You may have heard the Family Talk radio programs several weeks ago on the subject of Fifty Shades of Grey. It featured my colleague, Dr. Meg Meeker, and her guests, who were talking about the movie by the same name.[i] Though none of us at Family Talk has seen the movie, we know of its wretched theme and pornographic content from the reviews that flooded the news media in recent weeks.
It is deeply disturbing to learn that the movie opened in theaters across the country on Valentine’s Day, and set a record for box office receipts second only to Passion of the Christ.[ii] During the first night, 82 percent of the audience for Shades was female, which made it something of a girls’ night out.[iii] The book has also sold 100 million copies since publication, most of them to women.[iv] It is being called “mommy porn” for good reason.[v]
At the risk of enticing others to see the movie, I will just say it is a raw and ugly depiction of sadomasochism, including beatings, near death experiences, nudity, whips, gags, ropes, tape, rapes, discipline, humiliation, bondage, and other explicit behavior.[vi] Fox News referred to it as “raunchy romance.”[vii] Forty-two percent of the viewers that first week were under 25 years of age.[viii]
So where do you think the movie will lead the culture and what will be its impact on the young? No one knows, but it won’t be good. You can be sure that greedy writers and directors are licking their chops as they rush to produce even more decadent books and films. Take the money and run, Hollywood.
The overwhelming success of Shades is one more piece of evidence that America is descending into moral chaos. Christians, do you know that God will not tolerate utter wickedness? Nor will He be mocked. This nation will pay a price for its depravity, and indeed, it already is.
In that regard, let me share an editorial that was written by my respected friend, Franklin Graham. He pulls no punches, either in this statement or in other commentaries and editorials.
Franklin Graham (Courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association BGEA)
The sexual revolution that began in earnest five decades ago with promises of new and liberating sexual freedoms has instead left behind a shattered moral landscape that has undermined the fabric and foundation of our nation. Casting off what was perceived as the puritanical restraints of previous generations, the '60s and '70s launched a new era of sexual experimentation. The revolution, publicly inaugurated by 1967's "Summer of Love" in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, promised an enlightened age of sexual morality.
The new thinking said cohabitation wasn't really a problem. Divorce wasn't nearly as harmful as once thought. Promiscuity presented no clear and present danger to the family unit. Same-sex attraction was perfectly normal. Pornography was little cause for concern. Indeed, an entire industry developed around its spurious allure.
Fifty years later, we can see that the results have been catastrophic.
In many respects the American family is completely unrecognizable, courtesy of a failed sexual revolution that has left a devastating wake of destruction.
In certain segments of American culture, more than 70 percent of children are born to single parents and remain in single-parent households. Nationally, more than 1 in 4 children today live in households with only one parent. Demographers predict that by age 18, nearly 50 percent of all children will have lived with just a mom or dad.
Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, and couples who cohabitate before marriage are even more likely to split. Some studies show that the proliferation of pornography available on the Internet has likely contributed to the declining marriage rate.
The freedoms promised by the sexual revolution have instead given way to ever increasing slavery and captivity to sin. The attempt to cast off moral restraint has only opened wide the devil's destructive, deadly toolbox. "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved" (2 Pet. 2:19).
The plague of immorality has so swept across the American landscape that there is virtually no place where its corrosive influence is not felt. The pervasive, immoral reach of popular media, which actively promotes every type of sexual misconduct imaginable, constantly agitates against the biblical norms of upright, godly behavior.
The Scripture is clear: "But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you. ... For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ... has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph. 5:3, 5).
Today, what our society seems to value most is the freedom to do whatever we want, whatever makes us feel good. Anyone who would try to stop us from doing what we want—even when what we want is destructive to ourselves and to others—is mocked and vilified.
But God's laws and commands are given for our good. Sexuality is a gift from God to be used within His wise restraints. Like the levees that hold back mighty rivers from destructive floods, God's Word and ways are designed to keep our thoughts, passions and desires in godly bounds. They are for our good, not our harm.
"The body is not meant for sexual immorality," wrote the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church, "but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body'" (1 Cor. 6:13). Our bodies, which one-day will be redeemed, glorified bodies, are made by God for God. To flaunt His design is, in essence, to commit idolatry by prizing and delighting in what God hates.
Our culture, like ancient cultures that ultimately were destroyed in large part due to their own moral depravity, has been severely weakened. A stable family unit committed to the truth and precepts of the Bible was once the foundation and backbone of our nation. That model is now the exception, not the rule.
We know that as the end draws near, this world will be characterized by escalating violence and rampant sexual immorality. In Revelation 17 and 18, Babylon represents the "great prostitute" of the earth. It stands for the unbridled pursuit of sensual pleasures. The earth, about to be judged by the King of kings and Lord of lords, has become completely intoxicate by wanton pleasures. "For all the nations have drunk ... of her [Babylon's] sexual immorality" (Rev. 18:3).
As Christ is about to return, shouts of triumph break out as multitudes in the heavenlies declare: "Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality" (Rev. 19:1-2).
The only answer I know for any society in any era is the strong word of the Lord to the church in Thyatira who, though faithful in some ways, apparently tolerated sexual permissiveness that spread through the church: "I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality" (Rev. 2:21).
There is still time to repent. That is why Jesus is delaying His return, "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).
My prayer is that we do not refuse that offer while there is still time.[ix]
Well, that is my message for the month of March. In addition to the warnings issued by Franklin Graham, let me share a couple of my own. Having served on the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in the 1980s, I can say with certainty that obscenity of all varieties has two dangerous characteristics.[x] First, it is as addictive as hard drugs. Thirteen-year-old boys who are particularly vulnerable to sexualized images can be captured and held in bondage for the rest of their lives. That’s why it is so important to monitor what your children see on the Internet or on the screen. Their future marital experience can be damaged by addictions that have their genesis in early adolescence.
The second characteristic of obscenity is that it is progressive in nature. Salacious images quickly become boring. The response to it moves quickly toward harder and more violent behavior. It requires more and more exposure to achieve stimulation. The addiction then becomes all consuming and demanding, moving in time to a lust for paraphilias (abnormal sexual behavior). It can lead the most vulnerable to bestiality, child molestation, heterosexual and homosexual violence including the kind of sadomasochistic experience depicted in 50 Shades of Grey, It can also lead to homicide, such as that committed by serial killer Ted Bundy. I talked to him the night before he was executed, and he begged me to warn parents about exposure to pornography in kids.[xi] Does it always take victims in these deadly directions? No, but in far too many cases, it does. This is why child pornography is highly prized by many men, and why so many innocent boys and girls are brutally murdered each year.
Believe me! I have seen all of this and much more in the FBI files. Obscenity is evil beyond my ability to describe it. Obscenity destroys marriages, twists and warps boys and girls, and ultimately destroys the men who are addicted to it. Now, women have their own versions of filth.
Join me in fighting this scourge. It can destroy your family.
Thanks for letting me speak disturbingly and graphically today. I felt obligated to tell the truth. Please continue to support Family Talk as we fight evil in the culture at large. We are trying to protect your family by opposing wickedness in all its forms.
We also ask you to pray for this ministry. The load is heavy and the task before us is great. But God is blessing our work and our team is highly motivated to do what is right.
Your friend in Christ,
[i] The Problem With “50 Shades of Grey.” Family Talk broadcast, Feb. 16-17, 2015. http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/family-talk/player/the-problem-with-50-shades-of-grey-i-447713.html
[ii] “ ‘Fifty Shades’ Hits $93M Over Four Days.” Anthony D’Alessandro, Deadline Hollywood, Feb. 17, 2015. http://deadline.com/2015/02/fifty-shades-of-grey-kingsman-weekend-box-office-1201372952
[iv] “Truth about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’: Movie glamorizes sexual violence, domestic abuse.” Hollie McKay, Fox News, Feb. 5, 2015. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/02/05/truth-about-fifty-shades-grey-movie-glamorizes-sexual-violence-domestic-abuse
[v] “Will Fifty Shades of Grey Make ‘Mommy Porn’ the Next Big Thing?” Jenna Goudreau, Forbes, March 19, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/03/19/will-fifty-shades-of-grey-make-mommy-porn-the-next-big-thing
[vi] “Should Women Watch Fifty Shades of Grey? Sexual Abuse and Humiliation Go Mainstream.” Michael Snyder, endoftheamericandream.com, Feb. 17, 2015. http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/should-women-watch-fifty-shades-of-grey-sexual-abuse-and-humiliation-go-mainstream
[vii] “Will the success of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ lead to more raunchy flicks?” Hollie McKay, Fox News, Feb. 17, 2015. http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2015/02/17/will-success-fifty-shades-grey-lead-to-more-raunchy-flicks/
[viii] “Fifty Shades of Green: How Studio Roped Men Into Seeing ‘Grey’.“ Lindsey Bahr, AP film writer (ABC News), Feb. 16, 2015. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/50-shades-green-studio-roped-men-grey-29006378?singlePage=tru
[ix] “Franklin Graham on the Plague of Immorality.” Decision/BGEA, February 2, 2015. http://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/february-2015/franklin-graham-on-the-plague-of-immorality
[x] Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography: Final Report; Personal Comments by Commissioner James Dobson. July, 1986. http://www.porn-report.com/personal-comments-commissioner-james-dobson.html
[xi] Dr. James Dobson interviews Ted Bundy (excerpt), Florida State Prison, Jan. 23, 1989. You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlk_sRU49T
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