This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.
Why does the Assemblies of God stand so strongly against pornography
The Assemblies of God is strongly opposed to all forms of pornography so freely available today. The 1987 Statement on Pornography expresses distress and outrage at "the encroachment of pornographic materials and establishments in America." All around us we see the insidious consequence of pornography on social values, on moral behavior, and on family life.
We believe pornography violates the sexual and moral integrity of human beings. God created human beings as male and female to consummate their sexual union within the security of marriage for the purposes of procreation and mutual intimacy. Pornography encourages sexually immoral thoughts (Matthew 5:28) and actions (1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19) and is thus destructive to marital and family relationships.
Though some defenders of pornography dispute the claim, there is no question about the fact pornography is linked with such immoral behavior as promiscuity, sexual abuse, adultery, rape, violence, child abuse, degrading human dignity, sexual dominance, and discrimination. The indirect but real devastation of families and marriages is a high price to pay for this vice which fills the pockets of unprincipled members of organized crime. Pornography is now available at local movie theaters, neighborhood video shops, and on home television and computer software. The Assemblies of God is particularly disturbed at the availability of this diabolical material to children and young people.
The portrayal of nudity which does not involve force, coercion, sexual activity, violence, or degradation is defended by some as having no relation to pornography. Classical paintings of past centuries are presented as evidence along with medical depictions of unclad human bodies which are essential for life-sustaining professions. However, blanket approval of "mere" nudity has its dangers. When does "mere" nudity begin to take on clear suggestions of sexual activity? The impact of such material on children, on attitudes about women, and on the relationship between the sexes must be seriously considered.
Of great concern to the Assemblies of God is the current tendency of the purveyors of pornography to defend their malicious production and distribution of the evil material by wrongly appealing to the first amendment to the US Constitution as their guarantee of freedom to publish without challenge, in print, on film, or on the live stage, every kind of degrading and despicable portrayals. Nor can we understand judges who by their concurring rulings rewrite the Constitution to make it say and mean things that were never intended by the original framers. We strongly oppose judges, lawyers, legislators, and politicians who have manipulated the original protection of freedom of religion to exclude Christianity and biblical morality while encouraging all kinds of immorality through the reinterpretation of our Judeo-Christian constitution.
Liberal voices also give a very loose definition to the word censorship. They accuse those who speak out against pornography of being self-appointed censors trying to dictate to everyone else what they can watch or read. But this use of the word censorship is misuse of terminology for the purpose of argumentation. Technically, only a government agency or official can censor or prevent the publication of ideas and entertainment. To prohibit individuals and citizen groups from expressing their convictions on any matter, including what should be the law of the land, is in itself censorship or curtailing the right of free speech. The writers of the US constitution never intended obscenity and immorality to be protected. The right of free speech was declared in order to protect the privilege of individuals to express and publish ideas. Ideas however, are much different from pornography and gross obscenity. Christians and non-Christians both will gain from the free exchange of ideas. Of course, the ideas of Christianity which enhance and build society should not be excluded from the right of free speech, but pornography, immorality, and obscenity like other vices that destroy society must be curbed if our civilization is to survive.
We also express concern over the so-called sex therapists who advise married couples to view pornography in order to add excitement to their marriage relationship. We believe this activity to be wrong for Christian couples because it (1) reduces married love to the level of an animal act, (2) encourages lust rather than true love, and (3) portrays infidelity in a positive light.
We are particularly concerned that the flood of pornography is negatively influencing a generation of children who may grow up without moral principles or standards. The church would desire that all of society accepted and supported the biblical, Judeo-Christian standards of morality. Such a prospect seems highly unlikely. Therefore a great burden is placed on parents to supervise the various forms of popular entertainment their children may view.
The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching. The official delineation of this position is found in the Assemblies of God "Statement on Pornography" adopted by The General Council, 1987.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.