It’s a strange day when Playboy rings the church bell.
A few days ago I came across an interesting article. Hugh Hefner and Playboy are going to STOP printing full nudity.
Don’t get me wrong. The Hef didn’t have a moral revelation. This is purely a business decision trying to recover a circulation drop of nearly 5 million since the mid 70’s. Yet Playboy’s CEO Scott Flanders makes a profound statement about our culture, “We are more free to express ourselves politically, sexually and culturally today, and that’s in large part thanks to Hef’s heroic mission to expand those freedoms.” Flanders goes on to say, “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
So, nudity has become so ubiquitous that Playboy had to DUMP it to stand out against the crowd. Let that sink in for just a moment.
Again, this isn’t a moral high ground that Playboy is taking. It’s a desperate strategic decision to continue deeply influencing culture as a lewd lifestyle magazine. The reality is this is just another example of a dying medium gasping for air in the wake of the Internet.
That said they have pointed out something the church has been saying all along. Our Western culture is working to take the sacred out of sex. What is more interesting is many see this as our culture being freed from old-fashioned restrictions.
Let’s go back way before America. It’s the Roman empire about 60 A.D. Nero is supercharging the movement to dehumanize anyone of a lower class than those he sees as more worthy. Slavery, class bigotry, racism, and the treatment of women as objects is culturally pervasive. Yes, women were lusted over and desired, but they had no rights. They were objects. The Apostle Peter writes to a group of Christians who have suffered greatly for their love and compassion of those who weren’t worthy of respect as well as for their faith. This relentless love made them targets, susceptible to woeful mistreatment. They were burned alive, beaten, and lied about. Many Christians were tempted to quit being the target, to just go with the social flow in order to avoid the ridicule. The Apostle Peter then makes a bold statement – women are co-heirs in God’s kingdom. This was a slap in the face of society. Socially they had no rights, and along comes Peter living out the teachings of Jesus and gives them FULL rights.
Hear me clearly – to be lusted after is very different than to be respected as a co-heir. Yes, both gain attention, but it’s not at all the same as being truly respected as an equal.
Playboy is very right about one thing. Lust of the flesh has become ubiquitous and fully accessible. However, I think we need a little old-fashioned Jesus. Women are not objects. Their primary value is not in their flesh. They are eternally valuable beings created by God and are equally as valuable as men. Yes, a woman can be beautiful and a man can be handsome, but this is merely an attribute, it is not what truly defines them. What defines us is sacred, eternal, and bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.
I will work to teach my sons and daughter that they are co-heirs and have deep value and beautiful purpose and meaning in life. Clothed or not, I can’t support something that tries to make women something they simply are not – objects.