Insight on the News
Pornography a Danger
“He was so mild-mannered, so smiley,” says the mother of 10-year-old Lisa in describing the man who threatened and twice molested her daughter. “He showed Lisa some mild pornographic magazines. Children can be so easily convinced. He told her he wanted to take her picture for a contest.”
Confirming the tactic that a typical sex abuser would use in order to break down a child’s inhibitions, detective John T. Dugan, Jr., of the Buffalo Police Department’s salacious literature squad says: “I’ve never been involved in a case where pornography wasn’t a major factor in desensitizing the child into performing sexually or getting photographed.” He adds that youngsters with access to pornography on cable television are especially susceptible to harm from sex abusers. “They can just invite my kid, your kid over and expose them to erotica that is tolerated in the parents’ family situation.”
The report, appearing in The Buffalo News, demonstrates that the presence of even mild pornography in the home could lower the standards of sexual propriety among children and endanger them. Such laxity would run counter to the Bible’s wise admonition to deaden “your body members . . . as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness.” Parents should instruct their children to stay clear of anyone who offers to show them pornography and to report these incidents to them promptly.—Colossians 3:5; Proverbs 2:10-17.
‘Forced to Compromise’
“Her breasts were bare, her face covered with red paint, and her head framed by a corolla of bird-of-paradise feathers,” says the Manchester Guardian Weekly in describing an 18-year-old student standing at the pope’s side as she read a passage from the Epistles. The pope was in Papua New Guinea about to celebrate the Mass. For the occasion the young woman was dressed as had once been the custom for pagan initiation ceremonies. Furthermore, “as the dancing tribespeople swirled before the altar, handfuls of yellow, orange and red powder were thrown in the air as a sign of joy—but also to chase away evil spirits.”
Why does the Catholic Church condone such rites? “The good and evil spirits that form part of the local cosmology are difficult to eradicate from the tribespeople’s minds,” concludes the report. “Catholicism is therefore forced occasionally to compromise, as for instance in the case of polygamy and one or two traditional rites.” But do true Christians compromise in this way? No, says the apostle Paul. Concerning idolatry, he wrote very explicitly: “‘Separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing.’”—2 Corinthians 6:17.
What Value Painful Rituals?
“More than 8,000 people, including American soldiers and tourists, gathered at crucifixion sites across the Philippines to witness the annual Good Friday rituals in Asia’s only Roman Catholic nation,” reports Japan’s Mainichi Daily News. One man, after grimacing in pain from two four-inch steel spikes driven into his palms, screamed, “God forgive them for what they have done.” In Bulacan province, a woman who is a faith healer “quivered on the cross for seven minutes, nails driven through her feet and hands.”
At least 13 people were nailed to crosses throughout the country. Also, thousands of penitents whipped their own backs with bamboo flails, “spattering blood on well-dressed tourists.” The newspaper remarks: “The Roman Catholic Church takes a dim view of these rituals,” but adds that they “were brought to the Philippines by Spanish friars in the 1600s.” And they continue.
What is the value of these rituals? Of no value at all was the Baal worshipers’ ritual when “they began calling at the top of their voice and cutting themselves according to their custom with daggers and with lances, until they caused blood to flow out upon them.” Further, the apostle Paul cautioned Christians that ritualistic self-denial “with its forced piety, its self-mortification, and its severity to the body” is worthless.—1 Kings 18:28; Colossians 2:20-23, The New English Bible.