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The cold opening of Saturday Night Live (Start at 3:16) this past weekend was an attempt to bring relevant fresh humor surrounding the Super Bowl. However, embedded within the satire was something that seems to be missed by the writers and the media. Stating the phrase with laughter in the background, “No Child Sex Trafficking in the basement…” to make fun of the Pizzagate Conspiracy was in poor taste.
Child Sex trafficking has been the greatest tragedy, the cruelest form of slavery, and the worst kind of evil humans have developed. The irony of talking about the Superbowl, even satire, and mentioning sex trafficking could not be crueler. It has become a well-known fact that the Superbowl is the largest trafficking event in the U.S. each year.
It thrives on the human desire to experience sexual pleasure but from a distorted and twisted world view. It feeds on this lie that anything is permissible and that unrestrained sexual pleasure does no harm to anyone or even to one’s own self. Whether it is pornography or sexual promiscuity, it seems that God’s design for sex was put in place for good reason. Sexual boundaries and restraint may seem outdated but it is the antithesis to the injustice of sexual exploitation of children.
I was told one time in a Seminary class by a prominent pastor that there are three things that will always be a temptation for those in a position of authority. Money, sex, and power!
Where money is involved, there is power and the ability to buy sex. With Power comes the ability to take money and sex. With sex, one can attain and/or attract money and power. This pastor’s warning was that a Christian leader in a high position should always be aware of their position of authority. To be aware that they will always be tempted to pursue, money, sex, and power.
What amazed me about this leader the most is that the entire reason he did not write a book and leverage any of his thousands of attendees for personal gain was because of his deep-rooted conviction. He did not want the temptation of these idols. It would take his focus off the church.
Is it wrong for pastors to become “famous” and write books? Well, unfortunately we keep seeing famous pastors fall, but they hardly represent even a fraction of Christians leaders across the globe.
Here is one more anecdote to drive home my point. I was at a retreat one year where the church I was a youth pastor at was invited to be part of a staff retreat hosted by this pastor’s large church. I got to see something that I don’t think anyone else go to see. There were only a few chairs in this club house designed for teenagers. The staff had been asked to sit on the ground and to save the chairs for those who are not able to sit on the ground.
This pastor, who was at the top of hundreds of staff and employees, who had grown a church into the thousands, sat down in a chair fairly close to me. This was at the beginning of one of the many sessions we had as people were finding their place to sit. He immediately began to look around and proceeded to talk to himself. Without noticing my intense stare, he whispered to himself, “I’m not the exception, I’m the rule.” He then got up and found someone on the ground and sat next to them.
I was blown away. If anyone should get a chair in this room of hundreds of people, it should be this man. However, his guiding principals were unmatched by many people in his position. He knew his actions had the ability to influence everyone around him and what he wanted everyone to know was that there was nothing special about him and he would take no entitlements.
I think this is fundamental to changing ourselves so that we can fight the evils of sex trafficking. When we set up boundaries to safe guard ourselves from temptation and forgo our entitlements, we are better equipped to be of use to God’s kingdom work.
Years later when this pastor retired and successfully helped transition the next pastor into this role to continue to grow this church. I think the sacrifice of money, sex and power paid off. The legacy this man left, to surround himself with people of excellence, but to remain out of the spotlight is a testimony to practicing what he preached every weekend.
I was sitting in one of the satellite campuses of this church recently, staring at a giant screen. I’ve grown accustomed to seeing sermons on a screen because even if I were at the main campus, I would still stare at the projection on the wall to get a better view. In my memory of the service, I feel like I was there at the main campus. In fact, I’ve come to dislike having to go to the main campus because you have to see more people and I’m always on high alert of trying not to lose the kids as if we were at Disneyland.
This weekend was a different sermon, it was an interview with a couple senior leaders and Tim Tebow and his wife Demi-Leigh Tebow. Apparently, she was crowned Miss Universe in 2017 and is a believer as well. This is a power couple and I am praying for God to guard them in these areas of money, sex, and power.
Out of the many things that were spoken about that night, one was of the most interest to me. He brought up sex trafficking and how his foundation had started to fight this global tragedy. Both he and his wife shared on their experience with this injustice and said they felt that God had called them to fight this issue as a couple. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing and what my ears were hearing.
“Not on our watch,” Demi had said. She would not allow this injustice to remain silent. Tim stated, “You all have now heard of this problem and cannot say you had no knowledge of this.” We are now accountable to God for fighting to end the trafficking of children not just in the world but in the United States.
This is what stumped me. I’ve poured my heart into making teenagers aware of sex trafficking in places in the world that have no real justice system. I’ve partnered with organizations that go to the darkest corners of the world to bring hope to thousands of children, by rescuing them from their captors and bringing them to a safe place. A place where Jesus can begin to pick up the pieces of their life together.
Tim Tebow told me that sex trafficking here in the United States is a 40-billion-dollar a year industry ($150 billion globally), and one of the world’s largest consumers. Where there is high demand there is high supply. I had no idea that the U.S. is one of the largest consumers of sex trafficking. This is not a conspiracy; this is a fact. It’s not in one isolated area it is everywhere.
Sex trafficking is not racist, it does not discriminate. However, it does favor the wealthy and prey on the poor. With money and power combined, sex trafficking is in our back yard. It is here and children are the most susceptible to this atrocity. In an article from an organization called, Fight the New Drug, it states that the US is one of the top three countries of origin for trafficking victims.
America, we have a sex problem and we are hurting people. Here is one simple thing you can do to start lessoning the demand for this vial creature. Give up pornography. I know it’s a stretch and I know we think it is innocent; but you do not know the people on the other end of that camera.
Here you go, do your own research, but if we realized that if we stopped watching pornography then it would stop something that is more difficult to spot. The challenge with underage girls or even of age girls tricked into filming is the physical location of where they are filmed. They are not in brothels that are easy to spot. It’s difficult to find places exploiting children on the internet when it can be done in privacy with no clear sign on the outside of the building that would give any indication that there is illegal activity occurring.
It’s hard enough identifying the ages of girls in red light districts that are clearly out in the open, it’s a whole different level of intelligence gathering to find where children are filmed for profit. “How Pornography Fuels Sex Trafficking,” is the heading of this eye-opening expose. Become informed and then do something about it.
In Truth & Love
Matthew J Diaz