18-year old challenges pornography in Denmark
By Dan Wooding
An 18-year-old Christian called Marianne Larsen has seen quite a victory in an extraordinary battle against pornography in Denmark. UCB Crossroad, a Christian radio and TV ministry, and the prayers of 185,000 Brazilian women in the city of Curitiba, have supported her fight. This news was revealed in an interview with Per Nielsen, who along with his wife, run a Christian media ministry based in Copenhagen.
"Marianne Larsen has done more in one year to change public opinion about pornography in Denmark than many preachers and church leaders have done in 20 years," Nielsen said in the interview conducted at the recent UCB International Conference in Auckland, New Zealand. He went on to explain that Denmark has had, for the past 35 years, "a very liberal legislation about pornography." Nielsen added, "The only restriction we have is on child pornography and that is illegal and is very strictly followed up by the police. Otherwise, there are no limitations. You can go to a gas station where newspapers are for sale and there will also be pornographic magazines. Also at the check out lines at the supermarkets. "Sadly, everybody seemed to have got used to it and nobody was reacting to it anymore."
That was until a year ago, when Marianne Larsen - who lives just outside of Copenhagen, came on the scene. Nielsen said that Marianne said she was feeling provoked by the pornography. "She had a boyfriend who teased her and said, 'If you feel provoked, why don't you do something about it?' So she decided to do something. "She made a happening in the center of Copenhagen where she wanted to draw people's attention to the fact that now was the time to say 'this was enough.' So with some girlfriends who were aged between 18-25, they stood on a pedestrian street with a petition that asked people to sign if they felt that the present situation was 'enough and had to be restricted.' The petition asked for it not to be shown at the height where the children besides the candies could see it. The petition also said that pornography should be restricted from the television channels." Nielsen added, "We have three channels in Copenhagen that broadcast pornography. There are open channels and you don't have to pay to
watch this kind of material."
When Per and Kirsten heard about her campaign, they realized that this might be an answer to a prayer that they had been constantly praying - that pornography and abortion would be restricted in Denmark. "Actually, my wife Kirsten went to Brazil two years ago and visited the city of Curitiba, and there she met a group of ladies that have put up a Christian radio station with the prayer support of other ladies in the community. They have some 180,000 praying together every day of the year in the siesta time. "They took her in the radio studio there and asked her what they could pray for Denmark? She asked them to pray for pornography and abortion that something would happen. When we heard about this girl we believed that this might be the answer from the Lord for one of the problems.
"The key was that she was a young girl with a life ahead and she said, 'It's enough. I will not stand for this.' And then people said that she was right and this was wrong. We sent a television crew for our TV program out and made a news story that we broadcast throughout the city from our small television station. We only have two hours a week and so we used some of our airtime to pay attention to this.
"We then offered to help her organize her campaign and she came once a week and we helped her to send out letters from our database and we connected her with people to help her organize her campaign. Her goal was that in October of last year she would go to the Danish Parliament with a petition of 10,000 signatures and ask the parliament to do something about it.
"The newspapers also started writing stories about her and the different national TV channels had her in the studio to talk about her campaign, and she was very wise and she didn't come and say, 'Well, I'm a Christian and that's why I'm against pornography,' because then everyone would dismiss it as religious talk. Instead, she said, 'I'm a girl and I will not accept this view of my sex and me. It's destructive."
"Marianne also began to investigate how destructive pornography is and she put out figures and evaluations about it, especially in the United States. In Denmark, no one has looked into how pornography influences people. Everybody has accepted the idea that if there are no restrictions then people won't find it interesting. But that's a lie. It's destructive. It's poison for the soul. When she put our the figures she had gathered, she was able to show that it is destructive on the people and it gives a wrong picture of men and women. It's destructive for our young people's sexual life and also for their idea of how a family is going to function. It's destructive in every way.
"In October, she went to the Parliament with 20,000 signatures and the newspapers did a survey on what public opinion was on pornography and they were surprised that 83 percent said that it is enough. We don't want pornography in the open spaces and in the shops were children come and also on the open TV channels.
"We have a national ombudsman and he wrote a letter to the gas stations, the supermarkets and all places that were exhibiting pornography saying that they have to take care that pornography was not put in a place where children could see it and that's a complete change in the mentality of the Danish people. That is a total change in public opinion on this subject. Just one year before, you wouldn't have an official authority that would have done that.
"It all started because a young Christian girl said, 'This is enough. This has to stop.'" Nielsen said that there is a possibility that this year the Danish Parliament "will make a legislation that will say that it is illegal to have pornography in the shops and the places where children can see it. So that is a big change." Nielsen says that if pornography is also banned from open channel television, he will try to get a license to broadcast the gospel on one of those channels. "We realize that because one person cared enough, this terrible scourge can at last be halted in Denmark," he said. "We ask Christians of the world to now pray that abortion will also be
limited in our country."
Source: Assist Communications
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