Playboy's Message to America

Guest Commentary
December 2003 Marks 50th Year in Publication

By James L. Lambert
May 30, 2003

(AgapePress) - Several years ago I was surprised to receive a letter in the mail from Hugh Hefner. The letter was addressed to a Chicago politician by the name of Burton Natarus whom I had written when the Chicago City Hall was considering honoring the founder of Playboy Enterprises by naming a street after him.

Hefner responded to my earlier letter to Alderman Natarus in which I directly quoted several former employees of Playboy Enterprises who provided sworn testimony before the federal commission on pornography in 1986. One of these former employees, Brenda McKillop -- who Hefner refers to as a "born-again basket case" -- remembered last week an incident more than 20 years ago when she and other Christians confronted a male spokesman for Playboy, telling him that "Playboy magazine was corrupting the morals of America." His wry response was "we certainly hope so," which was recorded by a Chicago television station.

This December, Playboy will mark its 50th anniversary in publication. During this time, Hefner's magazine has made strong inroads into America's culture. As Hefner stated in an April 2000 letter, "my role in changing social-sexual values in America ... is something in which I take considerable pride."

While author and researcher Dr. Judith Reisman agrees that today's social-sexual values sadly reflects "Hef's world," she adds "it's also a world where [infection rates of] every kind of STD [sexually transmitted disease] and venereal disease are at startling high levels, where little boys and girls have sex before adolescence doing it in ways Hefner has taught" America.

Reisman continues, saying that the magazine's philosophy emulates the narcissistic belief that personal sexual satisfaction is of premiere importance and "it doesn't matter who you hurt along the way." Hefner, she says, has "defined deviancy down."

"What non-consumers [of the magazine] do not know -- and many Playboy consumers overlook -- is that Playboy has always been much more than a 'girlie' or 'men's' magazine," she asserts. "[Playboy] has been a bully pulpit for a worldview that judges men according to their tally of sexual conquests."

As a former Playboy Bunny who worked in the Los Angeles Playboy club from 1973 to 1976, Brenda McKillop speaks with some authority. By her own account, McKillop says Playboy is more than a pornographic magazine with pictures of naked women.

"It is a philosophy that enticed me to throw away my Judeo-Christian ethics of no premarital sex and of no adultery, to practice recreational sex with no commitments," she says. "The Playboy philosophy gave me no warning as to the emotional, physical, and spiritual devastation that accompanied this supposed sexual liberation. In reality, it was an addiction to sexual perversion."

Many Americans who may share strong beliefs in the family and their faith fail to understand that Playboy magazine has long made a mockery of traditional Christianity and even Jesus himself. Much of those insults have appeared in the magazine's columns and cartoon sections. Hefner's editorial oversight has sought to ridicule the Bible and long-held, faith-based moral guidelines for living, especially those relating to sexual fidelity.

Hefner's magazine has often characterized the faith community as being uptight about sex -- thereby restricting Hefner's perceived unlimited craving for sexual freedom -- and fantasy. Hefner wants a world of unrestricted sexual liberty, but without consequence.

As McKillop stated, that philosophy has distorted the beauty of sexuality in context of the One who created it. God created sex as a beautiful expression of love, but within His context -- namely, between a man and women committed to each other in marriage. Hefner and his empire endorse a philosophy that promotes multiple sexual partners while ignoring any negative consequences of this "sexually liberating" lifestyle. The Playboy message is blind to the long-term damages resulting from adultery, infidelity, and numerous sexual indiscretions. What is sad is that much of America has been taken in by "Hef's world."

The faith community cannot afford to be trapped into innocently believing that "Hef's world" philosophy is harmless. It is far from that. Parents much teach their children the damaging message that Playboy espouses. We can no longer accept the explanation that "it's just a boy's or a man's thing." Hefner's message is dangerous to America. We should remind our children and family of that.


James L. Lambert, who resides in San Diego, California, is a frequent contributor to AgapePress. He is the host of Night Lights, a weekly conservative talk cable television show in San Diego; the author of Porn in America (Huntington House); and a real estate loan sales agent. He can be reached via his website: JamesLLambert.com.

Dr. Judith Reisman's website offers resources about the subtle and damaging effects of the "sexual revolution" and what individuals can do to inform their family.

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