Ask, and you shall receive.
On Sunday I complained about how all but the rarest coverage of XXXChurch — and there has been a lot of coverage of its National Porn Sunday, from NPR to TMZ — has failed to take Craig Gross’ anti-porn Christian organization as much more than a novelty.
I looked specifically at a story about XXXChurch’s telecasting National Porn Sunday from Dallas on Super Bowl Sunday that had appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and I concluded with just a handful of the questions that story raised:
Why, as Christians, is XXXChurch fighting porn? What does Christianity have to say about it? Why aren’t pastors willing to talk about it? Is that statement even true?
I can guess, with reasonable certainty, as to the answers. But, as I’ve written before, readers shouldn’t have to.
Well, thank you CNN for hearing my cry.
Eric Marrapodi, co-editor of CNN’s Belief Blog, answered with “The church of porn and football.” An excerpt:
For Gross, the Bible is clear on the issue of pornography. He says it falls into the category of a sexual sin, pointing to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, in which he tells the church to “run away from sexual sins.”
With XXXChurch, Gross has probably done more to reach out to the porn community than any other pastor in the country. Several years ago he began attending porn conventions and it was there he met legendary porn star Ron Jeremy.
“It’s exactly what Jesus would do if you think about it,” Jeremy told CNN. “He went right to where they were drinking and gambling and said, ‘folks this is no good.’”
“[Gross] didn’t go just to a church and preach against porn, he goes right to the porn conventions,” Jeremy said. “He gets booths and hands out Bibles to all the porn stars that say, ‘Jesus loves porn stars.’ No one else does that.”
Marrapodi clearly knows how to ask the right questions and how to let the true story tell itself.
Jeremy, who grew up a nice Jewish boy, has been and remains one of the most-intriguing aspects of XXXChurch’s outreach. He definitely gets why Gross et al are doing what they are doing.
Gross and Jeremy have traveled the country’s college circuit debating the social harms of pornography. And when I met the two in Las Vegas four years ago, I got the sense that they loved each other like brothers — brothers just didn’t see eye to eye on one big issue. Marrapodi gives a sense of that here. And, like I said, I felt this story answered some of the questions I raised in my Sunday post. But I still felt that an explanation of why churches struggle to talk about this issue was lacking.