Churchgoers like porn, but not on Sabbath
    March 3 2009 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    BOSTON — According to a new study, people who live in states with high church-attendance rates buy as much Internet pornography as their more secularized counterparts — but they are less likely to subscribe to an adult web site on Sundays.
     
    Researcher Benjamin Edelman said subscriptions to a top-10 seller of online adult entertainment he studied are not statistically different in pious states from subscription rates elsewhere, but significantly fewer subscriptions in religious states are purchased on the Christian Sabbath.
     
    “This analysis suggests that, on the whole, those who attend religious services shift their consumption of adult entertainment to other days of the week, despite on average consuming the same amount of adult entertainment as others,” Edelman, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, wrote in the study.

    Studies of Americans’ beliefs generally reveal some of the highest levels of religiosity in the developed world. For example, 68 percent of Americans say the Bible is the word of God and is to be taken literally. At the same time, social critics have argued the rise of Internet pornography is contributing to a coarsening of American culture.
     
    Edelman, an expert in electronic commerce, set out to learn if consumption patterns of adult entertainment would reveal two separate Americas, or if porn consumption is widespread regardless of factors such as moral conservatism and religious conviction.
     
    Edelman analyzed anonymous credit-card purchases of online porn by ZIP codes and factored in the availability of broadband Internet access in the surveyed areas. Broadband connections allow faster downloading of images and video, and broadband users outnumber narrowband customers on adult sites 18 to 1.
     
    Edelman found Democratic- and Republican-leaning states “remarkably similar” to each other in patterns of consumption of online porn. In fact, he found adult-site subscriptions slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative laws on social issues, such as ”defense of marriage” amendments.
     
    He also found online porn more prevalent in states whose residents tended to express more conservative religious views in studies, such as agreeing with the statements, “I never doubt the existence of God” and “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.”
     
    The biggest per-capita consumer of online porn is Utah, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That state averaged 5.47 adult-content subscriptions per 1,000 home-broadband users. Widely known for its family-friendly image, the Mormon church received backlash last year for working hard to pass Proposition 8, which eliminated the right of marriage for same-sex couples in California.
     
    Six of the top-10 states for porn-subscription rates are familiar territory for Baptists. Mississippi, the state with the highest concentration of Southern Baptist churches, ranked third with 4.30 subscribing homes per 1,000, between Alaska (5.03) and Hawaii (3.61).
     
    Oklahoma ranked fifth (3.21), followed by Arkansas (3.12) North Dakota (3.05), Louisiana (3.01), Florida (3.01) and West Virginia (2.94).

    Montana bought the least online porn, 1.92 subscriptions per 1,000 broadband connections. Also ranking near the bottom were Idaho (1.98 per 1,000) and Tennessee (2.13).
     
    The study said Americans spend $2.8 billion a year for online porn. More than a third of Internet users visit at least one adult web site a month, and the average user visits adult web sites between seven and eight times a month.
     
    Edelman noted the irony in the most conservative religious states also being some of the most porn-hungry.

    “Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman said in an article in New Scientist magazine.
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)

    3/3/2009 5:25:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
    Filed under: pornography, Researcher Benjamin Edelman, statistics




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