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Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
After avoiding talk about sex from the pulpit for years, pastors are now speaking out against porn.
August 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - He is a good Christian, Michael is telling his two therapists. He goes to church most Sundays. He’s a devoted husband and father of two daughters.

“But when I would leave on business trips,” he says, “I knew I was going to get to be someone else.”

“Prostitutes, porn - I took anything I wanted.”

Sitting on a comfortable, worn couch, Michael glances out the window and sees a reflection of himself set against the parking lot of this suburban Atlanta office building. He fidgets, runs his fingers over his closely cropped blond hair and straightens his green tennis polo. He clears his throat.

Above his head hangs a poster covered in words describing feelings - angry, anxious, sad. On it is a big yellow cross.

Therapists Richard Blankenship and Mark Richardson wear solemn but empathetic expressions. Certified counselors and Christian ministers, they tell him they know how to listen and nod for him to continue.

“I’ve had a record of purity since March when I confessed to my wife,” says Michael, whose name has been changed by CNN.com to protect his privacy. “No porn, no masturbation.”

“Awesome,” Richardson says, leaning forward in his chair. “God knows you’re trying.”

This is Michael’s second week at “Faithful and True – Atlanta” a 16-week counseling program that, like dozens of others like it around the country, combines traditional psychotherapy with the Bible in an attempt to treat addictive behavior.

Blankenship, a devout Christian who once struggled with sexual abuse, says his own ordeal has helped him to treat and “graduate” nearly 500 Christian men and women with similar addictions in the last five years.

He says he has helped people achieve what he calls “sobriety,” which means resisting porn and lustful thoughts.

Though controversial in secular circles, much of the evangelical Christian world has been cheering this relatively new kind of therapy. Many believers, including many Christian leaders, consider it a powerful tool for fighting what they say is one of the modern church’s biggest problems: porn addiction.

A crusade is born

Not long ago, it was unheard of for a pastor to talk about sex from the pulpit.

Today, clergy are talking about porn.

Many evangelical pastors say they don’t have a choice. The Internet has made porn unavoidable; it’s everywhere. And porn, they say, leads to a lack of intimacy in marriage, threatening the biblical mandate to get and stay married.

In the past few years, Christian leaders have established online ministries to tackle the problem, hosting anti-porn podcast sermons and Web chats. The popular evangelical blog Crosswalk.com recently ran an article headlined “How many porn addicts are in your church?”

Christian publishers, meanwhile, have produced a wave of recent books on the subject, including popular titles like “Porn-Again Christian,” “Secret Sexual Sins: Understanding a Christian's Desire for Pornography” and “Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You.”

Evangelical pastor Jeremy Gyorke recently came forward to talk about how porn has affected him. In July, the 32-year-old confessed his porn addiction in a sermon at Wyandotte Family Church, just outside Detroit.

“I’m part of a generation of Christians who grew up keeping your mouth shut about your personal life,” he says. “Goodness no, we didn’t talk about sex.”

“But now that we have a little say in the attitude of the church, we’re taking a different approach,” Gyorke continues. “We’re putting it all out there, saying you don’t have to keep secrets. Come forward and admit that you’ve made a mistake, and you can be healed.”

Gyorke said he confessed to his congregation after his wife caught him looking at porn and told him it made her feel inadequate. She wanted him to seek help and to be transparent as a man of God.

Gyorke ultimately decided that viewing any porn, even once or twice, is a problem for believers.

“It’s like a gateway drug,” he says. “You can’t just have a little look. If you look at porn, you’ve already given your heart and spirit away to someone who isn’t your wife.”

As he wrote his sermon on the matter, Gyorke felt tremendous anxiety. “I thought it would make or break me to them as their pastor,” he says.

But his flock reacted with empathy and support. Several congregants approached him afterward to say that they, too, felt that they’d acted against God by looking at porn.

Different interpretations

Though the words “porn” and “masturbation” don’t appear in the Bible, Gyorke believes the biblical verdict is clear. “Sexual immorality is mentioned a lot in the Bible, and that is what porn is,” he says.

He quotes the Gospel of Matthew: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“Porn is lust, and lust is a sin,” the pastor said.

Many religious scholars say that such a view reflects just one of many interpretations.

“One school of biblical study says that desire is a problem and needs to be monitored as a serious threat to salvation,” says Boston University theology professor Jennifer Wright Knust.

But Knust points to scriptural passages that appear to endorse sexual desire, including the Song of Solomon, a poem that some scholars say depicts two lovers graphically describing each other’s anatomy in an ode to unmarried sex.

“This is not new. It’s a cherry-picking of scripture used to address what’s happening right now in popular culture,” says Knust, author of the recent book “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions on Sex and Desire.” “The new thing is that it’s being used by so-called Christian therapists.”

Knust says the anti-porn trend in Christian therapy reflects new questions in broader society about what constitutes an appropriate relationship, about gender roles and rules, and about what marriage really means.

“People are concerned and confused, and want to know if God is speaking to us in our sexual roles,” she says. “Can we find answers in divine revelation? People have always hoped that there can be certainty in the Bible.

“There is no certainty,” she says. “It’s interpretation.”

XXX churches

A few weeks after delivering his confessional sermon, Gyorke organized a Sunday event at his church intended to help keep congregants away from pornography.

He gave out study guides with scriptural verses related to lust and showed a slick video from XXXChurch, the main Web-based group for the Christian anti-porn movement.

The video opens with a mock-pharmaceutical infomercial for a product called “Lustivin.” It raves about how wonderful the drug can make you feel in the short term but then lists some major side effects: premature relational difficulty, divorce, shallow relationships.

Craig Gross, a young pastor from California, co-founded XXXChurch.com in 2001. Its URL was meant to snag people who were surfing the Web for dirty pictures.

“Ten years ago, when I wanted to bring the church up to date, everyone was like, ‘This won’t work. People will be confused about what you’re doing,’ ” Gross says.

“It was controversial at the time, but the church is always behind the times,” he says. “We should have had a XXXChurch.com in the late 1990s if we really wanted to get ahead of this problem.”

The site was slow to catch on for its first few years, but now gets millions of clicks a day from IP addresses around the globe, Gross said.

This year, XXXChurch sponsored Porn Sunday, a national anti-porn event that included hundreds of churches across the country screening a video starring Matt Hasselbeck, who's now quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, and other Christian NFL stars.

Soundbites from the players speak to the struggle between porn and faith.

“Sex is an awesome thing that God designed,” Hasselbeck says in the video.

Jon Kitna, a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, talks about surfing the Web and getting deeper into porn sites. “[You] see this [link] and it leads you to a link to this … ” he says. “And pretty soon, I’m into a world that I never really knew existed.”

For $7 a month, XXXChurch offers porn-detection software that fires off automatic e-mail alerts to a subscriber and his or her chosen “faith buddy,” a kind of whistle-blowing system designed to keep Christians from going astray.

Achieving “sobriety”

But some Christians have gone much further in their attempts to tackle porn addictions, literally rearranging their lives.

When Jeff Colon, a self-described recovering porn addict in Kentucky, confessed his addiction to his wife, she told him to get help or find a divorce attorney.

It was the early 1990s. Christian sex addition counseling was unheard of. But Colon’s pastor - to whom he’d also confided - called other church leaders and learned of a Christian counseling retreat called Pure Life Ministries, a kind of Christian compound that includes a chapel and all-male dormitory on 44 acres in western Kentucky.

Today, Colon is the president of Pure Life, which he credits with saving his marriage.

He says the program has cured thousands of men of their porn addictions through a six- to 12-month program of one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

The live-in program costs $175 a week. Men must move to the campus and live alone, with wives having the option of talking to Pure Life counselors by phone. Most insurance plans don’t cover Pure Life - a moot concern, really, because most program participants quit their jobs to relocate.

That’s what Colon, who was working as an elevator repairman, did. “I don’t regret it for a second,” he says. “It was a hard time not because I lost my job or had to move from my family. It was a tough time because I had nearly lost my connection with God. That is what’s most important in life.”

Pure Life’s curriculum relies heavily on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which stresses that if one lives “by the Spirit,” he will not “gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The scripture goes on to say that those who gratify the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Women are not allowed on campus during the initial phase of treatment.

“People who don’t follow Christ aren’t going to get what I’m saying, but it was like intense Bible study that helped me understand how selfish I am as a sinner,” Colon says. “Basically, you have time to talk to God, and for him to show you the way to sobriety. And I’ve been sober for 17 years.”

For Colon, sobriety means abstaining from looking at porn, masturbating and performing any other sex act not involving his spouse.

“You learn that lust is just a state of mind,” he says. “If you lust for someone other than your wife, what you do is replace that lust with prayer. And you have a heart change.”

Indeed, Colon says that God was central to his recovery.

“I know secular people don’t get it,” he says. “But if I had a sponsor who was just another person, a person who is fallible, telling me to stay clean, it’s just not as powerful as God telling me that.”

“Women … drowning in this addiction”

Men aren’t the only ones who have started thinking that way about porn.

According to the creator of accountability2you, a Web-based service that dumps all the pornographic material someone surfs into his or her spouse’s e-mail inbox, roughly half of his 10,000 monthly subscribers are women.

“The Christian Church has started to realize that we’re sexual, too, and we are just as visually stimulated as men and we look at porn,” said Crystal Renaud, author of the recent book “Dirty Girls Come Clean,” a memoir about her own addiction to porn.

For the past year, the 26-year-old with punky-streaked hair has led Christian women’s porn addiction counseling sessions. Her Dirty Girls Ministries website has 450 members.

“I’ve met women who will lock themselves in a room and look at porn all day, ignoring their kids or their jobs,” she says. “I feel like I can relate because that’s all I cared about, getting my high. There are so many more women out there drowning in this addiction, you have no idea.”

Though there are few statistics to support Renaud’s claims about the extent of the problem, Christian media outlets like Today’s Christian Woman have recently run stories about women consuming porn, often theorizing that the habit starts with explicit romance novels.

Renaud has received a sexual addiction counseling certification from the American Association of Christian Counselors, though she is not licensed by secular organizations like the American Psychological Association. She promotes a five-step program she’s devised called SCARS - Surrender, Confessional, Accountability, Responsibility, Sharing - which encourages women to confess to each other about their desire to look at porn as a means of saying no to it.

In her memoir, Renaud writes about becoming a chronic masturbator and porn addict at age 10, after stumbling upon a dirty magazine in her brother’s room. It was a confusing, scary experience, she writes.

“My mother made it very clear what the parameters were when it came to sex, and there wasn’t a discussion beyond that,” Renaud said. She describes her relationship with her father as rocky, but wouldn’t elaborate.

In high school, Renaud was a leader in her Christian youth group, but she was also interested in porn. “I felt so bad and I wanted to stop looking at porn because that wasn’t what the Bible instructed,” she says, “and I knew God didn’t want me doing that.”

When she was 18, Renaud arranged to have sex for the first time at a hotel with a person she met in a Christian chat room. She says she went to the hotel but broke down in tears in her room and left before meeting the man.

“That was my rock bottom,” she says. “I remember being there and sobbing, thinking, ‘What am I doing risking my life to meet someone at a hotel I don’t even know?’”

Renaud said that she depends on God to keep her clean and that God is a kind of sponsor or monitor. When she wants to look at porn or masturbate, she and God have a kind of conversation, and the desire passes.

A crusade’s critics

The father of Christian-based porn and sex addiction therapy has a word for this “pray-away” method of sobriety.

“Hooey.”

Dr. Mark Laaser pioneered the Christian response to porn and sex addiction in the 1980s and chides counseling centers like Pure Life for what he says is their near-total reliance on prayer.

“Alcoholics don’t wish really hard to not be addicted to alcohol,” he says in a phone interview from his busy therapeutic practice in suburban Minneapolis. “The field of addiction is much deeper than opening your Bible.”

He’s pleased that more Christians are openly talking about pornography and sex addiction, but Laaser says he’s concerned that some Christian leaders and therapists are confusing sexual sin with sex addiction.

“Men come dragging into my office because their wives have caught them masturbating and labeled them addicts, or they’ve had one affair and they are now looking to have their affair excused by addiction,” he says.

“One affair doesn’t mean you’re a porn addict,” Laaser says. “Looking at porn occasionally doesn’t make you a porn addict. Those may be poor decisions, but they are not necessarily caused by clinical addiction.”

Porn is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar industry in America alone, banking at least 10 times what it did in 1970, the first time the U.S. government evaluated the retail value of the nation’s then-fledgling hardcore film, television and retail market.

During that same decade, Laaser had become the porn industry’s ideal customer. He was constantly on the hunt for it.
As a devout Christian, he spent a lot of energy trying to keep his porn a secret, especially from his wife, Debbie. His guilt distanced him from her emotionally, he says, and began eroding their relationship.

At the time, there was virtually no established psychological research, or mainstream therapy, for sex addiction. So Laaser reached out to secular 12-step programs, using Alcoholics Anonymous’ framework as a guide to reaching what he called sexual “sobriety,” abstaining from sex outside of marriage and avoiding masturbation.

“I remember thinking I wish my problem were drinking because I could get help easier,” Laaser said.

By the late ’80s, Laaser says, he was on the road to sobriety, combining therapeutic methods he’d learned while pursuing a doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa and a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

“It began to seem very evident to me that secular therapy does not work as effectively for Christians,” he said. “And that’s because the secular world … to us as Christians, seems less moral. Sex is everywhere in secular society - television, film, billboards. It’s just so much a part of life that it is excused.

“Christians just aren’t going to seek out a secular therapist - they won’t seek therapy at all if they don’t have some aspect of Christianity woven into their treatment.”

In 1992, Laaser authored the first book on Christian sexual addiction, titled “The Secret Sin.”

“The Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic, is experiencing tremendous turmoil in the area of sexuality,” it began. “The problem seems epidemic.”

It sold barely enough copies to stay in print.

In 2005, the publisher changed the title to “Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction,” and Laaser added chapters on Internet porn. It has sold 75,000 copies.

In Laaser’s care, a patient will undergo psychiatric evaluation, just as he would in the secular world. Laaser wants to know if the patient has any symptoms of depression, ADHD or anxiety. He says many sex addicts suffer from other mental health issues.

“You may need to go to a meeting every day, or connect with a sponsor; you may need to check in with this office once a day,” he said. “Every client is different, but we’re essentially helping them establish boundaries and restrictions.”

Some secular therapists have warmed to this kind of approach.

“The deeply religious were a group that were hard to reach years ago because they had extreme shame connected with their addiction,” says Tim Lee, a licensed social worker in New York with a specialty in sex and porn addiction treatment.

But Lee and Pennsylvania sex therapist Dr. John Giugliano, both members of the Society for Sexual Advancement - a national nonprofit think tank of licensed sex therapists - worry that therapy can become overly focused on dogma and ignore the patient’s real-life issues.

“If you spend your time in session talking about what God thinks and what the Bible says, you don’t get to understand what the patient thinks and what happened in their life up to that point that explains why,” Giugliano says.

Even within the world of Christian therapy, some counselors criticize the methods of other religious counselors.

Richard Blankenship, the Atlanta-based Christian therapist, studied under Laaser in the early 2000s. When Blankenship set up his practice in Atlanta to treat sex addicts, he used the same name as Laaser’s ministry, “Faithful and True,” adding only the word “Atlanta.”

But Laaser wants to make it clear that he has no association with Blankenship’s practice and doesn’t agree with some aspects of Blankenship’s program.

Blankenship doesn’t rely enough on psychological expertise, Laaser says. Laaser objects to a therapist telling a patient that an addiction may be patterns repeated through generations, as Blankenship does. And Laaser disagrees with Blankenship’s habit of connecting a patient’s addiction to a biblical character’s family tree.

Abraham’s family tree

For the rest of his therapy session at Faithful and True, Michael circles emotions from a list that Richardson and Blankenship have provided. He circles “anxious” and then describes a fight he had with his wife about his infidelity.

Blankenship responds to Michael’s description of the fight by saying that addiction is generational, mentioning the Kennedys and the Fondas.

Then Blankenship queues up a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop, showing Michael a family tree he has designed around the biblical story of Abraham.

It has a lot of boxes. There are several pages.

Abraham, Blankenship says, was a guy who committed some sexual transgressions, like fathering a child with Hagar while his wife was barren. Ultimately, God forgave him.

Michael starts talking about his own family. He describes a difficult upbringing with a father whom he said was philandering and verbally abusive. He says sex wasn’t talked about at his house when he was growing up.

Before the session ends, Michael is assured that there’s no reason to think that he won’t kick his addiction. He’ll be on a new path, Blankenship says, toward “sexual integrity.”

The 90-minute session comes to a close with a prayer.

Blankenship and his co-counselor Mark Richardson lower their heads.

Richardson asks that God look after Michael. He asks God to bless this therapy process. Michael is heading out into the world, he says, heading back into a culture of temptation and lust and ungodly ways.

Look after him, the therapist says, keep him on the right path.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

soundoff (3,536 Responses)
  1. fda

    If I could, just get your attention for a few moments, I would like you to all listen to a song, which describes my faith in Jesus. There is alot of debate out there about Christians, but just forget that debate, and take it from me, a person who says prayers, goes to church, has trouble destroying ants on the doorstep... this is how I would describe my faith... its a country song, but give it a chance, its a good song.

    "Believe" Brooks and Dunn. I'm just hoping some out there can gain a new perspective of a fellow American.

    August 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • jeebus

      nope, i'm not buying it. nice try though.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Superman

      YES, the understanding of humanity can all be summed up within a country song..sigh.

      Why don't you EDUCATE yourself instead??

      Philosophy, history, etc..

      While I happreciate the genuine qulaities and integrity of many within the south, the willful ignorance is appalling.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • fda

      I have a degree in engineering thank you very much. Also took philosophy of science. Not once did a professor of science OR philosophy outline the non existence of God. I learned things like Autocad, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics. Thomas Khun and not once was there a theroetical equation shown to me that prooves God does not exist. In fact, I learned alot about Classical mechanics and newtons third law which was the beginning of my adaptation of theology into my religon. I've read quite a bit thank you very much, but NOWHERE in science is God challenged. Not in even ONE textbook.

      So, why don't you spend a bit more time reading YOUR science textbooks, and name 16 sources of science textbooks that disproove God. That's how many Ive read, not just read, but solved the problems at the end of chapters... ya know those math things you inevitably skipped over.

      Don't assume what you don't know. Mo Rons...

      August 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Colin

      You are no more a scientist than The Three Little Pigs is a work of great literature. You are more likely a typical Christian who once read half a science book until the big words drove him off.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • jeebus

      @fda: that is not logical and you should know better than to ask someone to prove a negative.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Too bad you never took a logic course.
      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. There is absolutely no evidence that any gods exist.
      If you had taken the logic course, you would know no one can prove a negative. When and IF I see ANY evidence of a god, I will be happy to look at it. There simply isn't any. Peaple choose to suspend their reason because their psychological needs require the existence of a sky daddy, because they NEED to explain things, and they see no other explanation. It's not about science, theology, philosophy. It's about psychology, and why they NEED to posit a heavenly being to be "in charge", because otherwise they feel intimidated and lost.
      Of course your professors never talked about faith in your science classes. It would have been totally inappropriate.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • fda

      a letter is not a number. Is that a negitive?

      August 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Honestly, I don't care what you believe. I have friends and family all over the religious spectrum and I don't make judgements based on a person's faith.

      It's what they do with that faith that concerns me. It's when people of faith present their beliefs as facts, be they religious or secular beliefs. Like the whole "America is a christian nation" thing: It's simply not true. Many Americans are christian, but this nation was founded on the premise that while people can believe what they like, religion has no place in government. It's a wise, fair concept that respects everyone. It's a principle worth fighting for.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • fda

      humans cannot speak to animals the same way they cannot speak to a human?
      If you added one more letter to the alphabet, would it increase our vocabulary?
      Obama is not white

      You say its not logical to ask that God does not exist. So why do you ask a similar question, God did not write the bible. Bull you cant prove God doesnt exist. If he didnt exist, you wouldnt exist. Its creation, its not logic. Its stone cold fact. And facts dont need logic. 1+1 could easily equal 3, if logic accepted it were true. You logic is man made and Gods ways are greater than our ways.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Magic

      Bucky Ball,

      It does get a little tricky... this 'proving a negative' thing. I can prove that I am not bald. I can prove that I do not have 6 fingers on my hands. Maybe we need to specify that it's intangibles that we are talking about.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • AGuest9

      The concept which all of you tend to be dancing around is something that fda missed in the beginning of his discussion. In studying professional engineering, one is required to take a course in professional ethics, which is required material for the PE boards in all 50 states, to my knowledge. The basis of modern ethical thought is based up the works of Immanuel Kant. Kant, through his Inaugural Dissertation and Critique, attempted to prove concepts such as the soul and god. He ultimately was unable to prove an external influence. Actually, it was soon after writing the Inaugural Dissertation, that Kant began to express doubts about this view. It is in his Critique that he posits that a priori knowledge is possible only if the world itself depends on the way the human mind structures its experience, through insights Kant found by examining Copernican astronomy.

      August 21, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • fda

      Kant did not have all the facts available. One of the pillars of my faith is Fatima. Any reasonable person can understand the importance of this occurance. It should be a light for all people since it affects the human experience quite a bit. Also, the human experiecnce should be empirical and not theoretical in nature. Kant, although I respect him, had his thoughts in respect to public safety and therefore any reasonable engineer does not build a bridge hoping angels will carry it. And the bible is coherent in this respect, do not put your lord thy God to the test.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • fda

      Can the human mind please God in such a way, that we can ask angels to hold up bridges. Will there be a day, that the sermon of the mount enables engineers to think beyound Copernicus astronomy. I think it can. As an engineer, I believe you, have the ability to fathom the possibiliities. The possibilities to move mountains, alter rivers without dams. Create our world where somalia has fields to plow and horses to ride the beaches. In respect to the oath, a reasonable engineer thinks its possible without seeing the problem or solution. Because the public safety of the children have no other hope. THerefore to believe in atheism, is to believe in nothing, with not hope and no possibility for the sustainability of the African peoples. And indias, and every other soul that demands america be better.
      You know oil is running out, food is becoming desertified, the ice melting, the equilibrium becoming a one way reaction. I would be depressed if i had no God. How can you expect the world to simply die and not have some hope of counter for the 5 billion who would not exist without oil.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  2. Wantsome

    Religous people are nutz. It's a good thing they don't have control of the county or we'd still be burning witches at the stake. I worship the sun at least I know it's there and and it never tells me I'm unworthy.

    August 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Superman

      AGREED

      August 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Adam

      Obama is a professing Christian, along with 76% of America. Welcome to the real world.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Then it's a good thing, Adam, that our Founding Fathers weren't christian. Otherwise we'd be in real trouble.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • fda

      Actually, the founding fathers were Christian, well at least one of them. James Madison once said, "If men were angels, there would be no need for Government". Its a pretty Christian statement.

      P.S. – Angels are in Heaven for those atheists who are not informed.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Adam

      George Washington and John Adams both are typically included as Founding Fathers. Both were Christian.

      At the very least, our country was founded on the concept of God given rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      James Madison also said this:
      "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

      Here's a website that has many quotes from our founding fathers about exactly what they thought about religion.

      http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

      Many of our Founding Fathers were deists, not christians. Historic writings are an excellent source of factual information.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Adam: George Washington rarely attended church and did not take communion. John Adams was a Unitarian. As I said before, historical writings are an excellent source of factual information.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Franklin, for example, waffled between Quakerism as a boy and youth, Presbyterian (for five weeks), Episcopalian, atheism and Deism. Jefferson was a Deist, who studied christianity, editing his own "bible", which was actually just the New Testament gospels, after deleting "the mysticism".

      August 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  3. sorry

    kinda sad for those who are in this industry....ofcourse there is still Hope for the lost!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Superman

      YOU are lost. Ideological, willfully ignorant fool.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I never watched "Lost". I thought it was a silly soap opera.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  4. talezspin

    --------------------------------

    HOW DARE CNN USE A PICTURE WITH A PLAYBOY MAGAZINE ON A HOLY BIBLE??? WOULD THEY DARE DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR WITH A QURAN? Offending Christians is a fair-game for CNN just because Christians do not issue death-threats! Can anyone show me ONE, JUST ONE, Muslim-offending article or a picture on CNN? Shame on CNN for the DOUBLE STANDARD!!!

    EVERY CHRISTIAN WRITE BACK TO CNN ASKING THEM TO TAKE DOWN THIS OFFENDING PICTURE!

    ----------------------------

    August 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Superman

      Oh shut up.

      And why don't you read another book while your at it...EDUCATE yourself...

      August 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Denise

      Get a grip!

      August 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • jimbo junior

      Why don't you just quit looking at CNN if it offends you so much? Just like a "christian", you don't like it so it must be wrong!

      August 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  5. TheyNotHim

    My only advice to those addicted to po-rn is not to visit REDTUBE, PO-RNHUB, or THE HUN sites...more free vids than you can shake your di-ck at!

    August 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  6. JD B

    What is interesting is that about 95% of these posts have NOTHING to do with this story. I am always surprised at how ignorant and uninformed people are. Then they show it to the world by posting stupid nonsensical comments to nearly everything. Try reading the entire story and not the first couple of lines before posting a comment. As Confucius said....."Better to remain silent and give illusion of stupidity than open mouth and remove all doubt." Yeah that and....Get over yourselves. Confucius didn't say that.....I did.

    August 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • asrael

      Actually, JD, your formula applies to almost every thread on any site; whatever the subject, the posts come in from all directions, with little to no concern for sticking to the point of the original article...

      August 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  7. FRC

    Can't CNN find something else meaningful to report: the number of children in the US that go to sleep hungry; can we ever have a country that is not run by corporations; why has journalism gone down the toilet; why can't we tolerate each other; the real truth–organized religion divides people in this world instead of unitng them.

    August 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Lagos

      Sure, complain about a somewhat balanced article that's well put together on a site known for dumb opinion pieces masquerading as news articles just because there's more important things that could be talked about.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  8. ruemorgue

    For Christian Fundies "separation of church and state" means separation from *your* church, not their church. Their Church is the *true* and *righteous* church. They long for a Christian Saudi Arabia, but in the USA.

    August 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  9. BritainJohn

    Curious... Cnn writes and article about the P word and still blocks it on the comments page... nice!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  10. BritainJohn

    So no matter how ugly or mean your wife had become you have to like her the way she is... Besides P0rn can be a great couple therapy. Try watching a Sunny Lane video while in bed with your lady (given she's not a fat mean B1tch.) It works for me and we allwats have wonderful time.!!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  11. SBinF

    How does the saying go? Jesus, please protect me from your followers.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  12. BritainJohn

    Enjoy the P0rn with your partner.. problem sol
    ved.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • jeebus

      brilliant! i need a guiness 🙂

      August 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  13. BritainJohn

    can not see my posts

    August 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Oooh oooh! There's one right now!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • LinCA

      @BritainJohn and others that have trouble posting.

      If your post doesn't show it was most likely censored. Previously it would be visible to you only with a header saying "Your comment is awaiting moderation.".

      CNN uses automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. My guess is that your post had had a forbidden word in it.

      Posts that are too long, or contain too many URLs will also get rejected.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
      arse
      bastard
      bitch
      cock
      coon
      cum
      cunt
      douche
      effing
      fag
      ftw
      fuck
      homo
      horny
      jackass
      jap
      jism
      kooch
      nipple
      orgy
      pis
      porn
      poo
      prick
      rape
      sex
      shit
      slut
      snatch
      spic
      tit
      twat
      vag
      whore
      wtf

      To fix that you can break up the word by putting an extra character in, like consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      August 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • J.W

      Kind of silly that we cant type p.orn in an article about p.orn.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Claire

      You censor F.T.W.?
      "For The Win"?

      Why would you censor that??

      August 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • asrael

      LinCA: however did you sneak that long list of "bad" words past the supposed censor...?

      August 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • LinCA

      @asrael

      The comment board allows some HTML text formatting tags. When entered within a "bad" word, it is rendered harmless without affecting readability

      So, typing "consti<b></b>tution" will print as "constitution", and
      "<b>bold</b>" will print as "bold", and
      "<i>italics</i>" will print as "italics"

      August 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  14. Bo

    ==========@HotAirAce=================== I'll have to look up the website that Eintsine died as a beliver in God. It surprised me too when I read it. Give me time to look it up. ==================================

    August 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      E=MC2
      energy = "MASS"... science and church do mix!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • jeebus

      @herbert juarez: that's kind of cute. wrong, but cute.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Bo

      Take all the time you like. I think you will find this is a hoax or "wishful thinking" by believers.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • asrael

      That would be an urban legend, Bo...

      August 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  15. jenny

    Song of Solomon is love letters to and from a married couple. Thus being in a healthy and moral relationship.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • jeebus

      marriage is not necessarily moral. most marriages end in deception and divorce.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • jimbo junior

      LOL, riiight, a married couple! LMAO!

      August 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • asrael

      Good for you, Jenny; you discovered something nobody else knew...

      August 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  16. talezspin

    ------------------------------

    HOW DARE CNN USE A PICTURE WITH A PLAYBOY MAGAZINE ON A HOLY BIBLE??? WOULD THEY DARE DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR WITH THE QURAN? Offending Christians is a fair-game for CNN just because Christians do not issue death-threats! Shame on CNN

    EVERY CHRISTIAN WRITE BACK TO CNN ASKING THEM TO TAKE DOWN THIS OFFENDING PICTURE!

    ----------------------------

    August 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • jeebus

      the bible is not holy and if you are offended, then you are small minded.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • thinky

      thinks that they are trying to show how hypocrites lead a double life, looking all religious on the outside while p or n ing out on the inside....

      August 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @ jeebus
      look closely at the picture
      do you see it clearly?
      on the book being held it says...
      Holy Bible
      Yes the Bible is Holy

      August 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • jeebus

      @herbert juarez: that is not logical. if the picture was photoshopped to say 'unholy bible', then you would cry foul. don't believe everything you see, duh!

      August 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Herb, that's just silly. Do you believe everything you read?

      August 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • keylargo

      my experience tells me Christians need to be offended, they often offend me. As far as Moslems, Hindu's etc goes I don't know any of them.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • talezspin

      @jeebus Are you DUMB? You call me small minded because I am pointing out BLATANT BIAS in the media. As long it is Christians it is fair to offend them. CNN goes lengths to not to post ONE, JUST ONE, slightly-offending article or a photo for Muslims! NOW, DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM???

      August 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • TheyNotHim

      I think if we had a moslem running for POTUS and spouting off to everyone who will listen their ignorance and bigotry, then there would be more stories about them in the news. Since it is the xtians that are in the news and thumpin them bibles, well, that's who gets the whip...

      August 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • talezspin

      @keylargo GO LIVE IN A MUSLIM COUNTRY AND COME BACK TELL US HOW OFFENDED YOU GET!

      August 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • CrowdedPond

      Boo-hoo.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Superman

      STOP SPAMMING WITH MULTIPLE POSTS.

      PS: You are an ignorant FOOL.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Fred1

      Well you may be offended; but, that's how i got away with reading playboy when i was growing up in a christian home. Chirsitanity forces people to lie and live double lives.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Denise

      talezspin:
      You're not a martyr, you're not being persecuted, christians aren't the minority here. Those of us who are not christian are tired of you taking over our country, taking over politics. Christians, noisy, obnoxious, annoying, selfish,ignorant, hypocritical christians such as yourself. You should be ashamed of yourselves

      August 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • jeebus

      @jeebus Are you DUMB? You call me small minded because I am pointing out BLATANT BIAS in the media. As long it is Christians it is fair to offend them. CNN goes lengths to not to post ONE, JUST ONE, slightly-offending article or a photo for Muslims! NOW, DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM???

      no, i am not dumb. i would be happy to crush your illogical, indefensible, biased opinions.
      here's a riddle for you: two wrongs don't make a right.
      and leave the muslims alone, crusader!

      August 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  17. ruemorgue

    How many Christian Fundies with no Undies does it take to change a light bulb? Oops. Wrong URL.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  18. ruemorgue

    How many Christian Fundies does it take to change a light bulb? Oops. Wrong URL.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  19. JO

    The fact that our country was founded on religious freedom, simple means you have a right to "your" personal beliefs, no matter how whacked out they me be, however.. the rest of us should not be held hostage by these "right wing christian nut jobs" that are trying, every day in to push their frekish beliefs on the rest of us! Quick question... what type of gun do you think "Jesus" would be packing..? How do you think he would feel that you can ignore the poor and disadvataged, to carry out a "brain washed right wing agenda"..? Seperation of church and state!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  20. MollyBee

    Sorry, but when people use the word "addition" to get by with questionable behaviors...I'm not buying. That's when Tiger Woods lost me, BTW.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I can deal with 'addition'. What bugs me is when people start talking about 'multiplication', especially "multiplication tables" Why does no one ever speak about "addition tables"? It's enough to drive a person nuts, I tell ya!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Maybe they're just looking at the "plus" side of these behaviors.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.