Pennsylvania Republican House Primary Heats Up Over Issue of 'Sexual Sin'

Pennsylvania Republican House Primary Heats Up Over Issue of 'Sexual Sin'

KINTNERSVILLE, Pa. — The proposition that adult content is a gateway to “sexual sin” has become an issue in the Republican primary contest for Pennsylvania’s 1st District, where longtime religious activist Mark Houck has mounted an effective right-wing challenge to mainstream conservative incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

XBIZ has covered Houck since 2007, when he picketed Philadelphia-area adult boutiques and theaters, attempting to bankrupt them by shaming potential customers.

News site Politico — which is owned by “the German Rupert Murdoch,” Axel Springer, and regularly platforms anti-porn voices — on Friday foregrounded a 2020 interview with “The Regular Catholic Guy Show” podcast, in which Houck revealed his personal “struggle” with porn.

Politico reporters Daniella Diaz, Sarah Ferris and Anthony Adragna characterized Houck’s statements as evidence of an “addictive tendency.”

Houck said, “I struggled with pornography and being exposed to it at a young age. Of course, that leads to, you know, sexual sin, masturbation and stuff. And so, that was a chronic habit that I had that just became a bad habit. Ultimately it was self-medication, I can say initially, and then it became a bad habit.”

The Politico reporters dug up other instances of what they refer to as Houck’s “open acknowledgment of his interest in porn,” including a 2011 article in a college newspaper, which connected Houck’s work with a Catholic group to what he called his “16-year pornography addiction.”

Politico confronted Houck with its research on his masturbation history, and he told the news site that “his story is not unknown.”

“I have shared it many times online and in interviews and books,” he added. “My past struggles are just that. They are a past from childhood into young adulthood. Having lost my father at a very young age (11 years old), I had no real guidance but by God’s grace and healing we were able to move away from that sad self medication to true freedom. I have maintained that freedom for many years and now I help others to find the same for themselves.”

Perhaps hinting at their source, Diaz, Ferris and Adragna noted that Houck’s chances of unseating the more mainstream Republican incumbent “sparked many private discussions among GOP leadership since he jumped in against Fitzpatrick this month” and that the National Republican Congressional Committee “was already indicating it’s prepared to spend to help Fitzpatrick, a centrist who’s well-liked by Republican leadership,” in order to “dispatch the threat” of a Houck candidacy in the general election.

A Lifelong Obsession With Harassing Others Over Their Sexual Choices

As XBIZ reported, in 2007 Houck, through his Christian men’s group, The King’s Men, staged what he called his “No More Porn Tour” of adult shops and theaters in Philadelphia’s five-county area, carrying signs that read “Real men love women” and “Real men don’t exploit women.”

“It’s something we decided to do as Christian men — taking our faith to action,” Houck said at the time. “We’re trying to reach out to men and women who are broken, seeking love in all the wrong places. We encourage a life of sexual self-control, and we have a great return on our investment. I used to have my own addiction to pornography for 15 years. I’ve found freedom in my life from these vices.”

In February 2023, Houck was acquitted in federal court of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which bans “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”

The incidents in question took place in October 2021, at a Philadelphia abortion clinic that Houck regularly targeted in his ongoing campaign to disrupt abortion providers and harass women seeking health care.

Houck told extreme-right broadcaster and multiple criminal-case defendant Steve Bannon that he intended to press charges against the FBI agents and the state troopers who arrested him in September 2022.

Houck’s acquittal was celebrated by the Catholic News Agency with a laudatory report.

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