Monday, March 20, 2006

Thank God for the Orthodox!

To the Reverend Clergy of our parishes

Dearly beloved brothers in the Lord,

With this letter, we, the hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, wish to share with you some disturbing observations concerning the destruction of many lives in our nation, as explicit sexual content becomes increasingly available through a variety of technologies.

We are writing at this time because we know that you care deeply about the well-being of your children, and it is precisely your children who may pay the highest price and become victims of the uncontrolled availability of all that is now technologically available on the internet. This could spell disaster for your children and grandchildren, inflicting upon their lives and their families grave consequences resulting in immeasurable moral, social and spiritual damage.

Current advanced technology facilitates the distribution of digital video content via wireless handheld devices such as video cell phones, iPods and PDAs. Through highly advanced versions of these wireless handheld devices, all the pornography on the internet is available to many Americans, including our children and teens. There are no filtering or monitoring devices available at this time. This means many children and teens will be able to access such material, unless their parents are aware of this threat and take action to prevent it.

The technology itself is not dangerous. The danger lies in the fact that there are currently no safeguards or regulations in place to protect children and teens from being exposed to unwanted, seductive and explicit content that is downloadable through these wireless handheld devices.

The National Coalition and the Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP), which has been fighting the advancement of our sexualized culture since 1986, when it was formed in New York with Archbishop Iakovos among its founders, are now working with the CTIA Wireless Association to ensure that appropriate guidelines, controls and protections from this threat are in place as it relates to cell phones.

However, it is critically important that companies develop educational materials for parents, which will be used consistently at the point of purchase and choice of contract. Until these wireless devices can be used safely, we urge great caution to parents of children and teens.

We call upon you, our clergy, to be vigilant and to help keep your flock informed of the dangers they unknowingly are opening to their children and grandchildren when they give them these wireless devices, before appropriate protection has been developed. Ongoing parental guidance is essential to protect our children.

Invoking the prayers of the Holy Theotokos for the welfare of our beloved children, we extend to you and your flock our blessings,

(Signed by nine Archbishops, Metropolitans, and Bishops representing the major branches of Orthodoxy in the USA)
(Original document on Orthodoxy Today.)

I’d love to see what the bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA, have to say on this topic. No – on second thought, I really don’t want to know.