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Sexual assaults in the military: porn is part of the problem

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June 21, 2013 (thePublicDiscourse) - It is bad enough when high-ranking military officers are arrested for sexual assault, including instructors who have assaulted trainees. It is almost unthinkable that two military members recently arrested happened to be in charge of or were associated with sexual assault prevention programs for their respective services. It is not hyperbole to say that the US military is in a sexual assault crisis not seen since the Navy’s Tailhook scandal.

To extract itself from this sexual assault wash cycle, the Air Force, in which we serve, along with other branches of the military, must take swift action to recognize many of the underlying behaviors that lead to sexual assault and warn its Airmen accordingly. Specifically, it is imperative that the Air Force recognize the direct link between sexual assaults and the elevated amount of pornography consumption in its ranks. Pornography has become the new drug of many Airmen, and the service must help its members deal with this addictive new health hazard.

Members of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGs) can help solve this problem and provide insight from their unique perspective on military duty. Military legal offices work closely with the military commanders to help maintain good order and discipline, and as a result, get to see the “ugly side” of the military services. Daily, they conduct investigations of and prosecute crimes committed by military members. JAGs also provide free legal advice to service members on a whole range of issues such as divorce, which offers JAGs another window into the causes of common personal problems. Many JAGs also gain rare insight into the root causes of crimes like sexual assault committed by Airmen.

The military’s sexual assault problem is grim, but unfortunately, the current Air Force sexual assault prevention training, although well-intended, is not cutting the mustard. A brief anecdote might help illuminate the issue.

The thermonuclear missile base, Francis. E. Warren Air Force Base, is located on the windswept grassy plains of eastern Wyoming. A few years back, the base was struck by a rash of child pornography cases among its ranks. Numerous Airmen were prosecuted for possession of child pornography after local authorities discovered that they had downloaded images and videos from file sharing websites. The legal office spent years prosecuting these tragic cases.

To stop the bleeding, JAGs fanned out across the base to warn Airmen about how to avoid child pornography. For the most part, the JAGs simply advised them to  be cautious in which websites they visit.

Tragically, they often failed to advise them to stay away from the highly addictive, legal, adult online pornography, which in nearly every case preceded the descent into the seedy world of child pornography. Unsurprisingly, child pornography crime still occurs at F. E. Warren and many other bases. Regrettably, the Air Force is still not warning its Airmen of the dangers to their lives and careers associated with frequent consumption of legal adult pornography.

Better training is needed now more than ever because the military’s sexual assault problem is grim. According to a recent Department of Defense study, 26,000 military members reported being a victim of some type of sexual assault last year. This number is up from 19,300 reports in 2010. The sexual assault statistics in the Air Force alone are no better. The preliminary figures for 2012 reveal almost 800 reported cases, which is a 30 percent increase. The Pentagon recently admitted that sexual assault within the military is a “persistent problem,” and that the services need to do more to prevent them.

Current sexual assault prevention training can best be described as changing conditions without changing people. This is a recipe for failure. A 2012 Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Direction letter on sexual assault prevention and response confirmed that the current training falls short of being effective and stressed that reducing high-risk behaviors and personal vulnerabilities associated with sexual assault must become part of the training. Current Air Force training does not address these types of behaviors and root causes, such as pornography consumption, that lead to sex crimes.

One out of ten in the general civilian population is addicted to internet pornography. Pornographic consumption and addiction are believed to be much higher in the military, though, because of the largely young male population and frequent deployments.

In fact, in an interview with the Army Times, Navy Lt. Michael Howard, a licensed therapist and military chaplain, believes that at least 20 percent of the military is addicted to online pornography. The common theme among many military chaplains is that addiction to internet pornography is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, personal problem facing our military members today.

It is not uncommon for military members to come home from a deployment addicted to pornography. Military spouses often complain about these devastating addictions post-deployment.

The military’s pornography problem continually grabs news headlines. An Army Colonel stationed at the Army War College in Pennsylvania was recently arrested for possessing more than 10,000 images of suspected child pornography on his personal laptop. In 2006, seven paratroopers from the famed 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were caught appearing on a gay pornographic website.

In August 2012, the chief of the Defense Missile Agency was forced to issue a warning to its employees to stop accessing pornographic images from their government computers and to stop sending pornography through their network e-mails.

The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Mark Welsh, recognized this pornography problem and recently ordered all Air Force bases to remove all sexually explicit images from work areas. Countless pornographic images were found and removed. In addition, the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, recently ordered a similar inspection to be conducted at all military bases.

Although it is an issue that some still try to debate, mounting research shows that legal adult pornography is dangerous, especially the highly addictive internet pornography available at all times and on nearly every communication device. Research also shows a direct link between pornography consumption and the commission of sex crimes. In fact, in a recent interview, General Welsh alluded to the link between pornographic images adorning walls and a culture of sexual assault.

Like many JAGs, civilian prosecutors have also learned from their cases that pornography consumption can create and feed deviant and dangerous behaviors. The infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, who raped and killed thirty-six to fifty young women and girls, placed much of the blame for his actions on pornography just before he was executed in 1989, saying:

In the beginning, it [pornography] fuels this kind of thought process . . . Like an addiction, you keep craving something that is harder, harder, something which gives you a greater sense of excitement—until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far, you reach that jumping-off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give you that which is beyond just reading or looking at it.

Another infamous serial killer, Arthur Gary Bishop, who was executed in 1983 for sodomizing and killing five young boys, stated that “pornography was not the only negative influence in my life, but its effect on me was devastating . . . pornography was a determining factor in my downfall.”

Further, many years before the creation of the Internet, J. Edgar Hoover, former director of the FBI, described pornography’s influence on sex crimes: “What we do know is that an overwhelmingly large number of cases of sex crimes is associated with pornography. We know that sex criminals read it and are clearly influenced by it . . . I believe pornography is a major source of sex violence. . . .”

Pornography is effective at shaping both beliefs and behaviors about sex. Pornography poses such a danger not only because it assaults a human being’s emotional psyche, but also because it causes physical addictions similar to hard drugs. Consequently, research shows that most people who commit a sex crime regularly view pornography.

According to Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, “Online porn is to sex addiction what crack cocaine is to drug addiction.” As detailed in the Army Times, a brain scan of a sex addict looks the same as the scan of someone who has just used cocaine. As the brain receives the pornographic images it releases adrenaline into the bloodstream, increasing the heart rate and causing sweaty palms and dilation of the eyes. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus secrete endorphins to produce dopamine, which opens up the pleasure centers of the brain; and too much dopamine is what actually causes the addiction.

Several studies  have shown that all persons, normal and unbalanced, who view pornography develop a craving for more deviant materials. Many persons even begin to employ more violent methods in their sexual relations. As with drug users, those who use pornography seek more and more deviant materials to maintain their previous level of sexual arousal.

In 1988, the FBI reported that 81 percent of violent sexual offenders regularly read or viewed violent pornography.  A twenty-year FBI study indicates that 81 percent of sex murderers name pornography as their most significant sexual interest, and police investigators routinely find porn in the homes of sex-crime suspects.

The research detailed above is just the tip of the iceberg documenting the connection between pornography consumption and sex crimes (websites www.pornharms.com and www.fightthenewdrug.com contain a plethora of additional research). Academic research and the documented evidence of law enforcement officials leave little doubt that pornography consumption is a significant motivator of sex crimes. It only makes sense then, that to reduce sexual assaults, the Air Force must work to limit or prevent the consumption of pornography.

Many may scoff at such an approach. They may believe pornography is victimless and in fact can be healthy for their sex lives, or even serve as a cure for loneliness while being away from one’s family. Others may not be convinced of the connection between pornography and deviant behavior because they themselves consume pornography and have no desire to commit a sex crime.

But it would be foolish to ignore the well-documented risks associated with pornography consumption. As with any other highly addictive substance, the prudent course would be to warn our military members about these risks. The military, serving the paternal role it does, already deals with alcohol and narcotic consumption in similar and ordered fashion. Leadership should also take action to help those already addicted to pornography before their lives or careers (or the lives of others) are ruined by this addiction. The Air Force specifically already has many resources in place at the base clinic, base chaplaincy, and base legal offices, among other places, to help Airmen escape pornography addiction. Additional training for commanders would be in order to educate them on this problem so they can engage with their units.

The time is now to begin this anti-pornography training campaign before more of our heroes are lost to this dangerous drug.

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Ken Artz is an active duty Major in the United States Air Force and member of the United States Air Force JAG Corps, and is currently serving as a 2012-2013 Air Force Strategic Policy Fellow in Washington, DC. Peter J. Smyczek is a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force Reserves and is attached as an IMA to the 42nd ABW Legal Office, Maxwell AFB, AL. As a civilian, he serves as a Prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Alabama.

Disclaimer: The Authors have no intention of promulgating Department of Defense or Department of the Air Force policy. The opinions and conclusions expressed in this publication are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Judge Advocate General, The Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the State of Alabama, or any other department or agency of the U.S. Government.

Reprinted with permission from The Public Discourse.

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Pope Francis eases forgiveness of abortion for Jubilee Year of Mercy

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By John-Henry Westen

ROME, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- In an announcement today, Pope Francis said that he is enacting an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from December 8, 2015 through November 2016. As part of the Jubilee, the pope has allowed priests to forgive the sin of abortion, which St. John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae (paragraph 58) is “murder.”

The statement marks the most extensive remarks on abortion that Pope Francis has made during his pontificate. Rather than downplaying the seriousness of abortion, as some media contend, in the statement the pope encourages the millions of women who have aborted their children to go to confession and seek God’s forgiveness.

In the Catechism, the Church calls abortion a “criminal” practice, and imposes the penalty of excommunication on those who do it -- essentially, removing those who commit abortions from the Church. In the past, typically re-entry into the Church for those who have separated themselves from it by excommunication can only be undertaken by a bishop. However in much of North America priests have already been given standing permission by their bishops to forgive abortion.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput explained in an email sent to LifeSiteNews today, “For many years now, parish priests have been given permission to absolve the sin of abortion here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.” The Philadelphia archbishop, who will play host to Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit later this month added, “But the practice has not been common in various other regions of the world.”

“This action in no way diminishes the moral gravity of abortion,” concluded Chaput. “What it does do is make access to sacramental forgiveness easier for anyone who seeks it with a truly penitent heart.”

The pope declared that all priests may forgive the sin of abortion for “those who have procured it and who with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.'"

The pope says in his letter that abortion is a “tragedy” wherein “extreme harm” takes place, and calls it “profoundly unjust.”  He admits however, as does the pro-life movement, that it is an “agonizing and painful decision” and many women “believe that they have no other option.”

In order to be forgiven by God of such a serious offence, the pope says the one who has procured the abortion must be made aware of the “gravity of the sin committed” and be truly repentant. They must come, says Francis, with a “contrite heart, seek forgiveness for” the abortion and hoping for “reconciliation with the Father.”

The full statement from the Pope on the matter of abortion follows:

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured itand who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

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Surprise, surprise: New suit says gay ‘marriage’ ruling laid ground for legal polygamy

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – When "The Pill" was made available to the public in 1964, Christians warned it could lead to promiscuity and disassociation of sex with marriage and children.  They were ridiculed as religious fanatics.

When abortion was made legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy in 1973, Christians warned that it would not save women's lives, but would instead lead to devaluing all human life, especially children's lives. They were dismissed as moral-legislating hate-mongers.

When euthanasia was legalized in Oregon and other states, Christians warned that the non-terminally ill and eventually the mentally handicapped, or simply the unwanted, would be killed in the name of mercy. They were mocked as right-wing crazies.

When sodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere were stricken from the books in 2003, Christians warned that societal approval of that harmful practice would lead to an increase in disease and further perversion. They were ignored and vilified.

When DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) rules for the military were reversed, Christians warned that the epidemic of rapes in the armed services would increase, not decrease, and that combat readiness would continue to diminish. They were called bigots, their words "hate speech."

And so on. Recent history is rife with examples of conservatives warning against societal degradation being vilified as "slippery slope" straw man creators, who want only to legislate morality.

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That's how those who warned that the Supreme Court's same-sex "marriage" decision would lead to legalization of any and all kinds of "marriage," such as a man and several wives or vice versa.

And, as in every case cited above, what Christian conservatives warned is exactly what has now happened.

In a U.S. 10th Circuit court filing, reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives point to the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling on same-sex marriage to buttress their pro-polygamy case.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, summarized to LifeSiteNews, "The left's chaotic cultural agenda knows no boundaries. Once 'marriage' could be redefined to accommodate sexual perversion, it would be impossible to stop other perversions from being recognized." 

The American Family Association's Ed Vitagliano told LifeSiteNews, "It has been clear for decades that sexual radicals in America have been targeting the God-ordained institution of marriage for destruction. Toss in a handful of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, beginning in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas), and ending with this summer's debacle (Obergefell v. Hodges), and we are on the verge of seeing the secularists succeed." 

The AFA executive vice president concluded to LifeSiteNews, "We have no doubt that the polygamists will be next to step into the federal courts."

Indeed. Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn, have asked the court to uphold a judge's ruling striking down part of Utah's law against polygamy. To prove their case, they cite precedents involving same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges), and a case that struck down a ban on sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas).

"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence, to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to ... punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Brown's filing states. "This case is about the criminalization of consensual relations."

LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews that the move to legalize polygamy is no surprise. "Once the argument for homosexual so-called 'marriage' became 'Love Is Love,' it was only a matter of time before multiple-partner activists would start defending the 'right' to have THEIR [perversion of] 'love' legitimized by state-recognized 'marriage.'"

The Browns, who appear on the television show "Sister Wives," sued the state of Utah over its ban on polygamy, which Brown calls "plural relationships." They argue that the law violates their right to freely practice their religion and their right to equal protection under the law.

Specifically, Brown is challenging the state's assertion that polygamy is harmful to societies that condone it.

Brown argues that the state should not have "the right to impose criminal morality codes on citizens, compelling them to live their lives in accordance with the religious or social values of the majority of citizens."

LaBarbera concluded, "Social conservatives and Christians must work to overturn Obergefell, just like homosexual activists worked to overturn the Supreme Court's Bowers v. Hardwick decision in 1986 that allowed anti-sodomy laws. Otherwise, we are guaranteed to lose more and more freedoms as 'gay' power grows, using legalized 'marriage' as leverage."

Arguments in the Brown polygamy case could take place before the 10th Circuit Court in Denver before the end of the year.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, MD, on March 6, 2014. Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
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Sen. McConnell: GOP won’t push Obama on Planned Parenthood defunding

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Planned Parenthood won't lose its funding for at least 18 months, says America's top senator.

Speaking on WYMT TV, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said, "The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood."

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” he said. “Again, the president has the pen to sign it. If he doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t happen. But, yeah, we voted on that already in the Senate, we’ll vote on it again, but I would remind all of your viewers the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.”

McConnell's comments came despite pressure from Senators and Representatives alike, as well as pro-life groups, who want Republicans to make defunding a priority.

"If the president of the United States and Harry Reid think it's more important that Planned Parenthood get your tax dollars than to pay our troops, then they are shutting down the government,” Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan, R-OH, told CNN last week.

Jordan and others have pushed GOP leaders to attach defunding efforts to must-pass pieces of legislation, such as a highway bill earlier this summer and the upcoming Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government running. GOP leaders have generally opposed this strategy, which has created a schism within the party.

Conversely, Democrats have been largely united. Leaders and rank-and-file members in both parties have generally supported taxpayer funding of the abortion giant, despite the possibility of illegal abortions being done to illegally harvest fetal organs and other body parts.

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