FIRST-PERSON: At halftime, reaping what we sow

IRVING, Texas (BP)--Ten seconds into the Super Bowl halftime show, I'd seen enough to know that I didn't need to see any more.

We changed the channel before the "shocking moment" and then I spent the third quarter trying to get my wired 2-year-old son to sleep before returning to the living room for an eventful fourth quarter.

I didn't learn about the incident until the next day. It was hard to miss all the talk about Janet Jackson's upside, not football, with networks, CNN and Fox News devoting segments to it. And it was the topic of ABC's "Nightline" -- the show born during the Iran hostage crisis.

This also is a crisis, but I have heard very little examination of how and why it occurred.

And very little about why we should be indignant at a bare breast but not at dancers bumping, grinding and groping in pirate-themed underwear and garters while Aunt Lucille and Uncle George and the kids are gathered around the TV set for what should be a Norman Rockwell moment.

The show was not family friendly and has not been for some time. Madonna was one of several big names who performed at the Super Bowl in 2001; the rock band U2 and their potty mouth lead singer, Bono, performed in 2002. What kept Madonna from bearing it all? Why didn't Bono give us a sampling of his infamous vocabulary?

Saying we're shocked is like saying one is surprised to find human waste floating above the water in a sewer. The stuff of culture will surface sooner or later.

Ours is a culture unable or unwilling to see cause and effect in our bending of sexual mores just enough to make us comfortable with our sin and the resulting "crossing the line" with stunts such as Jackson's.

It's OK for Super Bowl dancers to simulate intercourse as long as one doesn't expose one's privates. Sadly, if no one's breast had been exposed, most of America would think nothing of the raunchy halftime show. That's the real tragedy here.

Interestingly, the NFL acts as if it got blindsided. We reap what we sow. It's time the NFL and the networks book family friendly acts. We should insist loudly on that.

Meanwhile, what an opportunity to contrast God's genius plan for sex, love and the human body with the world's empty and insatiable pursuit of pleasure.


Jerry Pierce is managing editor of the Southern Baptist TEXAN, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

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