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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Red Hot

A lot of people are blogging about a new Harvard study that found most online porn is purchased in red states. It seems like there are way too many conclusions to draw to even explore the connection–the study doesn’t, for example, look at who is buying the porn–liberals or conservatives–just which states buy the most. But aside from the traditional red-blue divisions and moral questions, the study raises a few faith issues:

For example, Beliefnet editors report that three of the states in the top 10 porn-buying category are also three of the most religious states: Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas. And the most porn usage was noted in Utah, also a heavily religious state.

Most online commentors are quickly jumping on the Christians, calling them hypocrites as this information comes out. But trust Beliefnet editor Steven Waldman to offer a different perspective: "They’re not lustful because they’re religious; they’re religious because they’re lustful. They’re aware of the rampant sinfulness — in part because they’re busy sinning — and figure they need church all the more."

Others offer other explanations: the non-religious and liberals get their porn for free (the study only looked at credit card usage on porn sites); preaching abstinence leads to greater porn use; and stricter laws in conservative states mean the liberals have to go online.

The other religion connection: Porn consumption does decrease on Sundays.