Oct. 13 2010 02:36 PM

Our take on the Great Porn Debate


“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” That's how the saying goes. So it was a little awkward to see the Rock Church getting a little dirty by hosting the “Great porn Debate” last Saturday night. Yes, that monolithic monument of monotheism at Liberty Station, which claims to be the 23rd largest church in the U.S., invited its congregation to hear the pros and cons of the $14 billion industry (according to Forbes.com).

Our “great” debaters? Craig Gross, the young, charismatic founder of XXXChurch.com, whose mission, according to the site, is to “bring awareness, openness and accountability to those affected by pornography,” but through the lens of Jesus. And who better to defend the industry than porn legend Ron Jeremy, the bulbous, mustachioed star of over 2,000 dirty flicks.

The debate's been traveling the country for more than three years, but this was the first time it was held in a church. The whole exhibition was less a Lincoln / Douglas-style meeting of minds and more a surge of pre-rehearsed talking points.

Gross spent much of his time discussing the evils and godlessness of the industry. He cited his work converting ex-postars to

Christianity and “treating” those with porn addictions but rarely had statistics or studies to back up his points. Most of his contentions— that porn degrades women, desensitizes men and is harmful to children—played right to the crowd, which, by the look of things, consisted mostly of Rock regulars.

Jeremy, naturally on the defense, used most of his time discussing success stories and maintaining that the porn industry is no different than any other fantasy-based entertainment medium, operating under even stricter rules and laws than those that apply to video games, music and others. Unlike Gross, he used concrete examples and statistics, but many of them, while interesting, didn't exactly back up what was originally being discussed.

So who won? Both, or neither, depending on how you look at it. Gross was engaging and spoke authoritatively despite his lack of facts. Jeremy worked in specifics, but often resembled a mumbling, bored hedgehog. Those who came in with their mind made up on the topic probably left feeling empowered and reloaded with verbal ammunition should they ever have to debate the topic themselves. All and all, the whole spectacle was, well, quite pornographic. Two guys mentally masturbating with an anxious crowd awaiting an explosion of cerebral skeet. And they lapped it up happily.

Calendar

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See all events on Thursday, May 5