It's the Mr. Hetero contest!

An evangelical pastor searches for Massachusetts' straightest guy.


Michelle Goldberg
December 15, 2005 11:02PM (UTC)

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.

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"'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:

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"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.

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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:

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"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."

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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).

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