If Public Porn Goes, then the Pulpit Should Follow

By Jason Menard

If a group of anti-porn crusaders convince the City of London that it can’t have sex, then they better make sure that religion joins it on the outside of the city limits, looking in.

On the agenda for today’s meeting of the city’s community and neighbourhoods committee is a presentation from a group that would like to see the City ban pornography industry-sponsored events from City-owned properties.

Here’s hoping this group was listened to respectfully, thanked for their opinion, and then wholeheartedly ignored. Simply put, government should in no way be making business decisions based upon someone’s sense of morality. 

Let’s start with this simple fact: pornography is not illegal. And, in my own opinion, most of it is not even immoral. Now, the coalition, led by Megan Walker, the Executive Director of the London Abused Women’s Centre, may not agree with my opinion and that’s their right. Just as it’s their right not to attend an event relating to pornography.

But if the City decides it should ban perfectly legal industries from its facilities based upon someone’s morals, then it’s starting down a slippery slope.

You want to talk about something that’s morally repugnant? In many ways I find organized religion guilty of behaviours that turn my stomach. From certain groups’ condemnation of homosexuality (which would be in direct violation of Jesus’ first-and-greatest commandment – Love thy Neighbour), to the Catholic Church’s woeful response towards pedophiles within its midst — these actions are far more offensive to me than most porn out there.

I can make a convincing argument that religion – especially Christianity – has been responsible for far more repression, promotion of hate, and even death than pretty much anything out there.

So if I’m offended by this behaviour, should I then march on down to City Hall and demand that any event with even a hint of religious affiliation be exorcised from City-owned properties? Should I stand outside the Convention Centre picketing?

Or, should I do what most normal people would do and just not go to the event?

You don’t like porn. Fine. Many people do. Many couples enjoy viewing porn together as a healthy part of their sexuality. Many couples visit sex shops and purchase vibrators, dildos, and other sex toys to enhance their love lives. These are healthy, loving, and consenting couples who enjoy exploring their sexuality and giving pleasure. If they want to attend a sex show, then where’s the harm in that? The other aspect of the group’s mission — restricting access to pornography in public libraries — is a valid concern. After all, young children have full access to a library and could be exposed to questionable content. But to extend that ban to city-run facilities goes too far.

We have the ability to make choices in life. You don’t like what’s on TV? Change the channel. You think porn is disgusting? I’ve yet to be involuntarily presented with pornography walking down the street. If you want to watch, you actively have to go find it.

In fact, most sex shops are extremely discreet in their presentation. Windows are covered and external messaging is relatively tame. I can’t say the same for organized religion – there are crucifixes everywhere and Churches plaster religious statements on their external billboards.

I’ve never been accosted by someone trying to force me to buy a dildo. I’ve never had a porn merchant knock at my door first thing on a weekend morning. I have been harassed by evangelicals trying to convert me both on the road and at home.

I can accurately say that porn has treated me with more respect than organized religion. So if Walker’s got an issue with public venues hosting pornography-related functions, then I’ve got bigger issues with any religious events on City turf.

Yes, you can go to extremes and point to aggressive, violent, and debasing pornography to make your point – but that’s as unfair as holding up the Westboro Baptist Church as icons of organized religion. There are good and bad in every bunch.

The important thing to note is that the City is not condoning illegal activities here. You will never see a child pornography festival; you will never see a bestiality-themed petting zoo set up shop in Victoria Park. Any pornographic activities fall within what we’ve defined as legal.

And legal should be the only grounds upon which to base any decision. What Megan Walker and her group likes doesn’t matter, just as what I like doesn’t matter. As consumers, we get to vote with our wallet and our attendance (or lack thereof). If we are morally opposed to something, we have the right not to attend.

The overriding point here is this: personal preference can play a role in our decisions; it should not be the defining factor in the City’s decision-making process.

After all, if you’re going to judge what goes on in society’s bedrooms, then don’t be surprised when what comes from the pulpit comes under scrutiny.

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2 thoughts on “If Public Porn Goes, then the Pulpit Should Follow

  1. Elaine Murray

    Good article Menard. There has been more rape, violence, pedophila , murder, and oppression foisted on mankind in the name of one god or another than the porn industry, if that was their goal, could ever hope to exceed.

    Reply
    1. Jay Menard Post author

      Thanks Elaine. I’m sure someone will be offended by the fact that I compared religion and porn, but it shows how morality and perception all depend on your perspective — and it’s dangerous to start basing decisions on one person or group’s morality. Not only should government stay out of the bedrooms of the nation, it should also not take sides with religions.

      Reply

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