Apologize For My Conservatism? Fat Chance.

Written by Steve Pauwels on June 20, 2013

Jacob_Riis_portraitAwwww, isn’t that just precious! 

I suspect that sentiment, or something roughly akin to it, was the norm among the masses who’ve viewed a photo gone viral over the past several months. It captured the moment twenty-four year old Marine Josh Curtas, squared away in his dress blues,  shared a discreet, pre-wedding-ceremony prayer with his fiancée. The intimate image took the internet by storm when, in a January 2013 blog,  young bride Bre Curtas posted an account of the incident, embellished by the snapshot.

“Everything culminated in that moment right there,” Curtas told New York’s Daily News. “Faith was a huge part of our relationship and plays a role in everything we do … I think this photo has gone viral because it’s not about me .. I think people are touched because it’s two young people taking a minute to forget about those things and thank the Lord for what he’s done.”

Wow, that’s refreshing. How else to respond to a profession like that in this jaded,  God-phobic age?

The twenty-three year old Liberty University graduate has confessed it was prayer that strengthened the youthful pair’s resolution to postpone their first sexual experience until the honeymoon. “[I]t’s really hard,” Curtas said, “but there is a blessing and a benefit to it … Plenty of people disagree and they’re entitled to that. I’m not going to say that if you don’t wait you’re not pure … This was just my personal journey. We made a commitment to each other and the Lord.”

Drat. She really had me right up until that last bit. 

Look, I deeply admire these kids — they really are swimming against the 21st century’s hormone-saturated, secularist-libertine tide — but the mildly apologetic tone of Mrs. Curtas’ explanation strikes me as unfortunate. “I’m not going to say you’re not pure”? “This was just my personal journey”? 

Carol Kuruvilla’s Daily News  piece arguably dabbled in a dash of editorial massaging, but I can almost cut the reporter some slack. Likely, it was Bre’s ever-so-slightly defensive footnote which egged on Kuruvilla’s spin on the newlywed’s abstinence philosophy: “It was a tough choice to make, one that the couple struggled with for months. And she understands that it’s not for everybody.”

“Not for everybody”? Mark me down as skeptical that Bre Curtas, a conspicuously devoted Christ follower, literally has concluded some folks are exempt from God’s sexual purity standard.  If, as manifestly seems to be the case, she knows Scriptural teachings and treats them weightily, she surely understands a) sex was God’s idea: He’s enthusiastic about it and designed it to be mutually pleasurable; b) but only between husband and wife; within the context of marriage.

What I intuit from Curtas’ remarks, though, is a concern about avoiding the appearance of the dreaded “J” word: Judgmentalism; or “I” word: Intolerance. For a sensitive, modern person? Few slurs, besides perhaps “racism” or “homophobia”, are worse than either of those accusations. 

I’d prefer the fresh-faced spouse had elaborated on their heroic, before-the-vows chastity minus the  self-effacing hint of uneasiness; maybe along these lines: Plenty of people disagree and they’re free to do that; but sexual purity before marriage is what the Bible teaches and we wanted to obey God in that. 

Period. Not scolding, but straightforward. This is what we believe.  ‘Nuff said.

If the 86% of women who allegedly don’t bother holding out for the “marriage bed” are discombobulated by the Curtas’ biblically-directed self-restraint? They can take it up with the Author of Old and New Testament sexual ethics. Bre and hubby, meantime, are off the hook. 

A few weeks back, when NFL running back Adrian Peterson commendably affirmed he didn’t endorse homosexual marriage, even he couldn’t resist a whiff of verbal fidgeting: “ To each his own. … I’m not with it … I have relatives that are gay … But again I’m not with that. That’s not something I believe in. But to each his own.”

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Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.