Well, for one thing, I learned that humans get angry very fast when they are defending their beliefs, and that even Christians start shouting or use cruel sarcasm to score a point, without noticing that in the heat of battle they’ve forgotten Jesus’ advice, “íf someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also”.
It was an education for me. We barnyard talking pigs have a rule – we’re expected to treat each other with respect when we’re discussing something. Using that plan, we often come to agreement, or at least understand the other pig’s point of view and gain some sympathy as to why they might think that way. When I forget that rule, I’m always sorry afterwards.
I also learned that, when humans discuss deeply held beliefs, they generally don’t feel they need to bring in evidence to support their belief. Generally, when pigs talk, we’re expected to bring in examples from something that happened in our lives, or something we read in the newspaper or a book.
Like, for instance, two or three years ago I read a series of profiles in the Toronto paper of a sixteen year old runaway girl (Google didn’t turn the story up, so I guess it’s not online anymore.) When she arrived in town, she was met at the bus station by a great guy who wanted to take care of her and be her boy friend. He bought her meals and nice clothes and fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. But first she had to do one “one” thing to prove her love for him. She had to sleep with another guy, of course. He was a pimp who had found a nice new profit center for his collection. The girl was coerced, brainwashed I guess you could say, and came to believe that being a prostitute was the way to prove her love for him. And, when she was arrested – time and time again – and sent to a foster home, she would run away and return to her life on the streets. No policeman, no social worker, thought she was doing this from free rational choice, but because she was a dumb sixteen year old kid who was screwing up her life. The series made a big impression on me and influenced my opinion of how and why young girls might choose to become pornography models, as well as prostitutes. So I would probably have brought something like that up.
One reader, Paula did bring in a documentary she had seen about a porn actress. “It was difficult to watch”, Paula wrote. “She was so pathetic, and had to work so hard to convince herself that this was what she wanted.” I thought that was helpful, but then – she was agreeing with me.
Here’s some stuff everyone agreed on: Child pornography, like child prostitution is, as Mr. Weiner described it, “wrong, amoral, evil and sick”. I would extend that to include what the pimp did to that sixteen year old runaway. Probably most of us would.
Personally, if I was king I’d extend this circle of protection to naive eighteen or twenty-one year olds who are enticed by the same kind of pimp. I’d do it simply because I have known so many naive dumb twenty-one year olds of both sexes. And I wish them well.
I was intrigued by a couple of points that came up but not developed. Belladonna pointed out that the sexually exploited are in essence not different than “those poor souls who ‘sell their body’ to deep pit mines or mindless factories that seem dehumanizing (and often dangerous) for the profit of corporate stakeholders.” That’s a thought worth developing. In fact somebody already did. I read a book by Gary Haugen, called Good News About Injustice, which very powerfully makes that case from a Christian perspective. The book had a big influence on my thinking and I recommend it.
And finally, one reader, who I am proud to say is also a talking pig, actually suggested a potential strategy for regulating abuses within the pornography industry.
Here’s what she said: “If the courts decide that, due to First Amendment reasons, such violent (sexual) images have to be allowed to be produced (this IS currently a Pennsylvania court case), at a bare minimum the industry needs to be TIGHTLY regulated. Perhaps we could demand that substantial changes be instigated in the industry. For example, CGI (Computer Graphics Imaging) be required to create all intercourse/penetration images. In this day and age with our advanced CGI there is no reason for any human to be subjected to the very real threat of sexually transmitted diseases and possible internal and organ injury for a paycheck. Period. Make porn producers get OSHA work practices inspections and licenses, and seals of approval from watchdog groups for every movie made and magazine pic taken, and have it put in large letters on the magazine cover that “No human was in any way injured in the making of these images. These are staged images only. Computer graphics are responsible for all penetration images.” I can hear the porn producers screeching now.”
To me, that proposal makes a lot of sense, and might be a useful place to take a civil, mutually respectful discussion with neither Bible-pounding nor cruel sarcasm, but just trying to understand each other and hopefully even eventually discover a strategy that normal people like us (pigs are people too, you know) could implement. Or decide we don’t need to.
We could also just go on to the next topic, of which I have one million.
We could discuss, for instance, how to best take Jesus’ warning to heart and try to remember it in our lives. The one where he says, “I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or a sister you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire.”
Written along the Little Deschutes River, LaPine Oregon.