(Special Investigative Report, May 20th, 2004, 7:23 a.m.) Millions of people spend hours each day on Internet porn websites. Some racy, some dangerous, and some are downright illegal. But if you search for these sites, you’ll find one that holds a real surprise. It’s a XXX Christian website. Your NewsChannel 3’s Rick Holmes tells us more in this story.
If you type “XXX” into your favorite search engine, you’ll find 111 million websites ready to bring anyone, any age, any fantasy. But we found one website, www.xxxchurch.com, that is unlike any other. It’s the #1 Christian Porn Site. By now, you’re either disgusted, or you’re curious. And that’s what XXXChurch is all about. Craig Gross, the Webmaster tells us, “People get hung up on “The #1 Christian Porn Site.” Why do they call it that? Craig says calling it the #1 anti-porn site didn’t really work for them. That’s right. XXXChurch.com is anti-porn. 28 year-old-California-based webmaster and Minister Craig Gross, is the co-founded the site. Its mission is to save families struggling with Internet porn. “And the reason I thought it was a great idea is because nobody is dealing with this in the church. Let’s do it.” says Gross.
There’s no porn on the website, yet it attracts 50,000 visitors every week. Many of them are looking for sexual content by typing in those three letters, “XXX”. But instead they’re getting faith-based information about kicking the Internet sex habit. One porn surfer we spoke to says viewing pornography on the web was like taking drugs, he was hooked and couldn’t stop. “Mark” of Virginia Beach, is a Christian. He’s also an Internet sex addict. Now he is seeking treatment for an addiction that cost him two marriages and three children. He says his addiction was so strong that he couldn’t even walk by his computer without getting online and staying there for up to eight hours at a time looking at Internet porn. “I was fantasizing about rape. That was the level I could have gone to. I needed more. The Internet porn wasn’t enough.” says Mark. That’s because hours of Internet sex can actually physically distort your brain chemistry according to Dr. Michael Bohan, one of Hampton Roads’ leading researchers of sexual addiction.
Bohan says there is a silent shame associated with sexual addiction. “With the secrecy, it means the person is living a dual life. They have a relationship, and they’re also acting on the Internet. Sometimes, they’re getting up in the night when their partner’s asleep.” And as “Veronica” tells us, “And there was nothing more difficult than the recovery from sex addiction. The recovery was brutal.” Veronica is also from Virginia Beach. She has lost two marriages to her Internet sex addiction. Oddly enough, she is the secretary of her church. But after church she was living another life. She was hooked on meeting people online in porn sites. Especially the ones that catered to online dating. She told us that on more than one occasion, she contacted someone she met on a site. “I contacted him on Sunday morning and by that evening we were having sex. And she had never seen this person before. She was having unprotected sex that was solicited from an online dating service. Mistakes Veronica repeated until the guilt and fear from one planned meeting became too much to bear. She explains, “He and I were planning a weekend in Fredericksburg and I had never met him and that was really risky. This is how people get murdered.” Veronica has now been porn-free for six months.
Pastor Steve Morgan of New Life Christian Fellowship in Chesapeake thinks XXXChurch is more shock value than sin. The title line on the homepage, “Jesus loves porn stars” was the first thing the Pastor saw. He says his first reaction was, “Wow! That’s a shocking system. I began to realize that really what they were trying to say is Jesus loves you no matter what.” Gross says, XXXChurch is reaching out to people who otherwise may never cross the threshold of a house of worship. Mark and Veronica have relied on the church and Sex Addicts Anonymous to recover. Veronica says, “If there’s a message that comes up when they’re searching for pornography that may be an eye-opener for them, I think that’s a great thing.” Gross sees that as his mission. Bridging the gap between the sacred and the seedy. As he puts it, “Jesus was a controversial figure. So we’re fine with being a controversial figure.”