I like Austin Petersen. The former libertarian candidate for
president, and also Republican candidate for the Missouri Senate seat that was
eventually won by Josh Hawley, is right on many issues. I had a conversation
with him back several years ago when I was doing my radio show – he’s
passionate about liberty, he’s a thinker, and unlike too many other
self-proclaimed atheists, he doesn’t seem to harbor a great deal of animosity
But (and you knew there was going to be a but), when he’s
wrong, he’s really, really wrong. And for my money, I don’t know that anyone
got the recent pornography debate any more wrong than he did.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, four Republican
representatives – including a personal friend of mine, Jim Banks of Indiana –
wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr. In it, they requested that Barr begin
enforcing obscenity laws as a way to reduce the dissemination of hard-core
pornography, particularly the kind that involves children. The letter was
applauded by social conservatives and people of conscience, but quickly became
the scourge of others, including Petersen.
Bizarrely, libertarians joined hands with leftists to decry
the government policing or banning of pornography. Though these same people
seem to have adjusted nicely to the government banning various forms of speech
like false advertising, slander, libel, fraud, and perjury, the thought of them
doing the same to speech that shows despicable dehumanization of women and
children in violent porn was just too much. Just so you know, it will require
the use of star charts to even attempt following their logic on that one.
Though this debate has just recently resurfaced, I was writing about the need for a serious legal crackdown on porn two years ago. Nevertheless,
porn defenders are adamant about keeping this libelous defamation of the
integrity of our fellow human beings legal. And they’ll resort to the most
absurd and foolish arguments in their efforts. If you think I’m kidding, check
out this gem from Petersen:
I don’t pretend to know precisely what Austin was thinking
when he wrote this, but here’s my best guess: Churches seek to evangelize the world, and then teach Biblical sexual
morality –which pornography unquestionably violates – to all those they’ve
evangelized. Since pornography still exists, churches have failed.
To expose the rather galling sophistry here, simply put any
other moral issue in the place of pornography:
- “Calls by conservatives to ban pedophilia is a tacit admission that their churches have failed.”
- “Calls by conservatives to ban theft is a tacit admission that their churches have failed.”
- “Calls by conservatives to ban abortion is a tacit admission that their churches have failed.”
- “Calls by conservatives to ban rape is a tacit admission that their churches have failed.”
- “Calls by conservatives to ban murder is a tacit admission that their churches have failed.”
For those unfamiliar with the church of Jesus, Christianity
teaches against all of those immoral activities. So, would it be Petersen’s
view that conservatives should not seek criminal laws protecting innocent
people from those actions as well? Would doing so imply that churches have
Or could it be that Christians properly recognize the
- The heart of all mankind’s problems is sinful
rebellion to God’s moral order.
- The only cure for that rebellion is
reconciliation to God in Christ.
- While Christ offers the eternal cure, conversion
does not bring freedom from sin’s temporal consequences.
- God has ordained civil government for the
protection of the innocent from those temporal consequences, and for the
punishment of evil on earth.
Simply put, seeking to legislate against speech that falsely
represents the human form, disparages the character of its victims, deforms the
minds and attitudes of its viewers, exploits and enslaves its participants, and
breeds pathological dehumanization of nearly half the population is not a tacit
admission of the failure of the church.
In fact, it’s precisely what the righteous will do – point
all men to the freedom from sinful bondage found in Jesus, and pursue an
earthly justice that protects the innocent from exploitation. If you find that
objectionable, it says far more about you than it does Christ’s church.