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The Conservative War on Liberty: A Libertarian Christian Takes on Porn & Theocrats

Conservative Christians on Twitter have flown the coop, displaying a rather disturbing side of themselves with outcries of support for strict regulation of the porn industry by the Trump administration.

As previously reported by The Libertarian Republic, Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire wrote an op-ed defending why the federal government should regulate pornography. I would remind those who agree with Walsh that even if their motives are pure, to advocate for the government to pass laws regulating the sexual behavior of consenting adults is both an assault on individual liberty and, yes, I would even say not supported biblically.

I write these words as a libertarian Christian who sees the roots of this for what it is. Christians who desire to use the government as a political weapon to enforce what they see as moral on everybody else, whether they like it or not.

As Matt writes, “ You might argue that this is something for parents, and not government, to handle. But this argument ignores the reality of the situation. Parents cannot possibly shield their children from a porn epidemic that is so ubiquitous and accessible. Even if they restrict all internet access in their own homes, and refuse to allow their children to have phones with internet access (a wise move, to be sure), all it requires is one friend whose parents have not taken that step. And every kid will have at least one friend like that — probably many more than just one. This is a problem that parents cannot handle on their own. That’s why the state may have a role.”

I do not argue against Walsh’s point that porn has a negative effect on the viewer and the participants involved in X-rated videos. Both of his claims mentioned in the article are well documented with much evidence backing these claims.

However, to suggest that government must regulate pornographic films would be antithetical to the biblical teaching on free will, which is foundational to the Christian faith. Need I remind Christians in Genesis, according to the creation story, God told Adam and Eve “not to eat of the fruit of the tree, or they would die.” He didn’t build a wall around the tree with angels to guard it. Without free will, that would make God nothing more than an eternal tyrant.

Matt’s claims that the state must play a role in protecting American children from the harmful effects of explicit videos reminds me of the comments made by Hillary Clinton in 1996, where she claimed that it “takes a village” to raise a child. This should be alarming to those of us who believe in an expressly limited government that someone who claims to champion our cause would make such a suggestion.

USA: CHICAGO: 1996 DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONVENTION: HILLARY CLINTON

I am inclined to agree with Austin Petersen’s comment on the subject when he tweeted, “Calls by conservatives to ban pornography is a tacit admission that their churches have failed.”

I will tell you from first-hand experience that too many churches in America today don’t talk about sex in a healthy manner -- if they even talk about it at all. They don’t teach a truly biblical view of sex, that it is a beautiful thing created by God to be shared between a husband and wife. You will likely hear a list of commands about why premarital sex is sinful, and that’s as far as it goes.

Instead of trying to ban everything that Scripture teaches is sinful, why not be the Church of Jesus Christ? Why not try to walk out the faith He demonstrated instead of trying to turn our Constitutional Republic into a theocracy? It is time that we take the personal responsibility we have lacked for too long and be better families instead of looking to an already inept government as the moral judge of society.

If we have learned anything from Prohibition, it’s that banning porn would do nothing except effectively serve to make the problem worse. If the government could do anything to better the problem, it would be to legalize legitimate sex work, satisfying the demand for people who wish to engage in those activities. Austin Petersen made this point well in an op-ed on Springfieldnews-leader.com, during his 2018 Senate run.

“The solution then is the solution now — give adults the freedom to make their own choices about what they do with their own bodies. And the moment those choices hurt others, have a system in place that fights for and defends the victims. By decriminalizing prostitution, we give people back their innate right to make choices, and we pull back the curtain on a dangerous underworld, making it safe for those who choose to engage in it,” Petersen said.

I fight for freedom for all people. Even the individuals whose decisions I disagree with most. Because that is the only time it truly matters or requires any courage.

I despise pornography on a personal level because I, myself, have struggled with it for many years. Still, I shudder at the thought of a society where government controls our choices, however right or wrong they may be deemed.

Let people be free. Remember, the same government that can tell people who they can’t and can’t engage in consensual sex with could also control every other area of our personal lives. I assure you, legal porn will not plunge America into hell, but a tyrannical government will.

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