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The Catholic church wants a federal crackdown on porn because apparently that’s what’s really important right now

Lily Wakefield May 12, 2020
US Conference of Catholic Bishops

The 2018 US Conference of Catholic Bishops. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty)

Catholic bishops are calling for the US federal government to crack down on porn, claiming it causes “pain” and “ongoing harm”.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter US attorney general William Barr on April 30, calling on the Trump administration to “confront the ongoing harms wrought by the pornography industry”, especially as use of porn sites has spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the letter, the bishops wrote: “The current pandemic is exacting a heavy and widespread emotional, social, and financial toll in our communities.

“In the face of the pandemic, the Church expresses her solidarity with all who are struggling or alone.”

The letter noted that “in a March 27 reflection, Pope Francis affirmed our common ‘belonging as brothers and sisters’ in the midst of crisis and reminded us that, despite the demands of distancing and isolation, ‘we are on the same boat’ and are all called to row together'”

“Pornography is the antithesis of this,” it continued.

“Rather than remembering and loving our fellow humans as brothers and sisters, it objectifies them — often directly exploiting them — and diminishes the health of users’ relationships with others.

“In fact, legislative chambers in at least 15 states have declared pornography a public health crisis in its own right.”

Yes, 15 states have really declared a porn crisis.

According to Governing, the majority Mormon state Utah was the first state to issue a public health resolution against pornography, and 14 other states – Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia – have since followed suit.

However the resolutions are based on two largely unfounded ideas: that porn can be biologically addictive, and that the industry is linked to an increase in sex trafficking.

Although there have been links made between excessive use of porn and mental health difficulties, there has not been a significant amount of research into the addictiveness of porn.

The CDC has no official stance on the issue and the American Psychiatric Association does not consider watching porn to be an addictive behaviour. Links between an increase in sex trafficking and the porn industry are also unsubstantiated.

Catholic bishops make spurious porn claims.

The letter from the Conference of Catholic Bishops continued: “Unprecedented, unlimited, and anonymous access to pornography via modern technology has led users to seek more and more extreme videos.

“Thus, non-enforcement or lax enforcement of obscenity laws against producers and distributors may provide a gateway for this demand to metastasise, increasing the incidents of trafficking, child pornography, other abuse, and broader unjust conditions.

“Second, pornography harms families and communities in perceptible ways. Especially when viewed by the young, it provides a terrible model and expectation of how persons should treat each other, potentially leading to coercion or violence.

“The ubiquity of pornography in the hands of adolescents renders this not a concern of isolated incidents but of cultural proportions… As pastors, we frequently see the pain that results from a pornography habit.

“Marriages that are injured or even broken by a spouse’s pornography use, which some divorce lawyers report as a factor in over half of their cases, have a ripple effect on children and society. Strong families are necessary for strong, safe communities.”

Church porn crusade ‘not rooted in science’.

Michael Stabile, a spokesman for Kink.com, told Forbes that the church’s aversion to porn is “rooted in stigma, not science”.

He said: “This isn’t the first time we’ve seen porn or BDSM used as a pretext for censorship by the Catholic church — it’s been the same anti-sex story they’ve been selling for centuries.”

“The Bishops aren’t concerned with violence or exploitation. They’re concerned with people embracing sexuality without shame.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was supposed to gather in Detroit in June, but its Spring General Assembly has been cancelled to the coronavirus pandemic.

More: addiction, Catholic bishops, Catholic Church, conference, kink, porn, sex trafficking, us attorney general, William Barr

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