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Cell Phone Pornography—Corporations Should Stay Out of "Seedy" Business
Honouring and valuing our fellow human beings, even when we do not personally know them, magnifies the inherent dignity of every individual on earth.


Recently, TELUS, a corporate giant in the Canada's phone industry, started offering a service that allowed its customers access to downloadable pornography on their cell phones. Understandably, there was a vocal public reaction, most notably by Archbishop Raymond Roussin, of the Vancouver Catholic archdiocese. When TELUS reversed its decision to offer porn, a spokesman commented that the volume of individual complaints played a significant role in the company's decision to withdraw the service.

As one lady … said, "I don't want to be on a bus sitting next to someone watching porn on his cell phone."

Not long ago, the distribution of pornography was considered by many to be part of a "seedy" industry. What has happened in our society, where a brand name, prominent corporation is even tempted to enter into this "seedy" business? And it is not just this one corporation. Yes, they went too far by offering up the service themselves, but pornography is available on any device that has access to the Internet. By choosing to offer pornography directly, TELUS was crossing a line, by giving an air of legitimacy to the industry, which clearly, Canadians did not and do not want.

Pornography used to be limited to photographic images, mostly contained in magazines, and its distribution was tightly controlled. With the internet, access to pornography has increased at an exponential rate. With the recent popularity and increased demand in portable media and phone devices, especially among our youth, pornography too, has become portable. As one lady in a television interview said, "I don't want to be on a bus sitting next to someone watching porn on his cell phone."

What are we to do?

There is government responsibility through legislation and regulations. There is corporate responsibility, in that they need to be good corporate citizens and remember that people are more important than just profits. Most of all though, there is individual responsibility, and that has to do with the way we value other people, as created in the image of God. Flowing from this respect for human dignity is our desire to treat people as persons, not as objects or playthings. Pornography treats people as objects to gratify sexual desire.

As Christians, in accordance with the Scriptures, we are called to care for the vulnerable, uphold human dignity and maintain family integrity. These principles guide our response to pornography.

Pornography degrades all of humankind, but women and children are more vulnerable through exploitation and increased chances of assault. Children are among society's most vulnerable persons. Child pornography exploits the vulnerable, violates human dignity and is harmful not only to its participants but also to Canadian society as a whole. Children deserve nothing less than full protection from all forms of exploitation.

Recently, I was talking to two friends about expressions of genuine love. One of my friends uses the term "honour." Another friend gives emphasis to the word "value." A purposed and demonstrated practice of honouring and valuing those close to us, leads to deepened, committed and fulfilling relationships, whether in friendship or romantic love. Honouring and valuing our fellow human beings, even when we do not personally know them, magnifies the inherent dignity of every individual on earth. I hope this is the lesson TELUS, and other corporations considering this business, learned last week.

Douglas Cryer is Director of Public Policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

 

 
 
 
 

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