Dear Apple, Inc. – you ruined my life, so I’m suing

A gateway drug?

A gateway drug?

Hey, did you hear about the guy who sued Apple computers, blaming its devices for his lifelong addiction to pornography, a failed marriage, and “emotional distress to the point of hospitalization”?

I pride myself on being able to sniff out fake stories. When I heard the PornApple one I immediately decided, that’s a little too “neat” to be true; I guessed that it’s from The Onion, which currently is running spoofy stories titled “Biden has Guy named Worm sit in for him at Cabinet Meeting” and “Alex Rodriguez Has Asked 4 In 5 Americans For Steroids.”

The good people at Snopes.com are my “go-to-guys” for rumors. They didn’t have the PornApple one. Instead, I found the story all over the net at reputable news sources, for example, HERE. I have before me the authentic 50-page complaint of Chris Sevier v. Apple, Inc., which begins:

The Plaintiff respectfully demands that Apple sell all of its devices on “safe mode”, with software present to filter out pornographic content. If the purchaser of Apple’s products is over 18, Apple should allow the buyer to take additional step [sic] to acquire a password from Apple in order to remove the filter to access Constitutionally protected indecent content. If the buyer is under 18, Apple should not provide the password.

The complaint is a bit whiney, and Americans can’t abide self-labeled “victims”, especially from those who can’t control their bodily desires.

But Christians should take very seriously the fact that millions upon millions are addicted to online porn: after all, the gospel informs us that people can’t conquer sin by mere self-control or moderation. Even believers are drowning: 50% all Christian men regularly view pornography and, shockingly, 20+% of Christian women. Your kids and spouses are far more likely to damage their lives with porn than with drugs and alcohol. It’s an issue that the church must address, frankly and seriously.

The Unfortunate Mr. Sevier has, of course, made himself the punchline of many jokes, and it turns out he has “issues” other than porn addiction. But the more I think about it, the more sensible his point looks. He uses the analogy of cigarette warnings: if tobacco manufacturers have to put warning labels on their packs, and if it’s illegal to sell tobacco to minors, than may not porn be treated similarly?

In Pennsylvania, there is no smoking allowed in restaurants. It didn’t used to be this way: in the 60s’s, smoking was ubiquitous; in the 70s they started to set aside No Smoking areas. Later it was flipped: restaurants were No Smoking, but you could sit in a special Smoking area. Then smoking was eliminated, in great part because cigarette smoke is impossible to contain.

The rest of Seiver’s brief strikes me as poorly argued; he will lose his lawsuit or it will be settled out of court. Nevertheless the principle is worth considering, that it should require more steps to access pornography than it does to avoid it. That is, the default setting for internet pornography should be Must-Opt-In rather than Must-Opt-Out. And since internet access falls easily within the constitutional category of interstate commerce, federal, not state, legislation is the appropriate place for action; and it should be internet servers, who profit handsomely from online porn, which bear the burden.

Addendum: very pleased to see that the government of the UK has just taken a similar initiative. Well done, PM David Cameron!

PS – My friend Brent has written No More Hiding, No More Shame: freedom from porn addiction. He asked me to write the Foreward, and so I read the book: I could read only a few pages at a time, and then lay it aside so I could process it. Both Kindle and print editions are reasonably priced; click HERE. You can read my Foreward on Amazon. The book is gritty and hard-hitting and is not suitable for children.

Related post:

Covenant Eyes at http://www.covenanteyes.com/

“Dear Apple, Inc. – you ruined my life, so I’m suing,” by Gary Shogren, PhD in New Testament, Professor at Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Post on Internet Porn […]

  2. Gary,
    Personal responsibility (self control?) is something that all God fearing folk SHOULD have.
    Is this not the culture prevalent in Western Society today? BIG government in the US and the UK takes away personal responsibility, and promotes ungodliness, does it not? Instead of being reliant on the Word of God, folk today are encouraged by BIG government to look ANYWHERE other than the Bible for an answer?
    And doesn’t everyone want to “Ban” everything that isn’t “good for us” today? (Especially in BIG government?)
    BIG government; one of the curses of the modern world?
    I will look up that book!
    God help us all…

    • All people should have self-control? Great, but as a reformed Christian I believe it’s in short supply. And as a reformed Christian, I know of no dynamic that would cause the lost to run to the Bible if only we had fewer laws.

      Would eliminating warnings, say, on tobacco products and relaxing sales to minors, would these steps make everybody snap to attention and say, My goodness, I’d better be more responsible? Does the current labeling on cigarettes truly promote ungodliness? You’re going to have to show me the math on that one. By your logic, anarchy would produce the best citizenry ever – an historical example please? – and Wilberforce was a servant of iniquity when he pushed for the central govt to end the slave trade.

      I don’t think the step I outlined would grow the government in any detectable way. Anyway, From what I can see, most people want a huge government when it comes to their personal agenda – whether military, or welfare, or tax breaks to Big Oil, or more environmental protection – and a tiny one for what The Others want.

  3. Responsibility used to more of an individual issue. When individuals see the village as the problem, and not themselves, they come up with bizzare suits as such.

    When we stand before the Judge of all the earth, he will not tolerate blame shifting.

    Thanks for the good insight, Gary.

    • You are right, that we will answer for our own actions. But we also have the responsibility to promote justice in society.

      From what I can tell, blame-shifting has been with us forever, and individual responsibility has never been a universal value. It wasn’t any different “when I was a boy”, which is often the nostalgia principle that people use as a standard.


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