Tuesday, June 10, 2008

GAY SEX BOOK LEFT OPEN AND IN FULL DISPLAY
...read about this shocking and unfortunate incident and what you can do about it

But understand this, 
that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
-2 Timothy 3:1

UPDATE: 


Brannon House is a dear friend of mine and colaborer in the Lord for the gospel. I appreciate him greatly and him taking a stand on this issue. Read the following report he gives and then be encouraged to take some positive steps he is providing to help minimize this kind of thing from happening to you and your child in the future. As a disclaimer: if the book left open would have been of a heterosexual couple engaging in sex acts, I would be just as outraged.  Though homosexuality is not at all condoned biblically, the issue being represented here is not a gay-bashing or homophobic concern.  I have worked off and on pertaining to the AIDS issue since 1987 and have participated and produced many events where the gay community was also invited. So the main concern here is one of propriety and decency concerning what our children are exposed to when going to a family book store chain like Barnes and Noble.

From Brannon Howse at Christian Worldview Network:
On June 5th, my eleven year old son joined me in a visit to our local Barnes and Noble Bookstore. I was horrified at what my son saw. Open on a table was a very large, full-color, picture book displaying a man in full frontal nudity. The cover was two men kissing with the title GAY SEX. This book was filled with full-color pictures of gay men doing what they do.

The assistant manager told me that this was the second time that night this book had been laid open in the store. She also informed me that such books were regularly found in the men's room. she said a young boy had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom at this store and the man was never caught. The assistant manger walked me to where the book was normally kept. Was it behind a counter? No, it was on the top shelf of a bookcase that any 13 year old could reach. Welcome to the 21st Century where being gay is mainstream and celebrated as normal in a family bookstore. Listen to find out what I am going to do. (Download or listen to the MP3 - click here). (Right click and select "Save Target As")

After sharing these disturbing stories with me, the assistant manger walked me to where the book was normally kept. Was it behind a counter? No, it was on the top shelf of a bookcase that any 13 year old could reach. Welcome to the 21st Century where being gay is mainstream and celebrated as normal in a family bookstore. Click the link at the bottom of this article and listen to my national radio program to find out what I am going to do.

I returned to the Barnes and Noble the next day to document the placement of their pornographic books. I have three places where books that included pictures of either homosexual porn or heterosexual porn were placed throughout their bookshelves. One section of books was low enough that my five year old could have pulled them from the shelf. Collierville, TN does not have an ordinance that requires this type of material to be behind a counter out of reach of children or moved into a restricted area that requires a person to be 18 or older to enter. 

To read the entire story click here.


Here are some helpful thoughts from blogger Carla Rolfe speaking as a Christian wife and mother of seven.

Laws governing sexuality explicit material. 
Of course I don't live in TN but I was under the (ignorant?) impression that it was a rather common law in the states, that such material available in books, magazines, videos and dvd would be restricted to 18 and older customers. It wasn't that long ago that in our society that material wouldn't even be found in a mainstream bookstore. To find that material, you had to go to the "other side of town" to that little building that was unamarked, but that everyone knew what they sold. While in terms of time it really wasn't that long ago, it does say a lot for just how much our culture has changed in such a short period of time. There's a convenience store in town that Kev had to stop shopping at, because their hardcore porn magazines are on full display at the front of the store. It was impossible to avoid them in the store, so instead he chose to avoid the store. Bearing in mind we're in Canada, where the laws pertaining to these things are far more liberal than those in the states, and especially in the southern, "Bible Belt" states.

The Campaign to Normalize Homosexuality. 
It has apparently become so "normal" to accept the gay lifestyle as just another lifestyle, that the fact that this material is sold at Barnes and Noble, hasn't appeared to really upset anyone all that much. It bothers me, that this doesn't bother more Christians. It makes me wonder which kind of pure wickedness will be next to be accepted as "normal". It makes me grieve for the next generation.

Guarding our Eyes (and those of our children)
I have never seen the kind of material that Brannon Howse's son was exposed to last week, and I hope I never do. I have friends in law enforcement who have as part of their field, had to investigate child pornography. They will say that the images of unnatural acts they have seen are burned into their memories, forever. Some of them need ongoing counselling to deal with just having those images in their minds, and these are adult men and women.

I know that many will disagree about the damage that images can cause, but the testimonies of countless adult men and women who are addicted to porn, or who were formerly addicted to porn, should be enough to give us all pause for thought as to the potential for harm of placing things before our eyes, that should not be there. This caution goes quadruple for children, that aren't even close to being old enough to process what they see from a mature, discerning worldview. I have read (as I'm sure others have as well) testimonies from former porn addicts (and violent criminals as well) who often say that being exposed to "adult" images as children, is what began their life in that arena. I can't prove that there is a connection between "adult" images seen by children and a sinfully wicked lifestyle as an adult, but it sure seems obvious to anyone really paying attention. (There may be statistics that bear this out, I haven't researched it to know). Based on what I just said, how do "homosexual adult" images have any bearing on the mind of a child? I cannot begin to guess for certain, but I suppose it just deepens the damage - especially considering the culture we live in that shoves this lifestyle in our faces and fully expects us to embrace it.

Boycotting Blatant Ungodly Businesses & Business Practices. 
Well there's a big ole can of worms. Does it work? I don't know, some will say yes and others say no. I think it's really more of a matter of conviction. Does ABC business sell trash? Yes, and I don't shop there. Does XYZ utility company support some anti-God, anti-Christian organization or association? Yes, many of them do, but that doesn't mean we're going to shut the lights, phone, cable, sat, water & gas off, just to not be connected to them in some way. We all have to make choices all day long based on our Christian convictions. Where we shop, what we watch on tv, sites we visit on the internet, what we read offline, etc. If in this case, Barnes and Noble refuses to change their policy regarding their homosexual porn literature (and I can't see why they would), then it's up to individual Christians to make the choice on whether or not to shop there. Bearing in mind, pretty much every other mainstream bookstore carries the same stuff, so no matter where you shop for books & such, you're going to run into this to one degree or another. Welcome to living in a fallen world where sinners act like sinners. God's grace and mercy on those sinners is what changes them - not boycotts...

Thank you Carla.


The following link below is one way that you can help be salt and light in our decaying society; a way to visibly demonstrate love for your neighbor.  It is a petition you can fill out and it will take you about one minute to do so.  May I encourage you, as I have already done, to sign this petition that Brannon is spearheading to let your voice be made known to the good folks at Barnes and Noble and to the leadership of the city of Collierville.  This is a legal, Christ-honoring way to express your views as a believer on this issue.  As a father of five teenage sons and daughters this was a must moment for me to do.

Please continue to pray for Brannon in his effort to be a Christian voice representing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ right where he lives in this matter.  It is a good example for us all to follow.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Live out Loud...
Steve

18 comments:

ljchan said...

The gay community here in Iceland seems to be widely accepted. The state Lutheran church, to which almost everyone belongs here, is under great pressure, and is caving in. As I last understood, priests are allowed to "bless" homosexual unions IN THE CHURCH, though not formally marry them, if such priest is so inclined. Two very popular musicians (at least two) are openly, promotionally gay. One often hosts dances for young people. The posters are often, well, things I really don't want my kids (5) to see. In fact, there is an annual parade in the capital,(I think it's called the Rainbow parade), which promotes the gay community and lifestyle. And who attends? Families--whole families, with their cheeks face-painted with rainbows, smiling, waving and cheering the parade participants. Babes in arms, toddlers in strollers. In addition, we receive two booklets a week in the mail that have the TV schedule, ads and coming events for the week. My kids are NOT allowed to open them until I have looked through them first, not only to take out lingerie and suggestive ads, but full-colour pornographic ads for the "adult" store in town. I could go on about TV programs--but we got rid of our TV last year. I find it necessary to be quite aggressive in guarding, and teaching my children to guard themselves. I often hear that we cannot protect them from everything--but I truly believe that if we are diligent to protect our eyes and ears, God will protect us in the times that it couldn't be helped (ie, we saw by accident). We may get soiled, but it cannot take root or do great damage.

Steve, I am always very encouraged when you write of your children and their faithfulness, and how they are flourishing in the Lord. May the Lord continue to equip you fully for this task!

Bless,
Lynda

ljchan said...

Pardon me--He has already equipped you fully. May He grant you the grace to make full and wise use of it!

DaWildBoar said...

Steve
Thank you for this post.

We do live in a fallen world and this is just more proof of that. Except for the grace of God, there go I. So as I join Brannon in this stand he is taking, I think we should also pray for the one who did this offense as well.

If the Lord can change my sinful heart, then He can change anyone's.

Robert

SJ Camp said...

tjchan
Thank you for sharing this and for your prayers too. This can be a great opportunity to share the gospel of grace with others - can'it it...

Robert
I agree, except for the grace of God, there go I too. Sin is sin; and though different sins carry different weight of consequence to them, there is level ground around the cross of our Lord... Amen?

Grace and peace,
Steve

wheat and chaff said...

Steve
Really good post - thank you dude. I am glad you didn't gay bash on this issue. They need the Lord too and sometimes in our zeal for the gospel, we can offend somebody else without thinking (at least I can).

Good word and I am with Brannon on this one.

SJ Camp said...

wheat and chaff
Love the nic you've chosen.

Gay-bashing doesn't help anyone on this... Though homosexuality is sin (monogamous or otherwise), the only offense that the gay-community should ever receive from Christians is the offense of the cross!

Steve
Gal. 6:14

ljchan said...

Yes, it's a great opportunity. A sister here told me of an Assemblies of God pastor in the capital who is very outspoken about homosexuality (in other words, he calls it sin), and he meets with much criticism. But very often when a homosexual needs help, who do they go to? Yep, him. He loves these people, and they know it. Hate the sin like God does--and love the sinner like God does! Same way He hates our sin and loves us...

josephmcbee said...

Thanks Steve for bringing this to our attention. You are right however, this is not really a homosexual issue, it is a pornography issues. It is no different than any other type of pornographic material on display where people are exposed to it against their will. I mean let's face it, we are not only trying to protect the hearts and minds of our kids from that kind of filth, we need to protect our own hearts and minds as well!

Debbie said...

Steve said: “As a father of five teenage sons and daughters this was a must moment for me to do.”

Yes! Thank you for making us aware. When my daughter was 6 yrs. old, we were at our public library where that month’s issue of Rolling Stone was right at eye-level with her. Without me being aware of the topless (mostly back toward the camera yet far too revealing) photo on the front, she turned to me and said “Mommy! Where are her clothes?” When I addressed it with the librarian, she gave me the standard “It’s not our job to censor …” I couldn’t believe that this pat answer had taken the place of all common sense. Since we spent so much time there on a weekly basis I didn’t want to start worrying about it every time we went. Due to the fact that other parents had said something as well, they did put an outer wrap around the cover and have made it a standard policy now for a selective group of magazines. Sometimes collectively, all it takes is just a few minutes of our time …

SJ Camp said...

josephmcbee
this is not really a homosexual issue, it is a pornography issues.

Exactly. Thank you for your comment brother.

Campi
2 Cor. 3:5

SJ Camp said...

debbie
I do think the issue here is the public arena as you hinted at. Family friendly venues should guard against all matters of things in that public venue for no other reason than to protect the hearts and minds of younger children.

To be "shade for the children..."
Steve

Brandon said...

Thanks for the post. A petition might work, but perhaps a more effective way is for people to simply go down to their local Barnes and Noble to see what their store is like (or do both). If it is a problem, inform the manager that you will no longer be shopping at their store because of it. Not only may the direct personal interaction be more effective business wise, it allows for the opportunity to relate personally with someone who has not heard the gospel.

meritymes said...

This is so sad. The little hearts of our children need protecting.

Brannon, I am going to act on your suggestion and go to my Barnes and Noble and see what they have sitting out on the tables for our kids to see.

Thanks for your courage and Steve, thanks for posting this.

Meredith

KarensFaith said...

Yes, I heard about this a couple of days ago. I signed the petition and am praying that something gets done about this. I get the Worldview Weekend in my email and today's was also about this. Apparently the manager is changing her story and calling Mr. Howse a liar. So sad. I am so thankful that there was a witness to back him up. Not that I wouldn't believe him, because I would, just because it confirms his story to those who wouldn't believe him. So I am keeping him in prayer and his son also. Eleven years of age is too young to have your innocence taken from you.

Karen

Sharon said...

I met almost the same situation in the local Borders a couple of years ago. The Bargain Books table prominently featured a stack of very graphic, fully illustrated sex manuals--on the edge of the table RIGHT NEXT TO the Children's section! I raised a commotion about it and they acted like I was out of my mind. Even though they told me they'd move the objectionable books, I went back the next day and they were STILL THERE. That's when I started moving them myself. It got me in a bit of trouble, but I don't care. I'm happy to say that the Bargain Books section is no longer next to where the kids go.

I regularly check to see if there are raw magazines at the local supermarkets being displayed at child eye level. I don't mess around with cashiers, either--I go right to the management and make a lot of noise in front of other customers. Often people are thinking the same things, but feel intimidated about vocalizing their complaints. Then when someone else pipes up, they are emboldened to add their voices as well.

Salt and light, folks; salt and light. And don't let the world squeeze you into its mold (Romans 12: 2)!

Derek Joseph said...

There seems to be a growing blindness to God's law... this whole thing just makes me very sad.

SJ Camp said...

derek joseph
There is a blindness to God's law on this; but, we must also remember that God has written His law on the hearts of all people.

Thanks for your comment.

sharon, karen, meredith
Praise the Lord for godly women, wives and mothers who care to stand up for the truth and let their voice be known.

Keep being dedicated Moms, guarding the hearts of your children. It is a daunting task today isn't it?

Grace and peace,
Steve
Psalm 121

SJ Camp said...

Brandon
A petition might work, but perhaps a more effective way is for people to simply go down to their local Barnes and Noble to see what their store is like (or do both).

Agreed! I have spoken with Brannon and that is what he is encouraging others to do as well. I plan on making a stop by the Barnes and Noble in my area too.

And as we go do this, let us make sure our motives are right by praying for those who work at B and N and for the ones who maybe putting these materials out for others to see.

It was a good thing to read that this was not a B and N policy, but rather a lone customer with an agenda.

Steve