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Ariel Castro and the Gospel of Jesus Christ

A Catholic bishop and a feminist blogger clash over Castro's crimes.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

August 11, 2013 - 11:00 am
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James D. Conley, the Roman Catholic bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, pivots in a recent piece for First Things from the criminal drama of Ariel Castro to a condemnation of pornography. He writes:

Ariel Castro belongs in prison. Last week, he was sentenced to serve more than one thousand years. But despite the depths of his depravity, when Castro stood shackled in a Cleveland courtroom, he confessed a common American problem. “I believe I am addicted to porn,” he said, “to the point where I am impulsive, and I just don’t realize that what I am doing is wrong.”

Pastors everywhere have heard those words before. Probably many times. Pornographic addiction is powerful, destructive, and all too typical. Ariel Castro’s addiction is no excuse for his actions, but it points to a deep and sobering reality: Free, anonymous, and ubiquitous access to pornography is quietly transforming American men and American culture.

Conley goes on to cite sociological data and build a case indicting pornography as a pervasive, degenerating influence.

The Raw Story’s Amanda Marcotte objects to his line of reasoning. She spins Conley’s effort into an indictment of Christianity. Her title says it all: “Christian website falls for Ariel Castro’s pathetic excuses.” She concludes:

Yes, men like [Castro] look at porn and probably drive the market for some of the uglier, more misogynist stuff out there, but men who don’t beat and rape women also look at porn without creating those problems. That’s because the link between wanting to rub one out and wanting to feel the power over a woman as she pleads for her safety aren’t the same desire.

This isn’t that hard to understand, so why does this Christian blogger refuse to see it and instead tries to make it about lust and pornography? Well, because to talk about the real causes of violence against women is to implicate social systems that teach that women are a servant class put here for men’s use….and the church is one of the biggest promoters of that belief. So yeah, I can see why they want to talk about anything else, preferably in terms of making people feel guilty about harmless behavior like sexual fantasy and masturbation.

From the discourse, we discover what it takes to get a feminist averse to misogyny to stand in defense of pornography. Any chance to take a stab at Christianity makes strange bedfellows.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
/scratching head/


It's not that I disagree with anything you've said, Walter, but I came away from your article feeling like I had read the notes or a half-finished outline for a complete article. There are a lot of missing pieces and half-finished thoughts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem is that pornography inspires a selfish sort of sex where you are only in it for yourself without any consideration of your partner. The act is solely for your own gratification and pleasure without any thought given to your partner and any possible consequences. And while a little innocent fantasy every now and then isn't always dangerous or damaging, you need to always be aware that there is the seductive nature of sex and gratification free from all consequence and responsibility to anyone else. That way lies the first steps down the road that leads to your monsters like Ariel Castro and along that way also lies marital and relationship problems and all the many other snafus other issues that the illusion of cheap, free and no-consequence, selfish sex can cause in your life.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (64)
All Comments   (64)
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>> Marcotte references it in a roundabout way, crediting Conley with “making people feel guilty about harmless behavior like sexual fantasy and masturbation.” In truth, people’s conscience makes them feel guilty.

Oh please. We're sexual beings. Guilt is way, way more socially inspired and driven than only by our conscience. Incredibly unrealistic to claim it only or mostly comes from inside us. Wow.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ariel Castro's problem wasn't porn. It was child rape.

The Catholic church has taught its followers that getting away with organized child rape is ok, especially if you use the power of god as your weapon. That is what the Catholic church has always done.

Ariel Castro was a regular church goer, and he undoubtedly saw the Catholic church committing rampant, organized child rape, and figured it was ok if he did some of it on his own. It is no surprise that bishops aren't condemning him for raping children. Catholic bishops have always supported pedophile priests, so they pick something else.

Castro's problem was that he raped children, and the Catholic church convinced him it was ok.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seems to me the great crown is the multi billion dollar porn industrial and the great throne of this Babylon the Great is the murder of 54 million little babies in mommies tender tummy

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts." — Malachi 3:1[29]

and also at the end of the next chapter in Malachi 4:5-6 where it says,

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Perkins, I have no evidence, not in the least (and that includes a self-biography) that Joseph Goebels ever swung his fist into any Jew's nose. Having heard all too many of his speaches plus watching dozens of documentaries I have seen camera shots of good and normal Germans swinging their fists into the nose of Jews and a certain conclusion suggests itself. The motivation for Germans of that day for swinging their fists as they pleased directed at actually trouncing the nose of many a Jew remains in the realm of pure irrationality unless one sees a causal connection between the medial transmission of Nazi visions of the Jews (a favorite one being associating them with rats and thereby recalling the plague) as a motivational factor. And it was Goebels who orchestrated the medial flood motivating violent behabior. Goebels did not need to hit any Jew, he just motivated others to do so. Indeed, the mass assemblies of the Nazis so influenced people that even some Jews, by their own words, longed to join in due to the overwhelming medial messaging (leaving aside what was meant). How does one, Mr. Perkins, protect the first admendment in light of the medial pressure to damage a specified group? Nonsense, nonsense you could cry aloud, until some of the propagandized toughs, motivated by the media, decided to kill you. What is the point here?

Mass medial mediation of behavioral patterns do have an influence. Does not Hollywood's excessive use of violence contribute to real violence and did not the propaganda films of the American army motivate American to fight unto their death in WW II and did not the mass media protrayal of the Vietnam war lead Americans to call for its end ending in communist triumph? According to Glenn Beck's The Blaze we Americans are number one in the world for websites with porno. Am I suppose to believe that there is no influence upon men (and women) for licencious sex, sex and more sex? Why do car companies place a half-naked woman next to the cars they want to sell if they did not believe in the effects of sexualizing the potential customer for the car? The bishop made a solid point!!! I can see no argument against it. I do not see where the man called for the banning of porno as Germany wisely does with anti-Semetic propaganda. There is nothing in the 1st admendment that means that sexualization will not sexualize and lead to a moral deterioration of American civil society. If Major Hassan (?) can claim that he killed Americans as a warrior of Islam (and I believe his motivation) why cannot a heineous sexual murderer not note that porno had seized his being? Or was the man's crime just work place violence?

I have suggested nothing re censoring, certainly not controlling pornography even for 1st graders. Why not as it is a first admendment right? I do suggest that sexualization sexualizes unto sexual deterioration of the mores of a society. In the case of Germany, the wangbangers here sex it up to a hefty non-reproduction of the population. A correlation is evident, namely the more sex (and plenty of porno websites here, mostly from America) of pormo origins and the death of the German population as the Germans are too busy having sex to be bothered with children. Without supporting a moral foundation in civil society, the Constitution is just a bag full of words awaiting the next porno show.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"While some belief systems calling themselves Christian have certainly fostered misogyny, an unbiased reading of scripture reveals the precious value women hold in God’s eyes."

Indeed. Just ask Ruth, Esther, Mary Magdalene, the prostitute invited to wash Jesus' feet, and countless other women who were elevated to be treated as humanely and judiciously as the men.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only thing that didn't hold true with castro's sexual addictions being related to his acts...is that he had a willing girlfriend at the time of the first kidnapping. He broke it off with her to kidnap girls. I think addictions will make us do all kinds of things...but if the addiction was sex..he was already getting that from his girlfriend. He broke it off with her, because the addiction was not sex...it was in someway a power addiction
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If there was an easy answer to the problem created by prostitution it would have been solved thousands of years ago. Society has not yet, and probably never will find a balance in its cohabitation with the underworld.

Legal porn, like alcohol or drugs results in problems. But so does making them illegal. The biggest problem we face today, IMHO, is the loss of common sense when efforts are made to manage the creeping sleaze that oozes from the underworld and poisons the well-springs of our lives.

As for Marcotte, just another Christian bigot, looking for a soapbox to stand on so she can look down her nose at others around her. Just a bitter old prune marinating in hatred. She deserves our pity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First off, the problem isn't that we are limiting porn, its that we're giving it unlimited access by any legal definition (I'm serious. Just look at John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure vs. Massachusetts). Heck, the Founding Fathers actually created a LOT of obscenity laws which, if we used the Warren Court's ruling, were unconstitutional specifically because it broke the First Amendment. Its not like prohibition, which did result in more problems when they were illegal than when it was legalized.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This isn't just about porn or sexual sin, it is as the author rightly
put it in the title, it's about the GOSPEL and it's power to
create in an individual who submits to it, the amazing by product
of SELF GOVERNMENT. It's why atheism can't claim to be moral,
you cannot have morality without GOD and you cannot have God
without JESUS, thats the gospel. The fruit of gospel people is a
free people, self governed citing God as the giver of rights.
We hold these truth's to be SELF EVIDENT that all men (not just
Americans) are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable
rights .... Our nation is in MORAL crisis, the foundations are cracking
and Jesus Christ is the only answer. Got Jesus?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, that's true. And atheism being amoral is best demonstrated during various communist revolutions, as well as their progenitor, the French Revolution. They gave up religion, and it resulted in a large percentage of people dead and lots of horrors undergone in that country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're both wrong. There's nothing immoral about atheism and there's nothing stopping an atheist from being moral. I'm going to attempt to explain this to you although I sincerely doubt it'll do any good.

EVERYONE chooses their own morality. Every single person. You both apparently adhere to Christianity, and that's fine. There are plenty of Muslims who think you're both so immoral as to be worthy of death, and plenty of Hindus who think you've got the afterlife all wrong. So you've got multiple religions offering mutually contradictory codes of conduct, all of which purportedly come from god, how do you know which one to follow?

You make a choice.

The plain fact is that any claim to make to a divine mandate can be made with equal force (and validity) by any other religion. So you follow Christianity because it feels right to you, the rules it lays down comport to your sense of right and wrong.

As an atheist I do the same thing. I judge what's right and what's wrong, I just don't claim any outside authority for my judgments. And here's the real kicker... our sense of right and wrong is probably a lot more similar than you think it is. I'm even pro-life. So you can't dismiss me as being immoral without taking on that mantle yourself.

And really, you guys need to stop with the whole "Communists are evil and committed 120 million murders therefore atheists are evil" thing. First of all Communists do what they do out of a lust for power, they don't do it because they're atheists. Secondly, and more importantly, it would take an entire dedicated website to list the atrocities committed in the name of religion throughout history. You don't see me blaming you for the Inquisition, do you?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No, we are both right and YOU are your own god making up your own
rules that fit you at the moment. I follow Christ because of His revealing Himself to me. I therefore am a member of the Christian believers that God owns this world not man, His world, His rules all set for mankind everywhere as the declaration states it is He that we derive our rights from.
I get nothing from you as you have no authority to give anything
to anyone. You and I are just men whom God so loved that He gave
His son to bear the sins of the world and upon acceptance we are
forgiven and charged to love our fellow man. You don't care about
your fellow man because you are your own god unto yourself.
Christianity stands alone, no other religion is even close to it, there is no comparison that can be made because there is only one creator
and He alone is God. But you've heard all that before and reject it,
good luck with that. You cannot even be a patriot because you,
like Obama, do not believe that all men were endowed by their creator
with certain inalienable rights.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1) Everything you say about god... every single word... is said by the adherents of every other religion on the planet. You have no empirical evidence that your revelation is any more relevant than theirs. And yes, I know that I just wasted a bunch of keystrokes because you're utterly incapable of understanding what I'm saying.

2) I served my nation in a war and put my life on the line to protect your right to be a closed-minded, illogical bigot. If, after that, you're saying I'm not a patriot I'll invite you roll that Bible of yours up really tight and cram it where the sun doesn't shine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I realized you or another atheist would claim that old Communists aren't representative of Atheists argument, which is why I specifically cited the French Revolution, because it had exterminated a lot of people and did several horrific acts, with religion being one of their most favorite aspects to persecute and exterminate, and that was BEFORE Communism even existed (heck, Karl Marx wasn't even BORN at the time). And no, it wasn't due to a lust for power. It was due to atheism, period, due to Karl Marx specifically stating in the Communist Manifesto to basically destroy religion (comparing it to Opium). Heck, the French Revolutionaries wanted anarchy, not power, and that's exactly what they got. Atheism is amoral.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ok, I'll play your game. Islam thinks that non-believers should be killed or enslaved. They believe that women have no rights and raping them is no big deal. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims act on these beliefs, causing death and misery worldwide.

Islam is a religion. Islam is immoral. Therefore religion is immoral.

And before you say "Islam doesn't count" remember that you're on this site, on this very thread in fact, advocating that people who don't agree with you be killed. So CLEARLY religious belief is no guarantee that people won't have murderous, totalitarian impulses.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ariel Castro is a man. Arial Castro is immoral. Therefore, men are immoral. Shepard is a man, therefore....

You need to take a logic class.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everyone chooses because God gave us freewill.

Humans in general are immoral, and there is no moral system created by humans, solely by humans, that is moral. This is, of course, predicated on the idea that religions are divinely inspired. And even if you don't believe in gods or God, you ought to be able to grasp the notion that most humans were smart enough to understand that people are basically immoral and the idea of a higher power setting the rules of moral behavior helped to hold folks to a better standard than they might otherwise achieve on their own. Atheists poo-poo this as using fear, but I call this simply understanding basic human nature.

After all, very few people reach a level of understanding where they see the benefits of moral behavior in their lives beyond how it makes like "unfun." They would prefer to continue on as lustful, greedy, selfish little animals with little to no self-control in their hedonistic existences with no mind to who it hurts and how.

And the next time you consider your morals, ask yourself where they came from and what their source ultimately is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"And even if you don't believe in gods or God, you ought to be able to grasp the notion that most humans were smart enough to understand that people are basically immoral and the idea of a higher power setting the rules of moral behavior helped to hold folks to a better standard than they might otherwise achieve on their own. Atheists poo-poo this as using fear, but I call this simply understanding basic human nature."

Well, whether the propagators of religion - any religion - are using fear or a superior understanding of human nature, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been very convenient to the founders of these religions if they are human enough to crave power. After all, if they can sell the idea that there is a devine entity, or god, that can't be seen but that can see us and smite us if we displease him, and if the founders of the religion can claim to have a special "in" with this god, then they can manipulate people to an enormous extent without ever being found out. If they have a personal objection to anything, they just have to make it a Commandment not to do that for fear of being sent to Hell for all eternity (or whatever the equivalent of Hell is in the other religions).

No one can question the religious leaders effectively as these use three main techniques to deal with challengers:
- they just decline to answer challenges
- they condemn the challengers to something like The Inquisition to suppress them (and anyone like them)
- they offer up bafflegab from the religion's holy books that purports to answer the challenge, even though no one can ever prove that this religion's deity actually wrote or inspired the holy books

It's this kind of nonsense that has made me skeptical of all religions. Too many clergymen of all religions have gained great power and sometimes great material wealth from concocting these religions while never being able to prove the immortality or other goodies promised to the faithful ever actually accrue to the practitioners. Why, of why, should I believe any of them?

I have no desire to hurt others or have power over them. I live by something close to the Golden Rule out of altruistic motives, not because I fear being consigned to hell by a wrathful god or because I expect to be granted heaven by a loving god. When I die, I expect the lights to go out, followed by nothing at all, ever again. It's not as pleasant as heaven but not as horrible as hell either and I don't expect to be conscious of it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I live by something close to the Golden Rule out of altruistic motives"
So you take what Jesus called the Greatest commandment, "to
love your neighbor as yourself" and apply it to atheism because,
it fits your belief? Your morality, SIR is stolen from the Gospel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, if I were to ever become an Atheist, I'd figure, the laws of morality are created by a being who doesn't exist, so why bother following them, as that means they don't exist anyways. The French Revolutionaries and the Communist Revolutionaries of all stripes pushed for that, and even Karl Marx and Robespierre pushed for that (and they're all confirmed atheists. Because of how they acted in their pure human nature, the carnage that was inflicted by their actions, I am fully aware that this is exactly how I would act if I were to become Atheistic, something I have absolutely no intention of ever becoming.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So the only reason you don't act like a savage is because you fear the retribution of a supernatural being. Absent that fear holding you in check you'd be another Castro, or Robespierre.

I on the other hand act like a decent human being without that fear, simply because I think it's the right thing to do.

And yet you think you're the moral one. Sorry, but you're not. You're just a child doing what he's told out of fear of a spanking.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everybody seems to be addicted to something. Men are by nature attracted to porn. It is part of our DNA. Porn is not limited to the internet or to magazines. Women capitalize on this natural inclination by they way they dress. They want to look "sexy." Nearly every woman engages in porn in some degree. None of this justifies rape. People learn not to act upon every impulse whether natural or unnatural.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Without knowing the details of Castro's behavior toward the women, it's hard to tell whether these kidnappings had anything at all to do with sex. Blaming porn sounds like a cop-out. Maybe somebody will write a book about this freak, then we'll at least begin to understand him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Given that he raped them on a daily basis I think it's obvious sex had something to do with his motivation. But blaming porn is indeed absurd. You may as well blame rock music or comic books.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why are you even posting here. If ideas don't have consequences then you are surely wasting your time. Porn affects different people in different ways and it certainly coarsens those who look at it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Who said ideas don't have consequences?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rape is as much about power as it is about sex.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A feminist friend of mine claimed that rape was almost exclusively about power. As evidence, she cited rapists who'd raped 75 year old women. It's hard to believe that the average young man would choose a very old (or young) woman for rape if sexual pleasure was his main drive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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