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Big Church – Big Porn: How Penthouse Brings Christian Singles Together

Last Updated: April 6, 2015

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

“Bringing people together in love and faith.”  This is the tagline of BigChurch.com.  And who owns this online service: Penthouse Media Group, Inc., publisher of Penthouse Magazine.  That’s right.  BigChurch is just one of many online dating networks where users log on, create a personal profile, and meet others who share similar spiritual beliefs.  Christian community (and maybe a date) an easy click away, brought to you by one of the world’s largest pornography providers.

Marc H. Bell is a Managing Director of Marc Bell Capital Partners LLC, an investment firm based in Boca Raton, Fla. PET Capital Partners is one of their affiliates. Penthouse was purchased in 2004 by PET Capital Partners, and now Marc H. Bell is the chief executive of Penthouse Media.  In 2007, in order to expand their reach, Penthouse Media purchased Various, an online social networking company that hosts the FriendFinder.com network, which consists of 25 multicultural and multilingual dating and social networking sites (and BigChurch.com).  This network has a membership of more than 260 million users (about 1.2 million of which are paying subscribers). Various’ most popular web site is a personals community for swingers and sex.

Penthouse Media reports that purchasing Various is a part of Penthouse’s strategy to further enter the age of Internet marketing, providing consumers, particularly 18-to-34-year-old men, with “a wide variety of sex-related offerings in magazines, in videos and online.”

This is irony to be sure. Every well-meaning Christian who signs up on BigChurch, in some way, encourages advertisers to pad the pockets of Penthouse.

Any comments on this?

  • Comments on: Big Church – Big Porn: How Penthouse Brings Christian Singles Together
    1. John C on

      I think that the devil uses many deceitful ways to gain power, this being a clear example. But my advice for anyone who is using this service would be to stop. If the money you pay is going to a company that distributes pornographic material then supporting that is not right. God wants us to Abhor what is evil and cling to what is good (Rom 12:9) If anything it should be our goal to starve these companies of funds, not further their ability to distribute this poisonous and damaging material!

      Reply
    2. Patrick Miller on

      My age in years allows me to remember doing business with people before the internet. I have met business people over the years who sell products or services they would never use themselves and justify it by simple thinking of their products as a commodity. Not a big deal if your product is not legitimately killing or hurting people, right? It is merely the law of supply and demand; why should they not profit from tapping into the personal behaviors and consumptions of the average man or woman? Bah. Humbug! Sooner or later we reap what we sow. I remember one of my first sales jobs when I began a sales career in 1984. I worked for a small video (VHS) distributor. My job was to develop a territory of video rental shops in the Los Angeles area. The company provided various video products that could be ordered and then rented or sold on the shelves of the local mom and pop video store. It was a great business for me and I made good money for a while. I soon began to see the emerging of big businesses such as Blockbuster stores would squeeze out the small shops. The owners of our distribution company decided they would shore up profits and protect their financial interest by ‘expanding their offerings’; they did this by beginning to supply adult videos. That was it for me; I quit the business. I was not living for God or attending church at that point in my life, it was simply a slippery slope that I did not want to climb onto. OK, so you can say that pornography is legal, it is not as if I am selling crack cocaine! Well, I can tell you from the testimony of many (from personal experience) and the support of science that the high someone gets from an addiction to porn is just as powerful if not more. Just because the law of the land has not declared porn illegal does not mean it is ok to divulge in it or profit from it. This is why programs such as Covenant Eyes are so important and essential to the Christian life and home.

      Today I am a Christian; serving God, my family and my community. The word tells me that I am called to be salt and light. While the Lord has set me free, there are some freedoms I must personally choose not to divulge in otherwise I sacrifice true freedom and replace it with bondage, chains I create from my own decisions. For this reason and many others I avoid porn as a matter of life and death. There is no way in my mind that anyone who calls themselves a Christian among friends, family, or in any public fashion can knowingly do business with a company that is partnered with, owns or profits from the destruction of peoples minds and souls.

      That being said there are probably good Christian people using sites such as BigChurch.com not knowing whose profits they are contributing to. Only the Lord knows the condition of their heart and if they are pure or defiled. This is the difficulty of the Internet. The internet creates the opportunity for individuals and businesses to operate in total or near total anonymity, unfortunately duping many of us.

      The Christian community which includes a large and important sector of the marketplace; must get the word out! We can continue to champion having laws changed in order to stop porn. I think there are ways we can do that without violating first amendment speech (but that is another subject). Good job here Covenant Eyes of getting the word out! I do not use the BigChurch.com site or its services. However, I attend a church of over 3,000 members of which a large number are young singles. I wonder how many of them have used BigChurch.com? Thanks again.

      Reply

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