The Internet - A Tale of Two Worlds
April 21, 2001
The Internet. The Information Superhighway. The Web. For most of us, these names conjure up images of the most efficient communication society has ever experienced. But then, most of us aren’t perverts.
To get an idea of what’s really happening on the Internet, try to picture a large, rambling Victorian home. As you walk through the front door there are happy children in the living room playing a variety of games. Open a door off the living room, and you see a large library full of wonderful books on every subject imaginable. Through another door there are scientists sharing information that will serve humanity in ways that have never before been possible. In another room you see government workers coming to help disabled people fill out forms, instead of making the people come to their offices. A large, sunny room has people who are too old to drive receiving ministry from organizations that care about them, right in their own house.
But there are other rooms. The basement is full of demons that prey on innocent children. Periodically one of them slips out and entices one of the children from the living room to come to the basement to "have fun." The attic has dozens of still and video cameras capturing sick images of children and adults performing a variety of sexual acts. Over in the corner of the attic several dozen people are busily distributing these images. In a forgotten room in the back of the house, a group is sending out messages of hate and death. Some specialize in racial hatred. Others teach teenagers a variety of ways to commit suicide "painlessly." One distributes information on how to make bombs, labeled, "So simple a child can do it."
How can this be? How can the happy people who are learning and playing be unaware of the evil above, below, and beside them? How can these two worlds exist in the same house?
There are so many good things about the Internet. In seconds we can access more information about more subjects than we could find in the Library of Congress. We can send almost instantaneous electronic communications called e-mails anywhere in the world- for free! Many save time and money by shopping in the Net. Publications such as Conservative Truth would once have cost thousands of dollars to get started. By using the Internet we have attained a weekly readership of over 20,000 at a very small cost.
But side by side with all the good there exists tremendous evil. Fully fifty per cent of all the bandwidth transmitted over the Internet is pornography. OUR CHILDREN ARE AT RISK. One in four children who use the Internet have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material while surfing the web. One in every five boys and girls has been approached to have sex over the Internet. Yet only one of every three American households with children who access the Internet have any kind of filter on their computers, and many of the filters in use are ineffective.
The Children’s Internet Protection Act was designed to protect children from both offensive and dangerous Internet sites. Guess who is spearheading the fight against it? The American Library Association. Emily Shekketof, the head of the Association, acknowledges that there is a problem, but says that filtering is not the answer. On a Public Radio program, she said, "It’s very unfair to ask librarians without legal training to be making legal decisions on the bona fide research of their patrons." She couldn’t answer Jan LaRue, of the Family Research Council, who observed, "There isn’t a library in this country that I am aware of that stocks X-rated videos. So the argument that they [libraries] must provide sexually explicit material through their Internet access is absolutely untrue." Of course, that great enemy of democracy, The American Civil Liberties Union, has gotten into the act, joining with the Library Association to challenge the Children’s Internet Protection Act in federal court.
Pornographers are not the only problem. Sexual predators are very active on the Web. In Palm Beach County, Florida, the community was shocked when it was discovered that a Fire Marshall, (one of the highest ranking officers in his fire department, who had children of his own) had solicited a young boy for sex over the Internet, and made arrangements to meet him. This is not an isolated incident. Sick people by the thousands lurk in Internet chat rooms, sometimes posing as teenagers, trying to lure children into meeting them. They target lonely kids, and those who by their comments in the chat rooms seem to be alienated from their parents. Surprisingly, few parents monitor their children’s chat room activities. Some aren’t even aware they exist!
Children are not the only ones at risk. Many adults, primarily men, are actually addicted to the pornography that is so easily accessible on the Internet. These evil images are ruining families, both emotionally and financially. When their husbands are unfaithful to them, most wives find small comfort that the infidelity is with a woman on the Internet rather than a woman in the flesh. And just as with other addictions, enough is never enough. The men who visit the porn sites keep punching in their credit card numbers over and over again, often bankrupting their families.
So what do we do? Do we smash the computers? Do we forbid our children to use them? No, the answer is to talk with your kids, explain the dangers that exist on the Internet, and let them know that you will be monitoring their use. Never let them use a computer in a public library. Don’t allow them to give their e-mail addresses to anyone they don’t know personally. Put the computer they will use in a public area of the house, not their bedroom. Walk by occasionally, and discuss whatever they are viewing. If you suspect they are deliberately seeking out porn sites or unsafe chat rooms, you can get software that will record every site they visit, any chat in which they are involved, and any e-mails they send or receive. In the Resources section below I have listed several web sites where you can explore various options for filtering the content received on your computer.
One recent study revealed that the primary use of the Internet for well over 50% of the men surveyed was to view pornography. If you are addicted to pornography, or someone you love is, I have also listed several sites with help for this problem. In some cases it may be necessary to remove the computer from the home, or disconnect the Internet service, until the addiction is dealt with. If the person acknowledges that he has a problem, and is willing, set up accountability procedures for their protection. One way would be for another man to counsel with them, and ask them on a regular basis if they are dealing with this sin. Another might be for the man to agree to the use of the monitoring software described above.
Just because YOUR Internet World is wholesome, a place to get information and conduct legitimate business, please don’t be so naive as to forget that there is another, darker Internet World. That would be like believing that since you are a safe driver, everyone else on the highway drives safely as well. Defensive drivers always assume that the cars around them are driven by unsafe drivers, and drive accordingly. Intelligent users of the Internet realize that their families are at risk whenever they are online, and take appropriate steps to protect them.
If children access the Internet on your computer, check out these sites for effective Internet filters.
If you are addicted to pornography, you can find non-judgemental, compassionate help at these sites.
"W" MAY BE A DANGEROUS PRESIDENT. Politicians of both political parties are worried about George W. Bush. And rightly so. You see, politicians need to be right a certain percentage of the time in order to be credible (and to get re-elected). In order to be right, they need to be able to depend on other politicians, particularly the President, to act in a certain way. Then they can predict what they will do, and they get to be right.
They have a real problem with "W". He doesn’t act "right." First, he doesn’t care about the polls. Politicians are used to being able to control Presidents by saying, "The polls say..." That doesn’t work with someone who cares more about doing his job than what people think about him.
Second, he really believes in what he says. That is particularly dangerous. With normal Presidents, it doesn’t really matter what they say. If it turns out to be unpopular, their advisors can always "spin" his words, and claim he didn’t really mean what he said. But a President who says what he believes, and believes what he says, why, that’s downright scary to professional politicians.
Finally, he cares more about the Constitution than about getting re-elected. As I stated in an earlier article, Bill Clinton started campaigning for re-election the day he took office. Our new President seems determined to follow the law (see the next article) and the Constitution, and let the chips fall where they may. He has adopted the out-dated idea that if he does a good job in an honest way, the people will recognize that and re-elect him. This is creating serious confusion in Washington, D.C., where until last January EVERYTHING was about politics. This confusion is dangerous to "business as usual" as it has been practiced in our nation’s Capitol. If something isn’t done soon, we may be faced with a return to representative government, where the elected representatives are actually expected to be accountable to the people who elected them.
A PRESIDENT WHO ENFORCES THE LAW? WHAT A CONCEPT! "The Bush administration will enforce a federal law, largely ignored by the Clinton administration, that makes students who have been convicted of drug offenses ineligible for college financial aid. Congress passed a law in 1998 denying federal money to college students who answer ’yes’ to a question on financial aid applications asking whether they have been convicted of drug charges. But hundreds of thousands who did not respond to the question were given federal college funds during the Clinton years. Those who fail to respond to the question this year will have their applications rejected." (This is an excerpt from an article by Andrea Billups in the Washington Times. To view the entire article, go to www.washtimes.com/national/20010419-67190986.htm.)
RESPONSE TO OUR ARTICLE ABOUT ABORTION. This is the introduction written by Mary Mostert for the posting of "What a Difference a Minute Makes" on Reagan.com. "Editor’s note: This addresses an issue that has been debated for the last 28 years - is an unborn baby not a human simply because a divided Supreme Court SAID so? In 1847 a U.S. Supreme Court said black people were not human either. In all the years the debate has been going on, I don’t remember ever reading anything that makes the point as starkly as Tom Barrett has, based on a conversation with his three year old daughter."
"Read your essay on Reagan.com 4-17-01. It’s as good as I’ve ever read on the subject. Thanks. Please include me on your mailing list if you can. While I am at it: Created in the image of the Trinity, humans, alone, posses a soul. Genesis 2: 7 says God created Adam from the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. HE BECAME A LIVING SOUL. For each of us He does the same. At the moment of conception, He rejoins that life of flesh and blood He created in Adam, and breaths into it the breath of life. IT, TOO, BECOMES A LIVING SOUL, newly created, and distinct from all others. Bob Nelson."
"Tom, I wonder how many will cancel because you took a unpopular stand? I first learned about the ’right of a woman to control her own body’ from the news media back in 1973. I thought, ’It makes sense to me,’ and I went on with my life. In 1977, I was at the Oregon State Fair when I stopped in at the Right To Life booth. I spoke to a nice young woman who asked if I knew anything about abortion. I said it was the right of a woman to make a decision to be pregnant. Then this young lady explained what the words meant, and explained when life began. I immediately knew that I had been deceived by the media. A holocaust was going on in America and nobody cared! Do not let the people who cancel dissuade you from the truth. Tell it in love, but tell the truth. The argument, ’No one knows when life begins so we can not make laws based on a religious principle’ is unscientific, philosophical claptrap. Life is a continuum. God created life once and it has never been created again. Every living thing has another living thing as its parent, and that is the end of the discussion. Life comes from life. The Roe vs. Wade decision is a house of cards, kept in place by evil people to attain and acquire power, not for the betterment of mankind. God bless your work. Never give up! Ed Mitchell."
RESPONSE TO OUR ARTICLE ABOUT THE COMMUNIST CHINESE. "The author of the book to which you referred ("You Can Trust the Communists...To Be Communists") is the late Doctor Fred Schwarz. He was the founder of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (C.A.C.C.) Dr. Schwarz was originally from Australia. He waged an intellectual battle against Communism of all kinds starting in the early 1930’s. He passed away 3 or 4 years ago at well over 80 years of age. I believe that C.A.C.C. continues on as his legacy. And I think that the book is still in print. Please send me your newsletter. Dan Beyke." (EDITOR’S NOTE: I found a website for C.A.C.C.- www.anticommunism.com/ .)
"Tom- Great truth on China. I feel we should boycott all Chinese products until there is religious and personal freedom. What we forget is that yes, there are 24 service men and women held captive in prison, but there are also thousands of Americans in China on trips and work that are also subject to arrest and execution. We did perfectly well before we had trade with China and can do without it now. They need us, we do not need them. We can go back to getting our stuff from Taiwan, India or heaven forbid, maybe start making products here in America again. Wouldn’t that be a novel idea? Maybe we could even drill our own oil in America. It is not a global economy; it is global consumption by America. We consume 40% of the world’s goods. I am not a hawk, I am an EAGLE!!! An AMERICAN EAGLE.!!!!! Love, Pastor John Markley."
CONSUMERS CALL FOR BOYCOTT OF CHINESE-MADE GOODS. Conservative Truth was not alone in calling for a boycott of Chinese-made goods. Many other organizations issued the same call, and the Communists listened. An article on CNSNews.com related that retailers all over the U.S. received thousands of calls and e-mails from consumers urging a boycott of Chinese-made goods. This caused several retailers to warn Chinese diplomats that they would seek new suppliers unless the 24 crewmen of the downed U.S. plane in China were returned promptly. The New York Times reported that K-Mart’s headquarters was flooded with complaints urging the company to stop buying products from China. "Our customers are telling us to quit doing business in China- that they’re not going to buy things made there anymore," said Dale Apley, K-Mart’s vice president of public policy. "These are just people taking time out of their schedule to contact us. How many other people are thinking the same thing?" Apley added that K-Mart warned Chinese business contacts that the company would have no choice but to "diversify its suppliers" unless the matter was resolved quickly. DON’T EVER THINK THAT YOUR VOICE DOESN’T COUNT!!
He has written thousands of articles that have been republished in national newspapers and on hundreds of websites, and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. His weekly Conservative Truth article (which is read by 250,000) offers a unique viewpoint on social, moral and political issues from a Biblical worldview. This has resulted in invitations to speak internationally at churches, conferences, Money Shows, universities, and on TV (including the 700 Club).
“Dr. Tom,” as his readers and followers affectionately refer to him, has a passion for teaching, as you can see from his ministry website (www.ChristianFinancialConcepts.com); his patriotic site (www.ConservativeTruth.org); and his business site (www.GoldenArtTreasures.com). Tom's friend Dr. Lance Wallnau wrote of him, "Tom Barrett is a Renaissance man with a passion for subject matter ranging from finance to theology and American history."
Visit Dr. Tom Barrett's website at www.DrTom.TV