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'If Jesus was alive, he'd watch porn'

india Updated: Jul 01, 2006 18:23 IST
AFP
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A Christian missionary group making the rounds at US adult entertainment conventions hands out Bibles with "Jesus loves porn stars" stamped on their covers.

Jesus loves porn stars just as much as he does pastors and soccer moms, XXXchurch contends.

The outreach team from XXXchurch, calling itself a "porn ministry," distributes paperback New Testaments with a gaudy purple-and-yellow cover reading: "Jesus loves porn stars."

Its website, billed as the number-one Christian porn site, includes downloadable Bible studies and an array of "prayer software," including "accountability programs" designed to help users resist pornographic temptation.

The Bible's text, in everyday conversational English, includes this introduction from XXXchurch:

"Jesus loves pornographers as much as he loves pastors, soccer moms, liars, thieves and prostitutes. We're all just people who need God to save us from the mess we're in, and lead us to a better way."

Pornography brings in more revenue in the US than all of professional football, baseball and basketball franchises combined, according to the conservative research group Family Safe Media.

XXXchurch has taken its message on the road for "porn Sundays," a traveling seminar "to bring healing and recovery to those struggling with pornography."

The group estimates that over half of Christian ministers use pornography regularly, and are determined to expose "America's dirty little secret." It is not made explicitly clear how XXXchurch arrived at this number.

Its pastor, J.R. Mahon, and founding pastor Craig Gross, have published a book titled "Starving Jesus" outlining their unorthodox missionary views. The cover features a cartoon image of an emaciated Jesus with blinking bug eyes dragging a cross.

Their mission: to change church culture inside out.

"We're sick of pastors with planes, pastors with record deals, pastors with bodyguards," writes Mahon. "Give to the poor, evangelize on a city street, bring the hooker to church, just get off your butt and do something."

At the recent Los Angeles Erotica convention, Mahon spent three days spreading his message. One convention visitor, armed with a camera for snapshots of favorite pornographic actresses, was perplexed by the pastors' gift of a pocket-sized Bible.

"It's the real deal, no naked chicks in there, just the word of the lord," said Mahon. "Well, I don't really read, but thanks," the conventioneer replied before rushing off to collect autographs.

"We're not here to tell people they're going to hell," said Mahon. "We just want people to know that we dig God and we want them to dig him too."

But some believe there are better ways to attract potential converts.

"Christ would never compromise or stoop to their level. Mary came to him, remember? He didn't go to the whore house using words like sex and porn," said a typical entry in the hate mail section of the XXXchurch website.

"It's nothing but a gimmick to you, an excuse to mingle with the perverts. You talk more about porn than you do Jesus Christ," it said.

Mahon admits his ministry has received mixed reactions in the Christian community. "When we first started this thing four years ago, some people looked at us and thought we were working for the devil," Mahon said.

The young ministers also had trouble finding a publisher for their porn-fighting Bible. The American Bible Society, one of the oldest Bible publishers in the US, refused to print it.

"Out of a sense of propriety, ABS felt that the wording 'Jesus Loves Porn Stars' was misleading and inappropriate for a New Testament cover," the company said in April.

Despite flaps over its methods, XXXchurch continues to make the rounds of porn conventions and congregations nationwide in its "porn mobile" -- a black, customized SUV splattered with an eyebrow raising logo.

"These are the perfect places to find people to love God," said Mahon. "If Jesus was here today, he'd go to the porn shows."

 

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