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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. Colin

    The Christian obsession with $ex is funny, especially the bit about no $ex until you're married. God creates teenage boys, gives them a d.ick and fills them with enought testosterone to keep the entire MLB hitting over .300 for a season, then tells them they will go to hell if they use it.

    It's a bit like giving a man who just ran a marathon in Phoenix a glass of water, then telling him he can't drink it until he's 25.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • EvelynWaugh

      True. Also, a woman produces one egg. A man e.jaculate.s sends out over 300 million s.perm. There is a biological reason why men are more prone to doing these things.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • gearldh

      So before contraception young boys were just supposed to be getting girls pregnant all the time? You don't think there is reason for self control in this world. Man we are given all of this food. We should just eat until we way 2000 pounds because it all tastes so good.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      When mankind evolved survival was less certain and therefore earlier and often procreation was probably a survival trait. Likewise, when food and specifically calories were much less available, eating as much as possible in high caloric food when it was available was also probably a survival trait.
      Life makes sense in light of evolution.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Tripp

      @gearidh....Yes, you actually hit the nail on the head with that statement. Its called survival. Back when humans were evolving, reproduction served the human species. Thats how we survived. Before man made religion thats how humans survived. We no longer need that survival instinct. But the remains of that linger on. Humans are s3xual, thats what we do. To say some mythical god says s3x is wrong out of wedlock is insane.

      Now we need s3x education for kids and to teach them about their s3xuality, not repress it and feel guilty about it. I hate to tell you this but s3x out of wedlock has been going on since the begining of the human race. Long before any god was invented. Long before humans were made to feel repressed and guilty about s3x.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  2. Goddog

    Hmmmm...

    August 22, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  3. Atheist

    I can't believe I wasted my time reading even a little of this article. Just about everything is fine in moderation. As long as you don't cheat on your spouse, look at po.rn all you want. All religion is doing is making people ignore their natural desires and making it build more inside them. With these extreme cases they will most likely relapse and lose their spouse because of it.

    Religion should be ashamed for making these people feel bad about how they feel naturally. It's only around to control the weak minded and they find these people by going to addicts and children. Religion in general is for kids much like santa, religious people just haven't grown up yet and accepted the real world.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • David Johnson

      I agree. There is only one life. Don't hurt anyone, but enjoy your life. Certainly fantasy hurts no one.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  4. J.W

    I see a lot of hate on this blog. I wish more of us could be like me, nice and kind. OMG I am so great yet so humble. It is amazing.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • EvelynWaugh

      I truly do not feel that most of the people posting on this blog are haters. I think that a lot of these posts are from people who are fed up with Religion taking over our country, politicians, etc. Look at the Republican candidates .. it seems they are in a race to see who the most God loving fanatical Christian. If you go to a Tea Party rally and read some of the hate signs they carry it's very obvious who the haters are.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @J.W.,

      You should model yourself after me. I'm more humble than you. 🙂

      August 22, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • David Johnson

      @EvelynWaugh

      Amen, sister. Amen!

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • J.W

      I dunno Damian I think if we had a humbleness competi.tion I would totally annihilate all of you.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Just so you know

      David,

      The real Evelyn Waugh was a man (so maybe this one is brother, rather than sister) 🙂

      A lot of British names that started out male morphed to be more popular with females: Lesley, Evelyn, Courtney, Beverley, Shirley, Jocelyn... just to name a few.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Just so you know

      p.s. The original Evelyn Waugh was a British writer, and a conservative Catholic.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @J.W.,

      Psshhh...you think your humbleness could overcome mine? I am so humble that my picture is next to the word "humility" in Merriam-Webster (I paid them a handsome sum to have it there).

      August 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  5. Colin

    The atheist movement should start a fund to put a copy of Dawkin's "The God Delusion" in every hotel, to counterbalance the Bible and Book of Moromon. We could also include a Playboy in it, to get the interest fired up.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • EvelynWaugh

      I agree. What a incredibly illuminating book. I just finished reading it a few days ago for the second time.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • William Demuth

      I bet the Playboy gets the most hits!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Colin

      Ya goota love the Brits – I love the smooth, rock-solid logic he uses and the almost passively superior way in which he presents his arguments.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Laughing

      I'm in the middle of reading it right now and it's fantastic.

      My only issue is that sometimes he gets a little too aggressive which I think detracts from some of the points he tries to make because it's dripping with so much bias it's hard not to disagree on principle. However I really really love how he backs up every argument and dissects just about every conveivable rebuttle before they even say it.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  6. DJ

    F'n Christian whiners. It's only shocking if you want it to be otherwise it is just a picture. That is the biggest problem with you f'n religious people, you think everything is made to offend you. Guess what? It's not...at all. It's a picture made to reference the essence of the story and in this case fits it perfectly. Funny part is whenever these stories come up, why is it always about religious people having this problem and then think that everyone has this problems and want to fix everyone. I am not religous, yet I seem to have higher moral standards. I would never even think of doing such a thing being a married man.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  7. Judge Dredd

    JUDGE JOE DREDD IS THE LAW.
    THE LAW CANNOT BE KILLED
    THE LAW CANNOT BE BROKEN
    THE LAW CANNOT BE VIOLATED
    THE LAW CANNOT BE STOPPED
    I AM JUDGE DREDD
    I AM THE LAW

    August 22, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  8. CW

    Great Story.....I'm against p.orn as well.

    First let me say I'm a red bl.ooded american male and have watched many p.or.no's in my life. A few years ago I had to change myself b/c as this guy in the story stated "he was a christian" but not a very good one...I know exactly where he is coming from. Luckily I wasn't addicted to it so although not watching and turning them on has been hard but with God "nothing is impossible".

    I guess my second point is this. In those p.orno's any women that is in them is someone's little girl. How would any father feel knowing that his "little girl" is in one of these. I'm sure there are many many fathers that are out there and are heart broken. I would also say that there are many mothers that are disgusted with their daughters in these movies and I'm sure any males that are in these are also a shame on their famililes as well.

    Truth be told these kinds of things are bad for society and bad for all families. There is NO GOOD in them what so ever. God is the only GOOD THING and if we all had him in our heart's the world's problem's would cease to exist.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • EvelynWaugh

      The people making p.o.r.n.o's are consenting adults. What they do with their own bodies is their right. If you do not like it .. just don't watch it.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • JIm

      The ONLY GOOD THING that you can have is relations in your family, If you dont have it, no confession will make you clean and GOD will not turn you away from p_o_r_n, It is all in you, you decide, not GOD.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • William Demuth

      CW

      So you were a horn bag and now your not?

      Perhaps you need to cure your latest addiction to Bronze Age Super Hero's?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Ben

      CW is just hiding his latent gay tendencies. CW, it's OK. You can tell us your real desires about men. We won't tell the world.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  9. EvelynWaugh

    Two words .... "Jesus Camp".

    August 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  10. Godless

    Christianity is against inanimate objects, therefor I am against Christianity.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Huh?

      .

      August 22, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  11. Dean

    I agree with Tony that this picture is completely offensive to me as a Christian. I also know that whoever decided to post it did so knowing that it would be provocative and offensive. It was posted simply for it's shock value. Either that or they are completely insensitive to Christian sensibilities. In the latter case, according to secular standards this person should be required to undergo sensitivity training, right? If they had done something intentionally and so blatantly that offended Muslims for instance that is what would be required. But that won't happen in this case because it's okay to offend Christians. We are the new whipping boys of the secular media and culture, and that obviously includes CNN. According to the Holy Bible that you are defiling here, there is such a thing as righteous anger. I think Christians should boycott CNN and companies that advertise on it.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Monbois

      Oh boo hoo! Poor victimized Christians! Always being picked on even though you make up the overwhelming majority of the population in the US! What rediculous whiners!

      So-called "sensitivity training" is a corporate euphamism for "don't say anything insulting" and can be enforced. The government, on the other hand, cannot force anyone from criticizing or making fun of someone else because of their religion – FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

      Hasn't it been the Christians who've been deriding "political correctness" for the past 30 years because they want to be able to make fun of others (Muslims, Jews, gays, women, the handicapped, blacks, Asians, foreigners, Mormons, etc.) without fear of legal consequences?

      Christians can give it, but they obviously can't take it.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • PulTab

      Makes me want to send CNN a contribution.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Normon

      What is so offensive about a "BLAKBOX" magazine on top of a Bible?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Salvlatore

      When Lord when? When will Christians get their time in America, Lord? When will they be free from prejudice and oppression, free to worship when they want? Maybe even a time when a Christian could elect a President, or 44 of them in a row? When's our time, Lord?!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Gary

      I pretty much have to throw in my hat with Monbols here. First off, if you're offended by the image then you have given too much power to CNN or the producer by allowing yourself to be offended. The reality is that it was not created to inflame or induce Christians to become angry, but it is a provocative picture that says the 1,000 words that are then outlined in the story. In other words, its a fancy bit of marketing that does its job well: it provokes people to read the article. So congrats, you've been had by a capitalistic marketeer.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • NoReDumdlicans

      Maybe when Christians stop toting themselves as the moral authority on EVERYTHING and keep their noses out of peoples personal lives AND stop trying to keep taxpaying American citizens from having rights (ie gays)...maybe then they will come into less ridicule. Until then shut up and take your medicine...doesn't feel so nice when you get a taste of your own does it?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • William Demuth

      More or less than the images of the Klan burning crosses?

      More or less than the Salem Witch Trials?

      More or less than the pictures of the people maimed in the anti abortion bombings?

      More or less than the pictures of the corpses in Jonestown?

      More or less than the childs corpse in the arms of the fireman outside the Federal Building in Oklahoma?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Salvlatore

      You asked: "When Lord when? When will Christians get their time in America, Lord?"

      If you mean time to worship your god in your churches, homes, and Christian gatherings, this right is already yours. If on the other hand you mean a time to dominate, and decide for America what will be allowed and what won't be... then I pray your time never comes.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  12. pithyMcgee

    I wish the Christians would crusade against the churches that harbor and coverup for pedophiles.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • C. Smith

      Don't worry, we are.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Thankful

      Man will always be corrupt and God will always be just.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • JIm

      What are you talking about? They are clean, take it on the faith! These are your spiritual leaders, follow them and take it all on the faith like you are taught! And dont forget to send your boys to chrstian after school events and camps. Western christianity is develpoed and run by pedophiles. Open your eyes!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Thankful

      Christ is my spiritual leader. Sin is not from God.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Normon

      "Man will always be corrupt and God will always be just."
      I'm confused. How is it even possible that an always just God could create an always corrupt being?
      Either He isn't always just or He didn't create man.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • William Demuth

      C. Smith

      Yeah right!

      The feds lock up a 12 year old for a joint, but priests bugger THOUSANDS and nothing is done?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Thankful

      @

      August 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Thankful

      @Norman God did not create us corrupted but allowed us the choice to be corruptible. We made the choice and still do on a daily basis.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Thankful

      You said: "Man will always be corrupt and God will always be just."

      God is neither good or just or existent.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Normon

      @Thankful,
      If it is a choice that "we make every day" then we can choose not to be corrupt and don't need God to be un-corrupt.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  13. El Kababa

    I'd rather find a Playboy under my son's mattress than a Bible.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Martin T

      Indeed!!!!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • PulTab

      Very good! I wish I had thought of that.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Colin

      Well said. Me, too.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  14. phoenix

    the heathen are clay demons always tempting christians

    August 22, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  15. bluemax77

    Nothing like a bunch of Jesus freaks telling us all how to live in the “Land of the Free”...!!

    August 22, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  16. Leo

    The People's Crusade against the people's Crusade.

    Look you judgey know-it-alls that actually don't know much. If you want to live your life to a higher standard by someone else's definition, then do so. but quit acting like we all need to follow suit. Most of you are conservatives and say the same thing about government, but you never put this into practice. Shut up and quit being a hypocrite. We know better even if you don't.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  17. ryan

    God is imaginary.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Cafeitalia

      God is a Myth. Read Joseph Campbell's book "Power of the Myth". It is very enlightening and intelligently written.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  18. Terri

    I believe in freedom of the press......NOW where is the picture of the Qoran with a Playboy magazine inside it???
    OH, YOU AREN'T FREE TO PRINT THAT, ARE YOU???? Amazing, isn't it????

    August 22, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Martin T

      Maybe, and I'm just spittballing here, Christians need to put a hit out on the CNN editors who did this. I mean IF you want the same treatment as the idiot extremist Muslims, then that's the way you do it.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      Terri? Read the headline of the article. Does it say ANYTHING about muslims? Context, dear.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Fred1

      The story is about the Christian campaign against pronogrgaphy, not the Muslim campaign. Or didn’t you bother to read the article?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  19. Bus2

    Stuff like this just shows how out of touch some christians are. I'd swear some of them still think we're living in the 1800's. No wonder their religion is dying in this country.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  20. tallulah13

    So you should you be killed Rainer? You seem to pose a threat to people of whom you don't approve. That makes you more like the people you listed than the power you claim to worship.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:59 am |
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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.