Saturday, June 7, 2008

Family Friendly Bookstores?

(Orginally titled" "Absolutely UnSTINKINGbelievable")

From Brannon Howse at Christian Worldview Network:

On June 5th, my eleven year old son joined me in a visit to our local Barnes and Noble Bookstore. I was horrified at what my son saw. Open on a table was a very large, full-color, picture book displaying a man in full frontal nudity. The cover was two men kissing with the title GAY SEX. This book was filled with full-color pictures of gay men doing what they do. The assistant manager told me that this was the second time that night this book had been laid open in the store. She also informed me that such books were regularly found in the men's room. she said a young boy had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom at this store and the man was never caught. The assistant manger walked me to where the book was normally kept. Was it behind a counter? No, it was on the top shelf of a bookcase that any 13 year old could reach. Welcome to the 21st Century where being gay is mainstream and celebrated as normal in a family bookstore. Listen to find out what I am going to do. ( Download the MP3 (1) (Right click and select "Save Target As")

I posted this last night after only having read Brannon's post at his site. Since I'm on dialup, downloading his show took a while. Now that I have, I can't encourage you enough, to listen to what he had to say about this.

And now, some thoughts of my own that were too long winded to leave at the above linked site.

Laws governing sexuality explicit material. Of course I don't live in TN but I was under the (ignorant?) impression that it was a rather common law in the states, that such material available in books, magazines, videos and dvd would be restricted to 18 and older customers. It wasn't that long ago that in our society that material wouldn't even be found in a mainstream bookstore. To find that material, you had to go to the "other side of town" to that little building that was unamarked, but that everyone knew what they sold. While in terms of time it really wasn't that long ago, it does say a lot for just how much our culture has changed in such a short period of time. There's a convenience store in town that Kev had to stop shopping at, because their hardcore porn magazines are on full display at the front of the store. It was impossible to avoid them in the store, so instead he chose to avoid the store. Bearing in mind we're in Canada, where the laws pertaining to these things are far more liberal than those in the states, and especially in the southern, "Bible Belt" states.

The Campaign to Normalize Homosexuality. It has apparently become so "normal" to accept the gay lifestyle as just another lifestyle, that the fact that this material is sold at Barnes and Noble, hasn't appeared to really upset anyone all that much. It bothers me, that this doesn't bother more Christians. It makes me wonder which kind of pure wickedness will be next to be accepted as "normal". It makes me grieve for the next generation.

Guarding our Eyes (and those of our children). I have never seen the kind of material that Brannon Howse's son was exposed to last week, and I hope I never do. I have friends in law enforcement who have as part of their field, had to investigate child pornography. They will say that the images of unnatural acts they have seen are burned into their memories, forever. Some of them need ongoing counselling to deal with just having those images in their minds, and these are adult men and women.

I know that many will disagree about the damage that images can cause, but the testimonies of countless adult men and women who are addicted to porn, or who were formerly addicted to porn, should be enough to give us all pause for thought as to the potential for harm of placing things before our eyes, that should not be there. This caution goes quadruple for children, that aren't even close to being old enough to process what they see from a mature, discerning worldview. I have read (as I'm sure others have as well) testimonies from former porn addicts (and violent criminals as well) who often say that being exposed to "adult" images as children, is what began their life in that arena. I can't prove that there is a connection between "adult" images seen by children and a sinfully wicked lifestyle as an adult, but it sure seems obvious to anyone really paying attention. (There may be statistics that bear this out, I haven't researched it to know). Based on what I just said, how do "homosexual adult" images have any bearing on the mind of a child? I cannot begin to guess for certain, but I suppose it just deepens the damage - especially considering the culture we live in that shoves this lifestyle in our faces and fully expects us to embrace it.

Boycotting Blatant Ungodly Businesses & Business Practices. Well there's a big ole can of worms. Does it work? I don't know, some will say yes and others say no. I think it's really more of a matter of conviction. Does ABC business sell trash? Yes, and I don't shop there. Does XYZ utility company support some anti-God, anti-Christian organization or association? Yes, many of them do, but that doesn't mean we're going to shut the lights, phone, cable, sat, water & gas off, just to not be connected to them in some way. We all have to make choices all day long based on our Christian convictions. Where we shop, what we watch on tv, sites we visit on the internet, what we read offline, etc. If in this case, Barnes and Noble refuses to change their policy regarding their homosexual porn literature (and I can't see why they would), then it's up to individual Christians to make the choice on whether or not to shop there. Bearing in mind, pretty much every other mainstream bookstore carries the same stuff, so no matter where you shop for books & such, you're going to run into this to one degree or another. Welcome to living in a fallen world where sinners act like sinners. God's grace and mercy on those sinners is what changes that - not boycotts, but at the same time I'm also not convinced they're necesarrily a bad thing. I can say, that if I were in the same community as Brannon Howse, I would not shop at Barnes & Noble after hearing about this. Easy decision.

Finally, I keep hearing Christians describe sinful behavior as "sick". Several of the callers who called into Brannon's show used this word to describe the event. I've used the word myself, and know that what I mean is sick as in, so twisted in the mind and heart, that what is good and right is avoided for what is vile and wicked. I have no reason to doubt that this is what others mean as well. It may sound nitpicky of me to say this, but I think maybe we're all using the wrong word. "Sick" doesn't really nail the heart - the nature of the matter the way "wicked" does. Not that I'm calling for a reform in the words we use or anything, but it's just one of those things that stands out to me, in the way we (myself included) speak of ungodly things. Somehow, I think we've wimped out a bit and softened our speech. Just a thought.

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