What would Jesus do--about people in the porn business? That was the question religious publisher NavPress faced when asked by a Christian antipornography ministry called XXXchurch to print JESUS LOVES PORN STARS on the cover of 10,000 copies of the New Testament. The group plans to hand out the Bibles at erotica conventions nationwide, starting in June. "Whether you're in the porn industry or addicted to it, we, the church, are here to help," says founder and pastor Craig Gross.
Gross's ministry gets mixed reviews from porn star Ron Jeremy. "Why he picks on porn, I don't know. It's consenting adults having consenting sex and being watched by consenting adults," Jeremy says. "But if people want out of the business, I'm glad Craig is there." Gross and co-founder Mike Foster, both previously youth ministers in California, attend dozens of porn shows each year to share their faith."We just want to get people's attention," says Gross. "There's an alternative."
XXXchurch's strategy isn't good news to all Christians. The American Bible Society, the first publisher it approached, backed the mission but rejected the cover as "misleading and inappropriate." With NavPress, XXXchurch was preaching to the choir; the publisher slapped the provocative words on copies of The Message, a modern paraphrase of the New Testament. "This is a Bible written for people who aren't perfect," says NavPress vice president Lauren Libby. "But who among us is?"