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A great debate puts skin in the Springs spotlight

The Hedgehog. Porn's most prolific, mustachioed, hairy-backed hip-gyrator.

Ron Jeremy.

"Eww ... gross!"

It's just that kind of reaction that "Great Porn Debate" organizer Wolfman Productions knows will put butts in seats across the country. Whether repulsed or not, people flock to see Ron Jeremy live. For many years, he's been pitted against porn opponents most recently, a gaunt, indie-rock-looking pastor named Craig Gross.

Gross is the founder of XXXchurch.com, the largest anti-porn Web site, which claims more than a million visitors per month.

The two will debate the merits and dangers of porn at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20 in Colorado College's Shove Memorial Chapel. Also, Gross and colleague Donny Pauling will lead a "Porn and Pancakes" event at Pulpit Rock Church on Sept. 22, and Gross will speak at church services on Sept. 23.

The Indy spoke with both Jeremy and Gross, and gathered more verbal gems than we possibly could fit here. (For full interview transcripts, see csindy.com.) Though skeptics may call their debate canned, full of pre-rehearsed skin fodder aimed solely at publicity and monetary gain, the two present impassioned arguments on a topic to which they both devote a great deal of time.

Gross subscribes to the Transformers "more-than-meets-the-eye" school of thought on pornography: that people viewing it unknowingly get a lot more than they bargained for. Like possibly failing in meaningful relationships when porn-induced fantasies hinder everything from sexual performance to establishment of emotional and mental connections.

In the end, the "porn pastor" just wants to help the afflicted. And if a few find their way to Jesus on that path, great.

Jeremy defends his industry with a sharp wit, quick tongue and the fervor of an innocent man in prison. Like Gross, who must overcome negative stereotypes of Christianity, the 54-year-old Jeremy must distinguish between the handful of horror stories that have given his trade a bad rap and recreational pornography-viewing.

From Bible-thumpers to bukkake, the realities of the pornography landscape may not be pretty. But in today's world, they're inescapable.

The Great Porn Debate

Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave.

Thursday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.

Free; visit coloradocollege.edu or porndebate.com for more.

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