A conservative Christian lobbyist group’s latest crusade is the elimination of  pornography on college campuses.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2013/07/18/christian-right-fights-porn-in-the-dorm/#ixzz2adw1LPEJ

The Family Research Council isn’t afraid to pick a tough fight. It has pushed  for the teaching of intelligent design in public schools,  endorsed the requirement of a one-year waiting period for couples with children  who want to get a divorce, and publicly discouraged the extension of civil  rights to homosexuals. Supporters of the FRC, a conservative Christian lobbyist  group, gathered Wednesday to discuss the organization’s latest crusade: the  elimination of pornography on college campuses.

Fighting “Porn in the Dorm”—as the FRC called their Family Policy Lecture on  the subject—is an uphill battle.  A 2001 study conducted by scholars at Texas A&M revealed  that while 56% of men admit to using the Internet to access sexual explicit  materials, 72% of college-aged men readily say the same. Recent figures show higher percentages of porn site  subscriptions in zip codes with a great density of young people and those with  undergraduate degrees.

The prevalence of porn on campuses hasn’t defeated Dr. Patrick Fagan,  Director of the Marriage and  Religion Research Institute and Wednesday’s speaker. An Irish former grade  school teacher and trained clinical psychologist, Fagan has worked on family  issues in Washington with organizations such as the Free Congress Foundation,  the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Heritage Foundation. His  controlled tone, combined with the hum of the FRC’s air conditioning and free  Potbelly’s sandwiches, lulled the audience of about 40 young professionals into  a comfortable midday trance reminiscent of Sunday school.

“Our teenagers today cannot know what is natural sexuality,” he said, citing  a UK study frankly titled, “Basically…porn is everywhere.” Fagan compared modern  American society to “pagan Rome,” claiming that the proliferation of sexual  deviancy in our country is a direct threat to the “people-forming institutions”  of family, church, and school. He considers the matter of paramount importance  to civilization as a whole. “Sexual intercourse, like atomic energy, is a  powerful agent for good if channeled well, but for ill if not. Healthy societies  maintain their stability by channeling the sexual energies of young adults into  marriage,” says his 2009 paper, “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage,  Family, and Community.”

Fagan blamed today’s plague of pornography on modern media. One of his slides  included the May 2011 cover of Vogue Paris, which features a  pouting Kate Moss being groped by five anonymous male hands. Christian  organizations have pointed fingers at everything from technology to politics  when it comes to porn. In a 2013 fact sheet without footnotes or citations, a  Christian vendor of Internet filtering software called Covenant Eyes claims that 24% of smartphone users store pornographic  material on their mobile devices. The organization says that 79% of porn  performers have used marijuana, and “politically liberal people” are 19% more  likely to look at porn than others.

Using data collected by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, Fagan  cautioned his audience about the personal consequences of pornography  consumption as well. He flipped through a slide show of charts that correlated  porn use and addiction with high  divorce rates, abortions, and deviant behavior. According to his research, those  who are exposed to porn as young adults become desensitized to its dopamine  rush, which can lead to the pursuit of distorted fantasies involving children,  the invalid and even vampires. In an earlier statement released by the FRC, he  cautioned, “For college students, the use of pornography is especially  problematic. Away from home and surrounded by friends, co-eds are susceptible to  an addiction that can destroy their education, their relationships and their  future.”

Relationships damaged by pornography use, said Fagan, can include the peer  connections that young adults learn from while at university. Though college is  a social phase of life, the consumption of porn draws individuals into  themselves and discourages positive interaction with others.

Linda Williams, a professor film studies and rhetoric at the University of  California, Berkeley, begs to differ. She and college educators around the  country have used pornography as a teaching tool and a basis for classroom  discussion. “I do believe pornography reveals a great deal about who we are as  Americans,” Williams told TIME. “Its sheer popularity warrants examination, the  same way we have studied soap opera, television and other popular media in the  past.” New York University, Vanderbilt, and Bates College are only a few of the  institutions that now use sexually explicit material in film, law and sociology  classes.

Though he opposes the exposure of young adults to pornography, Fagan claims  that he is not against academic freedom. In fact, he would like to see an  increase in the research and discussion of human sexuality on college campuses,  because he believes that informed students will choose abstinence over porn. The  centerpiece of his presentation was a graph showing that the adults who enjoy  the most frequent and pleasurable sexual activity are monogamous,  God-worshipping partners. “The single biggest irony is that by and large, those  who enjoy the sexual most, that have the most frequent sexual intercourse, are  those who follow the Judeo-Christian way,” Fagan told TIME.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2013/07/18/christian-right-fights-porn-in-the-dorm/#ixzz2advCVB23

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