A Place for shame

A recent article reported in the Agape press centered around the current practice of a group in Indiana of posting pictures of patrons of one 'adult' store in order to shame them into avoiding the place, and presumably, having the ultimate effect of closing the shop down.

The posting of pictures was just one part of the battle, which also included 24 hour protests.

At issue in a recent discussion group was whether it was 'Christ-like' to publicly shame pornography patrons by posting pictures of them on the internet; as one poster said, "This could potentially cause someone alot of embarassment, psychological distress, and pain, which doesn't strike me as the best way to spread the gospel.".

One wonders if 'spreading the gospel' requires a casual acceptance of the intrusions of adult industry juggernaut into our cities, neighborhoods and homes.

And that is where we need to be clear; the Goliath in this battle is the pornography industry. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that subjugates tens of thousands of young men and women to the most pernicious of activities; the buying and selling of their bodies. It is prostitution once removed. It is protected by numerous court cases, and is ubiquitous in its availability. It reaches easily into every American home via the internet and for other forms of 'adult' entertainment not easily transmissible over cable lines there are numerous legal outlets in every major city, and a number of not so major ones.

To the discerning and thoughtful it's damage is readily apparent; the entrapment of millions of men in addiction, the destruction of marriages, the scarring of children exposed to lies enticingly presented by the pornography moguls.

This industry has relied in recent years on two things; the anonymity of its customers, and the increasing public acceptance of deviant behaviors.

Indeed, those who would never defend the activities of the pornography industry seem intent on protecting the people who contribute a few dollars at a time to its continued existence.

What of the point that Jesus was above shaming the unrighteous?

While Jesus of course notably loved and reached out sinners, he also seemed intent on publicly vilifying the unrepentant and hypocritical. Scribes, lawyers, Sadducees, Pharisees, money changers, would be stone casters, and even his disciples came under public rebuke when necessary. Indeed, he actually voiced a methodology by which those who failed to repent of there behaviors would be subject to increasingly public pressures.

And of course, John the Baptist, the harbinger of Christ, notably lost his head for publicly shaming Herod for being involved in what amounted to an adulterous relationship with his brother's wife.

So I am not so sure the distaste displayed by some Christians against the protestors is wholly warranted; indeed, I would say their outrage against the growing sexual industry is much too subdued.

Does this mean that Jesus would have stood outside a porn shop snapping pictures of the patron's comings and goings? Probably not; but then again he might very well have cleared such a building with a scourge for corrupting the lives of people whom he loved – an action which in this day and age might get him jail time, and in an earlier age gotten him … well, crucified.

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