Dishonorable Conduct

The U.S. military was rocked by a pornography scandal. But the problem extends further than you might think.

The United States Marine Corps calls honor the bedrock of a marine’s character. It says this “is the quality that empowers marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior. … It represents the maturity, dedication, trust, and dependability that commit marines to act responsibly.”

News came out in March showing numerous marines demonstrating the opposite of maturity, responsibility and ethical and moral behavior.

Journalist and Marine Corp veteran Thomas Brennan reported at the Center for Investigative Reporting on March 4 that members of a Facebook group called Marines United were distributing photographs of dozens of naked female service members. The group includes marines, Navy corpsmen and British Royal Marines. About 1,200 of the 30,000 members are believed to have been involved in pornography-posting activity, and investigations are still ongoing.

This scandal is not limited to just the Marines United Facebook page, or even to the Marine Corps. Since this scandal became public, investigators have found hundreds of indecent photographs of female service members from every branch of the military posted to another image-sharing message board. Some of these women were stalked and photographed by male comrades. Others shared lewd photos of themselves, intending them to be private, only to be betrayed by whomever posted them publicly on social media.

Many condemn “toxic masculinity” and “macho culture” as the cause of this scandal, but is this moral evil unique to the soldiers’ barracks?

The real pornography scandal is nationwide. And yes, it does hurt its female victims, its perpetrators, force readiness, homeland security and the very survival of our nation.

In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong explained how modern Britain and America descended from ancient Israel. The Bible records Israel’s history and specifies that its national security depended less on economics, technological superiority and strategy than it did on ethical and moral behavior. When the Israelites behaved according to God’s laws, including laws on sex, they won incredible military victories. When they turned from His laws, they suffered shocking and devastating defeats (Deuteronomy 11:18-25).

Past generations of Americans understood this general principle. Shortly after the Second Continental Congress established the U.S. Army on June 14, 1775, it proclaimed “a day of solemn fasting and humiliation to implore of Almighty God for forgiveness of the many sins prevailing among all ranks ….” Gen. George Washington and the Continental Congress knew that freedom from Great Britain was impossible without divine intervention. The proclamation urged soldiers to ask forgiveness for the sins of “profane swearing” and “immorality.”

Today, as in 1775, America’s servicemen are simply a subsection of American society as a whole. And today, unlike 1775, profane swearing, immorality and all forms of pornography prevail among all ranks of American society, from east to west, liberal to conservative, old to young.

It’s not just American servicemen who are addicted to pornography. America is addicted to pornography.

An estimated 72 million Americans view online pornography at least monthly; one in five American men self-admits to accessing pornography at work. About 24 million American self-admit to having “Internet sex addiction.” The addiction rate among young, male military personnel is believed to be much higher. And the definition of “addiction” would exclude a lot of regular use of what is an inherently toxic influence, however small the dose. Many military chaplains believe online pornography is perhaps the biggest personal problem facing service members today.

Study after study shows a direct link between pornography consumption and the commission of sex crimes. Data from the Department of Defense shows that reported sexual assaults on military members increased from 19,300 in 2010 to 26,000 in 2012. The main cause of sex scandals and crimes in the U.S. military is that all Americans are growing up in a hyper-sexualized society that openly glorifies illicit sex on television, movies, the Internet, books, magazines, posters and billboards, and that distributes 25 times more pornography movies every year than Hollywood films. This saturation in sex has been proven to cause a physical and psychological rewiring of the brain, desensitizing the viewer to the needs of others, and fueling an abnormal desire for even more depraved perversions.

Many people bristle at the suggestion that “casual” pornography viewing is connected to the military photo-sharing scandal. Many others dismiss it as irrelevant, a minor cultural concern and not a national security problem. America’s first commander in chief would tell you that both of these views are dangerously wrong.

The pornography scandal rocking the military is vile, but it is only one symptom of the pornography scandal that is American society. That scandal is not only underreported, it is denied or even glorified. Until Americans as a whole start fleeing immorality and teaching their children a wholesome, biblical view of sex, the devastation caused by pornography will continue, outside the Department of Defense and within it. Now would be a good time for a day of fasting and prayer to implore “Almighty God for forgiveness of the many sins prevailing among all ranks” of American citizens.