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The Politics of Pornography and Christianity

A recent article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives made some interesting observations about the rate of porn usage among groups in America. According to this study anyway, porn use is the highest among conservatives and particularly strong among conservative Christians. Utah also happens to have the highest rate of porn usage in the country. Can’t say I’m surprised there. Here are some of the relevant quotes from the article:

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama. Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage…

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behaviour.”


  1. parishioner wrote:

    So what’s up with that?

    I have my own theory, but I’d like to hear yours. Why are you not surprised?

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  2. N. Dan Smith wrote:

    I came across this question from another angle when I was perusing the CBD catalog and asked my wife: “how many Christian sex books do we really need?” I have also been surprised by statistics which show that conservative Christian teachings against pre-marital sex have almost no impact on behavior. The vast majority of Americans, including Christians, have sex before marriage. Now it seems that church teaching on porn actually has a negative effect.

    I can’t quite put my finger on the problem, except to say that the evangelical church has problems when it comes to talking about sex.

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
  3. N. Dan Smith wrote:

    Above I should have said, “how many Christian sex books do Christians really need?” ;-)

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
  4. parishioner wrote:

    Equally sobering are the stats showing how many single Christians have abortions, rather than let their families/churches know they had pre-marital sex–the numbers are scary. What does it say about us that we’ve produced an environment where murder is a preferable alternative to confession and repentance?

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink
  5. Chris Ashley wrote:

    For what it’s worth, there’s reason to be skeptical of this research, or at least this interpretation of it. The social science bloggers at Crooked Timber (no apologists for the state of Utah, they) explain.

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
  6. Hill wrote:

    It’s all of those Evangelicals sinning boldly.


    Monday, March 2, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    Actually if they were sinning boldly, they’d just go to strip clubs. If anything porn subscriptions are sinning wussily.

    Monday, March 2, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  8. bobby grow wrote:

    I agree with Halden, we would probably feel more free to “sin boldly” if we had a confessional available ;-).

    Monday, March 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  9. Hill wrote:

    Yeah, I go straight for the brothel now.

    Monday, March 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  10. parishioner wrote:

    Your brothel comment makes me think of that line from “Benjamin Button”:

    “Have you been with many women, Benjamin?”
    “Not on Sundays . . .”

    Monday, March 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. some random things worth looking into… » don furnaloni on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    [...] If you are for banning gay marriage, you’re a porn addict and voted for McCain. At least that’s what this research suggests. [H/T: Halden] [...]

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