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Utah Does the Dirty Work on Porn

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Pornography has been called all kinds of things — degrading, harmful, addictive. But the state of Utah has another phrase for it: public health hazard. Thanks to the state legislature, Governor Gary Herbert (R) had the chance to sign a groundbreaking new resolution that calls attention to the number-one killer of today’s marriages. “We hope that people hear and heed this voice of warning,” Herbert said at a crowded signing ceremony. “For our citizens know that there are real health risks that are involved and associated with viewing pornography.”

The bill’s sponsor, Todd Weiler, told reporters that he was “mocked and scorned” when he introduced the measure last year. Then, slowly, ridicule turned to alarm, as more major publications started warning about the devastating effects of porn on this generation. That drumbeat has continued through this month, when a Time magazine cover story told the sobering stories of young men — most non-religious — who have lost years, relationships, money, and self-respect in their addiction. The Washington Post followed suit, putting aside the morality question to focus on science — which, Gail Dines insisted, is “beyond dispute.” “After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence, and gender equality — for the worse.”

The Barna Group piled on with the help of Josh McDowell, who spelled out the crisis in — and to — the church. According to their study, Porn Phenomenon, 64 percent of Christian men say they’ve viewed pornography at least once this month. In the pulpit, the struggle is just as real: 57 percent of pastors and 64 percent of youth pastors admit they’ve used porn, “either currently or in the past.” The devastation to marriages and families is no longer hypothetical. “Just as the tobacco industry argued for decades that there was no proof of a connection between smoking and lung cancer, so, too, has the porn industry… denied the existence of empirical research on the impact of its products,” Dines wrote. Herbert continued that thought, insisting, “If a library or a McDonald’s or anyone else was giving out cigarettes to our children, we would be picketing them. And, yet, our children are accessing pornography on their tablets on these sites and we seem to be okay with that.”

Although Utah’s resolution is non-binding, it does encourage more community action on the problem of pornography — something every state could stand to emulate!



 

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