Newsweek reported earlier this year that Christian dating web site BigChurch.com is owned by Penthouse Media Group Inc. According to the article, Penthouse, founded in 1965 by Bob Guccione, was acquired in 2004 by a group of investors led by entrepreneur Marc Bell. Penthouse acquired social-network giant Various, Inc. for $500 million in cash and stock. Its subsidiaries now include a number of online dating sites—from BigChurch.com to Bondage.com.
Talking to my friend Dan Meyer, sword swallower and the social networking guru who brought this story to my attention, Dan commented he had noticed that one or two of the Christian sites had “more or less ‘standard’ options for Religion,” including atheist, agnostic, etc. and that he thought those were “kind of strange options for Christian sites.”
It makes you wonder — who really owns the Christian sites and networks? Is it enough to flock to a site or network just because it says “Christian,” or do we as Christians need to do our homework on who really OWNS these “Christian” sites before we sign up and make them our home?
Permit me a brief tangent. The other day I walked into Macy’s, and right at the entrance was a metal column with four nearly life-sized posters on each side promoting the new Estee Lauder fragrance, “Sensuous.” Each poster featured different semi-nude young women in black panties and white blouses, left unbuttoned and gaping open. Their chests were visible from neck to navel, with little left to the imagination. Macy’s is not a Christian business, but we have allowed advertising to go unchecked to where now young boys must walk past soft porn posters to get in to shop at a mainstream retailer.
In the 1950s Playtex began the first bra and girdle advertising on television, but the bras were modeled on plastic bust forms. It was not until the 1990s that television allowed bras to be shown on live models. From http://findarticles.com Now the live models don’t even have to have bras on and are barely covered! Look how far we have allowed the gates to crumble in the past few years!
Does it matter who owns the business if they provide a good service? Not if you don’t mind soft porn in stores where you shop and on the web sites you and your children patronize and support. And if we can tolerate being unequally yoked, and turn a blind eye to semi-nude women, it won’t be long before the blouses come completely off.
If we have allowed those gates to crumble into such ruin, imagine what we will allow to get past us and past our children by frequenting web sites, dating services, and social networks owned and operated by pornographers. The same kind of soft-porn ads as the Estee Lauder ad above are already online on mainstream discussion boards, web sites, and networks. If the “Christian” sites are not owned and operated by Christians, the same kind of content will most assuredly find its way there, because the bottom line is profit, not salvation.
So, who’s guarding the gate in your home, your neighborhood, and your community?
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