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Natalie Lederhouse
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April 24, 2012

Groupon, Torture Porn, and our Response

What it means for us when the daily deals website offers a tour to visit Kink’s Studios

Last week, Groupon released a deal: $28 for Armory and Adult-Film Set Tour for Two at San Francisco Mission Armory.

You read that right—guests 18 and older are lead through five floors of historic armory . . . and elaborate adult film sets, possibly during filming. Groupon’s release of this tour coupon set into motion a public boycott against the daily deals website.

The Mission Armory, the building offered for tour, was once meant for national security—it housed the California National Coast Guard Artillery, the naval militia, and later, was a social center for the city’s national guardsmen. But eventually it fell out of use, and after being left vacant for several decades, it was converted into an adult film studio in 2007—specializing in “torture porn.” According to the boycott site, www.waronillegalpornography.com, Kink’s studios touts their videos for specializing in:

“Live filming of ‘young sexy teens who are overwhelmed and outnumbered . . . who need to learn a lesson by multiple men’; of women being ‘bound, whipped, objectified, and humilated. They are immobolized, caged, and humiliated as objects’; of women ‘suspended and tied in rope bondage . . . tormented beyond all reason’; and of women ‘naked, tied up, bound, punished, exposed in public . . . who are taken to public bars for public sex and public humiliation. . . .’ ”

It is incredible how quickly something can become perverted once it loses its purpose, whether it be a building, a business—even a person. The Prince of Darkness is continually at work.

This Groupon deal brings into question how something so embarrassingly inappropriate and twisted could be sold in such a mainstream venue. What bothers me more, though, is how not surprised I was when I read about it. My reaction was, Wasn’t it about time for something like this to come up? Isn’t this where society is headed anyway?

Although this Groupon deal raised a ruckus and led to a boycott, I wonder if it will cause the same reaction in another 50 years. It brings to mind that metaphor, so often used from the pulpit, of the frog that boils to death because the heat is raised slowly enough that it doesn’t recognize the danger it’s in. I fully expect things to get worse and worse.

As a culture, we seem to be living defenseless, lazy, entertainment-hungry lives. We’re submersed in a world that’s continually swaying toward distortion—“envelope pushing,” it’s called. So much of our society swims in sickness, because just like the Mission Armory, we’ve lost our purpose. But unlike the Mission Armory, our purpose wasn’t lost because of a lack of need—our purpose was lost when Adam and Eve chose the fruit over the goodness of God. It’s been a downhill slide ever since.

It makes me wonder what will become the next cultural norm.

Cheery, huh?

But for children of God, it’s a different story.

We know our purpose. Because through it all, we serve and follow God, who was, is, and forever will be good. God remains holy. James 1:17 sums it up this way: God is the “Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (ESV). He is unchanging. He is unswayable. And that is the greatest news we could ever receive. While our culture continues its downward slide into depravity, we hold onto the hand of the One who remains steadfast, good, and holy.

There is hope in God where there is no hope in humankind. And the more depraved society becomes, the more we are able to bear witness to God’s goodness in contrast. As followers of Christ, we represent the light that shines, that cuts through the darkness. God’s holiness finds its hands and feet in the church collective, and in individuals—we who want to live our lives differently from the rest of the world.

So in light of events like this Groupon offer, yes, we can take action. We can sign petitions and speak up against depravity. But more important, we can get to work living and modeling holy lives, resting in the truth that we worship an unchanging God, regardless of what this world throws at us. God uses all things to bring glory to him—and he can use his children, living in a land of darkness, to point others to him.

What do you think? How can we best be the lights of the world in a society continually pressing toward darkness?

Ashley Moore is the editorial coordinator for Kyria.com and Discipleship Resources for Christianity Today. You can view her blog, where she writes and rants about God and life, here.

Related Tags: culture, porn, response, witness


It's not surprise to me that this type of video is being made, the analogy of slowly turning up the heat is dead on. Satan is no fool, he does not send evil looking monsters to tempt you, he sends his minions in the form of seductive harmless looking creatures. Our morality seems to be more and more willing to compromise with every year that passes. You could make the argument that modern church would be looked at as a den of satan by christians from even 50 years ago just because of the modern worship music that is often played.

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