WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Editorial: Christians against porn

Opinion

December 2013

Cecily McNeill

Parents have got it in the neck once again for not supervising the sons who boasted online about having sex with drunk and sometimes underage girls. News that this group of ‘blokes’ has been preying on girls, some of whom have reportedly ‘asked for it’ has captured the wrath of the nation in the past month with people taking to the main cities’ streets to protest.

Many are asking where the parents are in all this – probably as dumbfounded, helpless and worried as the rest of us. What is it that leads young men to treat others with so little respect?

New Zealand has a culture of drinking to excess and of bragging about how much you can hold and get away with it. Add to this the fact that hardcore pornography is now freely available on a smartphone in the palm of your hand and who knows where it will end.

Writing in 2007 in the United States, Norman Doidge says that pornography accounts for 25 percent of video rentals and is the fourth most common reason people give for going online. Doidge speaks of the plasticity of the young brain and how it increasingly craves more explicit images and acts.

Most worrying is his account of how quickly a person becomes addicted and how this harms their experience of a sexual relationship with their partner [The Brain That Changes Itself p102].

As church, do we need to start discussing more the elements of healthy and life-giving sexual relationships, always putting sex in the context of a mutually respectful relationship? As parents, should we speak more openly with our children about respect in a loving relationship? As human beings, do we need to examine the ways in which drugs, alcohol and Internet pornography can change our behaviour towards others?

As Duncan Holland says, the ultimate focus must be on our culture of machismo. He lays the blame for an increasingly promiscuous society at the feet of the Internet which has given unprecedented access to pornography.

As a Christian community seeing this degradation of society, we need to decide where our tolerance ends and demand a crackdown on the online availability of porn.

That said, it is difficult to know how legislation can achieve such a crackdown. Perhaps it’s a case of encouraging our young people to use their myriad computer skills to design seek and destroy programmes. One fact is absolutely clear – we cannot do it alone. We are a Christian community standing on the side of all that is good – the dignity of all human beings and the common good.

Let’s get together for together we can do it. If we don’t make a stand, who will?