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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Russian district blocks world’s most popular porn sites to protect children

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

TATARSTAN, Russia, May 1, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A district court has ordered Russia's federal communications agency to block 136 pornography websites, explaining that the sites "harm the development of children, can cause them to want to engage in prostitution and impel them to commit acts of violence against people, propagandize non-traditional sexual relations, and foster disrespect toward parents and other family members, controverting family values."

Under the court order, the sites – some of the most popular porn websites in the world, including some based in the U.S. – were to be blocked throughout the Russian republic of Tartarstan if they did rid themselves of pornographic material within three days of the April 13 ruling. “Total traffic to these sites is in the millions of visits," Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky told the Russian newspaper Izvestia.

The court said it was responding to a complaint by the district prosecutor. However, the federal agency that oversees the internet and broadcasting, Roskomnadzor, said it had received more requests to block pornography than any other medium.

Russia's criminal code forbids the preparation and/or import of pornographic materials.  Additionally, in stating the legal basis for its ruling, the Russian district court pointed to two international treaties that ban the production, possession, and distribution of pornographic materials — the Agreement for the Repression of Obscene Publications, which the Russian Empire signed in Paris in 1910, and the subsequent Convention for the Suppression of the Circulation of, and Traffic in, Obscene Publications, which was signed by the Soviet Union in Geneva in 1923.

Many Christians consider it a welcome move from the Putin administration, which has become publicly bold in seeking to strengthen Biblical morals.

In 2014, the Russian government hosted an International Conference on Family and Christian Values, in which 1,000 delegates from around the world confronted the "social crisis" threatening "all key spheres of human development and civilization."

The conference discussed "the destruction of moral standards…goodness, truth and beauty, and destruction of faith in a creative natural order that distinguishes good from evil." Speakers provided solutions based on pro-life and pro-family teachings of the Orthodox Christian Church.
It recognized "marriage between man and woman, with many children" as "the foundation of civilization." The conference concluded that attendees must oppose all threats to the family – whether from abortion, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, secular humanist education, atheistic evolution, and degenerate entertainment culture.

Russia has passed two laws in the last few years strengthening the penalties for "propagating homosexuality amongst minors, and for insulting peoples' religious convictions in public." The so-called Gay Propaganda Bill introduces fines for propagandizing of minors, including on the media and on the internet.

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In 2012, the Russian government started giving cash payments and other benefits to mothers having more than one child. Current birthrates show an average of 1.7 children are born to Russian women, but the president urged a huge leap in family-building. “I am convinced that the norm in Russia should become a family with three children,” Putin explained later.

Last year, abortion advertising and abortions after 12 weeks were also banned.

Other European countries are also beginning to realize the devastating impact of internet pornography on families. Iceland is considering installing blocks on internet porn.

Last year, the UK persuaded all internet service providers to automatically block pornography on all their users’ internet-enabled devices. This action came in the wake of government-commissioned research projects on the sexualization of children and a shocking survey which found that nine percent of boys as young as 13 watch porn online daily. Other research found that 562 children have sexually abused other children.

In a speech last year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged decisive action to protect children: "In the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out. I'm not making this speech because I want to moralize or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence."

Russia has also begun appointing chaplains for the military and printing Bibles for distribution in hotels.

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