The Next Big Challenge for Clergy
The temptation of online sex sites seduces evangelicals
BY: Lauren Winner
Fry said a quarter of his hotline's monthly calls from ministers and their spouses have to do with web-based porn. He has even compiled a sampler of some of the hotline's most notable calls: One pastor finds the internet is not enough and has taken to visiting topless bars; another began with the internet but then started calling 900 numbers; a minister in an interracial marriage feels isolated and relieves his stress and loneliness at sexy web sites.
The congregation at one major church has had an especially rough year--the senior pastor had an affair; as he vacated the post in scandal, church staffers discovered that the minister in line to take over had spent hours at church surfing porn sites.
A pastor's wife called the hotline recently to report that her husband had been on a porn site not three minutes before he climbed into the pulpit Sunday morning.
Dr. Mark Laaser, director of Faithful and True ministries, an organization that counsels Christians struggling with sexual sin, says web porn may become the number one problem facing the church in the next few years.
"It's an epidemic," says Laaser. "People are getting addicted to it. All the classic signs of addiction apply. They get totally out of control." Laaser said one man he counseled recently spent $85,000 accessing web porn in just one month.