Happy 50th birthday, Michelle Obama!
This past weekend, the first lady turned 50. Prior to a star-studded White House party, ABC News offered "50 Ways to Honor Michelle Obama on Her Birthday." First on the list: "Dance to Beyoncé!"
Michelle Obama and pop music's No. 1 female megastar are BFF (best friends forever). Michelle extols her as a "true role model for children" and thanks her publicly for "being a role model who kids everywhere can look up to."
When People magazine asked Mrs. Obama, "Who would you choose to be if you could be someone else?" her response was "Beyoncé!"
Read on and see if you'd like to join me in a 51st way to honor the first lady by respectfully appealing to her that she take a fresh look at Beyoncé and reconsider her glowing endorsements of the pop star.Having two daughters as Mrs. Obama does, I humbly submit that this singer's persona and music are harmful—not helpful—for emerging young ladies across America.
I say this with no malice toward either Michelle or Beyoncé. I do say this as a discerning parent committed to being a wise overseer—not a worried overprotector in today's post-Christian culture. Proverbs 16:17 says, "The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives" (NIV).
Michelle, if you ever read this, let me state up front what the Beatles said in their famous song bearing your name: "Michelle … I love you. I love you. I love you." As a Christian, I mean this righteously not romantically. I come to you as a pastor and a parent who prays for your husband every single day.
As we were invited to honor you by ABC News, let's recall the wisdom literature of the Bible we read, which tells us, "Humility comes before honor" (Prov. 15:33). It also tells us that honor can be misplaced by saying, "Honor is not fitting for a fool" (Prov. 26:1).
Humbling ourselves to admit we are wrong or make a course correction takes character, averts problems and brings blessings. Consider a few proverbs that are relevant here:
- "Listen to advice and accept discipline, and in the end you will be counted among the wise" (Prov. 19:20).
- "The wise listen to advice" (Prov. 12:15).
- "Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still." (Prov. 9:9).
- "Whoever ignores correction leads others astray" (Prov. 10:17).
This last proverb is apropos as multitudes—especially parents—share concern when we hear you so often commending Beyoncé unashamedly.As the most influential woman in our country at present, when you speak it carries great authority. Your efforts concerning health and exercise in the "Let's Move!" campaign shows you are aware of your weighty influence.
I, like multitudes, honor you for your hard work in establishing a career before marriage, plus your obvious devotion to your husband and your two daughters—Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. Kudos also for inspiring people to get off their behinds and get involved with some exercise while eating properly.On the newsstands is a special Life magazine edition devoted totally to you! Inside, it says the following: "She is the nation's First Lady, but it is certain that she sees much of her role as a symbolic First Mom helping to show the right way, as she sees it, when she can."
Here is where many of us make an appeal to you to more wisely promote wholesome—not what many perceive as whorish—entertainment to naive and impressionable young people. Remember, your very first date with your husband-to-be was going to see a film entitled Do the Right Thing, and that's what we're asking of you.
Former first lady Hillary Clinton repeatedly quotes, "It takes a village to raise a child." There's some truth expressed here, and we all have a responsibility to point our children in the right way and not leave critical music and entertainment choices up to them alone. Again, the Proverbs warn us that "a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother" (Prov. 29:15).What to Look For in a Woman
Before we discover what divine revelation highlights as important in a woman, let's step back and honestly yet charitably consider the one referred to as "Queen Bey." Is she the role model Mrs. Obama acclaims? Should we follow the first lady's example and take our preteen and young teen daughters to one of her concerts, as Mrs. Obama has done? Should girls be encouraged to emulate her? Scripture tells us to train ourselves to "distinguish good from evil" (Heb. 5:14).
Here's the deal: The multitalented Beyoncé has been given gifts from almighty God in song and dance, for which she will one day give an account. Instead of graduating from high school or getting a GED, she chose to develop her persona as a sexy, seductive singer, attired in barely there clothes doing over-the-top, sensual dance moves. She goes on tour in a see-through bodysuit with a cut-out bra (nipples fully exposed) and gyrates like someone in a strip club. Her signature song is "Bootylicious," and she goes full throttle in "Bow Down," which instructs those who criticize her to "Bow down, [profanity]."
Beyoncé's newest album is basically a graphic ode to sex. Rolling Stone magazine featured this quote: "She hits nasty highs through the album." A taste of some of the songs include:
- "Blow"—a song about oral sex
- "Drunk in Love"—she and Jay Z engage in a duet of a sexual tour of their home
- "Rocket"—opens with "Let me sit this [profanity] on you"
- "Partition"—about having raunchy and rough sex in the back of a limo
In case you're curious, there are also 17 new videos released to titillate even further.
Now let's ask ourselves (not in any self-righteous manner but simply a prudent, mature approach): Is Beyoncé a role model? What message is she communicating to girls about relating to the opposite sex? Is she causing men to lust? Is the focus on virtue and inner beauty or seductively swiveling hips, championing a sensuality that can lead naive young girls on a dangerous path that could lead some even into sex trafficking?
Sex trafficking is a very serious problem in the United States. Remember, the average age of a young girl drawn in is 13, and scores are lured by pimps promising a glamorous life if girls will simply follow the seductive example of many celebrities whom they try to imitate. What follows leads to abuse, abortions and abasement—sometimes death. This is a national scandal in our generation. Proverbs 11:22 says, "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion."Wise Advice From a Wise Mom
The final chapter of Proverbs lays out clear counsel on what to look for in a woman. Here is God's role model, and I join millions of men across our nation who are grateful that we followed these criteria in assessing our future wives. Having been married 37 years and followed the example of my wife's parents, who have been married 67 years, I wouldn't have it any other way!
Proverbs 31 unfolds the wisdom of a seasoned mother given to her offspring—one of whom became not a president but its equivalent, a king. Three areas are highlighted:
- Components. This mother instructs on character qualities to look for in a godly woman.
- Clothing. This mother instructs that a godly woman is "clothed with strength and dignity"(v. 25).
- Conclusion. This mother warns, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised" (v. 30).
Recently, another pop artist who has modeled a horrific example for young girls, Ke$ha, was written up in People magazine. After years of promoting a hedonistic lifestyle ("Brushing my teeth with a bottle of Jack [Daniels]") in her music and concerts, she tragically entered rehab as her grief-stricken mother lamented, "She had a breakdown!"
While we all guard our hearts and pray for the Ke$has and Beyoncés of this world, let's wise up to celebrate what is authentic, life-giving and aligned with a biblical worldview when it comes to women. Whether or not Mrs. Obama has a change of heart about her promotion of "Queen Bey," let's follow God's standards and protect our loved ones lest they get entangled and stung.
Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with more than 41 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview (see ‘Is Gay OK? 10 Things Everyone Needs to know’ now on YouTube). He loves awakening people to today’s cultural realities and responses needed for a restored, influential church. Please visit LarryTomczak.com.
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