Back in the spring we told you that the tiny European country of Iceland was looking at blocking violent Internet pornography. That’s great news; but let’s face it, Iceland isn’t exactly a breeding ground for new cultural trends.
But Britain, as evidenced by this week’s big announcement of a royal baby, is a different story. And that’s why the other announcement out of London this week is worth talking about.
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that beginning next year, the British government and Internet service providers will block access to pornography — unless the web user specifically asks for access. He also announced a plan to make it a crime to possess pornography depicting rape.
His reasoning? “This is,” he told the British press, “about how we protect our children and their innocence.”
According to Fox, Cameron’s announcement came after he visited the parents of “two young girls who were murdered by men who were found to have viewed child pornography on the web.”
“The Internet has an impact,” Cameron said, “on the children who view things that harm them, on the vile images of abuse that pollute minds and cause crime, on the very values that underpin our society.”
So, after decades of promoting absolute sexual autonomy, the Europeans, it seems, are realizing that sexual freedom has its limits. And Prime Minister Cameron has made a major statement here: Internet porn is no “victimless crime.” It affects more than just the individual who engages in it. Porn addiction destroys marriages and families, and provides fuel to the fires of sexual predators. And it preys on the innocence of unsuspecting children.
Just a couple weeks ago, a mother came up to me after I spoke and said that her 9-year-old son had recently come to her and asked, “Mommy, what’s a pervert?”
She asked him where he’d heard that word, and he said, “It popped up on my screen, and I clicked on it, because I didn’t know what the word was.”
What happened to that 9-year-old is not uncommon. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention says that “nine out of 10 children aged between 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information or pictures.”
Prime Minister Cameron’s move also tackles another issue related to Internet porn: anonymity. According to Brushfires Foundation founder Daniel Weiss, “research … reveals that the accessibility, affordability and relative anonymity of the Internet hastens the addiction process, leading many to very quickly becoming ensnared by this destructive content, including increasing numbers of children.” British porn users will soon lose that anonymity. They will still have access, but it will no longer be there “just in case.” They have to ask for it.
Now you may be wondering whether government should be in the porn blocking business. I say absolutely. As Chuck Colson told us, the biblical role of government is to preserve order and promote justice. Preventing crime and protecting children from porn and sexual predators fits that role.
Already I’ve received an email from a gentleman from the Pacific island of Tonga, which is just about to get fiber-optic Internet access. He thinks this development in Britain offers him a lead to limit porn in his country.
First Iceland, then Britain, maybe Tonga ... Look, in America, as I discuss on this week’s “Re” video “Plan B and other Bad Ideas We Have About Sex” at BreakPoint.org, our latest law is to give the morning after pill to minors without a prescription. Dare we hope that this common-sense approach to Internet pornography might hit these shores?
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: July 25, 2013