Monday, May 23, 2011

The march on e-TV against pornography

My plan on the morning of the march, 21 May 2011, was to leave home one hour and fifteen minutes before the start of the events surrounding the march. The reason for leaving so long before the time is that "they" are still working on the N1 highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg, and if anything goes wrong on that highway, we would have to sit in traffic for a long time!

It just so happens that they had lane closures on the N1 and we did get to sit in very slow traffic for just over 2Kms. That doesn't sound so bad, but the fact is that it almost made us late for the 10:00 start! Well, God saw it fit to get us to Hyde Park Shopping Centre with about 5 minutes to spare! I had decided to take my camera along and play cameraman.

When we arrived there, there were only about 30-40 people there. I had such high hopes for this march. It was an opportunity for Christians and concerned citizens to stand up for what is right! What we do and stand for today, has an effect on the world that our children will one day inherit from us! The question is: What kind of a world are you fighting for them to inherit? A no-care attitude today will ensure a disastrous future-world for our children tomorrow! I was hoping for a couple of thousand people to march today, or at least 1,000. It was not to be! The final tally of marchers only came to between 80-100! After the march I gave ACA a call in Cape Town, as they were doing a march to the Cape Town offices of e-TV at the same time, to find out how many marchers participated there, and they had around 150! This is such a shame, especially if the fact that 75% of South Africans claim to be Christian is taken into account! Christians that want to sit on their deriers and have a good time, I am sure, but not Christians who would rise in society as the salt of the earth!

Pearl Kupe, left, and Lydia Meshoe, right, hugging
After singing and prayer and words of encouragement from Scripture, we eventually started the march toward e-TV at 10:45. There were people from all walks of life. Even the weird attended the march! The organiser for the Johannesburg march was Pearl Kupe, HMM Founder & CEO. About 10 minutes before the march started Lydia Meshoe, wife of ACDP president Kenneth Meshoe, and some of her Women of Destiny (ACDP women's league) arrived.

The police was present to stop oncoming traffic so that the march could proceed without any incidents. The people behaved very well, and sang and danced the 200m or so to the e-TV offices. Once we arrived there we waited for about 10-15 minutes before the memorandum was handed over. The complete memorandum can be found here (PDF). Once the singing had stopped, and the complete memorandum had been read, it was handed over to Javesh Dayalgee, Sales Operations Manager at e-TV, Johannesburg. I was trying to read his face while we were outside the gate singing, and when the memorandum was being read. I had the distinct impression that he felt like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. After he accepted the memorandum, he made a quick comment (he obviously didn't know what to say), that e-TV was the only one in the right here!

While standing outside the gate (no marchers were allowed inside the gate), I met one of the e-News cameramen. He wanted to know which publication I was with. I informed him that I was not from any newspaper or publication, and that I was a blogger. So, once it was time for the handing over of the memorandum, he quickly organised for me and a Wits student reporter (Mpho) to get inside the gate in order for us to take photographs of the handing over of the memorandum. I really thought that was very decent of him.

Pearl Kupe, of Hebrew Midwives, handing over the memorandum to
Javesh Dayalgee, Sales Operations Manager of e-TV, Johannesburg.
More photographs of the march can be found here.

Once the handing over was done, the march back to the starting point commenced. The march was over by around 12:00.

Dispersing at the end of the march.

To be honest, if I was a manager at e-TV, and only about 300 marchers pitched up at my doorstep, I would laugh them to scorn and use that as proof that there are just too few people who are against porn on TV! Of course, the memorandum claims to represent about 8,500,000 members of various Christian churches! But, does it really? Why did we not see any of the leaders of those churches at the march? Was the march not important enough for them to attend, or, perhaps they were all in Cape Town? If the memorandum is truly representative of these millions of Christians, then why not just send one person to deliver it to e-TV? You see, a memorandum can claim anything it wants, and statistics can be misused. The fact is that out of all those millions of Christians, only 300 bothered to attend these 2 marches (Johannesburg and Cape Town).

One of the problems with South Africans, and especially Christian South Africans, is their apathy. I am part of an organization that organizes anti-abortion lifechains, and since I have been part of this, I don't think I have ever seen more than 50 people at any one lifechain that was organized. That is how much abortion bothers South Africans. Anti-abortion marches are held all over the world, and in France they have an annual march. In 2010, the Paris Marche pour la vie (March for Life), recorded 25,000 marchers in attendance, up from 15,000 in 2009. Those numbers make South Africa's "marches" against abortion and yesterday's march against pornography look like child's play!

It truly seems to me that people, especially Christians do not understand the effects of abortion and pornography on society. Pornography is not a victimless crime!
"Pornography 'plays a significant role in the occurrence of rape and sexual assault' by promoting and reinforcing sexism. Rape, battery and murder are considered criminal offences. Yet the portrayal of these crimes against women is a popular form of entertainment in many countries." (Professor Diana Russell, Women Under the Criminal Justice System)

"Pornography is the theory: rape is the practice." (Dr. James Dobson, written after serving on the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography)

"The weight of evidence is accumulating that intensive exposure to soft-core pornography desensitises men's attitude to rape, increases sexual callousness and shifts their preferences towards hard-core porn. [Violent pornography] increases men's tendencies to be aggressive towards women and is correlated with the reported incidence of rape. Many sex offenders claim they used pornography to stimulate themselves before committing their crimes." (Dr. Mike Baxter, New Scientist)
The above quotations can be found in Make a Difference by Miriam Cain (Africa Christian Action, 1999, pp103-104). The cartoon below comes from the same book.

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Sex has become an open topic in society, and so has pornography! The next step from pornography is the objectifying of women, and once that is achieved, a woman is nothing more than a tool to release pent-up sexual urges. Once the tool has brought satisfaction, it is put away until the next time. There is no love in this, no care, no personhood, no dignity, just a tool or method! This is what pornographers give us, and that is what rapists use to give release to their urges, just another tool!
"My conviction is that one of the main reasons the world and the church are awash in lust and pornography (by both men and women—30 percent of Internet pornography is now viewed by women) is that our lives are intellectually and emotionally disconnected from the infinite, soul-staggering grandeur for which we were made. Inside and outside the church Western culture is drowning in a sea of triviality, pettiness, banality, and silliness. Television is trivial. Radio is trivial. Conversation is trivial. Education is trivial. Christian books are trivial. Worship styles are trivial. It is inevitable that the human heart, which was made to be staggered with the supremacy of Christ, but instead is drowning in a sea of banal entertainment, will reach for the best natural buzz that life can give: sex." (John Piper, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2005, p44)
Life has become trivial to the point where pornography in society no longer alarms us. I am not too sure which is worse, the rampant pornography in society, or the fact that it does not alarm us. Sex is a God given gift to mankind. Mankind has made it a god.
Piper also wrote in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ:
"Therefore, I say again: God created us in his image, male and female, with personhood and sexual passions, so that when he comes to us in this world there would be these powerful words and images to describe the promises and the pleasures of our covenant relationship with him through Christ. God made us powerfully sexual so that he would be more deeply knowable. We were given the power to know each other sexually so that we might have some hint of what it will be like to know Christ supremely. Therefore, all misuses of our sexuality (adultery, fornication, illicit fantasies, masturbation, pornography, homosexual behaviour, rape, sexual child abuse, bestiality, exhibitionism, and so on) distort the true knowledge of God. God means for human sexual life to be a pointer and foretaste of our relationship with him." (pp29-30, italics supplied by the author)
In the end, pornography, or any sexual deviancy, e.g. homosexuality, is not just a moral issue, or a moral defect, but it is a complete lack of the true knowledge of God! This is clear from Paul's letter to Romans:
"(18)  For God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth,  (19)  since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.  (20)  From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.  (21)  For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.  (22)  Claiming to be wise, they became fools  (23)  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.  (24)  Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.  (25)  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Rom 1:18-25 HCSB)
What is the solution to pornography on a personal level? Well, the answer is given in the very verses that lead up to the Rom 1:18-25 passage:
"(16)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.  (17)  For in it God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith." (Rom 1:16-17 HCSB)
The gospel is "God's power for salvation to everyone who believes", for in the gospel is God's righteousness "revealed from faith to faith."

I would just like to extend personal congratulations to those 300 people who stood up for what is right, and we must not shrink back from doing what is right, and to resist evil from taking over our land!

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