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Porn purveyor meets his maker

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Larry Flynt has died. The infamous pornographer who founded Hustler magazine in 1974 passed away this week at 78.

ABC News praised Flynt for building “an adult entertainment juggernaut that included casinos, films, websites and other enterprises as he relentlessly championed First Amendment rights.”

He was paralyzed in a shooting in 1986 after publishing a pictorial feature of a mixed-race couple having sex, which a white supremacist and serial killer found offensive. So, Flynt was gunned down at the steps to a courthouse while on his way to an obscenity trial. The shooting confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and left him in intense pain relying on medication, multiple sources reported.

“He suffered decades of health issues and you can imagine it was pretty difficult,” his nephew Jimmy Flynt, Jr, told ABC. He added, “I loved him and may he rest in peace.”

Larry Flynt headshot
Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine. Image from Wikipedia.

I am not the final arbiter of Larry Flynt’s soul, but I am familiar with the being who is, and I doubt that Larry is anything but at peace in his new location.

Flynt exploited women for commercial gain and amassed a $500 million fortune doing so, according to recent estimates. He also led millions of men, teens and boys into hopeless pornography addictions. I know, because I was one of them.

When Hustler published its first issue, I was just entering high school. The magazine forever changed the way pornography would depict women. The images he published went far beyond other publications, like Playboy, which at least tried to reveal women in an artistic way.

Flynt’s images were so explicit, they could easily have been mistaken for a gynecological textbook.

Yes, Flynt staunchly fought for the right to publish photographs of naked women with their legs spread wide, and the courts agreed with him. But, did he add value to the world as a result?

Married five times, Flynt rose to prominence in 1975 by publishing nude photos of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis relaxing on a beach. He bought the pictures for $18,000 and sold enough copies of that issue alone that he could buy a $375,000 mansion.

In 1983, Flynt slandered pastor Jerry Falwell by suggesting the preacher had his first sexual encounter during a rendezvous with his mother in the family outhouse while they were both drunk to the point Falwell’s mother looked better than a Baptist whore with a $100 donation.

Yes, Flynt was a real class act and Wikipedia describes many of his exploits.

Falwell sued the publication for $45 million, which a Virginia court lowered to $150,000 plus court costs for emotional distress. Yet, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed that in an 8-0 ruling which states:

“At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern.

“The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole. We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally-imposed sanctions.”

Ironically, while it is still protected speech to publish photograph’s of a woman’s cervix in a men’s magazine, people today can’t publicly question the validity of an election or the safety of a vaccination concocted during a period of six months. But, I digress.

Following the ruling, Falwell did his best to build upon a foundation established by the sister of former President Jimmy Carter, who tried to get Flynt to repent and change his ways. In fact, he claimed to be a born again Christian for a few months in 1977, but it was likely just a publicity stunt.

Flynt vowed he would “hustle for God” instead and that his magazine would still feature nudity, but become more tasteful, which still goes against many tenets of the Bible.

When Flynt’s own daughter, Tonya, truly became a born-again Christian in 1998 and launched a career as an anti-porn activist, the pornographer publicly disowned her and claimed that Tonya’s accusation of childhood molestation by her father was motivated by money.

Following Flynt’s passing and the fact he stood before God, who created the women he exploited and the men he addicted, I wonder what he thought of his $500 million fortune at that point?

Luke 9:25 says, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?

Larry Flynt could have accepted God’s grace and mercy, repented of his wrong-doing and turned his life around. It would have been an amazing testimony. Yet, it was his choice to make and he alone bears the consequences of that decision. Today, Flynt could be walking pain free in heaven, but Jesus suggests in Matthew 13:49-50 that an entirely different fate awaits him:

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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