". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Josh Hawley’s Timely Message to Young Men

January 29, 2023

Since the dawn of the internet, pornography use has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, available now to anyone at the click of a button. It is arguably one of the greatest public health crises facing America, and yet, no conservative political leader, namely the ones who espouse family values, have even mentioned this issue, much less lifted a finger to do anything about it. That all changed last month when a young U.S. senator from Missouri boldly addressed the issue of pornography and what it truly means to be a man.

In a speech last month at Turning Point USA’s America Fest in Phoenix, Arizona, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told a room full of hundreds of young conservatives that women deserve respect from men:

Young men, let me make a suggestion to you. Why don’t you turn off the computer and log off the porn and go ask a real woman on a date? How about that? It’s just a thought. Ask her out. Young men, why don’t you be the ones to do the asking? How about that? Don’t wait for her — you go ask. Show her a little respect. And then you take her out and you treat her right. How about that? Don’t make her cater to your whims. Treat her right; treat her like what she is, a woman, a person of incredible significance created in the image of God.

What a breath of fresh air — a sitting U.S. senator boldly declaring that women are not objects for pleasure but human beings uniquely created in the image of God! Sadly, our culture does not see it that way. One need not look far to learn the sobering numbers about pornography use in America. Consider these statistics:

  • There are roughly 42 million porn websites, or about 370 million pages of porn.
  • The annual revenue of the pornography industry is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined and also more than ABC, CBS, and NBC combined.
  • More than 40 million Americans visit porn sites regularly.
  • 47% of families say pornography is a problem in their home.
  • Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%.
  • 56% of divorces involve pornography.
  • 70% of youth pastors have reported at least one of their teenagers seeking help for a pornography addiction in the last year.
  • 68% of churchgoing men view porn on a regular basis.
  • 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis.
  • 59% of pastors said married men seek their help for porn use.
  • 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation.
  • 69% of pastors say porn use has adversely impacted their church.
  • Only 7% of pastors said their church has a program to help those struggling with porn addiction.

These numbers are overwhelming, and one might wonder if there is any hope in bringing our society back from the brink of self-destruction. Most Americans are materialists, with many people living their lives as nothing more than consumers. Pornography is one of the terrible results of that mindset. But, as Senator Hawley said later in an interview with Tucker Carlson, there is so much more to life than being a consumer: 

And what we need to say to young men and young women too is just the opposite: Aspire to be something more than a consumer. And for young men, aspire to be something more than a consumer of pornography. Aspire to actually create something in your life — like create a family, for instance. That is the single greatest act of rebellion, if you like, against the liberal culture that is suppressing people’s desires, that is suppressing their potential, is to go out and actually engage in real relationships, get married, have a family, have kids, have your own ideas, and be a responsible member of society. I mean, this is what people are built to do.

As men, God created us to be so much more than just mere consumers. He created us to be leaders, protectors, innovators, and builders. Our society has come to believe that biblical manhood is “toxic.” Like Senator Hawley, I submit to you that the lack of biblical manhood is the primary reason our nation finds itself in such a dismal state. We have failed to be leaders, and our sons are reaping the consequences. No wonder our pews are filled with weak men and our streets filled with fatherless children desperately searching for meaning in life.

Manhood is something to be celebrated because it was created by God. Of course, like anything, men can use their manhood for bad purposes. But manhood in and of itself is good because it was created by God. Likewise, marriage was created by God as the only means of procreation. The relationship between one man and one woman committed to each other for life is the only means of human flourishing, and the evidence is overwhelming that children thrive in a home with a happily married mother and father.

Aside from teaching and practicing biblical manhood, what are some other practical steps that can be taken? For one, churches have failed in addressing this issue. We may preach against pornography, but we have nothing in place to help those who are addicted. Every Bible-believing, gospel-preaching church should have some type of program in place to help those addicted to pornography. Reformers Unanimous is an excellent program that creates accountability and provides addicts with a setting where they can share their struggles openly and learn from other addicts. You can start a chapter at your church today.

Second, families and individuals alike should consider installing filters on any device that has internet access. Even if you are not actively searching for pornography, images and videos will inevitably pop up that can quickly lead you down the wrong path. Covenant Eyes is an excellent software designed to block harmful sites and send status reports to a trusted accountability partner. It is an affordable software for both individuals and families, with discounts available for church groups that choose to partner together in the struggle for purity.

Third, to our political leaders, it is high time to revisit obscenity laws in the United States. While I consider myself a small government conservative, the widespread harm of pornography on innocent people demands government intervention. The government should start enforcing laws already on the books that prohibit obscenity, not only because of the mental harm that it does to individuals and families but also because of the physical harm it causes to victims of sexual violence. Additionally, it is far too easy for children to access pornography with the click of a button. The bottom line: anything that causes physical harm to others does not deserve free speech protection under the First Amendment.

Lastly, as a single young man, I want to give this message to my peers. The Bible condemns any sexual activity outside the confines of marriage. Scripture also equates lust to adultery, and that most certainly includes pornography. While you may think it doesn’t affect anyone else, pornography will affect many people beyond yourself for years to come. Pornography affects women because it objectifies them in our eyes. It also makes them more vulnerable to attacks from sexual predators. Pornography traps us in an endless cycle of self-destruction. Addiction to pornography is similar to many other drugs, requiring more and more to be satisfied, often in variant forms that eventually lead to physically acting out the addiction.

While pornography use skyrockets, marriage rates continue to decline. Porn will affect your future marriage because it will give you unrealistic expectations of what your relationship with your wife should resemble. Pornography will affect your future children because it will create an unstable home and detract from the leader you are called to be. We may not be married now, but the seeds that pornography plants will have devastating effects on our future families if we don’t address it now. Furthermore, pornography use has been attributed to violent crimes like rape and murder, with child pornography on the rise as well.

Sometimes, one of the hardest things for men to do is admit that we have a problem. We are naturally prideful and don’t enjoy being vulnerable. But that is exactly what pornography addiction requires — honesty, brutal honesty. Find someone that you can confide in and be completely honest with, because accountability is the key to overcoming addictions. There is no more trusted friend than an accountability partner. 

Our ultimate hope is in Jesus, the only victor over sin and death. Through Him, we can find not only eternal life but victory over any sin. God created marriage to represent His love for the church, and sex is a wonderful gift to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. Like everything else, Satan has warped our understanding of sex and marriage, tempting us with the lie that satisfaction can be found in pornography.

But you can find freedom from pornography in Christ today. Start by installing Covenant Eyes on your computer or ask your pastor if your church can form an account. Find a Reformers Unanimous group in your area if your church doesn’t have one. If you have overcome pornography addiction or want to see other men overcome it, prayerfully consider becoming someone’s accountability partner. Start a Reformers Unanimous group at your church. Perhaps even consider advocating for challenges to obscenity laws or court cases that protect pornography under the auspices of the First Amendment.

It will require sacrifice, understanding, and unconditional love, but it just might save someone’s life, family, or marriage. Resolve today to be a biblical man, because our nation desperately needs it.