A pastor based in Utah is facing a seemingly unending bombardment of criticism after tweeting there “is no reason whatsoever” for women to post scantily clad images of themselves on the internet.
Brian Sauvé, pastor of preaching and liturgy at Refuge Church in Ogden, is facing rebuke from all kinds of people, ranging from Bible teacher Beth Moore — who has since deleted her critique — to the U.K. branch of the sports apparel brand Adidas, which responded to the preacher by posting a collage of images of topless women along with the caption, “All bodies should be celebrated and supported, without shame or exception.”
So what got Suavé in so much trouble? He wrote: “Dear Ladies, There is no reason whatsoever for you to post pictures of yourself in low cut shirts, bikinis, bra and underwear, or anything similar — ever. Not to show your weight loss journey. Not to show your newborn baby. Not to document your birth story.”
The pastor signed the tweet with “Your Brothers.”
Over the last couple days, the tweet in question has garnered noteworthy attention, raking in more than 600 retweets, over 4,500 likes, close to 17,000 quote tweets, and more than 17,600 replies.
One of those responses came from leftist Unitarian Pastor John Pavlovitz, who wrote, “Pastors like you are why the Church is known for misogyny and the subjugation of women more than empathy and equity.”
Before deleting her criticism, Moore responded, “Dude, there is no world in which we ever want to see the word bra from you again. Mind your own unders (sic).”
Another dissenter argued the comment from Suavé says more about the pastor than it does about women, writing, “How little control do you have over yourself that you can’t tolerate women posting pictures like that?”
There is no shortage of condemnatory comments directed at the Utah-based pastor, many of which contain mean-spirited attacks, explicit language, and provocative pictures — all intended to, in some way, prove Suavé wrong.
How did the pastor respond?
The pastor, though, posted a lengthy Twitter thread Tuesday evening in response to the backlash he’s faced.
Suavé explained to his critics he was simply sharing his application of “a historic Christian sexual ethic,” noting he assumes many of those rebuking him were supporters of the “Me Too” movement, which called for increased accountability against those in Hollywood — namely men — guilty of sexual assault, harassment, and making unwanted sexual advances toward women.
“Many of you likely use and promote the #MeToo movement — yet hundreds of you are sending me unsolicited sexual images and videos,” he wrote. “Is that OK now? I thought your sexual ethic was all about consent? This seems like naked (pun intended) hypocrisy on your part.”
“If a man were to send you unsolicited nude pictures or sexually explicit videos of himself, you would (rightly!) judge him as a sexually abusive pervert,” the preacher continued. “But you can do it to me? How does the ethical math work out on that? Maybe your sexual ethics aren’t so ethical after all.”
He then pivoted toward sharing a Gospel message. Suavé asserted that his critics “fall short” of even their own rules, asking, “How much more do you fall short of God’s law?”
“None of us measure up, even to our own standards,” he wrote. “We’re all hypocrites, sinners, and moral vagabonds. But Christ died for sinners. Trust him and be free. I don’t hate you. Sincerely, I don’t. I hope that you can find freedom from the crippling weight of your sin through Christ.”
Suavé ended his response by writing he will be praying for his critics, urging them to read the New Testament books of Romans and John.
What does Scripture say?
There is much to be said about this debate, particularly when it comes to making comments about how women should dress and how men ought to behave regardless of the choices made by the opposite sex.
Certainly, the writers of Scripture prioritize modesty, because human beings are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and ought to be treated with the utmost love and respect. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul repeatedly warns believers of the dangers of sexual immorality, and Jesus, during His Sermon on the Mount, told His disciples all human beings fall short of God’s holy standard, declaring, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
As Christians, men and women are called not only to control their own thoughts and actions but to guard the hearts of those around us. Paul urged believers to “decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in the way of your brother or sister” (Romans 14:13).
These, by the way, are just a few of the reasons Christians should take pornography so seriously. It erodes our understanding not only of ourselves and relationships but our divine calling to intrinsically value our brothers and sisters of the opposite sex as fellow human beings created in God’s likeness.
You can read more about that subject here.
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