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Men, boys, America at stake in battle against pornography, mother of 4 says


AUSTIN, Texas (BP)–Carolyn McKenzie was a surgical intensive care nurse in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Yet her exposure to the trauma of combat barely prepared the Memphis resident for her ministry to those trapped in the sex industry in the west Tennessee city.
Sexually oriented businesses that dot the landscape of most communities are the visible manifestation of America’s fascination with pornography, McKenzie, founder and executive director of Citizens for Community Values, told attendees at the 33rd annual conference of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Prompted by a radio ad seeking dancers for a local strip club, McKenzie reacted by organizing a ministry that both seeks to shut down sexually oriented businesses and rescue young women trapped in the industry.
While sounding optimistic about the future battles over the nation’s accessibility to pornography — she is behind a court fight to clean up Memphis — McKenzie painted a bleak picture of a nation consumed with an obsession with portrayals of sexual perversion and deviancy. This scourge of pornography threatens the very future of America and demands a response from the nation’s churches, she said.
It is hard to fathom what is out there for men and boys to feed on, McKenzie lamented, saying the materials in these businesses are “beyond comprehension.” Less than 5 percent of pornography depicts one man and one woman in a heterosexual sex act, she said. And it is an $8 to $13 billion-a-year industry.
“We need to expose this evil, to become aware of what is going on behind the doors of these businesses,” McKenzie said March 3 on the final day of the ERLC conference at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. “History shamefully records what happens when the church fails to expose evil,” she added, citing the historical example of Nazi Germany.
“The cost of becoming involved in the battle of pornography is very great; the cost of not being involved is much greater,” interjected Julia, who was involved in the sex industry for five years until being rescued by McKenzie and who accompanied her to the ERLC conference.
“It is imperative for pastors not to just speak out but to commit to fight against these issues which negatively impact our families,” McKenzie said. “We have to approach these business owners not thumping our Bible saying, ‘You are going to hell in a hand basket,’ or using coercion, but instead to utilize persuasive arguments that all can understand.”
McKenzie, mother of four boys, began her anti-pornography crusade six years ago after learning about the prostitution, drug use and destroyed lived associated with such businesses. She discovered the victims of pornography were not only the users but workers within the sex industry — “from rich girls to runaways, aged 14 to 40.”
And McKenzie doesn’t refer to these businesses as gentlemen’s or adult clubs. “There is nothing gentlemanly or adult going on in there.”
She reported her ministry has aided 42 young ladies in their escape from Memphis-area strip clubs and massage parlors. “We need to be the conduit to lead them to Christ,” she said. “God can heal even the worst of the worst.”
A drop in crime rate of 46 percent in Times Square followed New York City’s decision to boot the sex industry out of the heart of Manhattan, McKenzie reported. She said she is prepared to go to the U.S. Supreme Court with the Memphis ordinance banning sex establishments in that city.
Pornography leads to sex addiction, child abuse, increased crime and decreased property values in communities across the country, she said. Pornography is more addictive than crack cocaine, McKenzie explained, noting the viewing of pornography triggers a release of certain chemicals bringing physical pleasure. She said soft pornography is a doorway to more deviant and dangerous material.
“While not every man who looks at a Playboy is going to become a Ted Bundy,” she said 12- to 17-year-old males are the largest consumers of pornography. She noted with chagrin, “Our daughters are dating these same boys.
“This is a struggle for men everywhere,” she said, citing statistics that indicate clergy are not immune from this unholy attraction. McKenzie has seen three men from her own church in the handful of visits she has made to sexually oriented businesses with local law enforcement officers. She also said several of the young ladies rescued from the businesses recognized men in McKenzie’s church as former customers.
“This is not just a problem for the unsaved in your community,” she said.

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  • Dwayne Hastings