This picture of me speaking on the steps of the Michigan state capitol in Lansing is from about 1988. I was then heading the American Family Association of Michigan and we had organized a rally at the capitol. We were joined with an estimated crowd of 1,200 concerned citizens as we were working to get the attention of state representatives and senators to pass a package of obscenity bills. We actually did pass the package, by the grace of God, and then-Governor John Engler signed it into law in 1991.
Pornography was advancing in stores. XXX rated videos were a new thing and they were nasty, degrading, degenerate and spreading like wildfire in new video store outlets that were emerging at that time.
There were some great advances in the fight against pornography with the development of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Enforcement Section in the Justice Department under the President Ronald Reagan administration and his Attorney General Ed Meese. Prosecuting obscenity was a law enforcement priority at the federal level under the Reagan and George H. Bush administrations. Pornography kingpins were being prosecuted; “dial-a-porn” was largely shut down. The Video Software Dealers Association was concerned about the threat to their financial trending. A training seminar for dealing with obscene material was held in mid-Michigan and many prosecutors from across the state attended it.
There was hopefulness in the land. However, despite the fact that I was having many opportunities to speak in churches throughout Michigan, I sensed that as I spoke on the subject “Holiness: God’s desire for His people,” very few seemed particularly drawn to the heartbeat of my message.
As the years rolled on, though we had passed a major anti-pornography package, it was next to impossible to find a county prosecutor willing to enforce the new legislation (Alan Sears, former head of Alliance Defending Freedom, was the main author of the legislation).
I learned a lot about not only the great effort it takes to initiate a substantial package of bills, but how challenging it is to shepherd it along and through the House and Senate and have it signed by the governor.
But, then to see that over the course of time, only one prosecutor had the courage and the backing to attempt to enforce it in his county (Ottawa County), Ron Frantz. That being said, in the one case tried, the Ottawa County Jury found the XXX rated videos that were being rented not to be obscene. The video dealer was not found guilty. It sent a terrible message to other prosecutors throughout the state. If you can’t win an obscenity case in the most conservative county in the state, where can you win?
I could see how our country was being dumbed down by the mainstream media and not only tolerating, but accepting things that were once recognized as unacceptable. Whenever I spoke there was always a small group that came to talk with me or go to my information table who were filled with sincere concern about the negative impact of pornography upon our communities.
I began to recognize that church people were falling into the temptation to watch things that they shouldn’t be watching. I spoke at an area Christian school to a Bible class. I mentioned several different movies without initially naming the movie and described things found in the movie – both verbal and visual. Many acknowledged that they had seen this one and that one. Movies with full-frontal and rear nudity and allusions to oral sex.
My view back then – even before the advent of the internet – was that we were on the way to becoming a reprobate nation, as Romans 1:18-32 describes.
Is that harsh? It may have seemed like quite a reach then, but as a nation, the way was being paved to where we are in our current moment.
My calling was to warn, exhort, remind and encourage people to guard their hearts, “put no evil thing before their eyes” (Psalm 101:3a); “pursue holiness without which no man shall see the Lord,” (Hebrews 12:14); “present their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service,” (Romans 12:1,2); “be holy for I am holy says the Lord,” (I Peter 1:16); etc. My efforts were well-meaning, but often unwelcome.
So, why am I writing this just before a holiday that commemorates our countrymen’s magnificent sacrifices? Our fathers and forefathers fought and died to help make and keep our country free! But, I fear that we have been taking our vast freedoms for granted!
As generation upon generation have lost sight of the vital importance of God’s call for us to seek His face in pursuing holiness, we have one by one by one opened ourselves and our families to unholy things that evil forces have used to desensitize and accommodate us to – at first so-called smaller sins, then to accepting increasing levels of ungodly things. Little by little, we have become less ashamed of that which is abhorrent and to that which God calls an abomination.
Not only has Satan wormed his way into our weaknesses by substituting the truth for a lie, but our national enemies have taken advantage of our moral weakness and cowardice as well.
“A man is a woman,” our military’s leadership attests, weakening our military, making fools of us and putting our security at risk.
Memorial Day weekend? Use it wisely, dear friend. God is showing His hand of judgement – the evidences are all around us but we still are oblivious. Substituting the truth for a lie at so many levels. May we, as a nation, be worthy of our soldiers’ sacrifices.
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