In his new Pure of Heart CD set, Jason Evert lists ten arguments people use to justify the use of pornography, from "sex is natural" to "if she is willing to be in pornography, why is it wrong?". As to the last objection Evert continues, posing the question as to how we know if the women in pornography actually freely and willingly participate. He moves on to speak about an interview with Pamela Anderson where she comments on her first time posing for Playboy. Scrolling through the Larry King Live archives (which I would not necessarily recommend) I came across the interview...
ANDERSON: I remember the first time I worked with "Playboy," my first cover, October '89.
I was in tears. I was afraid they were going to see something. That obviously changed rather quickly. I lost my modesty. But I loved doing "Playboy."
KING: Is it tough to pose nude?
ANDERSON: It was at the beginning. And then I just felt--you know, I just felt like there was nothing wrong with it. It was just a state of mind, and it was a very freeing experience for me. I was very shy.
If the pornography industry was for the women involved the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition or a dream job, would the normal reaction be, "I was in tears"? Even Pamela Anderson was once a shy, modest young girl, not wanting to start down the path in life Playboy laid before her. So, how did it come to this? Society has become an expert at watering things down, gradually wearing away at our consciences. How often do we compare ourselves to one who has a "greater sin" to validate our own wrongdoing, and how often do we want to push the envelope, always wanting to know exactly how much we can get away with. In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis says,
But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy [God]. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
Earlier in the interview, Anderson had spoken of the abuse and violence in her family and past relationships... so, do we leave her there, with the hurt from her past, willing to take from her what we can simply because she is in some remote way "willing" to do so? As JP II said in Love & Responsibility, "The great achievement is always to see the values that others don't see and to affirm them. The even greater achievement is to bring out of people the values that would perish without us."
I think Christ is calling us to something much greater, where we search not for ways to avoid culpability, but ways to love. So, whether she is willing or not is not exactly the point that should even be addressed. We should be modeling ourselves after Christ, looking to see what will form us into better people striving for heaven, and not looking to see where things rank on the sin scale.