Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91. He leaves behind a business empire valued at tens of millions of dollars, and at it’s height was worth over 200 million dollars. He turned hedonism into a business and profited from it a great deal. He will be remembered as an American icon that helped to change the way that we think about sex. He invented a lifestyle, then lived it, encouraging others to do so. The dramatic effect that he has had on American culture should not be underestimated.
Hefner was known to have slept with men by his own admission, supported by his then girlfriend Carrie Leigh. He was not only a ladies man after all. He had become so hedonistic that he sacrificed his hearing due to Viagra saying he would rather have sex than have his hearing. In a similar way, the centrists and progressives would rather have their sexual views, or at least allow for said views, than listen to the church. In that sense they are like Hefner, having sex instead of being able to hear. The church has preached a consistent sexual ethic for thousands of years, but now there are those who wish to see it change, and are willing to leave the puritanical traditionalists behind, just like Hefner. It is a little known fact that his mother wished him to become a missionary, and he did, though not the type she imagined. He became a missionary against the Christian sexual ethic and many in the United Methodist Church have become his willing converts to United Hefnerism. From the centrists who want to at the very least allow for what they call a ‘different interpretation’ to the full far left progressives who want to eliminate any talk of sexual ethics completely, and everything in between those two points, United Hefnerism is alive and well. Indeed, it is a reform movement in the United Methodist church, in their eyes at least, though it seeks to reform us away from the church and her teachings, not to be more faithful to them.
You have centrists who do not want to necessarily drift into full blown United Hefnerism, but seek to allow it as a different interpretation as well as the progressives who want to drift into full on Hefnerism and get rid of most if not all of the sexual norms. It goes much deeper than that however. Such things generally do. Hefner’s views on religion can be summed up in the following: “It’s perfectly clear to me that religion is a myth. It’s something we have invented to explain the inexplicable… What does it all mean — if it has any meaning at all? But how can it all exist if it doesn’t have some kind of meaning? I think anyone who suggests that they have the answer is motivated by the need to invent answers, because we have no such answers.” What is really sad is that I have heard these very words out of the mouths of seminary trained United Methodist pastors. Excuse me, United Hefnerism pastors. “An afterlife would be a really good deal. Yeah, I would vote in favor of that. But in the meantime, I urge one and all to live this life as if there is no reward in the afterlife and to do it in a moral way that leaves this world a little better place than you found it.” Again, I have heard similar things out of the mouths of seminary trained United Hefnerism pastors. Do good, just do it morally…and by morally we really mean pretty much whatever you want so long as we think it is ok. “We fought for birth control rights and the change in birth control laws, the change in abortion laws, we fought cases to give women the right to choose. Today, in every instance of sexual rights falling under attack, you’ll find legislation forced into place by people who practice discrimination disguised as religious freedom. Their goal is to dehumanize everyone’s sexuality and reduce us to using sex for the sole purpose of perpetuating our species. To that end, they will criminalize your entire sex life.” Sound familiar? To me it does. It is one of the core things that United Hefnerism says after all.
Hefner was born into a Methodist family, and he admits that had a lot to do with why he started his business. He, intentional or not, became a missionary back into that faith he was raised with seeking to change it for the worse. He has, in many cases, succeeded. There are still a great many United Methodist pastors who have remained faithful that I respect and admire. To them I say thank you. To those who have been converted to Hefnerism however, you are far outside the faith in many ways. The teachings of your (false) prophet Hefner echo in your beliefs and statements. When the founder of Playboy would be proud of the theology that you are expressing, you have gone seriously astray. You have indeed become the founders of the United Hefnerist Chruch, and the one can only hope that your doors close soon. Rest in peace Mr. Hefner. I hope that the false religion that you have spread rests eternally with you.