Christian artist Cory Asbury recently sparked a social media debate by defending men who paint their fingernails, arguing that Scripture is neutral on the issue.
Known best for his songs Reckless Love and The Father’s House, Asbury made the comments in an Instagram video while discussing why his fingernails are occasionally painted.
In the video, his nails are various shades of red, white and blue.
“It is remarkable to me how many times I get asked this question,” he said. “Number one, I have three daughters. It’s one of their favorite things to do – paint daddy’s nails. They love it. They think it’s amazing. They think it’s incredible.”
Asbury then said he sees no biblical reason why men cannot paint their nails.
“That is a societal construct,” he said. “That is a social norm that we have accepted that men don’t paint their nails. That is cultural. It has zero to do with the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, moral code at all. It doesn’t make any sense to question the idea unless you’ve grown up in a culture that says it’s not okay to do something. Jesus could care less what color your frickin nails are.
“As He says about King David in the Old Testament, ‘I’m not concerned with the outward appearance – man looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart.’
“And my heart is definitely painted,” Asbury said.
Many fans, though, disagreed.
“Being that I have little boys… this is a hard pass… like… HARD pass,” one woman wrote on his Instagram page. “Just as I wouldn’t allow them to wear a dress, they are absolutely not painting their nails. I see the point you’re trying to make, but I’m definitely gonna have to agree to disagree. God bless you Cory!!”
Some commenters quoted Deuteronomy 22:5: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing.”
Paul and Morgan Olliges – popular YouTubers who discuss culture from a Christian perspective – said men wearing nail polish is unwise amidst the modern debate over gender. Morgan noted that society is attempting to “mush the sexes together.”
“As believers, should we be feeding into society’s norms?” she asked. “… Should we be feeding into this gender confusion? Should we be feeding into this idea that you can be any type of gender? … I just think we need to be careful.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Terry Wyatt/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.