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Quarterback Tim Tebow addresses the media as he is introduced as a New York Jet at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on March 26, 2012 in Florham Park, New Jersey.
I’m throwing a penalty flag. The infraction? Roughing the passer. As well as millions of people worldwide, some people of faith, all people of conviction, who live by the same values the passer lives by.
The injured party? New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. The guilty party? AshleyMadison.com, a Web site whose sole contribution to the greater cultural good is helping married men and women arrange secret adulterous affairs. You may have heard how Ashley Madison has offered a bounty of $1 million to anyone who can offer proof of having had sex with Tebow, the famously and unapologetically Christian athlete who has publicly declared – because the media have been rude enough to ask him the question – that he is, at age 24 and single, a virgin.
“Sports and sex (and of course, infidelity) go hand in hand,” said AshleyMadison.com founder and CEO Noel Biderman in a news release. “If Mr. Tebow is indeed abstaining from adult relationships, I would encourage him to find a nice lady or two and enjoy his youth and fame as much as possible.
“We are beyond the days where pre-marital sex has a social stigma, and it is my hope that soon we will also feel the same about infidelity.”
Let’s set aside for the purposes of this discussion the crassly transparent attempt by Biderman to make a buck, or at least generate a few headlines promoting his “business,” by taking advantage of Tebow’s name and fame. Let’s focus instead on the smarmy assumption at the root of his stunt – namely, that abstinence before marriage is an impossibility and/or a silly relic from the past.
That is, if you’ll pardon the expression, infidelity to the truth.
According to a 2011 survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, 68 percent of boys and 67 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 have never had sexual intercourse. A 2009 survey commissioned by government agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services further found that adolescents opposed pre-marital sexual intercourse both in general and for themselves, with 53 percent strongly or somewhat agreeing that it’s against their values to have sex before marriage and 62 percent strongly or somewhat agreeing that sex is something only married people should do.
Moving beyond the high-school years, the incidence of premarital sex does increase, some would even say markedly so, but is this a surprise in a culture as sexually hypercharged as ours? And even if a majority of unwed young people in their ‘20s are “doing it,” does that invalidate the principles and experiences of millions like Tebow? Quite the contrary, they should be esteemed for hanging on to their convictions about the sanctity of sex in a society increasingly content to throw such convictions away.
Here’s the bottom line: Noah Biderman is sadly representative of those who deeply underestimate the power of sex. It was not designed by God as a casual act to be shared indiscriminately with anyone and everyone. It was devised by our creator as the healthy byproduct of a healthy marriage, not the objective of a relationship. It was for this reason I made a commitment as a preteen to honor my future husband all the days of my life. I am still waiting, and when people suggest I have “missed out,” I can agree.
I have missed out on heartbreak, insecurities relating to my body, sharing the most precious part of my heart with someone other than my husband, STDs, unplanned pregnancy, etc. Not all my friends then, or now, understood or understand my commitment to purity. The difference between AshleyMadison.com and my friends, though, is that even though they don’t share my convictions, they respect me for the way I am living them out.
Tim Tebow deserves that same respect. He not only believes, but boldly lives by the belief, that sex outside the context of marriage forms permanent bonds and memories from temporary relationships, and is therefore neither long-lasting or truly satisfying to the soul.
Tell me, Mr. Biderman, where’s the $1-million-bounty-worthy crime in that?