City Grave: A Stark Reality and a Call to Repentance
I sat down today to write a blog about pornography, and it just so happened that society is providing me with an incredible reminder of why I need to. On the day I’m writing this there are two porn-related stories trending on social media. Ostensibly, they are unrelated, but I don’t think the connection could be more obvious if it was written across a two-by-four smacking us all in the face.
The first story is about former playboy model Holly Madison, who talks about her deep misery and suicidal thoughts while working in the playboy mansion. “Would he even miss me? No, I was certain I was just another warm body – as we all were. ‘Just another blonde,’ I could hear him say.”
Second story? A porn site using crowd-funding to shoot porn in space. I won’t link to it, but suffice to say it is getting huge support.
Pornography, in so many ways, truly is the sin of our time. It’s perfectly designed for our lazy, entitled culture. It’s so easy to find, so easy to hide, so easy to rationalise. It’s so easy to say that this sin hurts no one, that it just makes people happy. But that’s not the reality.
I titled this blog after a song, whose lyrics hit me hard on this topic. The song, “XX (City Grave)”, by Silent Planet, captures the viewpoint of a human trafficking victim, with the band’s signature, raw, emotionally-intense lyrics.
Given that the vocal style of this band may not be to everyone’s liking, let me quote it here (the lyrics are well worth the read). The footnotes are also directly from the lyricist.
This injustice renders my thoughts ineffectual. Forgive me, Lover, and forget my sullen face. Privilege brings us to this place of human currencies. (We) buried our sisters in a glass display, only to evaporate to a toxic skyline – underneath we sell off the bodies.
My body became a graveyard where they buried thirsty souls. Show me your righteous leader; I’ll show you the bullet holes. The preacher[i] with the parched tongue and the “God” that he controls: “Shake off the sin! Shake off the sin!” And spit out your cacophony of lies.
I’ll climb through your screen and bleed out the image you left in me.[ii]
But God, are you a man? Then how do you see me? From where you sit up in heaven[iii], looking down on my hell. My body chokes back.
“I have nothing to draw with and the well is deep – where can I get living water?”[iv]
Enslaved in the “Land of the Free”[v] – my prison is our wedding bed where you left me for dead. You’ll leave us for dead. Apathy was our anchor to a digital sea[vi] where you drown in the comfort of our complicity.
Can Love save me? Will Your wrath avenge us?[vii]
i. Our sister’s captor; Several famous pastor types – names omitted for legal reasons
ii. Sex slaves forced into pornography, speaking back to our collective male gaze.
iii. Psalm 115:3; 139:8
iv. John 4:11
vi. Thrice, 2007
vii. Deuteronomy 32:35
There’s a very clear message here. Our apathy, if we consume porn while convincing ourselves it’s hurting no one, is enabling the victimisation of numerous people.
Human trafficking is a vast, global epidemic, and it is fueled by pornography and its related businesses – notably strip clubs and prostitution (both legal and illegal). And not all victims are trafficked. So many women are taken advantage of due to poverty, drug addiction, or other desperate circumstances, and abused horribly by the porn industry. There’s no escaping the fact that every dollar a pornographer makes contributes to abusing more people.
The Parallel Victims of Pornography
When digging a bit deeper into the lyrics of this song, I began to notice something else – hidden, but incredibly expressive.
There are several sections of this song which, in various ways, express the misery and victimisation of both the sex slave and the porn user.
The first example of this that I noticed, was the line, “But God, are you a man? Then how do you see me? From where you sit up in heaven, looking down on my hell.” At first read it’s clearly a despairing question from the trafficked woman, horrifically abused by men, to the God-man, Jesus. But it also equally expresses the self-realisation of an addicted man, reduced to an empty shell scrolling through images, compared to all that a man should be.
Then there are the two lines about burial: “(We) buried our sisters in a glass display,” and “My body became a graveyard where they buried thirsty souls.” What it expresses, to me, is the spiritual death caused by porn. The “thirsty souls”, thirsting for the truth and love of God, are buried instead in addiction and self-centeredness.
What Can We Do?
Pornography can be an overwhelming addiction in the lives of many people. With the way it now pervades society, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, to feel like it’s useless to fight. But again, reality isn’t as things appear. There is always hope, and in fact certainty of defeating a porn addiction in the grace of God. As someone who was once an addict, I know that God can provide the strength to carry on, and build a life without porn. With repentance, and Confession, he can make the broken whole again.
In the fight against human trafficking, there is also good work being done to free slaves, and stop those responsible. Just one example is the heroic team at Operation Underground Railroad.
If you’re struggling with porn, remember that you’re never alone. I and many others are praying for you, and God is there to lend his strength. Believe in Him – His truth will set you free.
Posted on June 13, 2015, in Catholic and tagged Christian Music, fight the new drug, ftnd, human trafficking, matt fradd, misogyny, operation underground railroad, pornography, slavery, women. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.