If the romantic comedy Friends With Benefits didn't trouble you, I hope this does. A&E, the same network that brings us Duck Dynasty and all the Robertson family's Christian values, is broadcasting a disturbing new show called Neighbors With Benefits.
According to A&E's own description, the new original real-life series follows the residents of an average suburban community in Ohio where the couples maintain a not-so average way of life: "Neighbors are often more than just friends in this seemingly ordinary neighborhood that has become home to the controversial, yet surprisingly common, 'swinger' lifestyle."
People magazine makes light of the immorality, jesting: "A&E has an important message for you: Soccer moms can be swingers, too!" The New York Post also takes its crack at humor, bantering: "They've got the white picket fence, the 2.5 kids—and a swinging sex life."
"They're attractive [people]. This isn't your pony-tailed, earring guy that you would picture being a part of swingers," executive producer Aaron Rothman told The Post. "They look and feel like they are your neighbors. Their kids are playing with your kids."
Swinging Hits the Mainstream
How comforting ... Do you see the subtlety? The producers are working to paint this as normal. Swinging is not normal—and it's not moral—but it's finding its way out of the subculture and into the mainstream. At least mainstream entertainment.
Indeed, it's not just A&A. Showtime has aired original series called Polyamory: Married & Dating, which follows two polyamorous families living in Southern California. This shameful show puts another perverted twist on reality TV just as did Sister Wives when it started broadcasting an inside view of modern polygamy where a man is "happily married" to three wives.
And it's not just unbelievers, either. I was shocked to learn about 18 months ago that Christians, or at least people who describe themselves as Christians, are also participating in these immoral acts. A marketing line on matchmaking site christianswingers.com promises a platform that helps you "meet local Christian swingers who believe that an open and honest relationship with each other will keep any marriage fresh and exciting."
No, I guess we can't pray the polyamory away—or maybe we haven't prayed hard enough. Neighbors With Benefits premiers on March 22. It's not the first such show and it won't be the last. As I've said before, the mainstream media is setting out to push polyamory into the mainstream. Swinging may be a loose translation as the participants don't claim to be in love with one another, but it's a manifestation of the same sin.
Perversion Rising Rapidly
This is dangerous and leads to all manner of perversion. Two Florida paramedics in a child sex assault case in March were identified as swingers. Meanwhile, congregations from about a dozen churches united in March to keep a swinger's club from relocating near a Christian school in Nashville.
The New York Daily News reported on Valentine's Day—of all days—how Swinger magazine inspired one woman to have sex with 3,000 men. And in the United Kingdom a swingers and nudists holiday company just launched to offer risqué adventures. That's just a few of the headlines from the past 30 days. It goes on and on.
But Neighbors With Benefits' producers some how think it's justified, like some sort of social experiment captured on video.
"It's looking at marriage and sex in marriage through the prism of this subculture. We're in an interesting place with social mores in this country," says Rothman. "This is a weird and intriguing look about how people can make decisions and how they lead their lives and how this subculture operates."
Can You See Jezebel?
Neighbors With Benefits and shows like it are unapologetically glorifying immorality. What's behind this? Jesus pointed to a woman in the end times who was handing out a license to sin. He had something against the church at Thyatira because, He said to them, "You allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols" (Rev. 2:20).
Whether or not you believe in a "spirit of Jezebel," you have to admit there are certain dark forces at work to cloud the minds of believers and unbelievers alike in this hour. It's not as if they are sinning, repenting and falling again—then getting back up and continuing the struggle with all sincerity of heart. They see nothing wrong with the behavior.
From a practical perspective, I believe immorality is rooted in the lust of the flesh and a lack of the fear of the Lord. The Bible clearly tells us to not only abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4:3) but to "flee sexual immorality" (1 Cor. 6:18). The Bible also tells us, "For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph. 5:5).
I could go on and on about what the Bible says about sexual immorality. God put those verses in there to warn us of a destructive practice because "every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (1 Cor. 6:18). Where fear of the Lord is lacking, sin abounds. Let's pray for the spirit of the fear of the Lord to fall on the swingers, polyamorists, practicing homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators and the like. Let's pray for the spirit of the fear of the Lord to fall on us. Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening, Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still Small Voice of God, The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
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