Daily Dispatches
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One man’s daughter, another man’s victim

Culture

Steve Siler kept a lid on his anger as the baptismal liturgy for two little girls progressed. Addressing the congregation, the minister asked members if they promised to assist the girls’ parents in their nurture in the Christian faith and practice to the glory of God. The response in unison: Yes. 

“I wanted to stand up and say, ‘You know what?’” Siler said. “You are all a bunch of liars. Because the truth about the world these girls are growing up in is a truth no one in this church wants to deal with.’” Siler didn’t want to be on the family video making that claim, but he questions how he can remain in relationship with a church that turns a blind eye as its young girls and women are thrust into a society saturated with sex marketing, addicted to pornography, and compliant in selling girls for prostitution. For the 15 years he’s attended that church, he hasn’t heard one sermon on pornography.

In 2005, Siler’s music ministry, Music For the Soul, produced an album of songs and spoken words called Somebody’s Daughter. It addresses the destruction wrought by pornography addiction. Most churches were in the “we don’t have that problem here” mode, Siler said. Then he’d get an occasional order: We’ve got 1,000 men. We’ll take 1,000 copies of the album. In 2008, supportive churches and partnering ministries began requesting a DVD documentary. “I could tell the ice had broken some,” Siler recalled.

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A “stirring in his heart” eventually led Siler to add one word to his mission and raise the pornography issue to the point of national dialogue with an initiative called She’s Somebody’s Daughter. “Pornography is about using people,” Siler expalained. “The church is about loving them. The church should be at the forefront of the discussion, not trying to play catch-up.” Siler’s group seeks to create a culture that honors women and protects children.

As he and ministry partner Tammy Stauffer bring the She’s Somebody’s Daughter message to churches, they’ve encountered what Siler considers the worst kind of opposition—complacency.  “Tammy and I went to Oklahoma City 15 times over a 20-month span,” he said. “We contacted 423 churches during that time, either by mail, or phone, or personally. When we did our initial launch, we had four churches represented. To say that’s appalling doesn’t even begin to cover it.” 

The excuses from church leaders abound: The church is too busy; they don’t have that problem here; they just want to focus on Scripture and get right with God; they already did that back in September. 

Behind the excuses, Siler believes are other, deeper factors, like the fact that the pastors themselves may be struggling with porn and afraid to jeopardize their job, family, and reputation. Other churches are afraid to speak out on a hot-button issue like porn because it could drive away congregants and hurt their bottom line. 

While the She’s Somebody’s Daughter message exposes the dangers of pornography addiction to the addict’s brain, his family, and society, Siler and Stauffer prefer to steer away from guilt and shame to offer hope and restoration. They focus on the woman’s humanity, not as an object for men to use for sexual gratification and entertainment, but as a person to be honored and protected. 

She’s Somebody’s Daughter points out the obvious: Every girl, every woman is somebody’s daughter. The challenge to men who choose to ignore that is to consider the girl being victimized. She may not be their daughter, but she is someone they should honor as they would their own.

“By humanizing the issue, we believe we can change the cultural tide for future generations,” Siler said.

Dick Peterson
Dick Peterson

Dick lives in Summerville, S.C., is a former newspaper reporter and editor, and is now a freelance writer and caregiver for his wife with multiple sclerosis.

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