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FIRST-PERSON: Exposing the need for revolution

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–I am seriously considering sending Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake thank you notes.

Their debauched duet featured at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII managed to do what countless concerned parents, pundits, preachers and leaders have been trying to do for years. In a twinkling of an eye, Jackson and Timberlake sparked outrage among average Americans over the state of public indecency in our nation.

Unless you have been vacationing in a remote corner of Siberia, you are well aware that during intermission of the Super Bowl a “wardrobe malfunction” (I wonder what spin genius came up with that one?) resulted in one of Ms. Jackson’s breasts being bared. The incident sparked an indignant outcry that echoed from sea to shining sea.

Perhaps I am a tad cynical, but I doubt the Super Bowl sleaze-o-rama would have raised many eyes brows had Ms. Jackson’s breast not been exposed. Everything that took place prior to the breast revelation can be viewed on MTV each and every day. Thrusting, grinding, writhing, crotch grabbing and simulated sex — all of which took place during Super Bowl intermission — are standard fare on America’s favorite music channel.

For too long, average Americans have accepted, or perhaps been indifferent to, the sleaze that saturates popular culture. Public displays of indecency strut unashamedly through every form of media. Magazines, music, movies and television have flaunted titillating material for some time. This year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition will show more skin than Ms. Jackson did during the Super Bowl.

Female singers have been appearing publicly in less and less for some time. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera are probably among the most recognized of today’s scantily clad entertainers. As far as attire goes, Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe was conservative compared to what Spears and Aguilera wear (or rather don’t wear) during their concerts.

The “cheerleaders” and “dancers” that appear on the sidelines of professional sporting events are not exempt from the promoting of sensuality in our culture. Scantily clad, they prance provocatively while displaying sparkling smiles and plenty of flesh. This is supposed to add what to the contest?

While the media’s flaunting of indecency is troubling, what is even more disturbing is the trickle down effect it has on America’s youth.

Been to a mall lately? How about to a public school? If so, you have probably seen more navels than you would at a belly dancing convention. Countless teenage girls now flaunt their sexuality, many unwittingly, by donning low-rise skintight jeans and equally form-fitting cropped shirts.

I recently attended a prestigious prep basketball tournament in Portland, Ore. A local high school dance team strutted on the court to perform at halftime of the first game. Clad in revealing outfits, they commenced to thrust, bump, grind and writhe on the floor to music rife with suggestive lyrics. When I realized what was unfolding before me, and more importantly before my 13-year-old son, I suggested that we make our way to the concession area.

At halftime of the next game, the scenario above was repeated. Upon returning to my seat I commented to a gentleman next to me that I did not realize that public schools now offered vocational training so girls could secure employment as strippers. I wonder if any of the parents who permit their daughters to dress provocatively or dance lustfully at high school halftimes were bothered by the Super Bowl “entertainment?”

From history we learn about “the shot heard round the world” that triggered the beginning of the American Revolution. Could it be that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake have fired the wardrobe malfunction “heard” round the nation? I hope their debauched duet sparks a moral revolution that will result in the sanitizing of our sleaze-saturated society. If it does, I think those concerned about the culture will owe them a thank you.
Kelly Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore., and chairman of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee of the Northwest Baptist Convention. His column appears in Baptist Press each Friday.

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