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Schenectady to host debate on merits of porn

Schenectady to host debate on merits of porn

Craig Gross, the founder of XXXChurch in Los Angeles, will sit down with well-known porn star Ron Je
Schenectady to host debate on merits of porn
A marquee sign advertising The Great Porn Debate event at the intersection of Erie Boulevard and State Street in Schenectady, Sept. 14, 2016.
Photographer: Jeff Haff/Daily Gazette

The Great Porn Debate is coming to Proctors in Schenectady.

Craig Gross, the founder of XXXChurch in Los Angeles, a group formed online in 2002 to help people battle addiction to pornography, will sit down with well-known pornographic film star Ron Jeremy on Sept. 27 from 7-10 p.m. at the GE Theatre for a conversation about pornography.

“They’ve been visiting a lot of college campuses for about a year and a half now, and more churches are starting to get involved,” said Jason Cooper, pastor of Schenectady’s CityReach Church, which is sponsoring the event. “I have not seen a debate but I’ve heard rave reviews. You get the perspective of someone who’s in the industry and preaching their gospel, if you will, and Pastor Gross who is preaching his own gospel. There’s a good balance to a major cultural issue, and people can decide from there.”

Cooper’s church has been meeting every Sunday morning at the Fenimore Gallery at Proctors for about 18 months now. The group is affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, a group of autonomous but connected churches with more than 67.5 million members around the world.

“We’re a Christian-based church,” said Cooper, who moved to the Schenectady area six years ago. “We’re new, but we have between 65-80 people showing up every Sunday, and all of them are in support of this event. We think it can be very helpful to people.”

Cooper said the debate usually lasts about 90 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer period with the audience. Gross, who lives in Los Angeles, and Jeremy, the subject of Scott J. Gill’s 2001 documentary, “Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy,” have traveled throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia discussing the pros and cons of pornography.

Gross is the author of 13 books, including his most recent work, “Through A Man’s Eyes.” Jeremy, who has made more than 100 x-rated films, also served as a consultant in the 1986 film with Mickey Rourke, “9 1/2 Weeks,” and the 1997 movie with Mark Wahlberg, “Boogie Nights.” He has also had a number of roles in mainstream films and on television.

Cooper, a native of Dayton, Ohio, completed his seminary work at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. The Assemblies of God Church was created in the U.S. in 1914 after the beginning of the Pentecostal revival earlier in the 20th century.

The CityReach Church is renting the GE Theatre from Proctors. Cost of admission is $10.

The cost of admission is $10. Buy tickets on eventbrite.com.

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

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