Reason and Reverence mentions the following concerns about pornography as a social ill:
I need look no farther than the UU principles as a start for why religious liberals may want to start thinking about why pornography is a social problem. The first two principles:I'll agree that there are segments of the pornography and sexually-related businesses that are selfish and inconsiderate.
Pornography seems to seriously violate both of these cherished principles. It is a humongous, selfish, disgusting industry that belittles and trivializes human sexuality. It objectifies and commodifies men and women. It portrays sex in a brutal, selfish, unrealistic way.
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
Some sexually-related businesses do belittle and trivialize human sexuality. And some do economically exploit their workers.
However, the objectification and brutality mentioned above sounds like a description of the "Gonzo Porn" genre. These objections may not apply to all pornography. Like other types of media, there is a wide range of normal variation in pornography.
The explicit values in the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum jointly developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ may be useful for exploring pornography as a values issue. You can find the OWL values online here.
The OWL curriculum spends very little time discussing pornography. Most of the discussion of porn as a values issue happens in the adult curriculum where many views are presented and it's left as an open-ended question for the group to discuss.
Let's look at the list of issues that Reason and Reverence raised with pornography:
- Humongous, selfish, disgusting industry
- Belittles and trivializes human sexuality
- Objectifies and commodifies men and women
- Portrays sex in a brutal, selfish, unrealistic way
Is pornography innately incompatible with our religious values? Or the problems that we've identified with pornography due to the corporate commercial culture that produces much of the pornography in North America?
For example, would amateur porn made by lesbians for lesbians be OK within our values?
This hypothetical example would eliminate the commercialization issues and the patriarchy oppression issues commonly associated with pornography. However, it would still involve people obtaining pleasure from viewing sexually explicit images.
Personally, I've enjoyed the sex-positive feminist perspective on porn issues. Here are some sex-positive feminist web resources that you can check out:
- Susie Bright's Journal
- Greta Christina's Blog
- Sexual Intelligence (Dr. Marty Klein)
- Joani Blank (UU tidbit -- Joani is a member of First UU Church of Oakland CA)
- Betty Dodson