The Golden Rule doesn’t apply to the good Christian folks at Focus on the Family. Last week, The Washington Post ran an op-ed piece, “The Temptation of Tim Tebow,” by Esther Fleece, assistant to the president for millennial relations at Focus on the Family.
In the piece, Fleece chastised the Web site AshleyMadison.com for offering a $1 million bounty to anyone who offers proof of having sex with Tim Tebow, the New York Jets quarterback who is also known for being a 24 year-old Christian virgin, and the site’s CEO Noah Biderman for defending it. While I agree with Fleece that the actions of this Web site are crass and silly, she finally gets to the real point of her column: “…namely, that abstinence before marriage is an impossibility and/or a silly relic from the past.” After trotting out statistics to support her point that abstinence before marriage is more common than you think, she gets to her final point:
Here’s the bottom line: Noah Biderman is sadly representative of those who deeply underestimate the power of sex. It was not designed by God as a casual act to be shared indiscriminately with anyone and everyone. It was devised by our creator as the healthy byproduct of a healthy marriage, not the objective of a relationship…
Fleece then goes on to write that she agrees with people when they tell her that she has “missed out” on having premarital sex:
I have missed out on heartbreak, insecurities relating to my body, sharing the most precious part of my heart with someone other than my husband, STDs, unplanned pregnancy, etc. Not all my friends then, or now, understood or understand my commitment to purity. The difference between AshleyMadison.com and my friends, though, is that even though they don’t share my convictions, they respect me for the way I am living them out.
Uhhh, what? Just because a man or woman chooses to remain sexually abstinent before marriage, doesn’t mean he/she misses out on heartbreak, bodily insecurities and sharing his/her heart with someone else. All of these things can happen if you are a virgin or not. After all, you can love someone deeply and have your heart broken even if you haven’t had sex with him/her. We like to pretend that the bonds of matrimony automatically protect you from having your heart broken, STIs and unplanned pregnancy and it doesn’t. Some spouses cheat and use birth control inconsistently or not at all. And as a woman in this culture and society that constantly bombards me and you with gendered beauty norms, how has Ms. Fleece NOT had bodily insecurities?! It’s impossible. It’s clear she’s talking about heterosexual, vaginal intercourse as the only sex that’s worth discussing. But what about oral sex? Can you still be a virgin and have oral sex? If you answer yes, then I’m sorry – you can still be exposed to STIs.
Tim Tebow deserves that same respect. He not only believes, but boldly lives by the belief, that sex outside the context of marriage forms permanent bonds and memories from temporary relationships, and is therefore neither long-lasting or truly satisfying to the soul.
Fleece’s last claim – that Tim Tebow deserves respect for his personal decision to remain a virgin until marriage – is correct. He does. But her unwillingness to give the same respect to those who don’t fit her definition of “good sex,” (even if it’s a sleazy Web site and CEO) and who have sex in many social contexts outside the confines of heterosexual marriage, is hypocrisy. Tim Tebow and others like him have one view of sex and it doesn’t make it any better than other views of what sex is and isn’t. Fleece’s view is one that I happen to disagree with and don’t live by, but that’s what makes the world go around.
If Esther Fleece doesn’t like people judging her and not respecting her for her personal, sexual decisions that only concern her, then why is she doing the same thing to those of us who don’t think sex outside of marriage is wrong and can be long-lasting and satisfying to the soul? Spare me the morality lesson.