t see the white-washed fantasy, he sees the rotten framework on which the fantasy is supported: the broken lives, the broken dreams, the broken bodies.

But even this argument misses the mark. Porn is not perverse and violent simply because the industry is exploitative. The exploitation is merely the logical outcome of the fact that porn takes that which is intended to unite two human beings in a beautiful, intimate, self-giving bond of love, and transforms it into a selfish transaction in which one person uses the other’s body for pleasure, without any interest in encountering the other as an actual person or even considering the question of his or her welfare. Sex, used properly, brings a person out of himself. Porn turns him inwards. Sex unites. Porn drives apart.

The problem with this argument is that it is somewhat abstract; and so I will say this: that those who argue that their porn habit has not affected their lives or the way they view the world in any negative way have never really experienced what sex or the world can really be. The only reason they think that porn has not affected them is because they cannot remember what it was like not to have an imagination stuffed to overflowing with porn. In other words, they have been enslaved so long, that they have forgotten what it is like to be free.

In my own case, while I never believed pornography was anything but an unwanted millstone about my neck, my abhorrence for it grew exponentially after my marriage. Until then what I had learned about theoretically from books, the beautiful truth about the real meaning of sex, had been at war with what I had learned about sex from porn. But in marriage I really learned, for the first time, that there is a vast world of difference between the lonely, selfish, and often-violent world of porn, and the world in which a man and a woman come together as an expression of their love and commitment for one another; and in which – how has basic biological fact become so counterintuitive? – their union has the mind-blowing capacity to bring a totally new human being into existence.

Porn, for all of its carefully constructed storylines designed to satisfy every fantasy and fetish, for all of its mood lighting and music and costumes and elaborate camera angles, for all of its representations of a sanitized casual sex free from any fears of disease or pregnancy, and for all of its airbrushed and “enhanced” actors and actresses, will never be one thousandth as beautiful as the real thing. Because the lie, no matter how dolled up, is never as beautiful and convincing as the truth. 

In the end, of course, the doomsaying prophets of porn are proved correct. A lie, even if not spoken aloud, will always do harm, even if it is only to the person who is thinking the lie. No, not every porn user will become a rapist. Not every porn user will completely destroy their lives or their marriages through addiction. Not every porn user will follow the temptation to seek out the most extreme high, ending up in the darker and seedier districts of the world of porn.

But every porn user will inevitably, to one degree or another, lose his or her capacity to love.

This is why, I think, we now have a world in which young men and women are increasingly incapable of engaging in long-term, committed relationships. In which the “one-night stand” is the norm. In which the divorce rate is sky high, with a majority of divorce cases citing porn use as a contributing factor. In which more and more men and women are not bothering to get married in the first place, instead moving about from live-in partner to live-in partner – seeking, in vain, for the one who can give them everything, without asking for anything in return. In which more and more men find that they derive no satisfaction from real women, instead preferring to cavort with their favorite porn stars, who do not demand even their own orgasm, let alone love, in return. In which many women have ceased to believe even in the possibility of “true love,” because all they have ever known are sexual advances at best “dressed up” as love.

This list only scratches the surface, for, though it may sound extreme, porn poses a threat to the very structures of a functioning civilization. Porn essentially habituates people to take, without any thought of giving. It habituates people to look upon others as mere vehicles for pleasure, and not as fellow, equal human beings to love. It is essentially an axe laid to the very root of community. And with whole cities of people now hooked on porn, it is hard to overstate the profound ways porn is transforming the hearts of our citizens, and ultimately, our civilization. 

Tomorrow: Part III of this five-part series - Three Ways to Beat a Porn Addiction

* Supporters of pornography will understandably disagree with my absolute condemnation of all pornography. While I stand by this position, let me anticipate an objection and clarify that I do believe there are vast differences between various forms of pornography. Some are worse and some are better. There are some who will agree that the more “hardcore” forms of pornography are damaging, but argue that forms of “erotica” that emphasize romance and relationship are not only not damaging, but can even be healthy for a relationship. While I agree that such pornography may be less harmful than porn depicting violence or other forms of exploitation or “extreme” sex acts, it seems obvious to me that in the long run it is still profoundly damaging, for the reasons stated above. The notion that viewing and fantasizing over other people having sex can legitimately help one grow closer to one’s spouse or partner, or help one grow as a person, is simply a contradiction in terms.

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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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11-year-old in Uruguay refuses to abort after rape

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado
By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An 11-year-old girl in Uruguay is making headlines for refusing to abort after being raped by a 41-year-old relative. Pro-abortion organizations in the country are using the case to ask for a broadening in the law, which allows for abortion up until 12 weeks gestation, 14 weeks in cases of rape, and up to 9 months when the life or health of the mother are at risk or when the baby is “unviable.”

Local media report that the girl, who is 18 weeks pregnant, lived with her abuser for over a year prior to the pregnancy. Her mother is now asking authorities to make her abort, but according to the local newspaper La Diaria, a team of psychiatrists from Uruguay’s Child and Adolescent Institute (INAU) has said that “the girl’s position has been confirmed without a doubt: she wishes to be a mother.”

According to her relatives, the girl suffers from a mild mental incapacity, although she is not considered handicapped.

In a press conference, Susana Muñiz, president for the Association of State Health Services and former minister of health, said: “An 11-year-old girl obviously has a body not prepared to be pregnant, with a very small uterus.”

However, according to Monica Silva, head of the INAU’s Health Division, “There is no risk to the life of the girl nor that of the baby. We cannot force her to abort.”

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“Even if her mother wants it, it would be inhuman to force her to abort,” continued Silva. “The fact that there was a rape doesn’t allow me to force her to abort. This [aborting] may seem like a protection of her rights but it is against the girl’s will.”

Nevertheless, a press release “demanding” that the girl abort “immediately” was issued by several pro-abortion NGOs soon after, on May 12. “The hypocritical and bureaucratic system allows for her rights to be undermined without considering the cost this will bring to the girl,” it read.

“Who will take charge now to stop the undermining of her rights and protect her health and her life? How much longer do we need to wait before somebody decides responsibly on the interruption of that pregnancy?” it concluded.

In her interview, Silva also said the girl’s parents “never visited, with exception of one of the six siblings she has.”

 “The best that could happen would be to ensure that she has a ‘welcoming family,’ that would receive the girl with her baby,” continued Silva. “I doubt we can achieve that because it’s hard to find families who want this challenge.”

The girl remains under INAU’s care and her abuser has been imprisoned.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Christian jeweller made gay couples’ rings but still got targeted by gay lobby

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By Steve Weatherbe

MOUNT PEARL, Newfoundland, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) –While North Americans are used to reading about Christian business people being fined and excoriated for refusing to cater to homosexual weddings, Newfoundland has added a novel twist: there a Christian jeweller has been punished financially and deluged with hate mail even though he did do business with a homosexual couple.

Nicole White and Pam Renouf liked the service they got from Esau Jardon of Today’s Jewellers in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, who took their deposit and proceeded to design and build them two engagement rings. They even recommended the store to friends.

But by the time one friend went there, the Mexican-born Jardon had put up a sign in his shop window marking Mother’s Day—and his strong, traditional Christian beliefs: “The Sanctity of Marriage IS UNDER ATTACK; Help Keep Marriage Between Man & Woman,” it read.

The friend went ballistic. Her picture of the sign went viral. The couple went back on their deal and back to the store, demanding their deposit. Today’s Jewellers’ Facebook page was so deluged with hundreds of hateful emails and many threats that Jardon and his brother, who is his business partner, have to shut it down.

LifeSiteNews asked White if Jardon had been punished enough. “Omigod, yes,” she responded. “Way, way too much.” But earlier she explained to a local newspaper why the couple cancelled their order. “The ring symbolizes love, and just knowing that that’s the sign that they have up there — every time I look at my ring, yes, I’ll think of us, clearly, but also everything we went through. So I don’t want my ring from there anymore. I just want my refund.”

At first, she reported, “They just said that that's their beliefs, and they think they can put up whatever they want. I just said it was very disrespectful, it's very unprofessional and I wanted a refund,” White said. “I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But I don't think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business.”

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Jardon, at first, was loath to return it, lest this be seen as an apology for his beliefs. Reached in Toronto, he told the St. John’s Telegram, “When I walk on Church Street in Toronto, where I am right now, and I see [LGBT rainbow flags], and I see a lot of signs and a lot of things on public property, I don't have a problem with them. I accept it. I chose to come to Canada... and we accept the whole package... I don't discriminate against that, nor do I come and tell them to take them down. For the same reason, I ask to have the same respect in return, especially when it's in my own business.”

But what is sauce for the gander is not sauce for the geese, or for the LGBT community that crowded onto the bandwagon, or for the CBC which was all too ready to label the jeweller’s sign “homophobic.”

However, some have offered support and sympathy. Rod Dreher, blogging at The American Conservative, observed that only so-called sexual minorities expected this kind of treatment. “Is a fundamentalist Christian permitted to send her osso buco back to the kitchen if she discovers that homosexual hands cooked it? Of course not. Some delicate snowflakes are more delicate than others.”

Referring to recent decisions by courts and human rights tribunals against Christian vendors who refused to serve homosexuals, Dreher concluded on an ironic note. The pressure on Jardon to return the deposit marked “the next phase in the March of Progress. You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.”

Jardon defends his right to his own opinion. “One of the reasons my family chose to move to Canada was the rights that it offered, the freedom of religion and freedom of speech, both of which at the time seemed to be very limited in Mexico,” he said.

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Canadians headed to the ballot box for the fall federal election should remember the right to life is 'the most basic thing in society,' the archbishop tells LifeSiteNews. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Exclusive: Clinging to Christ will help those struggling with sexual identity, says Montreal’s archbishop

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By Pete Baklinski

OTTAWA, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Montreal’s archbishop, Christian Lépine, weighed in on what the Catholic Church actually has to offer people struggling with the biological sex they were born with, telling LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that it’s no mistake that God creates the human person as male or female and that every person must look for their identity within a “view of God.”

“The teachings of the Church as such, its most basic one, is that we’re made in the image of God. That's always the starting point. And when you lose track of that — that you're made in the image of God — then somehow you come to lose trust in who you are as a human being, and you know less of who you are, and you don't know anymore who you are, and you [find yourself] looking for your own identity outside of a view of God,” Lépine told LifeSiteNews last week one day prior to the annual National March for Life that drew an estimated 25,000 pro-life advocates.

Following the first book of the Bible, where it is stated that God created human beings as “male and female,” the Catholic Church has always taught, and continues to teach, that the male/female binary is God’s plan for mankind.

As the book of Genesis (1:27) states: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses that recognizing and preserving the male/female sexual difference is necessary for a healthy society.

“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out,” the Catechism states.

Lépine said that anytime questions about sexual identity arise for the faithful, “we must go back to the basics,” namely that “every human is created in the image of God, and of course, biblically, every human being exists as a woman or as a man.”

The archbishop’s words are foreign to mainstream notions of so-called ‘gender fluidity’ where male/female difference is construed as a social construct and ultimately as a personal choice.

Lépine acknowledged that some people suffer when it comes to accepting their own sexual identity as either a male or female based on biological characteristics.

“Sometimes people have sufferings about their own desires, or about their own sense of identity, or about the fact that masculinity and femininity exists, or about the fact that you as ‘human being’ [exist] as a male or female, as a man or as a woman.”

He called the male/female binary “a reality that is part of the [human] experience,” adding that it is also “taught in the Bible.”

Lépine stressed that the Church does not leave people “looking for a meaning in their lives and their own sense of identity” to struggle on their own, but offers them many helps and aids, including a clear anthropology on the nature of the human person.

“As Christians, we have the Bible to help people. We have Jesus Christ to help people. We have faith in God to help people. So, going back, [we must be] conscious that we are made in the image of God. And our own sexuality — what is the meaning of being a man or woman — is related to our vocation to love. And, every human being as such, made in the image of God — being a man or woman — is called to love.”

“So, how [are we] to help [such] people? You can talk about things theoretically, which is one thing. But also, we have to be conscious of people who live through situations where they're looking for their own identity and we need, I think, the Bible and faith to help them.”

Fluid notions of gender have been criticized by Pope Francis on at least three occasions, and prior to this, by Pope Benedict XVI.

“Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion," Pope Francis told young people during his voyage to Naples, Italy last March.

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In his 2012 Christmas greeting, Pope Benedict condemned gender theory as a “profound falsehood” since it denies the male and female sex as a “given element of nature.” According to Benedict, instead of acknowledging that God created people male and female, gender theory posits the existence of sexual social constructions that people can decide to conform to or not.

“The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”

“When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being,” Benedict concluded. “The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears,” he said.

Earlier in the interview, Lépine spoke about the need to “promote relentlessly life and respect for life” in the face of the country’s top court setting the legal stage for allowing doctors to end the lives of their patients under the pretext of compassion and mercy.

“You don't take care of someone when you suppress the life of someone, because you're not solving a problem. You're suppressing the person. It doesn't work,” he said.

Referring to the upcoming federal election this fall, the archbishop called “life and the right-to-life and dignity of the person” an “important subject, because it's the most basic thing in society.” 

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