Many of us remember Weird Al Yankovic’s satire music video, “Amish Paradise,” in which Amish boys huddled around naughty pictures of Amish girls raising their dark, ironed skirts to show an just an inch or two of skanky ankle. The punchline’s visual appeal belied what many see as an epidemic facing young Christians—namely, an addiction to porn and masturbation. At least that’s the view of XXX-Church.com, the self-described number one Christian (anti) porn site in America.
The XXX church’s traveling road show comes to town when founder Craig Gross arrives at the University of Montana’s UC Theater, March 3, to talk about sex addiction, the XXX ministry, and whatever, um, comes up.
“Pornography is the new drug for a lot of people,” says Mike Hinkle, college pastor for Grace Point Church, who is sponsoring the event. The controversial talk comes at a time when Christians struggle not just with porn, he says, but with even discussing it.
“I’m shocked at how hard it is for guys to just sit down and talk about it, and how it’s hurting their lives,” Hinkle says.
Those who do talk about porn, unfortunately, risk some chastisement. Created as a discussion forum for porn addicts, the ministry draws plenty of fire from traditional Christians.
“Show me ONE place in the scriptures where GOD uses hip or fun tactics to relate to an issue as serious as this,” states an anonymous letter on an XXX-Church website page that overflows with hate mail.
“Most of our critics are Christian people,” concedes Brandon Piety, the ministry’s production manager. “They’re not fond of our tactics and methods.”
This past month, XXX-Church ministry leaders attended the 6th annual Las Vegas Porn Convention, where they hoped to answer the question “Does Jesus really loves porn stars?” (and convert whatever souls were still in existence). On Feb. 28, ABC’s Nightline will air a piece on Gross’ recent Yale porn debate with adult film legend and Captain Lou Albano look-alike, Ron Jeremy. The ministry has gotten some high-fives for helping people with sex addiction problems.
But between its Porn and Pancakes breakfast sermons and the group’s unusual self-accountability mechanisms (software that e-mails the dirty sites you visit to your girlfriend, mother, or grandmother), the site is just too racy for some. Add to it the candid, taboo-taunting conversation boards about addictive wang abuse, sexual orientation, and other issues, and you’ve got a Samson-sized culture clash between new media and old time scripture.
“Sin is not a popular discussion,” as Hinkle puts it. “But as Christians, we need to talk about it.” And as humans we do, too.