Hugh Hefner: Protestant Saint of the Century

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It is not often that I commend the writings of a liberation theologian. And I’m not about to do so now, at least not in totality. But Native American liberationist Vive Deloria’s thirtieth anniversary edition of God Is Red: A Native View of Religion has some important insights about the state of mainline Protestantism.

Deloria, in the midst of the typical revisionist proposals for Christian theology, offers the idea that Hugh Hefner should be pronounced “Protestant saint of the century.” This is because, he suggests, of the ways in which the mainline bureaucracies have embraced “almost every kind of sexual activity as permissible ‘if it is done with love.'”

On another note, Deloria takes on the political lobbying wings of the liberal Protestant denominations in this way: “They feel the only task remaining in the field of religion is to find a way to make their church relevant to the outside world. Most of them would take the Second Coming of Jesus as a personal affront indicating that God has lost confidence in their ability to solve problems.”

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.