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On a faith-based site such as Beliefnet.com, one wouldn’t expect to read much about the porn industry except perhaps for either a scandal plaguing some religious leader or some fire-and-brimstone preaching from perhaps even the same person. But some news broke a couple of days ago that requires comment: apparently the pornography industry believes its entitled to federal bailout funds. Are you kidding me?
According to one of a number of stories on the topic, contactmusic.com reports that Larry Flynt and Joe Francis (the “Girls Gone Wild” creator) are asking the United States Congress “to grant the adult entertainment industry a $5 billion bailout,” due to the fact that “the global economic meltdown has caused their profits to plummet.” Francis, who apparently is headed for Washington to plead his case, was quoted as saying “Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation’s most important businesses; we feel we deserve the same consideration.”
Has our nation become so sensitized to not calling anything clearly right and wrong (except for college Football’s BCS!) that the ridiculousness of this request doesn’t cry out for a unified and uproarious response of “No!”?


First of all, the I wish for our nation to reclaim the title of “adult entertainment” from the porn industry. My wife and I enjoy all kinds of adult entertainment: museums, Imax shows, great movies, Oscar night, dinner with friends. The porn industry doesn’t have a corner on the market and the title shouldn’t be theirs.
Second, what can be considered “good” about the porn industry? The government is helping the auto and banking industries because there’s a sense that it will help the nation, the culture, and the economy as a whole. Is there anything redemptive about the porn industry? I think not. (If you think so, please comment on this story without using a pseudonym!)
Third, when did the porn industry become some sort of legitimate organized industry? I doubt there is even a porn industry lobby! Who wants to go to their high school reunion and brag that they’re “one of the leaders in the American porn industry?” I lived, worked and went to school in the capital of the industry–the San Fernando Valley in California–and let me tell you that it existed as something like the mafia: everyone knew it was there, but no one was advertising their participation in it. In that way it was sort of like the existence of Madonna or Michael Jackson fans, but I digress.
Unlike many other faith-based leaders, I don’t necessarily believe that pornography ruins families, churches, and individuals who are people of faith. Rather, I believe we’re all responsible for our own choices, and that people of faith ought to be able to overcome temptations of any kind if their faith is strong enough. And if not, they should pursue the support and recovery programs available to help them. Houses of faith and worship should provide such support and leadership for their people.
But children, young women, and men who’ve become trapped into the industry in desperation are not served by this industry and there is–certainly–much that is illegal about it that is not prosecuted. So here’s what I suggest: The government should respond to the request for aid by taking that requested amount of money and putting it directly towards increasing law enforcement and prosecution efforts towards all that is illegal within the porn industry. It may not prevent all temptations from all people of faith all over the world–but it will be a step in the right direction, the right message to send, and the right response to one of the more abhorrent industries our capitalistic society has ever learned to tolerate.

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