Princeton professor Robert P. George writes in a piece for The Public Discourse, Theorists of public moralityfrom the ancient Greek philosophers and Roman jurists onhave noticed that apparently private acts of vice, when they multiply and become widespread, can imperil important public interests.
Pornography, especially internet pornography, is this kind of private vice in our generation. Even though pornographys devastating effects are well-documented (for instance, in publications released by MARRI and the Witherspoon Institute), some in the industry try to make pornography look acceptable by uniting it with socially respected activities. MARRI intern Sarah Robinson reported on Charitable Pornography: a non-profit pornography organization has created a website where users can upload videos along with links to their charity of choice, so that every hit on a video sends a donation to that charity.
While the organizers of the website win points for creativity, their score on social responsibility is zero. As Sarah Robinson says,
This idea crosses the threshold of moral relativity into dangerous territory that debases the value of human beings and sexuality. How do you place a price tag on sexuality? No charitable organization should receive money made by degrading human beings who were created in the image of God.
The idea of charitable giving depends on the ability to value others needs above ones own immediate gratification. Charitable organizations, inspired by Biblical commands to consider the poor, have long been a prominent part of Judeo-Christian society (and came into their own in 19th-century America, thanks to the energy of social reformers). Is charity at home, however, in a culture of sensuality that permits the degradation of human beings?
Robert P. George argues that acceptance of pornography affects society deeply, cheating children of not only a healthy sexuality, but a healthy view of the human person:
Parents efforts to bring up their children as respecters of themselves and others will be helped or hinderedperhaps profoundlyby the cultural structure in which children are reared....It is the attitudes, habits, dispositions, imagination, ideology, values, and choices shaped by a culture in which pornography flourishes that will, in the end, deprive many children of what can without logical or moral strain be characterized as their right to a healthy sexuality. In a society in which sex is depersonalized, and thus degraded, even conscientious parents will have enormous difficulty transmitting to their children the capacity to view themselves and others as persons, rather than as objects of sexual desire and satisfaction.
Pornography is the last thing we need as we seek to raise a generation with humane values. If the authors of this porn website truly care about charity, they should shut down the site and start producing informational videos. There are plenty of causes, like raising awareness of human sex trafficking, that they can benefit with charitable donations.