The film Over 18 is a documentary that seeks to raise awareness of the harmful psychological, emotional, and even spiritual effects of long-term pornography addiction among males and females. The documentary itself does a masterful job of highlighting both sides of the industry: consumers of the “product” as well as its producers. Through various interviews and dialogue with a wide range of individuals, it provides a more complete perspective on what pornography is and how it is impacting our society.
We were able to have a pastor, psychologist, and a mom of teenage kids join our panel to answer questions about the film and about the effects of pornography.
Calgary Community Reformed Church has been involved in supporting efforts to see human trafficking eliminated, and with pornography feeding this industry in a variety of indirect (and even some direct) ways, we felt it was important to raise awareness to the ways sexuality has been exploited, particularly in young people (ages 9+). One of the members of another congregation that meets in our building is heavily involved with Servants Anonymous, a ministry that supports and rehabilitates women who have been in the sex trade. This mandate for social justice in the area of human trafficking finds its roots in the God of scripture. Jesus himself, dedicated to those on the margins of society, enacted “rescue missions” of various kinds for people who were broken and lost. As followers and as ambassadors of this same Jesus, we feel called to rescue marginalized people right here in Canada. So, it was suggested that we and their church community (Community Grace) partner together to host an evening to show the film and to have a panel discussion afterward. It was very successful! We were able to have a pastor, psychologist, and a mom of teenage kids join our panel to answer questions about the film and about the effects of pornography.
Following the film we had another pastor come forward and provide a message of Gospel hope, which was received with grace, and was a beautiful way to end our evening.
The reality is, it is much too simple to click “I am over 18” to enter a pornographic website.
Our evening was not all talk, however. We provided a variety of information regarding ways in which people may get involved (volunteer or otherwise) to help eradicate this problem. The most tangible aspect of our night together was a petition that we encouraged people to sign that would press the federal government on the need to have more strict controls in place regarding consensual access to pornographic websites. This petition and supporting material was made available by an organization called Hope for the Sold. The reality is, it is much too simple to click “I am over 18” to enter a pornographic website. Unlike the porn industry, the gambling industry not only requires a user to acknowledge that they are “over 18”, but requires that they provide credit card information verifying their age and consent. The petition is meant to encourage similar restrictions on the online pornography industry. Since signing the petition there has been little more research done at a federal level, but we are hopeful that this conversation will continue and that the changes will, indeed, be made for the health and vitality of our youth who are growing up with minds that have been hijacked by sex.
This documentary was a valuable tool in raising awareness to parents and youth about the effects of pornography. We felt that the conversations we have about sexuality with our kids need to take place sooner and need to include talking about what pornography is and the damage it leaves behind. If parents and mentors do not bring up these realities, society will do it for us, and then we’ve already lost the battle.
Will you join Pastor Jeff and his community in speaking up for stricter online controls of pornography? Speak up here. (Canadian action alert)