Pro 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
THE PORNOGRAPHY DEBATE
When we opened our doors to pornography
With the advent of democracy, the rhetoric around freedom of speech and sexual expression blossomed in our country. The 1996 Films and Publications Act marked a dramatic turnabout in South African law. Knocking on the doors of our country was the potential influx of sexually explicit material in the form of pornography. There was an intense nationwide debate on how to deal with this matter.
The debate’s central issue was the legalisation of pornography in South Africa. At that time there was stringent censorship prohibiting access to this material. Three major arguments dominated the debate, namely; Morality, the potential harm to society and sexual hate speech, and creating an equilibrium.
What did the act say at that time?
47. (2) For the purposes of this Act any publication or object, film, public entertainment or intended public entertainment shall be deemed undesirable if it or any part of it – is indecent or obscene or is offensive or harmful to public morals … – Publications Act, no. 42, 1974.
The above act was described as nonsense drafted by old Apartheid fools. The Apartheid fools referred to the then Publications Control Board. The old apartheid nonsense was the 1974 Publications Act, which had empowered the regime and was by 1996, still very much in operation.
The argument was that restricting pornographic material was an infringement on man’s right to freedom of speech and sexual expression. The issue is clear; humankind’s sinful nature does not want restrictions on the lust of the flesh. The author’s view is that it was more of a spiritual issue i.e. a wanting to freely sin issue, than a political one. Humanity wants the freedom to sin justified by legislation. They wanted the door of pornography opened to South Africans.
Here is an extract of the main arguments, “The anti-porn lobbies were concerned that the ANC regime, in its apparent drive to change everything that had existed in the apartheid era, was – as a matter of principle – going to eliminate all forms of control over pornography. The anti-censorship lobbies were concerned that the government, in a possible attempt to appease conservative constituents, was going to retain strict control so as to appear just as moralistic as its predecessors.”
If only they knew!
After decades of stringent censorship, pornographers accurately· assessed South Africa as virgin territory. Between January and June 1994 alone, Scope and Hustler SA, Playboy SA and Penthouse SA combined sold 444 995 copies (Mark vir die tydskrifte, Beeld 26 August 1994: 24). By 1995, the South African porn industry was estimated to be raking in R25 000 000 per month. Joe Theron, who controlled Hustler SA, also published or imported a variety of other porn magazines, and was selling an average of 500 000 copies per month by 1995 (Smith 1995: 25).
He also created the first Afrikaans skin magazine – Loslyf- in 1995, and soon sold 100 000 copies (Swart 1995). Porn stores mushroomed, internet porn was burgeoning and M-NET started showing soft porn (Roos 1995: 2; Greyling 1994: 2).
From 1993 onwards, despite endless clashes with the censors, South Africa had a thriving and highly competitive local porn industry (Smith 1995: 25-29; Findlay 1993: 35, 37). In the debate of the 1990s, unlike previous debates, pornographers and their clientele could argue their own case on material that was open to all, and not just to the censors.
What happens when the spirit of lust is loosed upon a society? The answer to this question is the acceleration of moral decay. The floodgates of sexual promiscuity and perversion are opened upon a nation. Pornography is immoral. We need to guard our spirit (heart) against lust. The door to our hearts needs to remain shut to the spirit of lust.
The impact of lust!
Pro 6:25-29 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. 27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbour’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
Lust seeks to destroy marriages. Its purpose is to exchange sexual intimacy, which was meant for the marriage relationship, for sexual promiscuity outside the marriage covenant. Lust has replaced the biblical meaning of love, as its counterfeit within modern society. It is a selfish act of self-gratification. It devalues the person and the opposite sex is viewed purely as an object or a means to an end. The issue of self-control and restraint, which men need to exercise within society, is abolished by lust.
The impact of lust on sexual violence in South Africa
A Times Live article dated 3 June 2022 stated, “The number of sexual offences reported to police in the first three months of the year increased by 13.7% to 13,799, an increase of 1,666 from the same time last year. Rape cases increased by 13.7% to 10818, an increase of 1,300 from the same time last year. Sexual assault cases stood at 2,165 (a 13.4% increase), attempted sexual assault at 547 (up by 26.3%) and 269 contact sexual offences were up by 1.1% on the same time last year.”
Statistics speak for themselves. Our country has opened its doors to sexual promiscuity and we are now reaping the whirlwind.
As individuals though, we do not have to suffer the same fate. Through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, we can have power and authority over lust and its influence. If you are a believer and in bondage to lust because of pornography, I wish to encourage you to realise the fatal impact it has on your spirituality. This addiction can be broken by the blood of Jesus Christ. Confess this sin and repent.
Here are a few bits of help!
- Confess this openly to a trusted fellow believer as well
- This is an addiction that must be brought to light instead of being kept secret
- Make yourself accountable to that person
- Put filters and blocks on your electronic devices to help you
- Ask someone to pray with you for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit
The article only touches on certain aspects of spiritual doorways to the spirit in the arena of lust. Feel free to comment or to ask questions if you have any further input and I will respond as soon as possible.
R v Staden