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Billboards target porn addicts
Laredo, TX, Morning Times ^ | 02-13-04 | Ross, Jr., Bobby

Posted on 02/13/2004 6:33:48 AM PST by Theodore R.

Billboards target porn addicts

BY BOBBY ROSS JR. Associated Press Writer

DALLAS - Forget buying that special someone a diamond necklace or a heart-shaped box of chocolates this Valentine's Day.

A Dallas-based ministry thinks it has a better idea.

"Her gift for Valentines? Stop looking at porn," proclaim billboard messages posted by NetAccountability, a nonprofit software company that aims to help Christians confront the "secret sin" of pornography.

NetAccountability co-founders Brandon Cotter and Scott Covington say their target audience isn't those who see nothing wrong with perusing X-rated Web sites.

Rather, it's Christians caught up in a behavior their faith views as immoral - people such as pastor Bernie Anderson, who says addiction to sexually explicit images threatened his marriage and his ministry.

"It was like a double life," said Anderson, 33, who pastors Seventh-Day Adventist churches in DeSoto and Waxahachie near Dallas. "The most powerful thing about it is that it's a secret. Nobody knows but you ... so you're just kind of fighting yourself."

If national surveys are any indication, it's a personal battle waged by millions of Christians.

Almost 18 percent of people who called themselves born-again Christians admitted visiting Internet porn sites, according to a 2000 survey of 1,031 adults by the evangelical group Focus on the Family. In a 2002 Pastors.com survey, more than 50 percent of responding pastors reported viewing pornography in the previous year.

"It's definitely the church's dirty little secret," said Mike Foster, co-founder of the anti-porn site XXXChurch.com, which hosts online support groups for Christians trying to kick the habit.

About a year ago, Foster's site drew thousands of hits after a Southern California billboard facetiously invited motorists to check out "the No. 1 Christian porn site."

Similarly, Cotter and Covington say they hope NetAccountability's billboards will draw notice to an issue that many churches ignore - and offer help to Christians searching for it.

Cotter and Covington, both in their early 30s, left jobs in the technology field to start the ministry two and a half years ago, using personal money and grants from nonprofit foundations.

Since then, NetAccountability has sold more than 5,000 copies of software the pair developed that lets an "accountability partner" monitor the Web sites visited by the recovering porn user.

Partners receive log-on names and passwords that let them view the history of sites visited by the other person. NetAccountability stresses that the process is secure so that no one besides the agreed parties can access the information. The software sells for $49 a year.

The billboards going up this week direct motorists to a Web site called PureRestoration.com. It touts "purity workshops" designed to help Christians for whom accountability software is not enough to overcome porn addictions.

"I've seen pornography impact guys all around me," Cotter said. "I've seen it tear up marriages, guys losing their jobs, all over the board. In a lot of cases, they were Christian guys going to church, with otherwise 'quote' normal lives."

Anderson certainly fit into that category.

For 20 years - even as he attended seminary in Michigan and became a pastor - he found himself drawn to pornographic Web sites, movies and magazines.

In seminary, he'd get up at night, telling his wife he needed to study. Actually, he'd surf the Internet for porn.

Later, he'd spend hours accessing porn sites from the computer in his church office.

"Then there's the down side of it," Anderson said. "You go take a shower, clean up and say you'll never do it again. Yet the next day, you fall right back into it."

Last summer, the guilt and shame finally became too much for him to bear, he said.

The father of three confessed his compulsion to a pastor friend and - like an alcoholic or drug addict going for treatment - enrolled in an exhaustive five-day workshop offered by a Christian counselor.

Anderson learned to deal with the motivations for his behavior and how it kept him from true intimacy in his relationship with his wife, he said. Recently, he celebrated "100 days sober" from porn, he said.

"The reality is, you can beat it, but you're always aware that you have to continue to fight the battle," Anderson said. "There's always going to be that temptation."

02/13/04


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: addiction; billboard; porn; pornaddiction

1 posted on 02/13/2004 6:33:48 AM PST by Theodore R.
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To: Theodore R.
"Her gift for Valentines? Stop looking at porn,"

Does that mean no more watching the SuperBowl?

2 posted on 02/13/2004 6:36:56 AM PST by 2banana
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To: Theodore R.

"Billboards target porn addicts"

"Her gift for Valentines? Stop looking at porn,"

Sheesh, this sounds just like my wife.  I can stop looking at porn anytime I want to... I just don't want to yet.

 

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

3 posted on 02/13/2004 6:38:35 AM PST by South Hawthorne (I have a "healthy" interest in porn. I don't care what that stupid judge said.)
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To: 2banana
"His gift for Valentines? Stop looking at porn,"

His gift for Valentines? Start looking at porn.

4 posted on 02/13/2004 6:39:55 AM PST by CoolGuyVic
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To: jtminton
ping for later
5 posted on 02/13/2004 6:40:16 AM PST by jtminton (2Timothy 4:2)
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To: xzins
Great approach - targeted at just the right audience. Those who claim to be followers of Christ are living a lie when they cheat on their spouse this way. Those who are not believers are simply doing what those who are on the wide path do. (So much for the more difficult path of Christianity being "a crutch" for the weak.)
6 posted on 02/13/2004 6:49:45 AM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: Theodore R.
"I'm just checking hyperlinks."
7 posted on 02/13/2004 6:51:53 AM PST by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Psycho_Bunny
"I'm just checking hyperlinks."

I sprained my hyperlink for looking at too much porn.

8 posted on 02/13/2004 6:57:19 AM PST by The Turbanator
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To: The Turbanator
my typing skills also.
9 posted on 02/13/2004 6:58:14 AM PST by The Turbanator
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To: Theodore R.
"The reality is, you can beat it, but you're always aware that you have to continue to fight the battle," Anderson said. "There's always going to be that temptation."

Is beating it a problem, or just porn?

10 posted on 02/13/2004 7:00:54 AM PST by Gunslingr3
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To: The Turbanator
Click too much and you'll go blind.
11 posted on 02/13/2004 7:08:30 AM PST by TheBigB (THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS!! 20-1 and headed toward the National Championship!!)
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To: anniegetyourgun
targeted at just the right audience

I like the Valentine's Day billboard message. It was right on the money.

12 posted on 02/13/2004 7:27:27 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of it!!)
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To: Psycho_Bunny; HenryLeeII

"I'm just checking hyperlinks."

Here's a great one!:  "Honey, I was on Free Republic, and there was this crazy story about how W. admitted to falsifying evidence of WMD's and I checked, the guy had been there for a couple of months, so I went to click on the source, and it was this porn site!  And all these pop ups came on... I know it was some jerk from DU who trolled us..."

By "great one" I mean I was totally impressed when I came up with it.  Can't say as much for Mrs. Eagle...

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

13 posted on 02/13/2004 8:29:48 AM PST by South Hawthorne (Memories by default...if I can't remember them, surely they were memorable!)
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To: anniegetyourgun
Your comment just drove millions away from Christianity.
14 posted on 02/13/2004 8:31:44 AM PST by ought-six
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To: Owl_Eagle
Can I hire you as my divorce lawyer (if and when...)? You can also tell Mrs. Owl that you typed in whitehouse.com thinking it was accessing Dubya, and just forgot to use the .gov. Whitehouse.com is/was a link to porn sites (don't know if it still is), just like rebamcintyre.com, until the country singer of the same name sued and got it removed. People use all sorts of innocuous sounding web addresses, hoping to trick unsuspecting people into their sites...
15 posted on 02/13/2004 8:33:58 AM PST by HenryLeeII (Kerry is no Clinton - He's got treason AND interns...hey wait a minute, he IS another Clinton!)
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To: HenryLeeII
People use all sorts of innocuous sounding web addresses, hoping to trick unsuspecting people into their sites...

10-4. However, the actual source of porn is Satan himself. People who participate in porn (users or producers/providers) all are doing tremendous damage to themselves and their marriages, children, others.

Porn is recognised as a problem for Christians and programs are being developed to help the addicted. Anyone who wants more information is welcome to freepmail me.

16 posted on 02/13/2004 8:59:50 AM PST by toddst
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To: ought-six
1. The fact that pagans will behave as pagans (or not be able to condemn the behavior due to moral relativistic worldview) is truth.
2.Those who reject Christ don't have an argument with me. It's much worse than that.
3. The fact that Christianity is the more difficult choice is all part of counting the cost. There is no easy believism.
17 posted on 02/13/2004 10:09:01 AM PST by anniegetyourgun
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