Why pornography is far from ‘victimless’ and how to quit using it


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HOW PORNOGRAPHY AFFECTS CHRISTIAN LIFE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I would like to take you to an interview today that Evangelical Focus did on pornography and sexual distortion. It was done with Glen Harrison. Dr. Harrison is a British psychiatrist and he’s also a Christian author. He says that pornography creates an illusion of control because it offers access to sexual stimulation so quickly and easily. He talks about the number of young people — I mean young, young people — who are now getting caught up in pornography and how it is distorting their whole view of sexuality.

DR. REEDER: This epidemic of pornography has produced not only distortion of God’s precious gift of sexuality, it has also produced anarchy. People will say that pornography is a “victimless crime.” Well, I would just have you go back to the month of December in 2017 when six of these porn stars took their lives in depression. There they were in their early 20s.

Also, look at what happens in marriages as, particularly, men are affected by this and what they then demand, and what they call for and how they begin to view their spouse. In the whole pornography industry, the person observed for stimulation then becomes objectified. They aren’t real people — they’re just something for one’s own pleasure. Then the objectivization of the spouse takes place after people get addicted to these activities.

Another dynamic is you’re a victim because these things that are viewed are then cemented into one’s life through the most powerful experience that is known to humanity, reaching far beyond cocaine and heroin.

And then, these things, they are actually designed to take you from sexual distortion to sexual depravity into sexual anarchy and the victimless crimes? Oh, no, not by any means. All you have to do is observe the #MeToo movement. Those who have made these assaults upon women, you will find a life of pornography.

You will also see something else that is documented and that is #ThemToo, referring to the fact that there is a significant number of those who are caught up in the addiction of pornography that then carry out their distortions of sexuality upon the mentally incapable, upon those who are disabled — disabled physically, disabled mentally and those who are dissipated toward the end of their life — and that story that is not covered by the media has proportions that are absolutely staggering.

No, this is not a victimless crime and this is not a matter of just personal pleasure that one does in the privacy of their life. And, of course, the greatest victims of all are those whose lives are destroyed to provide this “adult entertainment.” There is probably no term that is more inaccurate than to call pornography “adult entertainment.” There’s nothing adult about it.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we have literally thousands of individuals that listen to this podcast. No doubt, there are some believers that are caught up in pornography and they’re saying to themselves, “Pastor Reeder, I hear you. I can’t get out of it.” Harry, what would you say to that individual?

DR. REEDER: Oh, yes you can. Oh, yes you can. Believe me, I know you can. How do you do it? Well, first of all, name it for what it is: it’s sin. It is adultery in the heart and it is even worse than that because of its objectivization of the other gender.

HOW TO REPENT FOR THE SIN

Name it and ask God to forgive you from it. He will. He can remove the shame and the guilt and erase it away and Jesus died to pay for that sin.

Then, secondly, ask God for the grace to turn from that sin. Don’t try to go into the, “Well, I’m just going to kind of wean myself off of it.” Oh, no, no. Just pluck out right eyes and cut off right hands. We’re ready to walk away from this. We are absolutely ready to do it and the Bible tells us that, the addictions of life, God can set us free from.

Then you believe to build in your life a new way of life. Get rid of your secret life — everyone in pornography has a secret life of places they go, computers they visit, sites they go to. Get rid of all of that.

ACCOUNTABILITY MATTERS

Next, get accountability in your life, starting with your spouse if you’re married. Get accountability. If you’re not married, get your parents involved or get some close friends involved in your life. Take the steps that you need to bring accountability in your life.

You say, “Well, Pastor, I’m accountable to the Lord in God’s grace.” Great, but it’s fine to be accountable to other people. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another. The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

I’ve got three guys that have helped me through all of my issues of life. We have been holding each other accountable and praying for each other for 34 years. I need that band of brothers and so do you need them.

Men and women need to get some other men and women in their life. Men, get some men in your life. Women, get some women in your life that are mature and spiritual and can hold you accountable while they pray for you.

HOW TO BREAK THE CHAINS OF PORNOGRAPHY

And then what do you do? You create something bigger in your life. Ultimately, pornography is idolatry. It is saying to God, “You’re not enough.” It is making a god of sexual gratification and stimulation. You’re willing to put this ahead of God, before God, and eradicate God: idolatry.

You are willing to even destroy other people’s lives — and you do. You’re willing to destroy the blessing of sexual courtship, intimacy and romance within the context of marriage. You’ve got to say no to that. “This is idolatry.”

That means get a big God in your life. Know who God is. Know what Jesus has done in your life. Then, get big relationships in your life. The enemy of pornography is meaningful relationships. I asked God to not only give me a nausea for pornography, but I ask God to give me a love for my wife that was so filling there was no room anywhere else in my life. And, when you falter — notice what I said “when you falter” because, to some degree, you’re going to falter — then immediately, right then, go to that accountability person, go to the Lord in prayer, ask God to forgive you.

BUILDING UP A FULFILLING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND SPOUSE

Rebuild the fences in your life, rebuild the stepping stones in your life and get your heart and your mind back fixed on Jesus because that’s the issue. The issue was idolatry — for that moment, you decided that idol was going to bring meaning to your life and you found out it didn’t, here comes the shame and the guilt but now we’re back to Jesus and forgiveness.

Now we’re back to the Spirit of God, fill me. Back to the Word of God, fill me. Back to meaningful relationships, fill me. And then, if you’re married, begin to develop the blessings to true sexuality.

That is a glorious, regular, giving — not taking, giving — relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage bed that is honorable as you enter into sexuality, not to take, but to give and that the body of the husband belongs to his wife and the body of the wife belongs to her husband and you do not defraud one another except for spiritual times of prayer and fasting.

When the blessing of intimacy occurs, there is no turning away of the face and you’re able to look at one another in the eyes because God gave you a heart that gave your body to that person instead of taking the body of that person for yourself.

And, if you’re not yet married, you begin to prepare yourself, “God, prepare me to be someone who understands the right role of Biblical sexuality within marriage and not to allow idolatry of sexuality. Sexual gratification outside of marriage brings destruction and brings despair and nothing gratifying.

Idolatry never works, but what does work is the love of God and the love of God that is filling to overflowing. And, in the overflowing, it matures you so that you’re ready for a true intimacy within the boundaries of a marriage and the covenantal blessings of sexuality.

(Resource for help overcoming pornography: Harvest Ministries.)

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

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12 hours ago

Birmingham-Southern College to impose fee on unvaccinated students

Unless students of Birmingham-Southern College are vaccinated against COVID-19, those who attend the private liberal arts school will be forced to pay a $500 fee “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining.”

In an email sent to students, the college announced its pandemic protocols for those returning to campus for the fall semester. In what appears to be an effort to encourage students to receive the vaccine, BSC told students it will levy a monetary charge against those who are unvaccinated. The school cited the need for funding to be applied toward COVID-related mitigation measures as a reason for the charge.

The email reads in part, “Due to the lack of federal funds for pandemic precautions this term, all students will initially be charged $500 for the fall term to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining. Students who are fully vaccinated prior to the beginning of fall term will receive an immediate $500 rebate.”

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The college announced in the email that it has also set separate move-in dates for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

The College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA) has condemned the move as discriminatory against students who have chosen not to receive the vaccine.

“The College Republican Federation of Alabama condemns this obvious attack on students who are not vaccinated,” says CRFA chairman Clint Reid. “While vaccines are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 we are still a free society where one should not be held at ransom to the tune of $500 if they do not feel the vaccine is the best course of action for them. We call on Birmingham-Southern College to drop this outrageous fee.”

The college’s email goes on to direct students who have been immunized against the virus to complete a “Vaccination Report Form.” BSC stated that the school’s goal is to achieve an 85% vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff.

Portion of the email sent to BSC students as follows obtained by Yellowhammer News: 

Birmingham-Southern College did not respond to a request for comment. Yellowhammer News has inquired with the Attorney General’s Office regarding the legality of BSC’s guidelines and will provide updates accordingly.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

13 hours ago

Tim James: A house divided against itself cannot stand

Last week the discussion of COVID vaccination burst into the news and ripped the scab right off the wound exposing the divide among Alabamians about whether to vaccinate or not. We all know there can be tense moments among friends and family when the vaccine topic comes up especially when there are differing opinions in the room.

Well, last week the discussion hit a fever pitch on a grand scale and landed on the front pages of the national news outlets. According to news reports, in Alabama, there are about 2.5 to 3 million people that have CHOSEN NOT to take the vaccine out of the state’s population of 5.1 million. Approximately 60% of all Alabamians have made this their personal health choice.

I am writing this letter today to express my distaste for those bent on shaming people in which they disagree on the vaccine issue. They divide Alabamians into two classes: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The media’s contempt is in overdrive for anyone that dares to disagree and not blindly follow the government directives. So, they shame by spewing their poison proclaiming the unvaccinated are the problem. Their assertion of “Blame” by extension means the unvaccinated are responsible for the spread of COVID. If you want to blame someone or something, blame the virus and the makers of it. As everybody knows, it was not the bats.

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The problem is not the unvaccinated, but rather those spawning division among the population. It’s the BLAME GAME.

They shake their fingers in the face of millions of Alabama citizens for refusing to take the vaccine and are beside themselves when everyone does not fall in line like sheep. I guess the unvaccinated are the “New Deplorables.”

I’ve listened to their shaming long enough and felt it was time to stand up for millions of Alabamians that have made their decision, over the many months, NOT to take the vaccine. I fall into this category; however, like most families I have family members that have chosen TO take the vaccine. Alabamians know full well what is going on in their communities, local hospitals, nursing homes and churches. They are not ignorant to the medical realities and associated risks. Neither are they reckless or selfish.

Every unvaccinated person has considered whether to take the vaccine for months. They have discussed the matter with others, prayed about it and even may have tolled back and forth on the decision. In the end, their “call” was to not take the vaccine for their own personal reasons. I can’t help but wonder why so many vaccinated people lecture everyone else when they themselves have marginal health risk as they are the vaccinated class.

Has it occurred to them that their shaming is certain to follow children into the classroom in the form of bullying? Do they care about young women in childbearing years who are rightfully cautious about what goes into their bodies? It’s ironic that people that CHOOSE NOT to take the vaccine are labeled dissenters even though they are the majority in Alabama and cross all races and political lines.

Going forward I want to encourage people to take a deep breath and stand back from the situation. COVID, of course can be lethal, but at the same time the odds of fatality are extremely low. This is one of those times when we must not succumb to fear. Fear is the root from which anxiety and worry bud.

Fear is a weapon used to manipulate the public, and the press is its enabler. The Lord speaks to the issue of fear through the Apostle Paul. “For God hath not given a spirit of fear but of power and sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I also would like to take this opportunity to say something about Governor Ivey’s statement last week concerning unvaccinated Alabamians. She said, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

The unvaccinated people represent approximately 60% of the population in our state. The Governor’s comments triggered uncontrollable elation and gaiety from politicians and news anchors at CNN, NBC and others. As one could expect, President Biden and Dr. Fauci were ecstatic at Alabamians being scolded by their Governor over this issue. I believe the Governor’s comments were off-base. I also believe she likely misspoke in the heat of the moment; something any of us could do. As we navigate forward, we need to lower the tone and not take the bait of those whose goal is to sow seeds of division amongst Alabamians.

I have a message for the American press corps concerning their hysterical, fear-based coverage of the pandemic.

It’s a quote from Edward R. Murrow, the great broadcast journalist during the first half of the 20th century.

He effectively warned his fellow journalists what would happen if the free press became compromised. He wrote: “No one can terrorize a whole nation unless we are his accomplices.”

Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James, is a Greenville, Alabama businessman. He was a 2010 GOP candidate for governor.

13 hours ago

Regions names Jason Isbell senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development

Regions Bank has tapped one of the state’s foremost experts on banking law and government affairs to serve as senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development.

Jason Isbell comes to the Birmingham-based bank brandishing nearly two decades of legal and government affairs experience in the public and private sectors.

Elizabeth Taylor, head of government affairs and economic development for Regions, highlighted Isbell’s depth of knowledge and relationships throughout the industry.

“Regions Bank has a strong history of working with government leaders and other stakeholder groups on issues impacting our associates, customers and communities,” Taylor said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “Jason Isbell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on a variety of financial services matters to this role. His work building relationships and navigating a myriad of legislative issues will serve us well. We look forward to his service advancing economic development opportunities that move our communities forward while also building on the strong relationships we have in the areas Regions serves.”

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Isbell most recently worked with Maynard Cooper & Gale where he represented a wide array of clients, including Regions, as an attorney and lobbyist in the firm’s Government Solutions Group.

Prior to his time at Maynard Cooper, he held the position of vice president for legal and governmental affairs at the Alabama Bankers Association (ABA). Isbell was charged with implementing ABA’s legislative and regulatory agendas at both the state and federal levels. He honed his skills in public policy during his 11 years in state government, first as a fiscal analyst for the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office and then as general counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Isbell is a member of the Faulkner University board of trustees and is a graduate of the school’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.

Regions Financial Corporation recently reported $748 million in second quarter earnings. The company cited strategic decisions in high-growth areas, such as Florida, Texas and Tennessee, as contributing to those earnings.

Isbell noted the momentum of the bank’s growth and influence throughout its footprint as he prepares for this new endeavor.

“I’m excited to represent an institution with such a rich history and stellar reputation,” he told Yellowhammer News. “Regions Bank is poised to continue making a positive impact on communities in Alabama and beyond. I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to being part of the Regions team.”

Isbell is set to officially join the bank in mid-August.

RELATED: Joia M. Johnson appointed to Regions board of directors

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

14 hours ago

State Rep. Wes Allen: Biden administration’s mixed message on COVID shows he doesn’t put Americans first

The Biden administration is issuing warnings to Americans regarding the increasing number of COVID cases across the country. Calls for a return to mask-wearing and social distancing are becoming more frequent from the President and his advisors.

Businesses, large and small, fear the possibility of mandated shutdowns that plagued our nation last year. Parents are wondering if they will be forced to face the inadequacies and challenges of remote schooling again. These are all worries that are being forced upon law-abiding, tax-paying Americans by the Biden administration.

But it goes further. Our northern border with Canada remains closed to non-essential travel for fear of spreading the virus. Biden and his team cited concerns over the Delta variant as the reason for banning travel from 26 nations including most of Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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This all seems like a concerned President who is trying to save our nation from the death and damage of a pandemic. But a closer look at Biden’s policies proves that his concern is not for Americans and he has little to no desire to stop the spread of COVID from coming across our border.

His policy that allows thousands of illegal immigrants to move freely across our southern border and into our towns, neighborhoods, restaurants and schools without any regard for their immigration status or their COVID test results prove that the Biden administration doesn’t care about America or Americans. Is the health of Americans, the success of our economy and the fate of our schools and health care system of any concern to this President or his advisors?

I think not.

State Rep. Wes Allen is a Republican candidate for Alabama Secretary of State.

15 hours ago

Alabama League of Municipalities launches Economic Development Academy

The Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) on Thursday announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy, which will partner with local leaders in an educational capacity to offer their assistance regarding business and industry recruitment practices.

Developed in conjunction with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and supported by an advisory council of industry leaders, the Academy will engage local leaders and help them further understand their role in the economic development process.

The Academy is specifically designed to educate and engage municipal officials and designated community business leaders on best practices and strategies for successful economic and community development. Additionally, the ALM says the Academy will focus on the role of elected officials regarding evaluating abatements, legal processes and implications, correctly marketing the community, gaging the community’s expectations, workforce development as well as other key aspects of the development process.

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ALM says the Academy is unique from other economic development programs in that it is tailored to municipal officials using a team model. The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two council members are required to participate from each community to form a team of up to five members.

In promoting the new program, ALM executive director Greg Cochran conveyed the importance of economic development efforts that take place at the local level.

“Our organization is pleased to collaborate with the Alabama Community College System and Neal Wade to launch the ALM Economic Development Academy,” said Cochran. “It is our goal for the Academy to develop intentional programming and identify resources to empower our municipal officials so they can create legacy programs and projects within their cities and towns. Municipalities are the foundation of our state’s economy, and it is the League’s mission to provide our members the necessary tools to build a community where citizens can live, work, play and prosper and where businesses can thrive.”

The Academy will take place over a full year and consists of an orientation; four one-day sessions that include community assignments; and a special graduation ceremony. To graduate, participants must conduct an economic vitality survey of their communities; complete a community assessment/project; and attend all sessions.

At the conclusion of the year-long program, graduates will be presented a certificate of municipal economic development from the League and ACCS.

Neal Wade, former head of the Alabama Development Office as well as a consultant for Alabama Power, The St. Joe Company and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, has been tapped to develop the Academy’s curriculum and conduct the classes.

“The objective is for Alabama communities to be the best they can be and competitive for growth and new revenue,” Wade said. “Setting realistic expectations for each community will be foremost.”

In addition to working with Wade, the League has developed a partnership with ACCS to provide classroom space and workforce development resources for Academy participants. The four mandatory sessions for selected municipalities will be conducted at ACCS campuses throughout the state based on each region.

Chancellor Jimmy Baker praised the partnership and expressed his optimism on the potential growth opportunities he believes can stem from the Academy.

“At Alabama’s community colleges, everything we do is workforce development – from education and training to providing wraparound services and hosting community events,” Baker said. “We are honored to work alongside the Alabama League of Municipalities to launch the Economic Development Academy and host its participants at our campuses across the state. Education is so often the linchpin to positive change and the resources and training this effort will provide will have a positive impact on Alabama for years to come.”

An Academy Advisory Council has been developed to add input, assist with training and provide additional resources to the process. The Council consists of state and federal government agencies, ACCS presidents, utility partners, League strategic partners, local economic developers and statewide business associations.

Academy applications will be accepted via the League’s website July 29 – August 31. Applicants will be thoroughly evaluated and candidates chosen by mid-September. There is a community fee to participate.

Those interested in attending the Academy may apply via online application at almonline.org.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL