For days, I’ve been watching evangelicals celebrate Tim Tebow’s engagement to a former Miss Universe. Members of the homeschool community are going nuts about this on social media, as if Tebow’s acquisition of a trophy wife somehow negates every criticism home education has ever received.
What do they suggest Tebow’s engagement proves? That keeping your kids out of the public school system can not only produce normal, socially-adept adults, but also strapping alpha men who can bag a 10.
As disturbing as these posts have been, they expose two key infections at the heart of conservative Christianity. So, we need to seize this opportunity and learn from our mistakes:
1. Christian women are still objectified.
2. Christian men are still ranked based on the sex appeal of their wives.
Before I proceed, let me clarify two things. I homeschooled for six years. I also participated in (and won) my small college campus pageant. I’m not dropping those details to brag—in fact, the full story would probably make you laugh at me if I had room to unpack it here. I’m giving backstory so you’ll know that I’m not bashing—I’m speaking as someone who is familiar with both of these milieu. I’ve “been there” enough to know that a woman who has paraded around on stage while being evaluated for qualities the Bible considers shallow does not possess more value than other females.
Women are valuable because God made women valuable. Humans are valuable because God made humans valuable. Period. I think Tebow and his fiancé would agree with that.
I will never forget the first time I heard a male friend explain how Christian men described other men’s wives in private. He was unmarried at the time, and he said that he wanted to marry a 10, in part, so that other men would know he was the kind of guy who could get that sort of action. He said he automatically respected men who caught 10’s. He said all men did.
Sure enough, when he chose a life partner, he passed over scores of women full of substance and depth, going after a girl who used social media to showcase her body. He tried to make that spiritual. I knew too much to buy it.
I’ve never really recovered from seeing this happen. Looking behind this curtain shifted something in me, caused me to grieve deeply for my single female friends who are sad that they are still unpursued at 27…29…32.
You know why they aren’t pursued? Because they aren’t Miss Universe.
You might think that’s cruel to write—too harsh of a truth to speak in public. But what I’ve written is no surprise to a lot of the women walking through this struggle. They live it. They hurt because they know it’s not how the world is supposed to work.
Too many people within the Christian community believe men have a “right” to commodify females. Too many Christian men feel no shame—none—about affiliating female value with sex appeal. Why? Well, we know one reason. According to a recent study, nearly 70% of Christian men watch porn on a regular basis.
70% of dudes sitting beside you on a Sunday morning in church…
70% of the Christian guys you know on social media…
70% of male Christian teachers…
70% of male Christian business owners…
70% of the guys you hear on Christian radio…
70% of the dudes you consider “safe” get away with their phones in a bathroom and treat pictures of other men’s wives and daughters like 2-D consumer goods.
These are the same men who impact our experience with the Christian world. So when Tebow snags a woman 70% of Christian men would willingly look at naked, it seems like he’s beat the system. Tebow loves Jesus, he played by the rules, and he gets to crawl in bed with a hottie every night.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and He will give you the desires of your…well…
I’m not a huge football fan, but from what I know of Tim Tebow’s character, I really like him. My guess is that he has chosen Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (she has an actual name, BTW) for more than aesthetic reasons. Maybe I’m naive, but from what I’ve seen of Tebow’s values, I think he would have married this same girl if she hadn’t been Miss Universe.
As a Christian woman, it’s easy for me to see that women who wear a size 14 and have acne are amazing beings—in fact, I’ve been there, too. But sadly, our culture often dismisses females based on such silly traits.
Tebow seems different, though. I think he would have fallen in love with the same person if he’d found her working behind a children’s library desk in Omaha wearing a baggy sweatshirt instead of a bright yellow bikini. In fact, it may have taken a man with his unique perspective to properly value a woman with such a resume.
But would evangelical Christianity have celebrated this engagement same way if he were engaged to a non-pageant nerd? No way.
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is a precious creation of an artistic God—but according to the Bible—so is Nancy Pelosi. That’s how Christianity works. Ours is a shocking and offensive religion that commands us to see the imago Dei in all.
Neither woman is more or less valuable on God’s scale—they both are sinful. They both receive their worth from the fact that they were made by a God who loves them.
I chose Nancy Pelosi because she’s the sort of female evangelical Christianity is completely comfortable dehumanizing. She’s liberal. She’s older. Pelosi doesn’t affirm the choices we make or the beliefs we hold; therefore, for many “Christians,” Pelosi has no worth. Pelosi is disposable. We act like Jesus didn’t die for her. We act like he died for people like us—not for pro-choice libtards.
In fact, Jerry Falwell Jr. is still sulking because Facebook censored his mocking post, a post that Jesus would never have approved—a post demeaning the physical appearance of a woman God created.
Evangelicals are supposed to laugh when Pelosi is trashed and cheer when Neil-Peters gets a ring, and simply ignore it when thousands and thousands of 20-something and 30-something women who would make wonderful wives and mothers are overlooked because 70% of Christian men don’t care what Jesus thinks about what really matters in a human being.
That’s goofed up.
I’m happy for Tebow. I’m happy for Nel-Peters. But the “homeschooler snags a Miss Universe” posts really need to stop. These posts highlight more of what’s wrong with evangelical Christianity than what’s right about it.
Be happy for Tebow because he is a good man who found a good wife, not because he is a football star who found a trophy. His is no more of a victory than any man has ever received in being granted the privilege of any woman’s allegiance.