The pastor vs. porn star Ron Jeremy

Mar 6, 2011, 6:27 PM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

A weekend debate about pornography began with Ron Jeremy holding something in his hand that was only four-inches long. The porn star pulled out a harmonica and played “Amazing Grace” for about almost 2,000 people at Eastlake Community Church in Bothell.

Laughter and applause broke the ice as the church took on the sensitive topic of porn. Eastlake Pastor Ryan Meeks says it ruins the lives of many of the people he’s trying to reach.

“We see it destroying marriages and 50 percent of divorces these days are citing porn as a contributing factor. The number four searched for term for children under seven on the internet is porn. There are 116,000 searches for child pornography every day,” says Meeks. “These are realities for me. Let’s not forget the fact that we’re living in a day and age in a culture where you have millions of women who are in sexual slavery and trafficked not only right here in our own city, but all over the world.”

Meeks hosted the debate between Pastor Craig Gross and Ron Jeremy. Jeremy has been in 1,800 X-rated adult films over the past 27 years.

CraigGrossThe downside of pornography is obvious, Gross says. An estimated 40 million people log on to porn websites every day and the images they’re watching are “lies,” he says. One of the many problems with porn is that it’s become “sex ed” for young people.

“It creates unrealistic expectations about what women should look like, what women should do, and what women should expect,” says Gross. “Exposure to porn can make men less inhibited sexually because they’ve seen it all, but they’ve never been involved with a real person who has needs and feelings.”

Pornography is not harmless entertainment for consenting adults, it’s an industry that has exploited women and girls.

“The most popular stuff in porn is the ‘barely legal,’ so not only are kids seeing this, but they’re depicting kids as porn stars in braces and pigtails wearing school-girl outfits,” he says.

Jeremy countered many of Pastor Gross made by saying he was being “disingenuous.” He says the most popular genre of pornography features women in their 20s to 40s.

“Yes, Hustler has a series called barely legal. They’re young looking, but there’s actually more films being bought today with women who are much older,” he says. “One of the biggest purveyors of kiddie porn today is girls sending pictures of themselves to their boyfriends.”

RonJeremyJeremy says he “obviously doesn’t want children to watch porn,” but the other stuff they’re watching on TV and online – from Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears – doesn’t provide them with better or more “realistic” role models. He also got a round of applause when he said if anyone under the age of 18 is exposed to porn that’s due to “bad parenting” because there are a number of programs to restrict what kids see on the Internet.

Throughout the debate, Jeremy’s overall defense of the porn industry was that it’s not as bad as other things such as violent video games or substance abuse.

“One of the biggest addictions in America, and probably around the world, is alcohol. It causes car accidents, death, God knows what else, and nobody is going after Seagram’s 7. No one is telling these companies to go out of business. No one’s picking on them,” says Jeremy. “You don’t blame an organization because a bunch of idiots aren’t doing it right.”

In a one-on-one interview with Jeremy, he told me he never intended on being in adult films. He wanted to be a “serious actor.” His life took a different path after he appeared in Playgirl magazine and then started getting multiple job offers to perform in porn films. Most people don’t know he has a Master’s Degree in special education.

Jeremy makes no apologies for his career in the industry, but he also says he doesn’t watch pornography anymore.

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The pastor vs. porn star Ron Jeremy