Jeffrey Epstein, R. Kelly, Porn, and Maybe You

By Rob Schwarzwalder Published on July 22, 2019

What does an aging financier have to in common with an R&B music mogul? And maybe with you?

Kelly is one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the past two decades. He is also accused by federal prosecutors of 18 counts of “kidnapping, forced labor and sending child pornography across state lines.” These charges are only the latest of many civil and state charges brought against Kelly. The feds say he used “physical abuse, violence, threats of violence, blackmail, and other controlling behaviors” against the women and girls he preyed upon.

For more on dealing with pornography, see the author’s There’s Nothing ‘Adult’ About Pornography, Nancy Flory’s A Public Health Issue in a Digital Age, and Michael Cook’s A Public Health Crisis.

Then there’s Jeffrey Epstein. Federal prosecutors say the 66-year-old “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes” in New York and Florida over many years. His ranch in New Mexico is under investigation as yet another of his go-to places for rape.

We shiver at the evil of these men. Yet our society, in its rightful anger over what they have done, needs to cast an honest inward glance.

The Honest Inward Look

Pornography “is very often the filmed rape of sex trafficking victims,” says Dr. Mahri Irvine of American University. Many of these are minors, both girls and boys. Many others are women who have been drugged or forced into performing sexual acts on camera.

Don’t think watching pornography is benign. You’re always watching someone else’s child or spouse or parent. Women and children are the primary victims.

But today’s pornography is not just about men and women having normal sexual relations on camera. A recent study found that nearly 40 percent of teenage boys and more than 20 percent of teenage girls admitted to watching “sexual activity involving bondage.” 32 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls had seen “sexual activity between people and animals.”

These kinds of things should make every Christian weep. But don’t think more “conventional” pornography is OK. A recent study found that pornography twists the way men view women and behave toward them. “The younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women,” researcher Alyssa Bischmann reports. “The older a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he would want to engage in playboy behavior.”

Of course, the sexualization of women and girls goes well beyond online pornography. So-called “music videos” are often little more than burlesque shows with a driving beat. Parents allow their teen-age girls to wear provocative clothing and swimwear because they don’t want a fight. They let their daughters buy-in to a cultural norm that says exhibiting oneself is healthy and harmless. This only sets the stage for acting-out later on.

Acting Out For Real

Acting out is what Epstein and allegedly Kelly have done for years and years. But one thing can’t be ignored: When a person watches pornography, he is taking part in the same evil things. He’s exploiting other people for his own sexual gratification. Virtually, yes, but does that matter?

Jesus didn’t think so. “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). How much deeper this sin goes if one is looking at a child or a woman beaten or drugged into debasing herself. Watching an image-bearer of God, whether a man or woman or, even more sickeningly, a boy or a girl, perform sexual acts is to condone what is being done to them.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

The good news that is in Christ, there is always hope. Brittni De La Mora, once a prominent actress in pornographic films, was transformed by Jesus Christ. Now married to a pastor, she says, “As I began reading the Bible, I learned a new way of living. I knew God had given me a second chance at life and I wanted to do whatever I could to do it right this time.”

In His grace, she has done just that. And so, in His grace, can anyone.

 

For help win your own battle with pornography, go to Focus on the Family’s Resources page. The Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking offers many excellent Christian resources. Victims, survivors, and concerned community members can contact the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888, through text messaging (233733), and through online chat 24 hours a day in multiple languages.

 

Rob Schwarzwalder is a senior contributor at The Stream and a senior lecturer at Regent University.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
Inspiration
Lessons From a Stolen Bike
Alex Chediak
More from The Stream
Connect with Us