Christian leaders in the fight against pornography have called the death of Hugh Hefner “tragic,” while reminding Catholics to take seriously the impact of Hefner’s legacy on American culture.
“Nobody should ever take joy in anybody’s passing,” Alan Sears, founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, told EWTN News Sept. 28. “There have been thousands of people praying for Hugh Hefner’s conversion for years, and the saddest part to me of his passing, is that we see no evidence of conversion on his part.”
“Apparently up to the end, he took joy in this exploitation of women, of sexuality and all the other things that the secular media is lauding him for,” said Sears, who under President Ronald Reagan served on the staff of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, known as the Meese Commission.
Hefner died on Wednesday, at the age of 91 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. His son Cooper Hefner, chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said his father lived “an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights, and sexual freedom.”
For Patrick Trueman, president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Hefner left “a sad legacy.”
“We shouldn’t be celebrating. We should be mourning his death. He lived the life of a predator and sexual exploiter,” he said, contending that Hefner has fewer admirers than he did 10 or 20 years ago because the harms of pornography are better recognized.
Four states have passed resolutions proclaiming pornography to be a public health crisis.
“Reams of research show that Internet pornography is linked to neurological harms, sexual dysfunctions, and increases in rates of sexual violence,” Trueman continued. “Hugh Hefner was not a champion of free speech. He was a pioneer in the sexual objectification and use of women.”