Something to add to the discussion of whether the church tries to "out-obsess" the culture when it comes to sex. Let's talk about the preoccupation with celebrity virginity, most recently getting attention with quarterback Tim Tebow's admission that he's a virgin.
Tebow's news came a little differently than most. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and (infamously) Britney Spears have made much of their virginity. (In fact, the iPhone purity ring app uses "Jonas Brothers" and "Miley Cyrus" – along with, oddly, "Billy Graham" and "Barack Obama" – as its keywords.) In this case, a reporter flatly asked Tebow a personal question about a subject he hasn't yet talked about. The reporter, Clay Travis, said he asked because he expected Tebow would say that he was a virgin. It also seems Travis wanted to make a point:
I guarantee you come Sunday across the South ministers will approach their pulpits and use Tebow's virginity as an example to the flock. After all, if Tebow can resist countless girls throwing themselves at him on a regular basis, is it really valid for you or I or countless others to argue that preserving our virginity was just too difficult? Maybe. But I think it's much tougher. Like many things in life, it all comes down to a choice. And Tebow controls his own choices better than most.
But the problem with this is that if Tebow does slip up and doesn't resist, is it then "valid for you or I or countless others to argue that preserving our virginity was just too difficult" as well? People who tell the whole world they're a virgin have just invited the whole world to hold them accountable. If they can renege on that commitment with the whole world mocking their weakness, how much easier is it for us to renege on ours?
I have actually never asked a close friend the extent of their sexual experience. I only know if they choose to share it. That's why it seems intrusive to demand this information of a celebrity who hasn't yet given it. Travis was basically testing Tebow: He could either protect his privacy and say "It's none of your business" and then everyone would speculate that he wasn't a virgin, or he could tell the whole world his sexual status. It seems unfair to require our celebrities – who are first fellow Christians and celebrities second – to bare their private lives in a way that I don't even ask of my close friends.
I'm curious to know what the rest of you think.
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