Pornography, Oppression, and A Call to Break Every Yoke

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Yesterday, sometime in the afternoon, I put my girls down for a nap. I climbed into bed beside them and watched them dream while I read. It was in that context, beside the most precious and pure of my gifts from God, that I read [this] most powerful and disturbing set of facts.

Before you click through I want to prepare you. It’s a set of statistics related to the porn industry. It is graphic, includes lots of foul language and intense descriptions of the most vile acts of sexual abuse imaginable. If you have a filter on your computer you probably won’t be able to read it.

It is the largest single compilation of information about pornography I’ve ever encountered. Reading it in list form, fact after terrifying fact, paralyzed me. And I am not easily shocked.

While this list does include some of the familiar negative consequences viewers reap when they watch pornography, the figures also include a glimpse into the debauched mindset of industry leaders and expose significant and rampant abuse against women and children.

[Child pornography is one the fastest growing online business in the U.S. Fifty-eight percent of child pornography depicts sadism, penetration by an animal, or similar abuse. In adult pornography 88% of scenes contain physical aggression, including spanking, gagging, and slapping. Following those instances of aggression towards women, in 95% of cases the women expressed pleasure or neutrality.]

Pornography is one of the most influential forces in the world. 25 percent of daily search engine requests are for pornography. Mobile phone pornography alone is a billion dollar industry. As a result, the pornography world view is changing the way millions and millions of Americans think and behave.

And it’s only getting worse.

Today, 53 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls (ages 12-15) report use of sexually explicit media. By the time they’re sixteen, it will be 9 in 10 young men.

As I sat on my bed reading these crushing facts and testimonies, I wanted to drive to Hollywood and Vegas and gather up those girls (and children!) and take them somewhere safe and love them.

I wanted to shut the Internet down. Just shut the whole thing down.

I wanted to wipe the minds of a whole generation of young people who will never be able to fully shake the violent images they’ve been shown.

I wanted to go Old Testament minor prophet, Jesus with a whip, on the directors and producers, in-the-flesh oppressors, leading an entire generation to Hell (literal, figurative, all of it). Woe to you…

I told my husband I really needed to beat someone up.

And I’m not embarrassed about that. I don’t think that feeling is “wrong.” I think it’s born from something righteous.

After I’d prayed and asked God to calm my spirit, I opened my Bible to the Psalms.

I cried with David as he said, “They devour my people as though eating bread.”

It’s wrong to view pornography. I believe that. I believe every person who views it feeds the flesh-eating beast the industry has become.

But, to some degree, we are victims of oppressive forces. We live in a world that wants the worst for us. We walk to a chorus of self-destruction. We proclaim freedom in a culture devoted to freedom and we are all, so close to all of us, slaves. Slaves to the porn industry. Slaves to the fast food industry. Slaves to the cartel. Slaves to people who own islands and don’t know our names.

And, for me, that can be so overwhelming.

Until I read the Psalms. And I stand next to David, so aware of his enemies, so keen to injustice and pain, and I see God through His eyes, God as a defender of the weak, God as our stronghold, God as light in dark, God above all.

I read these words in Psalm 12, and I know they’re true:

"You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
    and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
    when what is vile is honored by the human race.”

That’s the world we live in and that’s the God we serve. He will keep us safe and protect us from the wicked “who freely strut about.”

As I send my daughter to school tomorrow, knowing (statistically speaking) there is likely a boy in her kindergarten class already exposed to pornography, knowing his exposure makes him significantly more likely to abuse one of his classmates, I’ll pray to my God who protects the needy.

But, as powerful as prayer is and as much as I trust God to work, I’m not going to sit around and watch the wicked prey on my children and their friends. As a member of the body of Christ bearing the Spirit of God here on earth I’m going to do something.

For one, I’m writing this post, small as it is. For another, I’ll commit to never ever consume even a drop of pornography’s poison. I might decide to mentor kids in London’s class at school.

I’m still brainstorming what I’ll do, but I know this: I’m going to do something.

Because I am the Lord’s, and I fight for the oppressed.

A while back I wrote these words on a wall in my living room, and slowly they’ve made their way into my bones. I’ll end with them, a rally cry from God to His people:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
                                  […]
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”