A group of male students from Notre Dame has requested that the university imposes a college-wide internet filter on pornography. In an open letter published at The Observer, the group requests that the Univesity implements “a filter to make pornography inaccessible on the Notre Dame Wi-Fi networks.”
The students make the case that employing such a filter demonstrates the “unequivocal message that pornography is an affront to human rights and catastrophic to individuals and relationships,” and say they are determined to stand up for the “dignity of all people, especially women” by taking such drastic action.
But this is no whim, and the guys have done their research. Citing a recent study, the group puts forward a pretty tragic figure – that some “63 percent of male Notre Dame students have viewed pornography on the university Wi-Fi network.” This is notably more shocking when you consider that Notre Dame is a historically Catholic institution. “Notre Dame is a place born of vision and defined by its Catholic character,” the university boldly declares on its website, adding that it is “dedicated to religious belief no less than to scientific knowledge” and “has always stood for values in a world of facts.”
Still, despite its emphasis on faith, pornography usage is rampant – “in a given month, 86 percent of men interact with pornography,” the campaign group notes in its open letter. But why are they putting so much effort into stemming the flow of pornography into the minds and hearts of those attending this historic institution? Well, because pornography is utterly corrosive and insatiably addictive.
“Fifty-six percent of divorce cases involve “one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.” It is no surprise, then, that research demonstrates the highly addictive nature of pornography, which affects the human brain as both a stimulant and an opiate,” the letter reads.
The group also notes the university’s efforts in educating students about crucial subjects such as consent and “aspects of healthy sexuality” are “pitifully weak” if half the students are already nursing a years-long addiction to pornography. In addition, the group highlighted that a large proportion of pornography commonly viewed by students depicts violence against women, adding that porn is nothing but “prostitution through the lens of a camera.”
Porn, the group says, is not only morally reprehensible and relationally devastating, but it contributes to a plethora of other sexually dark activities, namely “child sexual abuse, divorce, male fertility problems, sexual assault and the acceptance, normalization and sexualization of cruelty towards women.”
Then comes a clear call to action:
“As a university that champions social justice, human rights, equality and dignity, Notre Dame ought to block pornography using the technology available to us. Doing so represents both an attempt to eradicate pornography from the campus culture and, more broadly, a strong stance against sexual assault, sex trafficking and other human rights violations. We have come to expect our school to be a driving force for cultural change in our nation, and pornography is a cultural issue that needs changing.”
The group notes that if the Univesity chooses to impose a filter, any student attempting to access pornography “would encounter Notre Dame’s enduring message that pornography is destructive and exploitive.”
The organizer behind this campaign is James Martinson, President of Students for Child-Oriented Policy. But there are numerous others who are backing the action – some 1000 students, faculty and staff who have pledged their support.
A petition has been set up and can be signed here.
Are you tired of losing the battle against pornography? You’re not alone – nearly two-thirds of Christian men admit to struggling with porn use. If you’re ready to fight this sin, check out our new e-course hosted by Pastors Toby Sumpter, Doug Wilson and Jeff Durbin. It’s called ‘Set Free’ and it goes beyond filters and accountability partners — and gets to the heart of the matter. Find out more HERE.