A few years back as a Probation Officer for my county juvenile court, I received one of �those� phone calls at the end of my day which made me stay late. It was from the mother of one of my clients. She was highly agitated because she had found her digital camera that had been lost for a few days.
It wasn�t the missing of the camera that she was upset about�but the images IN the camera. Images of her middle-school aged daughter. The daughter was not only nude, but had been posing for the camera in the privacy of her room�with the intent of downloading these images onto either the Internet, or �sharing� with a boy that she liked.
Mama, it turns out, found the camera, just in time.
My blood ran cold as she told me the story.
While I never got a true explanation as to why this matter came about, the mother had made the decision to delete the pictures off the camera and explain to her daughter why she shouldn�t �pose� for anyone nude--regardless of the excuses heard, or people she wanted to �win� as friends.
This incident happened in the early-2000s, just before the concern about �sexting� came about in the mainstream press. Sadly, this is new version of a satanic problem: Pornography. Only, this twist goes beyond the first amendment issues that we see represented in the media. The �slither� of the porn snake this time around is coming through means that many are just now becoming aware. The �snake� is coming into homes via cell phones, and other electronic media--including the home computer.
THE NEW DANGER OF SEXTING:
The term �sexting� has become a real headline issue of late. This is an extension of my opening illustration. Sexting is the downloading of an image (usually pornographic in nature) into a cell phone (or other phone-like device) with the INTENT of sending that image onward to another person, or group of persons. One of the unintended side effects of sexting is that one can not control what those who receive the image �do� with it. Some send it along to their friends (and so on, and so on) until it gets to a much larger population than originally imagined.
There have been more than a few teen lives ruined by this menace, as school officials have seized student cell phones on school property (for one violation or another) and, in examining the phone contents, found rather suggestive photos. Those sexting messages get turned over to law enforcement and teenagers wind up in real trouble with the law and the courts. All over a few �homemade� photos.
Is there a such thing as �a harmless look� at a photo of a nude person? Let�s check it out in the scriptures, as Jesus is speaking in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6:
(v 22) The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
(v 23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
�One look� got David into hot water with Bathsheba. �One look� at the fruit caused Eve to bite, and got her to cause Adam to bite. �One look� is all it takes to cause any man or woman, any boy or girl to fall prey to the ravages and effects of pornography�no matter how �innocent� the reason or �ignorant� the participant(s). In the words of one preacher: �There IS no such thing as �safe� SIN!�
ANOTHER DANGER: SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES:
But this is JUST the tip of the electronic iceberg. A relatively new innovation has crept into the home, called the �social networking site�. These �web wonders� allow people to �post� photos of themselves, images of how they �feel� or what they like �into� into the Internet pool of information for the entire world to see. Sadly, the number of Christians and church members who have �questionable� postings on their OWN social networking pages is growing exponentially.
Paul�s warning to the church at Thessalonica covers this situation rather well in his first epistle, covered in Chapter 5:
(v 22) Abstain from all appearance of evil.
I have seen some things on some social networking sites that I would expect to be posted by those who do NOT claim to know Christ. However, when I turn to sites by those who claim to be Christians, I have found--much to my shock--everything from astrology signs to raunchy photos. I have to back up and wonder at the salvation of the persons involved. Further, I wonder if their pastor and church know what is going on within the ranks of their membership.
How can one who claims to represent Christ be involved in posting information about who they went out with last night or worldly concerts? Can a Christian be an effective witness for the Lord with a cross on their website AND several �linked� videos of �suggestive� R&B, Hip-Hop, or Country-Western favorites?
You KNOW the answer to the question, right?
�Yes, we do have a �right� to some down time,� I can hear the critics say. However, don�t we--who have the name of Jesus Christ on our lips and the blessings of God in and on our souls--OWE some allegiance to the �blood-stained� banner of our Captain--which is HOLINESS? Christian conduct on the Internet is still subject to Christ and biblical jurisdiction. Sure, the world may not know that you are a Christian, but the angels in heaven are watching for our Lord.
Think about this the next time you use your site to �link� to something questionable and morally suggestive on Youtube.
THE SWELLING DANGER: POSTING VIDEO SITES:
The Saints of today have an old enemy on a new plane--the electronic frontier. Yes, you�ve read other pieces on pornography. The dangers to homes. The dangers to children. Marriages ruined. Suicides increased. Reputations destroyed. The attack against the mind using the �old� style of pornography had its thousands of slaves. However, with the new technology, comes the risk of TENS of thousands becoming slaves�some of them from the pulpit and the pew.
Few are discussing the snake biting at them through the Internet.
Let me back up a bit. What do I mean by �old� style? Years ago, I remember hearing about how pedophiles went to �hook� children. Some pedophiles would go out and buy pornographic magazines and would �rough up� the covers and tear out the articles, so that mainly the photos would remain. Then, they would �drop or toss� a few of them in a local park--and watch who picked them up and really LOOKED at them. Their hope would be that an innocent young boy or girl would pick up the �lost� magazine and would be �transfixed� by studying it.
On the electronic frontier, posting video sites like Youtube and others mix in the innocent with the suggestive--while at the same time putting up mock protests and action against suggestive video material being posted. Put in a search of one of your local high schools and you will find not only videos �from� that school, there will be sub-links of student postings from home and other places--including the local school bus!
Teens mainly--but some adults, too--will upload the video �catch� of their day to share with the public. Having a few �views� (called hits) of a video is considered good. One who has a video with hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of hits has something that could be potentially seen on local or national or INTERNATIONAL television.
One of the things that the video posting site has is privacy. Men as well as women can watch at all hours of the day or night. IF a major �item� happens on the, say, Hollywood scene (I.e. a showbiz scandal) you can bet that the footage will show up on the web via a posting site and will be circulated to the electronic media for further public consumption. This causes one to think back to another warning in Paul�s first letter to the church at Corinth, Chapter 15:
(v 33) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
One of the deceptive facets of pornography is that women are �not� impacted. Pornography is a �male� venue.
Oh, I beg to differ.
Take a GOOD look at the physiques of the males who perform in Hip Hop, Rap, and other music styles. Many are buff, firm, and fill out their clothes with all kinds of muscles. Once upon a time, women could be swayed by their soap operas and romance novels. Now you have older women on lust-filled runs, often taking their teenage (and pre-teenage) daughters to get copies of the latest Harry Potter, Twilights, or Beauty and the Beast video. They �aren�t� going to the stores in the wee hours of the night �just� for the storyline!
A few years back, a local television station news reporter decided to get �involved� with an art story. This reporter went to the location of the story, did her interviews--then--removed ALL her clothes and walked down the public street NUDE to take part in an artistic �mural� of naked men and women, huddled together to �make� a statement in the pre-dawn hours.
All of it caught on camera, and circulated on the regional and national news feeds for other stations to �pick up and play.� There were bits of �privacy� inserted (including only showing the female reporter from the back without her clothes). Nevertheless, that woman�s image in the buff exists in a variety of places and copies of the tape (the uncut copies) are in the files of some clever photographer AND a few of his/her friends.
Once someone decides to �shed� their clothing in public, it is difficult to see them in the same light, regardless of the circumstances. Interestingly enough, there seems to be more and more emphasis on nudity over common sense appearing in the mainstream press or on television.
The print game has not gotten off unscathed. As I write this, various publications have covered �naked� bike protests, �nude� anti-fur protests, and the arrest of a female vocalist for appearing �nude� in the area where the late President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Oh, lest I forget, there are also the occasional protests of women who want the right to go topless in public, in the interest of �fairness�.
Think these stories are outrageous? Think these stories are too hot for your local TV station or newspaper or TV network? Keep in mind the following:
Thus, more and more newscasts and newspapers are being filed with stories and images that would have made most reporters and editors red with rage only ten years ago--especially material featuring those who want to make their point by titillation rather than by discussion. What makes the danger of pornography even more sinister in the news industry is the invention of the video posting site.
Those who don�t like the �restriction� of images in their local newspaper or newscast can �click on� to the posting site or web search engine and get a full view of the �redacted� item for their eyes only. Thus, the snake of pornography can strike a new victim--under the guise of �looking up� the video footage from a �news� story.
Pornography goes after MEN, first and foremost, my brothers. Why? Because God established men to be the leaders and providers in the home, the church, and in society. It is sinister, seductive, and widespread. However, remember the biblical admonition: Submit, resist and flee!
James 4:7-8: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Verse 7--in my view, is meant for the Saint. Verse 8--in my view, is meant for the Sinner and for the Saint who is wishy-washy and �on the edge of the fence� so to speak.
The new technology has brought the sinister snake of pornography at men and women, boys and girls through electronic doorways. One must treat pornography the same way one treats graffiti posted on a building wall:
If we, as Christians, don�t deal with this snake when it tries to rear its head or bear its fangs against us at the beginning; it will surely get rid of US and bring us to an end! My advice? Don�t cash that �lust check� when it shows up in your mind mail. Submit to the Lord, and mark that check �return to sender�! Cut the snake off at the head when it is FIRST spotted!