Did you think we’d seen the last of Luke Parker, the Christian nutjob who hassled the star of “The Bachelorette” last week? I hoped so, but I should have known better. Really and truly, I should have. See, I’ve personally lived through more than my fair share of Lukes. Today, let me show you how an authoritarian, complementarian Christian man collided with the concept of consent–and what happened afterward, and why.
Last time we checked in on this show, Hannah and her four suitors had reached one of the final challenges: the Fantasy Suite date. In this challenge, she went on a private date with each suitor–with a fade-to-black on the question of whether these dates ended with sex or not.
Like probably most of the people on these shows, Hannah considers herself a Christian. However, one of those four suitors, Luke Parker, is a TRUE CHRISTIAN™. (In fact, he’s a Southern Baptist.) Somewhere along the way this season, his
boner god totally decided that Hannah would be his wife.
Not should, or even could.
From what I can see, at first Hannah thought they had potential. Indeed, she let him advance almost all the way to the end. Last week, though, she had finally had enough of his religious nuttery. As he blathered on about sexual purity, she told him she’d had sex during this season–twice, in fact! ZOMG! She clearly hoped that’d be enough to get him out of her hair.
He got downright intimidating in response, pulling out all the stops to try to make her change her mind.
In the end, though, Hannah all but hurled his sorry, misogynistic, creepy stalker ass into a vehicle to get him off the show. And she probably thought that was the end of their association.
The Scandal of the Fundagelical
Mind Heart Boner.
Hannah hadn’t quite reckoned with the power of a fundagelical man’s boner. (See endnote for definitions.) Luke had decided, you see, that his god had decided. So Luke no longer required her input. Indeed, he had an entire scenario playing in his mind about how to handle her rejection.
With people who value consent, no means no. Once one person rejects the other for any reason whatsoever, even no reason at all, then that relationship is done. There’s no veto, no override, no comeback that should or can be made. Sometimes someone grows feelings for another person who doesn’t return them, or wants a relationship outcome the other doesn’t. It can feel frustrating, but that’s how life is. A consent-valuing man would have heard her rejection, been sad, apologized if he’d accidentally given offense, and gone his way.
But with people who don’t value consent, no means try harder or not yet. (See endnote for a realization.) No is never final–not until they get the response they want. They don’t see their potential or existing partners as fully human beings, people with their own needs and desires and motivations and pasts. They only see cardboard cut-outs that look vaguely like those other folks. Everybody around them represents a bit player in the movie they have running 24/7 in their heads.
And when a fundagelical man starts growing feelings for one of those bit players, he expects that lucky woman to be properly appreciative. After all, she’s going from a bit part to the leading lady in his head-movie!
It does not once even occur to fundagelical men that they might, perhaps, maybe, possibly have misheard what they assume is divine communication. They never once question or doubt the source of their certainty.
Crashing the Party.
Luke doesn’t value consent. He doesn’t see Hannah as a full human being with rights and needs separate from his own. His
boner god has decided!
In desperation, she rejects him in the most devastating and final ways that she can think of, even to the extent of intentionally and deliberately disgusting him with graphic illustrations of just how mismatched a pair they really are.
But he refuses to accept any of it. She might as well be making those wah-wah-WAH noises from the Charlie Brown cartoons. If she’s not falling into her proper role as his chosen bride-to-be, then he doesn’t hear anything she says.
Thus, instead of taking his L and leaving, Luke decides to stage a huge, big dramatic gesture.
In his world, these gestures work. Plenty of Christian testimonies involve someone doing something similar–both in romantic and generally-religious scenarios. In those stories, the last-ditch effort pays off. Steeped as he is in fundagelicalism, Luke can’t help but be influenced by that folklore. He thinks, very seriously, that Hannah just needs to know how determined he is and how strongly he feels about
boning marrying her. Obviously he hasn’t made himself clear yet, or else she’d already be walking down the aisle with him!
She doesn’t know that important stuff yet, despite him having explained it to an excruciating extent. Once she does, she’ll understand and start acting according to his script.
The Big Moment.
When I heard about Luke returning after Hannah flipped off the limo taking him away, I really hoped he’d just be offering a retrospective.
But apparently the showrunners decided to allow him to interrupt Hannah’s rose ceremony.
(I’m dying inside right now. What in the HELL made this decision okay to anybody? Ratings, I guess, but GRRRR! This guy makes me feel unsafe and I’m just watching.)
In this case, Hannah had three suitors left (Tyler, Peter, and Jed), so in her ceremony she had two roses to distribute to anyone she wanted to keep in the running. Someone was going home and one more ceremony remained to winnow out the last man standing and end the season, but still, one suitor told us, “It’s a good day.”
All three remaining contestants felt quite relieved that “the Luke P show’s over,” as Tyler put it in the video below. They long felt that Luke’s Jesus grandstanding had overshadowed their efforts to win Hannah’s heart. And at least one that I know of expressed deep concern to Hannah about the wingnut’s behavior and wondered why she was allowing someone like that to remain in the running.
Hannah feels likewise relieved that the Luke Era is finally over.
From the Bachelor Nation feed.
But we soon cut to a shot of… OMG NO. Luke.
Boner Heart Won’t Accept No For An Answer.
Immediately, Luke tells us that he knows Hannah dropped her sex bombs last time because she thought those would end his weird stalker behavior. But, he declares, “she’s sadly mistaken.”
Interesting word choice, isn’t it?
“She’s sadly mistaken.”
That’s a very telling word for him to use right now.
He’s talking about the woman his
boner god has appointed to be his lawfully wedded wife. Why would she be sad to be mistaken about her feelings for him? Wouldn’t correcting such an error be the best moment of her life?
As we used to quote in church, Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.
If he delights in forcing people to comply with his demands, then “sadly” makes perfect sense. Yes, she’ll be quite sad to discover that she was wrong and he was right. That’s all part of how he gets his jollies. Like it or hate it, she’ll still have to give in to him. His
boner god has decided it. It’s not Luke’s fault, IS IT, that his god’s decision just happens to be one he (and his boner) likes.
Ultimately, Luke’s internal movie script cannot be denied.
This Is His
Boner Heart We’re Talking About Here.
Picture this. Rose Ceremony. Hannah’s on a dais in a formal gown; the three remaining suitors stand opposite her. Between them stands a pedestal containing two long-stemmed red roses.
Then Luke strides onto set right during the ceremony.
From a fan’s feed.
Very forcefully, Luke tells Hannah, “This is my heart we’re talking about here. This is a relationship.”
And he insists she stand there and listen to him.
She refuses. No, obviously “this” isn’t any kind of “relationship.” She ended it, and she thought she’d made her opinion clear. So she holds her hands up and demands he leave. She rants at length about him being “narcissistic,” which sounds like quite a fair cop to me:
It’s always about MY this, MY that. It’s not! This is not about your heart.
Also obviously, he does not leave. The other bachelors start looking visibly uncertain about what to do with this buffoon getting right up in Hannah’s face.
Boner Heart Isn’t Quite Ready to Give Up.
When Hannah tries to tell Luke that regardless of him feeling broken-hearted he must leave her alone, he all but reprimands her in an immediate interruption.
boner heart isn’t broken at all. She’s wrong. See, he still thinks there’s a chance.
My heart isn’t broken. I’m still standing here. This isn’t over for me.
Yep. Interrupting women and telling them that you refuse to take their rejection is always a winning relationship strategy. Good move there, Junior Activewear.
But remember: what he’s doing works in fundagelical folklore, where neither men nor women really understand or embrace the right to consent. In that world, certainty wins over ambiguity. Luke’s not doing anything weird by their standards. I’d reckon about half the courtship stories I heard while Christian involved very similar behavior–as did my own at the time.
The Best Moment I’ve Seen on TV All Year.
I’m not even sure how to process the fact that the following scene from a reality-TV dating show has become my favorite TV moment of the year. When Hannah realizes that Luke isn’t going away, this is what she does:
She tells him, “All right,” then picks up the entire rose pedestal. She carries it right past him, then sets it down where it’ll cut him out of the scene entirely.
At first he just stares with that grody poleaxed expression I already can’t stand. Eventually, he pivots to re-face her. But her back is to him now. She can’t see his posturing.
Now the other suitors find their voices. One tells Luke, “Just leave, dude.”
Christian grandstanding is mortifying even within a fundagelical context. Outside of it, it gives all bystanders secondhand terminal cringe.
Dance, Hannah! Dance!
boner divine mission is speaking to him more loudly than any mere mortals can. He demands Hannah answer his questions to his satisfaction. The implication here is that if she does so, then he will finally go away.
Ohh, I have been right there, though I’ve never owned a dress like hers! Control freaks hold out this tempting offer of approval and permission to go our own way–but only if we first fully and satisfactorily complete their quests.
Most ex-Christians have had this exact experience with still-Christian loved ones. They demand we do just one more Bible study, prayer session, book reading, or whatever else to gain their approval of our personal decisions. And I’d reckon most women have had much the same experience with men who refuse to accept that their hand-picked leading ladies have turned them down flat.
But Hannah doesn’t want to humor Luke. As hard as he tries to manipulate her into feeling responsible for his supposed sense of “closure,” she knows she doesn’t owe him a goddamned thing.
At 00:40, the suitors surround Luke. They strongly suggest he go away. I noticed that one guy positioned himself between Hannah and the blowhard fundie, just in case.
When one suitor put his hand on Luke’s arm to make his point, Luke tells him in a low, growly, threatening voice, “Lay your hands off me.”
And one replies, “Or what.”
It is not exactly a question.
This is now my new second-favorite moment. I seriously don’t think anybody’s ever replied like that to this fundie’s threatening bluster before now. He stares back, all poleaxed.
Both these other dudes are taller than him and look tougher than him (in my estimation anyway). It’s like you can see Luke doing a swift burst of mental arithmetic to realize what would probably happen if he took a swing at one of them.
Luke’s response to this mental arithmetic is to do that weird white-knuckled-fist-to-mouth gesture that looks like he’s cramming back his desire to flail like a windmill.
Remember? He did that same thing when Hannah hard-rejected him last time. There’s no way it’s not meant to intimidate others. But it doesn’t work here.
A Decently-Handled Confrontation.
Now, granted, the other three guys in this scene have a certain amount of self-interest informing their decisions and behavior right now. Obviously, they want Luke gone if for no other reason than to improve their own chances on the show. However, even with that truth in mind, this is generally how I’d want bystanders to respond to the sight of someone being harassed and intimidated.
After an awkward silence, one of the two tall guys in Luke’s face looks back at the obviously-upset Hannah. He asks her if she told him earlier to go away. She replies, in some exasperation, that yes, she absolutely did. For what it’s worth, I appreciate that someone checked in with her.
But Luke bursts out, “I’m telling you now, I’m not going anywhere.”
Everyone else in the scene looks shocked.
I wasn’t shocked. As I said (and as I’ll show you next time), I’ve been here. As Hannah tries to find the magical words that’ll convince King Luke And His
Boner Divine Mission to leave, he insists she grant him “sixty seconds” to unload his Pants Feelings on her. He thinks that if he can only convince her of the depth of his feelings, then she’ll un-reject him. (Biff acted the same way.)
And now the show’s director or emcee or whatever comes over. I don’t know who he is, just that he looks important. I suppose he thought his close presence might defuse a potentially violent altercation.
She Was Just Being All Emotional.
Luke senses a pause in the narrative, so he plunges ahead with what he wanted to say. Nobody asked for his input here, mind. But that’s the wonderful thing about being a fundie with a
boner mission from Jesus: you never need to ask permission to speak. Instead, you always assume that of course you can!
He tells Hannah, “You know that you were just leading with your emotions the other night.”
If you’re wondering, his wording is Christianese. It means: You didn’t come to the same conclusion I did, so you were probably just all hormonal or something, or whatever it is that makes you chicks so nuckin’ futz. And that’s okay, baby. I’m so amazing that I made allowances for you and your fluffy pink lil ladybrainz. Now you can just shut up and let Daddy drive from now on.
She reacts with dumbfounded disapproval. Without even taking her reaction into account, Luke continues, “I know that those last few minutes, that was not in your character.” He means that when she rejected him, revealed she’d had sex, walked him to the limo, and flipped him off as it drove away, none of that counted. If something Hannah says or does doesn’t fit in with his conceptualization of her, then he simply ignores it. (Biff treated me exactly the same way.)
In response to his weird, patronizing negations, her head tilts further and further and further to the right.
She is somewhere between completely baffled at his invalidation of her and enraged by it. I know we have German speakers in the commentariat–help me out? I know they must have a word for this emotion.
One of the legit suitors breaks in. “Why are you telling her who she is, bro?”
Luke doesn’t answer. This conversation exists solely between him and his
boner divine mission. Oh, and yeah, Hannah as an unwilling audience.
She Can Only Reject Him If She 100% Understands Everything About Him.
Like a lot of fundagelicals I’ve known (like Biff), Luke is certain that if Hannah only knew exactly what he knows, then she’d come to the same conclusions he has. But more than that, he thinks that she does not have the right to reject his offer of love until she fully understands everything about the offer.
A long time ago, I noted that salespeople do not have the right to demand a customer’s time, understanding, money, or anything else. Nobody ever said fundagelicals were good salespeople. But they can’t even be ethical ones.
Yes, a lot of folks who reject the stuff we want from them might not understand 1/10 of what we want to share with or show or sell or tell them. They might not comprehend the benefits of our offerings, or they might be looking at their current situations in weird ways. But we’re still not allowed to get upset or creepy if they reject us all the same. We don’t own them.
Luke does not suffer from an overload of ethics or morality, however.
The Rest Of It.
While the legitimate suitors mock him, Hannah reveals how he slut-shamed her during their date. He interrupts her and tries to gaslight her by saying OMG HE WOULD NEVER WOULD HE EVER, but she refuses to accept his manipulation.
The emcee asks what she wants. She replies that she wants Luke gone.
Luke demands to know if she can “look me in the eyes and tell me that you have complete clarity that you have no feelings for me any longer.”
With a smile and teary eyes, she glares at him and says, “I can!”
And Luke says “Okay. That’s all I needed to hear.” And he finally buggers off.
Bear in mind, he could have asked that question during their last date, or during his walk of shame to the limo, or when he first crashed the Rose Ceremony.
As he exits frame looking quite self-pitying and hard-done-by, Hannah turns away while muttering, “What the (BLEEP)?” And the suitor who’d stood between her and the potential fight seems to approve wholeheartedly.
The Last Surprise.
The emcee talks quietly with Hannah. He has one more surprise for her.
See, Luke had shown up there with an engagement ring in his pocket. If she’d even seemed halfway amenable to the idea, Luke had fully planned to propose to her.
I’m dismayed that the emcee even told her that. And I’m even more dismayed that apparently the show will be allowing Luke back one more time for some kind of “Men’s Tell-All” episode, where all the suitors–even rejected ones, even scary and threatening ones, even stalker-y ones–return for one more episode. I get that it’s reality TV and crazy fundies are probably great for ratings in any such setting, but this dude doesn’t need to get married. He needs to go take kindergarten over again.
This show is willing to override Hannah’s clear-cut need for safety and security for ratings. I find that situation purely distasteful.
But in its way, this whole story also perfectly illustrates exactly why Luke’s religion is declining–and why it should. More and more of us want a world where consent rules relationships rather than the domination and subjugation power-plays that fill evangelical Christianity from top to bottom.
Y’all, utter irrelevance could not possibly and will likely never again happen to more deserving people.
NEXT UP: LSP on Monday! On Tuesday, another fundagelical guy with a
boner divine mission tries to interrupt my wedding. (Spoiler: None of us were actually nowhere near as photogenic as this show’s cast.) After that, yes, we are definitely looking in on Josh Harris. See you next time!
About what “no” means: I can’t believe I’ve been talking about Christianity for this long and just realized that prayer works along shockingly similar lines. That’s a classic Christian conceptualization of unanswered prayers–that their god doesn’t say “no,” but rather “not yet,” or “maybe.” I learn somethin’ new erryday around here… Some of these nutjobs don’t even allow their god to say no to their demands. (Back to the post!)
The definition of “fundagelical”: Once upon a time, evangelicals and fundamentalists stood miles apart. Fundamentalists thought evangelicals were “Christianity Lite,” while evangelicals thought fundamentalists were dangerously-extremist wingnuts who’d lost the entire point of the religion. Then evangelical leaders engineered the Conservative Resurgence and the anti-abortion culture wars. By the turn of the century, no difference at all remained between the two groups except for very minor ones regarding women’s clothing and group insularity. So evangelicals are even more fundamentalist today than I was as an actual fundamentalist.
I mean no insult by the term. It’s simply a description of evangelicals who are also inerrantists and literalists, as well as gung-ho, control-freaky culture warriors. If you’ve been out of the loop about Christian factions, here’s your heads-up: these folks aren’t like the old-school evangelicals who supported abortion rights. I know! I was shocked too at their degradation! (Back to the post!)
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