To: Beliefnet: Bring on the Bare-bellied Boys

I subscribe to a couple of daily newsletters that come compliments of Every day I need to make my way past images such as this one of slender, smooth, bare-bellied, headless women to get to the bits of wisdom and insight.

Beliefnet, a Web-based world of resources on all the major faith traditions and then some, is a great site, but it subsidizes its wisdom with sex.

This is an ethical bummer. How do you promote spirituality by selling sex? That's up there with prostituting your daughter to pay you bills. If people of faith--spiritual people, spiritual leaders--act on the very impulses Beliefnet ads appeal to, these people will be branded perverts, predators, pedophiles. Something with a P for Pig in it. Oh, the dilemma....

This is just a marketing stab in the dark, but I'm willing to bet the majority of people reading things like Alice Walker's testimony and pretty quotes from dead smart people are probably women. [Rhetorical question comes next.] So how about a headless perfect washboard boy belly? [Next rhetorical question:] Why not give us a little of what we might like instead of the image of what we're probably not? [Hey, make me happy and I'll buy your stuff.....It's marketing, fellow believers.]

Maybe a compromise would be to glue the heads back on. If you go about chopping women's heads off and keeping the below-the-neck stuff, you're saying their minds are nothing. Let us--the faithful, the spiritual, the sanctified--go for the obvious: it's all about sex.

I'm not a prude. I don't mind sex. Or sexy men. But the bedroom is not the parlor is not the church library is not the website devoted to the care of the soul. Svelte-and-naked and spiritual are not the same things, as this Russian gold-medal skater Evgeni Plushenko aptly demonstrates in this 2001 performance: