Who Would Jesus Do? July 24, 2008

Who Would Jesus Do?

Tennis player Ashley Harkleroad is on the cover of the August issue of Playboy. (I know this because Brad mentioned it on his site. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)


More interesting is the (cropped) picture below, from her pictorial, featuring one interesting tattoo…


What does Ashley say about the Ichthys symbol (a.k.a. the Jesus Fish)? Daniel Radosh writes:

In the word-things that accompany the pictures, Ashley says she got the tat when she was younger, but stands by it. “I still believe in God, but God made female athletes beautiful and sexy, and I want to represent that.” Amen, sister. I’m sure all the boys who have seen this tattoo immediately fell to their knees in prayer.

Radosh, the author of Rapture Ready, has the uncropped NSFW picture… you know… just in case you wanted to see the tattoo in full context. And by context, I mean articles. NSFW articles. With words.

(via The God Blog)

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  • This really reminds me of this post at the Skip Jenkins Show

    The photo is all but priceless. But it is one way to get atheist guys (at least the straight ones) to read the Bible. 🙂

  • I believe!

  • Rose

    It’s clearly a miracle – that’s what happens when you have a bunch of atheists thinking about tits all day!

  • Ron in Houston

    And you had to crop the photo? Why?

  • Larry Huffman

    I am betting her views have changed quite a bit since she got that. She may find before too very long…as she uses her brain and such, that she totally regrets the fish. Good news is, it could be touched up to be something cool…hehe…like a Darwin fish.

    I have always liked tats. I think it comes from being a military brat and having been in the Navy. I used to think about tattoos I would get…and for many of my early years i would have told you that I would have no problem getting a religious (jesus or symbol) tattoo…that i would always wear it with pride…

    Well…as it turns out…for as certain I was that I would be christian all of my life…looks like I would have been very sorry for a tattoo like that as well.

    My bet is…in another 5 years it isn’t there or it has become something else.

  • Tom

    I’ve been a subscriber to Playboy for several years now (for the articles, of course), and every time I notice a religious tattoo or see the girl bearing a cross on her necklace, I immediately find her less attractive. I saw this in the newest issue and was wondering if it would be mentioned here. The fish tattoo goes a little beyond just wearing some jewelry.

  • TheDeadEye

    Damn it! Every funny joke I have for that Jesus fish is completely dirty, filthy, tasteless and totally unacceptable here.

  • It’s worth checking this article on the possible pagan origins of the fish symbol:


    Apparently, the fish symbol was used by earlier religious movements as a symbol of the goddess, fertility, and sexuality.

  • Ron in Houston


    You raise some very interesting issues.

    Since Hemant is a noted author with his work published in several countries, I’d suggest that we commission him to go interview her.

    What do you say Hemant? Are you up to the task?

  • Gabriel

    I like naked chicks and all but I don’t think she is very attractive. Her breasts are so small that she looks way to young to be in nude photos. Her athletic body is nice enough but her face isn’t all that special. My wife has a prettier face. Oh well, I guess she just doesn’t do it for me.

  • Darryl

    Fair critique Gabriel.

  • Finn

    Hemant, I’m not sure you realise how often you post gratuitous shots of attractive women (a lot more often than you post gratuitous shots of attractive men, that’s for sure), often with not-so-subtle acknowledgements of their hotness, but when the comments degenerate into “discussion” and critique of the woman’s looks, it can be extremely off-putting for your female readers. I come here to read about atheism and religion, not feel like I’m in a bar surrounded by drooling pigs.

    Gabriel, I’m SO glad to know you find your wife hotter than a random tennis player. I’m sure she’s glad to know you have to insult other women’s looks (I sure hope FA doesn’t have any smaller-chested female readers) in order to praise hers. The double-reassurance that you’re straight as you’re dissing Ms. Harkleroad’s looks is even nicer. “No, I totally love naked chicks, but this particular one ‘isn’t all that special’. If only she were hotter, I would join in on the ribbing and hooting with you other dudes!”

    Hey, guys! Sometimes, when a woman participates in certain sports from a young age, it can result in a smaller bust than she may otherwise have wound up with. Even ignoring the inherent ridiculousness of judging a person’s beauty or worth by their bust size, it seems nothing short of repulsive to suggest a woman shouldn’t pursue athletics because it’ll make her less attractive in your estimation. Ugh.

  • Wes

    Jesus, Finn, you expect Hemant to post pics of sexy men on his blog? Unless he’s gay, why would he do that? Do you think people can change their sexual preferences at your command? If Hemant were gay, I’d understand him posting pics of men and commenting on how sexy they are. But why should he do that if he’s not gay?

    He’s a guy. He’s straight. He likes girls. It’s his blog. He posts about it. Deal with it.

    And, guess what, different guys find different things attractive in a woman. I find this particular girl attractive. Apparently Hemant does too. Gabriel doesn’t. So fucking what? We have different preferences. Why should anyone be offended by that? He didn’t say she shouldn’t play tennis or that she’s worthless as a person because she’s athletic. He just said he doesn’t find her attractive. Whatever. Everyone, male or female, gay or straight, has their own preferences in what’s sexually attractive. To each their own. It takes a real prude to be offended by that.

    Frankly, your automatic association of male sexual preference with “drooling pigs”, and your baseless attacks on Hemant and Gabriel, say more about you than they do about anyone here. No one here said anything insulting to others. No one but you, anyways.

  • Rose


    I don’t think Finn was trying to attack or insult anyone. She was trying to point out that it’s possible that some members of Hemant’s female readership might be made uncomfortable by the overt language, which being in print, doesn’t have the benefit of tone or context to alleviate some of the awkwardness.

    It’s impossible for anyone to judge what someone else will find insulting or offensive. We can’t know each other’s histories.

    IMO, when women in this country (US) asked for equality, what we got was equal opportunity exploitation – Playgirl for your Playboy. The ability to objectify men as well as women leaves both genders exposed.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    @ Finn and Gabriel:

    The analysis of this woman’s attractiveness is apt because she is posing naked in a men’s magazine. If a random picture of a woman is posted (say a woman giving a lecture), then commenting on her looks is completely off topic and, i agree, unrefined.

  • I’ve always hated tattoos. The fact that she chose to explain that she’d had it done when she was younger is proof enough for me that she wouldn’t do it today. Tattoos aren’t meant to rub out though so she’s stuck with it unless she adds legs to it or something.

  • sexorcista

    “I still believe in God, but God made female athletes beautiful and sexy, and I want to represent that.”


    So who makes all the ugly chics?

    The word for me is “STILL”….as if its a surprise even to self (not so much the tat).

  • PuckishOne

    Leaving aside the fact that a man’s heterosexuality is in no way compromised by posting photos of attractive men on his blog (the Bad Astronomer, for one, makes no bones about his “mancrush” on David Tennant, among others, and I’ve not seen a single aspersion cast on his heterosexuality), maybe some of the female readers were just hoping that men who tended towards non-traditional thinking (atheism) were also the sort who exercised that sort of thinking when it comes to gender politics.

    I do agree that a woman who poses for Playboy or the like is a viable target for appearance-related comments, but I also agree it gets a little old hearing about tits and ass all the time when all you need to to see the aforementioned bits is look in the mirror. So when this happens I just go read another blog. Anyone ever noticed that Phil Plait is kind of hot? 😉

  • Wes


    You’re right about what you say, but I didn’t mean to imply that posting about men would threaten Hemant’s heterosexuality. I love Phil’s blog just as much as I love this one. I simply meant that since Hemant is in fact heterosexual, it’s not right to denigrate him for posting about women he finds attractive, or to get on to him for not posting about attractive men. It’s his personal blog, for crying out loud. It’s where he expresses himself.

    Both the left wing and the right wing have their prudes, but the prudes on the various sides express their prudery differently. Right wing prudes attack sex in the name of “tradition”, while left-wing prudes attack sex in the name of “equality”. I don’t think “non-traditional thinking” means you can’t discuss sex or express one’s sexual attractions. Sex isn’t “traditional”, and it’s not a matter of “gender politics” (because sex isn’t always about gender); it’s biological, and it’s just part of life. People who are offended by it are offensive to me.

    Nothing Hemant or anyone else said is even vaguely sexist. Finn’s childish name-calling and her allegation that “it seems nothing short of repulsive to suggest a woman shouldn’t pursue athletics because it’ll make her less attractive in your estimation” are sheer buggering nonsense, seeing as no one said anything even vaguely like that. All Gabriel said was that he didn’t find her attractive. That’s not sexist. It’s just a personal taste. If finding people not sexually attractive is sexist, then we’re all sexist, and the word has no meaning, because no one can control their sexual preferences.

    If Hemant or others had made crude generalizations about women or something like that, then I would totally understand if there were outrage. But getting outraged because someone expressed their personal sexual feelings is just plain, old prudery. Whether the prudery is in the name of religion or feminism makes no difference at all to me.

  • David Crespo

    Is it weird that Gabriel is comparing “naked chicks” in magazines to his wife? Just asking.

  • PuckishOne


    I understand what you’re saying, which is why I pointed out that when the “fwoar, she’s a hottie” gets under my skin, I just turn the channel, so to speak. Also, I didn’t mean to imply anything about you by mentioning the Bad Astronomer’s “mancrushing”…I really wasn’t sure where you were going with your original comment, but I can see it now – thanks for clarifying. 🙂

    The last sentence of your post is a good one, by the way…and I agree.

  • Gabriel

    There is a lot more thought given to my post than I gave to it when I wrote it. If someone poses nude or clothed in a magazine that is about fashion or beauty it is appropriate to comment on the looks and body. This wasn’t in Sky and Telescope. It was in Playboy. She didn’t have to pose. She apparently has a successful career as a professional athlete. She did this because she wanted to. I never suggested that women don’t participate in athletics. I think the most attractive people in the world, women and men, are athletic. Breast size has nothing to do with attractiveness. I didn’t use the word “tits” in my orignal post. My point on her breasts was that their size made her look too young to pose nude. One of the things that bothers me about the sex related industry is the way that they try to make so many women look like children. That gives me the willies. I don’t want children to be sexualized and I don’t think it is erotic to make adults seem like children. I only compared the young woman’s face to my wife’s face. By that point I had moved beyond the nudity in my mind. Okay I hope I have addressed everything.

  • Gabriel

    Oh hell I forgot that I said I liked naked chicks. I wasn’t saying this to prove my hetero street cred. I don’t actually know any of you guys. I don’t care if you think I’m straight or gay. I mean WTF does it matter. I was putting that there to make it clear that I didn’t object to the nudity.

  • David Crespo

    We can all take a lesson from this one, I think. Looks like you’re not even a little bit sleazy, judging from these last two posts. But your first one really made it seem that way. Moral of the story: word choice is key in text-based conversations.

  • Ron in Houston


    Seriously, you live in a world with men. You’re always surrounded by drooling pigs.

  • Darryl

    Gab is correct.

    Taking up where Ron may or may not have left off, Finn, don’t get all ideological on us. Be mature about human nature: men and women are driven by physiological urges that are quite normal and natural, and without which none of this would be possible. As atheists, we do not fear the truth, as base and crude as genteel breeding might have it seem. We carry our civilized demeanor only so far–to the bedroom door to be precise (for some not that far). I was raised in a sexually-repressed religious culture, so I react, from the gut, with mild disgust at the way some men talk amongst themselves, but that’s my problem.

    Gabriel has it right: if a woman presents herself for public inspection, she will be critiqued. I’m old-fashioned enough to frown down on such a spectacle, as I would if it was my daughter, but this young lady has every right to parade her paltry paps in Playboy so long as she doesn’t have to see all the young boys pounding their penises to the outlines of her see-though panties.

  • I decided to try prayer.

    I asked “WWJD?”

    Jesus said: “I’d hit that.”

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