Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


Saying Goodbye to Hugh Hefner

I didn’t know Hugh Hefner had died until I read this post on Facebook from the daughter of a friend: “R.I.P. hugh hefner!!!!! A legend, confident and amazing!!!!! In memory of hefner C’mon girls lets share those bunnies!!!!”

Over the years I have ignored her profanity, forgiven her rants at the President of the United States, and extended unprecedented grace when she talks smack against the Seahawks, but this latest post got her forever blocked. Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner is unlikely to “rest in peace” and he certainly does not deserve any moral person’s laud and admiration.  

Hefner spent his lifetime making pornography socially respectable and extremely lucrative. His philosophy of sexual freedom was constructed to supposedly undo the “Puritan sexual repression” he saw in American life. His second wife was thirty-six years his junior. His third wife was sixty years his junior. Whenever a wife got old (over the age of thirty), he divorced her and married a younger one.

Hefner deliberately marketed the idea that the success of a man’s life could be measured by the abundance of his possessions and the number of women with whom he had had sex. And he promoted the idea that a woman’s value consisted in her attractiveness to men and her sexual availability. Hefner’s “bunny” logo captured the essence of his philosophy that both men and women were essentially rabbits whose sexual appetites should not be hindered by either culture or religion.

He did not believe in the supernatural, but he believed in himself. “I’m a pretty moral guy. Now, it’s morality as I perceive it. Morality is what is perceived as good for people. I try to do what’s right, to do what I believe to be truly humanistic and rational and loving.”

Hefner’s son called him a “cultural pioneer.” He is praised by celebrities who call him “a revolutionary,” “an American icon,” and “a truly great man.”

But we aren’t rabbits.

Hugh Hefner was indeed “a revolutionary,” but in all the wrong ways. The pornographic plague he worked so hard to create has damaged millions of lives and families. Pornography intensifies objectification, degradation, and brutality toward women, and deforms the sexual development of young people. (Watch serial murderer Ted Bundy’s final interview with “Focus on the Family.”) Pornography is linked to sex trafficking and the victimization of children.

If you want to know how sex offenders are developed, look no farther than Hugh Hefner and Playboy Magazine.

Western society has rejected the concept of absolute truth and objective morality. Now truth is personal and subjective. What's true for you isn't necessarily true for me. No one has the right to "force" their beliefs on anyone else. Our mantra is tolerance. Everyone should be free to do whatever they want, so long as they don't mean to hurt anyone.

But the "Playboy Creed” is inherently contradictory. Everything you do affects someone else. Whatever hurts you does hurt other people. Hugh Hefner has permanently destroyed millions of innocent lives. No one sins alone.

In the short-run Hefner’s philosophy may appear to have won. His Playboy mansion is now potentially the house next door to yours; maybe it’s even your house. The long-run, though, is quite different. Hefner said that “an afterlife would be a really good deal.” I doubt he feels that way about it today.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd continues to search for his lost sheep-- and sometimes for lost rabbits. The sign of a successful life is not unrestrained hedonism, but personal sanctification. We are not called to chase bunnies. We are called to the foot of a cross.