'The Bachelorette' star defends premarital sex in latest episode: ‘Jesus still loves me’
"The Bachelorette" star Hannah Brown and contestant Luke Parker have stirred up controversy talking about their Christian faith and views on premarital sex. (ABC)
The popular ABC show's star, Hannah Brown, has been open about her Christian faith this season. On Monday night's episode, she said: "I have had sex, and, honestly, Jesus still loves me." The remark ignited controversy between her and one of the contestants, Luke Parker, who has also been open about being a follower of Christ.
"So, let's talk about sex and how the marriage bed should be kept pure," Parker, referred to as Luke P., told her, adding he would like to be sent home if he learned she "had sex with one or multiple of these guys."
The 24-year-old contestant whose hero is Tim Tebow explained he became celibate and decided not to be a "player" anymore after hearing from God.
“I had an encounter with God,” Luke P. claimed. “I was in the shower and God was speaking to me. I realized that I wasn’t the man that I wanted to be. And I’ve been working on being the husband that I want to be for my future wife.”
But Parker's views and approach has made him the villain of the season, with many viewers accusing him of "toxic masculinity," "gaslighting" and "slut shaming" Brown.
"I don't owe you anything...and, guess what? A man does not control anything I do," she told Parker in Monday night's episode and can be seen giving him the finger as his car pulls out of the driveway.
"Regardless of anything that I've done...well people might think, 'Oh, that deserves a scarlet letter.' That's not how it works. I can do whatever -- I sin daily and Jesus still loves me. It's all washed and if the Lord doesn't judge me and it's all forgiven, then no other man, woman...can judge me, " Brown told Entertainment Tonight, adding that there's a distinction between religion and a personal relationship with Jesus. "It's not to judge others."
Brown added that she's grown in her faith and won't stand for shaming or judgment.
And for his part, Parker acknowledged "the elephant in the room" in an Instagram post in May, saying "it has been hard for me to watch myself this season."
"I have learned a lot and I am continuing to learn about my flaws as a man. I’m the first to admit I am far from perfect," Parker said. "This journey has [given] me a great opportunity to grow and mature as a man, for that I am grateful."
And with a rose, Brown and Parker have more time to work out their differences.