It's the Mr. Hetero contest!

An evangelical pastor searches for Massachusetts' straightest guy.

By Michelle Goldberg

Published December 15, 2005 6:02PM (EST)

Once again, the right is valiantly outpacing our capacity for parody. Via Pandagon, we just learned about Mr. Hetero, a contest sponsored by an evangelical Massachusetts pastor (and former professional wrestler) named Tom Crouse. As the Focus on the Family Web site reports:

"The homosexual community has flooding [sic] the marketplace with products and opportunities exclusively for gays and lesbians. Now a talk show host in Massachusetts is turning the tables. Tom Crouse, pastor of Holland Congregational Church and host of the radio program 'Engaging Your World' is launching a 'contest' to name the most heterosexual guy in Massachusetts.

"'We're just looking for tolerance for heterosexuals.'

"Someone should stand up for heterosexuality, someone should stand up and celebrate how God's made us and I said, 'I'm gonna!', so I think I'll have a Mr. Heterosexual Contest!"

And what will said contest entail? According to Crouse's Web site, events include:

"Strength -- how many oprah [sic] magazines can you tear?
"Talent -- your choice
"Intellectual -- answering random questions such as your favorite heterosexual role model
"Competition -- name that food ... more events to be announced."

Apparently, this is not a joke. At least, we're pretty sure it's not, because we just shelled out $10 for a ticket.

Of course, there's a very serious biblical lesson in all this. "In the middle of the event we're going to have somebody who formerly lived the homosexual lifestyle give a testimony of how they've been transformed by Jesus Christ," Crouse told Focus on the Family.

In addition to confirmation of his Christian virility, the heterosexual victor will receive $100 and a trophy. Crouse is hoping Mr. Hetero contests will sweep the nation -- he's already planning events in Albany, N.Y., and Louisville, Ky. His Web site sells Mr. Hetero merchandise, including a rainbow-flag bumper sticker declaring, "We're taking it back! Genesis 9:8-17."

Crouse's credentials as a judge of manliness are clear from the bio on his site, where he details his pre-Christian exploits. It's supposed to be a cautionary tale, but we detect a whiff of pride:

"Probably the craziest thing Tom Crouse ever did was eat a glass bottle of beer. 'It was a 12-ounce bottle, it took a lot of chewing,' Crouse said, shaking his head at the decade-old memory. 'I should be dead from doing something that crazy.'

"He's not.

"Instead Crouse is assistant pastor of Faith Bible Church on Shoemaker Lane in Agawam. It's been a long strange trip for him through alcohol, drugs, fighting, gambling, rock 'n' roll and big time wrestling."

Yes, Crouse was mired in a tawdry world where men are judged by brute displays of masculine prowess. Thank God, he was set free.

Michelle Goldberg

Michelle Goldberg is a frequent contributor to Salon and the author of "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism" (WW Norton).

MORE FROM Michelle Goldberg

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex