I respect Rocco Grimaldi, the California kid that the Florida Panthers selected in the second round of the 2011 draft and is going to play for North Dakota this season. (Where he could be rookie of the year in the WCHA.)
I respect that he's a role model for young players, who see a 5-foot-6 forward on a path to the NHL. I respect that he's a devout Christian who uses social media to preach what he believes, even if his candor may have scared off some teams at the draft.
I respect that, in the end, Grimaldi views faith as a way to affect positive change in someone's life and in society, which is a view I imagine places him in the majority in the United States.
What I don't respect, however, are Twitter rants that espouse Puritanical nonsense about how women need to cover themselves lest their feminine curves tempt men.
Rocco wants to know, ladies: Are you honoring God with those jeans that make your butt look great?
Here are Rocco's observations about the female form from his Twitter feed (@RGrimaldi23):
There's a thin line between "ladies are too scantily clad these days" and "God wants you in a potato sack because your brothers can't help themselves," and Rocco ran through it. I mean, to each his own, but in my eyes this entire request veers uncomfortably close to the asinine "she was asking for it/look how she was dressed" denouncement women have had to battle for decades.
Rocco moved on to the fellas after that:
"Guys, when did sleeping with every girl u can make u a man? Anyone can lay with a woman. And don't blame the women for how they dress. Don't say it's because they want attention. Don't blame ur "curiosity" or that u just wanted a little taste of what it would be like. Women are not an object for playing with. Sex is a gift from God. We have made it idolatry by how we use it. We blame the women for what they're wearing, we blame the media for what they're producing, but we never blame OURSELVES for how WE'VE twisted God's gift to only glorify ourselves. WE are the men and WE are to blame. God put US in charge of this earth so WE are the ones who need to man up and lay down our lust. Don't fall into that temptation. If you don't do this, you may be a boy for the rest of ur life #ManUp"
So, in summary: Women should cover their boobs and ask if God approves of their outfit in case it unfairly tempts men, but men only have themselves to blame if they're tempted sexually.
Huh, weird … you usually never see contradictions in religious dogma …
Like I said: I respect Grimaldi, immensely, for having this level of candor and using his modicum of fame for what he believes is his mission on this rock. I follow him on Twitter, and 98 percent of what he writesreads like an inspiration poster in a Christian greeting card store. Please don't misconstrue this as some attempt to silence him.
But his comments about women are the kind of sexist, archaic thoughts that cloud the positive impact of faith. As a (lapsed) Roman Catholic myself, it's a constant struggle: You believe there are aspects of religion that are undoubtedly beneficial, but they're constantly overshadowed by clunky views on sex and gender that repel people and open up the entire community to ridicule.
I hate to make this into Dan Ellis Part Deux, but it's the same principle: The messages Rocco Grimaldi shares have value, if not to me or you than to someone else. His heart's in the right place with the comments about men; his comments about women drown them out.
His best argument against the objectification of women was to objectify them. We can't give an "amen" to that.
s/t to Minnesota Slim for the tip.