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The Virgin Vote

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Monday, October 29, 2012

The Virgin Vote

The Obama campaign placed an ad on its website titled “Lena Dunham: Your First Time.” Dunham is the creator of HBS’s hit series "Girls." Talking directly to the camera, she likens voting for Barack Obama to losing your virginity. (Editor’s note: Link to video under “Sources” at end of blog.)

“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody.”

“You want to do it with a great guy.”

“It should be with a guy with beautiful (suggestive pause) … someone who really cares about and understands women.”

“Also, it’s super uncool to be out and about, and someone says ‘Did you vote?’ and you say, ‘Uh, no, I wasn’t ready.” (Dunham then gives a critical smirk to such a response).

“My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before, I was a girl; now I was a woman. I went to the polling station, I pulled back the curtain, I voted for Barack Obama.”

So let’s add this up.

An ad designed to get out the female youth vote for the presidential campaign intentionally uses losing one’s virginity, clearly outside of marriage and while in college, as an analogy to voting for the first time.

Just as losing your virginity before marriage is special, so is your first vote.

Who you sleep with the first time should be a great guy, so should the person you vote for the first time.

Just as you shouldn’t pass on an opportunity to lose your virginity to an able-bodied candidate, you shouldn’t pass on voting for an able-bodied candidate.

And, of course, when you lose your virginity, it will be amazing. It will transform you from a girl into a woman. So will voting for Obama.

This isn’t about politics. It’s not trying to make you vote for one person over another. 

It’s bigger than that.

It’s about moral outrage. 

I was, and still am, stunned.

Stunned that this was intentionally produced.

Stunned that it was put on a campaign website.

Stunned at the sexual ignorance and moral decadence.

Stunned that it was approved by Obama’s campaign, a candidate who is the father of two young girls.

Stunned that there isn’t more outrage and indignation.

I know, it’s a post-Christian, increasingly amoral world. You don’t need to remind me. Which means I shouldn’t be stunned. But when a new line is once again crossed, and once again without blushing, it still wreaks havoc with my spirit.

Quite frankly, I hope it always does.

So if no one else will say it, I will:

Mr. President, you should be ashamed of your campaign. You should remove this ad from your campaign website at once, publicly denounce it, and tell the country you’re sorry it was ever made.

You’re a better man than this. 

You’re a better father to your daughters than this.

And we are a better country than this.

James Emery White



Video: “Lena Dunham: Your First Time,” watch online.

“US election: Barack Obama campaign advert compares voting to losing virginity,” The Telegraph, October 26, 2012, read online.

“Critics blast Obama campaign for new ad that likens voting for Barack Obama to a young woman losing her virginity,” Fox News, October 26, 2012, read online.

Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, N.C., and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book is The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log on to, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

The Virgin Vote