Puritan heritage repudiated by Hugh Hefner
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner reportedly told Time magazine recently that reinventing himself necessarily involved abandoning his heritage, which includes William Bradford, who arrived on the Mayflower and was elected Plymouth Colony's first governor. "Instead of the Puritan world that my folks accepted and, from my perspective, paid the price for, I created a world for myself."
Reading this factoid in today's newspaper aroused my curiosity about Hefner's forefather. I learned that he is the author of a manuscript entitled, Of Plymouth Plantation, which recounts the events leading up to the 1620 voyage to the New World and the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Some of Bradford's statements in the opening chapter find resonance in my heart, for much of what I've stood for seem merely echoes of his convictions. Here are a few excerpts, with updated English where needed.
"[Satan] sometimes by bloody death and cruel torments; other whiles imprisonments, banishments and other hard usages; as being loath his kingdom should go down, the truth prevail and the churches of God revert to their ancient purity and recover their primitive order, liberty, and beauty.... [Bradford then briefly recounts Satan's tactics of both persecution and of schisms and heresy during the reigns of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Yet, he says, the faithful] laboured to have the right worship of God and discipline of Christ established in the church, according to the simplicity of the gospel, without the mixture of men's inventions; and to have and to be ruled by the laws of God's Word, dispensed in those offices, and by those officers of Pastors, Teachers and Elders, etc. according to the Scriptures.
"Ancient purity... primitive order, liberty, and beauty... simplicity of the gospel, without the mixture of men's inventions"--these express well what the plea for the restoration of New Testament Christianity is all about. Later on, Bradford refers to the authority for things religious needing a "warrant in the Word of God." A humble servant of Jesus Christ, Bradford bowed to the Lord's authority as expressed in His New Covenant with humanity. (Want to go deeper? Read his entire first chapter.)
How different from Hefner's approach. Rather than humbly submitting to Scripture, Hefner says, "I created a world for myself." Does this not reflect in a subtle, Freudian way, the desire for Hefner to be his own god? In 1962 Hefner began releasing a series of 25 essays he called, "The Playboy Philosophy." It epitomized his hedonism and contained repeated attacks against "religious Puritanism," offering in its place total sexual freedom. The longest-lasting 50-year effect of his labor is rendering women compliantly two-dimensional, with two staples somewhere near their navels.
By "total sexual freedom," Hefner apparently includes not only the pornography that made him rich and famous, but bestiality and pedophilia. Rejecting any external standard of authority in sexual matters, where does one draw the line?
A study by Dr. Judith Reisman analyzing 30 years of Playboy cartoons reveals that the magazine began featuring cartoons about incest during its first full year of production in 1954. Then, from 1954 to 1984, Playboy averaged eight images of children (cartoons and illustrations) per issue, most sexual in tone. In 1971, its high year for child-related sexual "humor," it averaged 16 such images per issue. (For more, see my source for these statistics, traditionalvalues.org, which pointed me to the research of Dr. Judith Reisman, "The Psychopharmacology of Pictorial Pornography Restructuring Brain, Mind & Memory & Subverting Freedom of Speech" [CAUTION: Dr. Reisman's research is a 38-page report in PDF format containing sample cartoons from Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler. Dr. Reisman's report is restricted to viewers over age 18.])
Bradford counted himself among those "whose hearts the Lord had touched with heavenly zeal for His truth, ...and as the Lord's free people joined themselves (by a covenant of the Lord) into a church estate, in the fellowship of the gospel, to walk in all His ways made known, or to be made known unto them, according to their best endeavors, whatsoever it should cost them, the Lord assisting them." No wonder Hefner decided he must leave this heritage behind. Bradford and Hefner are about as opposite as is conceivable. Had Hefner embraced the Puritan heritage of Bradford, how differently he would have treated women and children! How improved today's society might be!
Steve Singleton, DeeperStudy.org