Anti-Porn Star

An anonymous midget and two Christians are fighting to save you from sins of the flesh

Yet, with all the other problems in the world today, why porn?

"A lot of religious people and nonreligious people didn't have anywhere they could go for help, even though this is something 40 percent of pastors personally struggle with," said Gross. "This is not talked about Sunday mornings or Tuesday nights. It is not talked about in church. . . . I really think this is something the church is behind on. People are searching for it like people are searching for help in other aspects of life."

***

Gross and Foster claim they didn't have much porn-viewing experience when they first hooked up. But because young pastors spend most of their time with youths, the pervasiveness of porn was something they immediately recognized.

"It's like any other addiction," Gross said. "It's the one thing that gets everyone from 11-year-old kids to married couples to guys in their 50s who are senior pastors. But there are no 12-step programs. No one wants to deal with it, because it's supposed to be just dirty, sick old men who look at it, but it's really not. It's normal people."

Gross says porn produces secrecy and shame inside relationships—and then kills them. "Guys can't admit to their wives what's up," he said, and when the wife discovers her husband cruising the Internet for beaver shots late one night, the marriage goes into the tank.

"I don't want to say porn's the end of the world," Gross said, "but the main problem we find is secretiveness."

The answer to that problem would seem to be to acknowledge the universality of porn and its inevitable pull on most men. But no, says Gross, defaulting to the 1970s feminist argument ("porn objectifies women") and then comparing porn to drugs: a guy ("it's usually a guy") starts off with soft-core porn, migrates to harder stuff involving animals and excrement, and soon he's blowing the kids' college fund to snort coke off a whore's butt in a Vegas motel.

The pastors went the virtual route because, they say, that's where the porn is. Foster cites statistics that suggest 60 percent of website visits are sexual in nature and 30 million people log onto porn sites every day. They decided to set up pages on their site that would minister to people, allow users to post messages and provide free, downloadable anti-porn software called X3watch.

***

XXXchurch.com was launched on Jan. 9, 2002—at an adult expo in Las Vegas. The pastors and their wives (who take turns wearing a giant, $800 rabbit costume; take that, Playboy!) now regularly attend skin conventions, erecting a booth alongside others hawking dildos, blowup dolls and, of course, reels and reels of pure pornography. They attended the Erotica LA convention June 20-22. They lugged 1,000 "cool-looking" Bibles to one Vegas show, and say they went through all 1,000 in two days.

"We were up against everyone in every other booth giving away free porn, but a Bible was so different than everything else that people wanted it," Gross said. "Plus, they know deep down that the porn in the bottom of their bags is going to leave them just as empty as when they came in."

While some in the religious community frown on such fraternizing, XXXchurch's first porn-show appearance generated media coverage on ABC News, NBC News and in the Los Angeles Times, Playboy, New Man Magazine, Outreach Magazine, Sex TV, Decision Today, Family News in Focus, Outdoor Magazineand Charisma. Gross and Foster have gone on to be interviewed on countless radio and tele- vision programs.

"Most church people don't take advantage of the media," Gross said. "That's because there are a lot of crappy stories about religious people. But we've come to realize that the media are just looking for good stories, and you can get so much attention."

How much attention? Due in large part to all that media coverage, Gross says, XXXchurch.com received about 25 million hits in its first year. That's what convinced the pastoral pair to keep their ministry "in front of people" through church speaking engagements, aerial advertising and roadside billboards. An anti-porn billboard they paid for along the 10 freeway in San Bernardino County next to other billboards advertising strip joints sparked an uproar—from the strip joints, which successfully lobbied to get the XXXchurch sign removed while theirs remained intact.

Besides hate mail, XXXchurch also receives support, such as one poster who wrote, "I . . . wanted to thank you guys for everything you do. I was into masturbation for a year before God freed me."

***

XXXchurch is run totally on donations, and Gross concedes the Poor Eddie commercial "took a decent amount of money." He wouldn't say exactly how much but did mention that the actor playing Eddie, who did not want his real name given, was paid $900 for four hours of work. He's not a churchgoer; the pastors found the actor on ShortDwarf.com.

Gross considers the commercial a success because they were able to "get to the people we wanted to get to."

"Anyone with any sense knows porn is not the cause of making you short," he said. "We just like to get people thinking. Obviously, we're not going after the people who go to church. We're pushing the envelope with people who watch Stern, The Man Show, that kind of humor. Some people are going to think it's funny and go to our website."

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