Playboy magazine started in the USA in 1953 and has branched into 26 international editions including the European country of Portugal. Playboy Portugal just released their July 2010 edition featuring none other than Jesus Cristo (Jesus Christ) on the front cover as well as a multi-page spread within.
It didn’t take long for the news to get back to Playboy headquarters and for them to take official action.
Theresa Hennessy, Playboy Enterprises’ vice president of public relations, had this to say:
“We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal. It is a shocking breach of our standards, and we would not have allowed it to be published if we had seen it in advance. As a result of this and other issues with the Portuguese publisher, we are in the process of terminating our agreement.”
Playboy Portugal began publication last year with it’s first edition hitting shelves March 27, 2009.
Ms. Hennessy went on to explain: “All international publications of Playboy magazine are licensed editions (we currently have 26, including Portugal) and our international publishers sign detailed licensing agreements. While using the format of the U.S. edition, our partners publish local editions of Playboy magazine that reflect both the standards and culture of their own country, as well as our own standards and practices.”
Playboy has always been a controversial magazine, seemingly able to thrive on men’s desire to fulfill the lust of the flesh by showcasing beautiful women in the nude. But incorporating Jesus into the mix as more than an exclamatory curse word was obviously crossing the line.
Playboy Portugal said they did it to honor the recent death of José Saramago. Mr. Saramago was a national hero because he won a Nobel prize in 1998. Not only did Saramago win, but he was the only Portuguese-language writer to win the Nobel literature prize. One of his most famous novels was titled “O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo” (The Gospel According to Jesus Christ).
Although this author agrees with leaving Jesus out of Playboy magazine, I must admit that the cover photo and the two interior photos I saw online were interesting. The women’s exposed nipples were covered by someone’s careful editing, so the photos went from “rated R” to “PG-13”.
How Jesus is depicted should cause a person to think about His presence in someone’s life. Jesus appears to be an ever present help in time of trouble. Glowing in all three photos as a supernatural presence, in one photo Jesus is standing near a woman as she reads a book. In another He stands near a woman smoking a cigarette outside. And with the girl on the cover who looks like she has passed out from drug abuse, Jesus appears to be gently laying her down onto a bed to rest.
Anyone could look at how Jesus is depicted in these photos and assume the worst, as did those who accused Him in real life of associating with prostitutes and sinners; however, someone like me can look at these photos and remember that He is close to the broken-hearted, remembering his promise: “lo, I am with you always, even unto the ends of the earth.”
May I therefore suggest that instead of looking at Playboy magazine, or any other piece of pornography, you look instead into the pages of scripture where Jesus helps to set men free from sin that ensnares their souls. Here is a link to the Evangelical Bible Book Store in San Diego where you can find not only the Bible, but other helpful resources for men and women online.