Immodestly Dressed Women Need to Stop Spreading Their Sin to Weak, Hapless, Pathetic Men

tim and kara barnette

Warning! Slightly risque language ahead. You have been warned.

Another day, any yet another Evangelical explaining the importance of women covering up their bodies lest they cause men to “sin.” Today’s member of the clothing police is Kara Barnette, wife of Tim, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Faith, North Carolina. In a post titled Modesty Matters, Barnette had this to say about modesty and the dangers of women spreading their “sin” to men:

It’s that beautiful yet dreadful time of year when summer clothes come-out.  And it seems that every summer shorts get shorter, necklines plunge lower, styles get tighter, and fabrics are so thin that one could read a newspaper through them.  Yet issues over modest clothing aren’t just significant to the Amish and crotchety old people who complain about “those ‘dang teenagers.”

When a glutton eats too much, no one else gets fat.  And when a thief steals from a convenience store, only the thief goes to jail.  But when a young lady dresses inappropriately, the effects of her sin are expansive.

Her sin spreads.

As she strolls down the beach in her immodest bathing suit or worships on a Sunday wearing a revealing dress, everyone who sees her is handed temptation.   The men and boys around her must battle the sin of lust, while the women and girls around her must battle the sins of bitterness and jealousy and the temptation to show-off their bodies, too.   Everyone is distracted by the young lady’s clothing and everyone struggles to think pure thoughts.

Sadly, today there is often little difference in the immodest clothing choices between girls who’ve never heard the name of Christ and those who come from Christian homes.  Satan is winning the war of indiscrete clothing, and these are the weapons he’s using on parents:

….

My daughter must dress in short/tight athletic-wear to play her sport.  Newton’s Lesser-Known Fourth Law of Motion: A volley ball will travel at the same velocity and direction whether it’s served by a player dressed appropriately or by a player dressed inappropriately.   (The law likewise holds true for golf, tennis, and soccer balls, as well as for the dynamics of jogging, cheerleading, and dance…)  Joking aside, if a team uniform doesn’t meet God’s standards and an alternative is not allowed, then God doesn’t want my daughter playing that sport or participating in that activity.  Her personal testimony is worth even more than an athletic scholarship to college.

I can’t find modest clothing for my daughter.  Principals often hear this complaint from moms about school dress codes, and youth pastors similarly struggle to enforce clothing standards for youth groups and camps.  God has plenty to say about ladies dressing modestly (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Timothy 2:8-10, 2 Peter 3:1-4), and He doesn’t give commands that our daughters cannot follow.  Shop a different store.  Order on-line.  Buy a sewing machine and make clothes yourself.  Or have your daughter wear the same modest clothing over and over if that’s all she has.  Parents must go to whatever lengths necessary to help our daughters protect their purity.

My daughter will hate me if I make her dress conservatively.  Following the Lord’s commands should not be a chore, but a joy!  Teaching a daughter to present her body as… ‘a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to the God, which is her spiritual service of worship’ (Romans 12:1) ought not be a knock-down fight in the dressing room at the mall; it should be a pleasant experience as she learns to embrace colors, fabrics, and styles that please God and accentuate her beauty.  All rules given by the Lord are for our good and His glory, so helping girls learn to dress modestly can be a fun and creative challenge.

Modesty isn’t an important Scriptural issue.  Tell that to the wife humiliated by her husband’s pornography addiction.  To the congregation who lost their pastor because he had an affair.  To the teenager who has to inform her parents she’s pregnant.

….

My daughter needs to show some skin if she’s going to get a guy.  Allow your daughter to dress provocatively so she can catch the attention of boys, and you’ll get your wish.  But it won’t end well for her.

While you would never throw chum into the ocean water where your little girl was swimming, you’re doing something far more dangerous when you allow her to capture boys with her body.  It’s a deadly proposition.

Just ask Bathsheba.

2 Samuel 11:2 simply states… and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.  David’s sinful lust of Bathsheba was provoked because of her revealing appearance.  David didn’t fall for Bathsheba because she was a great conversationalist, or because he felt an emotional connection to her, or because she could cook a delicious rack of lamb.

He fell for her skin.

And while we will never fully understand Bathsheba’s culpability in the affair, we know that it sure caused her a lot of grief.  Literally.  Bathsheba would eventually grieve both the death of her faithful husband Uriah and the baby she conceived with David.

When we allow our daughter to show too much skin, we lead her into temptation.  We deliver her into evil.  And that evil is contagious: it not only harms her but will infect every person she contacts.

Modesty matters.

Once again, we have an Evangelical blaming “immodestly” dressed women for the inability of men to keep themselves from “lustful” thoughts. Pathetic men, they are, who can’t control their thoughts once their eyes focus on women showing too much of their bodies. In Barnette’s mind, dressing “immodestly” causes women to spread their sin and we all know that women spreading their sin leads to them spreading their legs.

Yes, we live in a culture when women publicly expose more skin than previous generations.  My God, my wife wore a dress to a wedding last weekend that showed a bit of cleavage! What’s the world coming to? Doesn’t Polly know that she is spreading her sin by wearing a 38DDD push-up bra? (Her first push-up bra, by the way — a sure sign of her atheistic depravity.

bruce and polly gerencser 2017

Polly and Bruce Gerencser, March 2017. Several firsts….cleavage and a black fedora. (my cleavage is covered up)

Barnette’s problem is that she is immersed in a Fundamentalist religious culture that treats human sexuality as something that must tamped down and, at times — because the Bible commands it — denied. Women are viewed as Jezebels, temptresses out to bed every man who casts a gaze their way. These weak, pathetic, horn-dog men have little or no power to keep themselves from lusting (evidently God living inside of you is not even enough), so it is up to women to keep men from lusting by covering up their bodies and avoiding behaviors that might lead men to think they are “available” — Greek for “easy.”

Most Evangelicals are Republicans who supposedly believe in personal responsibility. One need only listen to Evangelical congressmen pontificate about welfare and the importance of holding assistance recipients accountable for their behavior to see this thinking at work. Yet, these haters of the poor attend churches that preach, when it comes to sexual matters, that heterosexual men are not totally accountable for what are deemed immoral behaviors; that women who tempt men to lust are also culpable for their “stiff prick having no conscience” (a line told to Midwestern Baptist College ministerial students by crusty IFB preacher Paul Vanaman).

Lust is a religious construct meant to elicit fear and guilt. Two thousand years of preachers lustily preaching about the dangers women present to unsuspecting men have led to the female sex being blamed for the inability of the males of the species to keep from wanting to bed women they find attractive. And therein lies the problem. Evangelicals live in denial of their biology — that men and women being physically attracted to one another is necessary for the propagation of the human race. Some Evangelicals will grudgingly admit the biological aspect of human existence, but will then say that our biology has been corrupted by the fall — Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.

Remember the story? God created Adam and Eve naked, put a mystical fruit tree in the middle of their subdivision, and told them he would kill them if they ate fruit from the tree. Adam and Eve ignored God’s threat and once they ate kumquats off the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they became knowledgeable of good and evil. Since that day, all humans are cursed, born with a “sin” nature. According to Evangelicals, we don’t become sinners, we are by nature sinners — haters of God. This is why we need the salvation that was made possible through the sacrificial death of the God-man Jesus on the cross.

The first thing God did after confronting Adam and Eve over their poor choice of a snack was to kill several animals and make the sinning couple one-of-a-kind fur outfits — covering up their nakedness. Implicit in this story is that nakedness is sinful.  Christians, Muslims, and Jews have spent several millennia drilling this idea into the minds of primarily the fairer species. Why? Because it was Eve who first ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was Eve who gave a kumquat — I love that word —  to Adam. Get the gist of the story? Adam may have been the head of earth’s first family, but Eve is the one that plunged the entire human race into sin. A woman was to blame then, and women are to blame now.

Let me conclude this post with my view of human sexuality and personal accountability. I am an atheist, so Barnette’s Puritanical, anti-human views on sexuality play no part in my sexual ethic. I recognize that I am sexually attracted to some women.  How women dress can get my attention sexually. As Polly will attest, my eyes have on more than a few occasions been drawn to the comely shape of women who are not my wife. (And Polly will admit to the same. Last weekend she told me over dinner, why are some gay men so damn attractive? I laughed, thinking of how, not so many years ago, such a discussion would have been impossible.) I subscribe to the look but don’t touch school of thought. Everywhere I look I see attractive women. I saw them as a fifteen-year-old Baptist virgin and I see them forty-five years later as a well-used atheist. What I have learned as a grown-ass man is that I am TOTALLY responsible for my sexual behavior. I am TOTALLY responsible for how I deal with my sexual desires. It is up to me, not women, to control my sexuality. If I behave inappropriately, the only person responsible for my behavior is yours truly. I am mature enough to be around women I might find attractive, and if I feel some sort of sexual stirring — down boy, down boy — it is up to me to control my physical response.

My wife and I are in a committed monogamous relationship forty years in the making. Now that we have been liberated from the sexual bondage of Christianity, we are free to embrace our sexuality, while, at the same time, living according to the commitment we made to each other thirty-nine years ago on a hot July day in Newark, Ohio. Both of us are TOTALLY responsible for how we behave sexually. Knowing that marriage is far more than sex, neither of us worries about the other being tempted to sin by a nice ass or an attention-seeking babe or hunk of a man. (And yes, both of us are comfortable enough in our sexual skins to admit that there are times we have found someone of the same sex attractive, all without flying a rainbow flag on our porch.)

Humanism and Buddhism teach me to treat others with respect, and while I may not be able to control what happens to or around me, I am responsible for how I respond to these outside influences. When a nurse puts an IV in my arm I know it is going to hurt, and that it might take her several attempts to get the job done (thick skin, deep veins, genetic curse). I also know that it is up to me to decide how I respond to the nurse. After making sure the nurse has sufficient experience to do the job (I am considered a difficult stick, so only the experienced need apply), I turn to humor to control the pain that is coming. I tell the nurse about my best and worst phlebotomist list, sharing stories about who is at the top of the list. Once the IV is in, I let the nurse know where she placed on my list. By doing this, I am choosing to be accountable for how I respond. I have heard more than one patient go into a profanity-laced tirade at a nurse who couldn’t magically make an IV insertion pain-free. It is not the nurse’s fault, and blaming her is misplaced. So it is with people who wrongly want to blame women for the moral failures of the human race. Barnette’s blaming of women for unapproved chubbies is misplaced. Men are, from start to finish, responsible for how they respond when sexually attracted to women. Instead of long lists of rules that have proved to not work, why not teach not only men, but women too, how to behave sexually. Surely Evangelical churches can teach men that the Billy Graham rule — never allow yourself to be alone with a woman who is not your wife, a rule even Jesus didn’t practice — is fear-mongering bullshit; that the Vice President of the United States should be able to have a private lunch with a woman without fearing that he will succumb to lust and try to fuck her.  Surely the people who gave us purity rings made in China can instead teach men and women that it is not what you wear that matters — no ring has ever successfully kept young adults who want to have sex from doing do; that the choice of how to respond to sexual attraction rests solely with us, not others; that inappropriate sexual behavior by me is not anyone’s fault but mine.

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18 Comments

  1. Geoff

    I have a couple of takes on this one, and neither have much chance of finding favour with the dear lady featured.

    Firstly, women’s dress has tended to reflect increasing freedom for women, in its various guises. Male oppression, of course, meant the wife (seen biblically as a chattel) had to cover herself so as not to be coveted by other men. Hand in hand with this was the simple practical fact that a woman’s place was at home, in the kitchen, looking after kids, cleaning and scrubbing, not things that were entirely conducive to smart dress. Slowly customs changed, though it was amongst the wealthier, where women of class would attend evening functions grandly dressed but showing…..cleavage! As freedom of women changed, where they were seen as people in their own right, able to vote, taking jobs and not tied to the house, where menial tasks were done by washing machines, hoovers etc, so they were able to dress with more freedom. In fact, to a large extent, the way women started dressing, (and why shouldn’t they show themselves off a bit?), was a demonstration that they weren’t chattels any longer, a sort of ‘f..k off’ to men who thought of them that way.

    Secondly I read this post and I think of Islam. One thing I’ve learnt in recent years are all sorts of words for middle eastern clothes, such as burka, hajib, and burkhini, and all I see there is one word; oppression. I know modern liberals are supposed to ’embrace’ the rights of Muslim women to dress as they choose, and we even have days celebrating the hajib, and so on. Well I totally respect the right of any woman to dress as she chooses, and I’m totally against the attempts to ban traditional forms of dress, including those that involve full face cover, except where recognition is necessary, for example in courts or airports. However, and it’s a big however, I do not have to respect the underlying reasons as to why these women dress as they do. They claim it’s their choice to dress this way, to celebrate their religion and their culture. I say bullshit. I’ll start to regard you dressing that way as a ‘choice’ when women in Iran, or Yemen, or Saudi Arabia, have the right to walk down a street dressed in, even modest by our standards, Western garb, and not be arrested, at minimum, or stoned to death in many instances.

    Kara Barnette, do you really want America to become like Iran?

    Reply
  2. Brian

    Fundamentalism in Christianity and Islam is a virus. Its misogyny is well-documented and the thing is baldly designed to harm, to corral and control human beings, to enhance the harm of the ages carried on with robes, hymns, hijabs, you-name-it. I am far from a stance that would ban the right of individuals to hate themselves in this way because I know in my heart and from personal experience that if I choose to live according to self-harm, to treat a child and/or women with disdain as fallen creatures hardly worthy of the breath dear Jesus gives them, then not a soul can reach me. I serve another cause, where father and mother are nothing, where children are fresh meat for the Master.
    You can paint the picture with pretty words and ‘God-so-loved’ all you like but pretty self-hatred is still self-hatred. You can have all your women march to lend their public hijab support for Mohammed-hatred or Jesus modesty hatred and they can sing of it as love all they please so long as they keep it out of the schools and out of government, so long as they are satisfied to hoop and woo on their own and not try to spread their sickness to me or those I love. They have a choice with their own lives and to some extent with their own families. Men who want their women covered but for a slit of eye, will find women willing to comply because we are harmed bipeds who have been shown in our everyday how to die as much as live. We bully one another and say that Voices have shown us the way for all to live and we are not satisfied to allow another any freedom to be… ‘God says’ would serve the earth well if it became an archaic phrase and was lost to humanity. ‘God says’ is a pernicious, sick phrase that leads to all kinds of torture for people. As Donald Thump Trump goes out to bomb now, he is invoking this name, God this and God that, so he can harm with abandon and keep the people covered up in the hijab of corporate News, the woo of caring what happens to Syrians.
    When we were told that God was coming to judge us, as children, it was the truth. There is no God and God is coming to judge us. Let the cruise missiles carry his holy name over the world, shock and awe, freedom and love…
    I carry a dictionary now because so many words are used to hide the truth and not reveal it. I go looking for the words in history and find that so many words are appropriated by religion and by political thugs.
    In answer to Geoff’s question to Barnette, “do you really want America to become like Iran…”, well, yes, she does and it must be accomplished in bits and pieces, by modesty shaming, by speaking against freedom as if the prison of misogyny was freedom itself.
    The day people gather willingly and in accord to peacefully dismantle churches to make homes for those who need them will be the day I will say, Look at the good the church is doing! Look at how it offers a door to one, a window to another. (Don’t hold your breath ;-))

    Reply
  3. Troy

    One thing your spot on commentary is missing is just how ridiculous religiously covered people look. You can spot them a mile a way. You know it is 90°F outside with 100% humidity and they look very uncomfortable. When evangelicals impose this on their children, they become social pariahs. Also very silly is how evangelists impose this on themselves when they are past their prime…don’t worry nobody is getting turned on after a certain point.

    Reply
    1. Tom

      Yes. And notice that in most sects, the men look fairly normal (jeans, etc.) but it is the women who look ridiculous and outdated.

      Reply
  4. maura

    seriously i believe this purity bullshit is mostly just rape apologists and slut shaming. it’s another way for men to keep women down. how they must hate us! astounding

    Reply
  5. Ian for a long time

    Regarding the “choice” to wear a burka, etc., that a previous couple commentator made- If you look at pictures of pre-revolutionary Iran, you will see people dressed in 70’s fashions. After the Ayatollah came into power, you see women dressed in religious dictated clothing.

    When the women were free to choose, they chose contemporary clothing.

    This isn’t just a slam against Islam. I attended a church where the women wore dresses and headcoverings. The day I got married, I made my wife put on a headcovering. She did have a choice, marry me and wear it or not marry the man she loved. Not much of a choice, when you look at it that way.

    When we finally left that church, her choice was no headcovering and pants.

    Are there women who do believe in religious clothing/coverings? Absolutely. From my experience, though, they are few and far between.

    Reply
  6. anotherami

    How familiar all this sounds… Jezebel! If I had a dollar for every time I heard that one as a teen, I would not struggle make ends meet now. How I dressed, how I sat, even how I “looked at men”. WTF? I can just look at a man and make his dick hard? I have so much power!!! /snark

    This idea that women are at fault because a man’s dick gets hard is simply sexist bullshit and a refusal to accept responsibility for their own body. And then they dare try to regulate women. Asses.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      what she said ^

      Reply
  7. Violet

    You and your wife look great in that picture! I’m impressed you can be in a church and smiling at the same time…I can’t step in one without gagging and suffering chest pains. I’m hoping this reaction will pass with time. It is, after all, only a building, but the baggage right now is a lot for me to deal with.

    Reply
  8. Chikirin

    “Everyone is distracted by the young lady’s clothing and everyone struggles to think pure thoughts.”

    Boring thoughts, more like.

    Reply
  9. Jeffrey A Brown

    You take away the concept of ‘SIN’ and:
    Gluttony becomes self choice
    Tempting others becomes I am proud of the way I look
    Immodesty becomes self expression
    Lust becomes admiration and appreciation
    Bitterness and jealousy? Well, they still exist, just not as sins
    Satan is winning? Are you for real?
    Dressing to please God becomes Dressing to please self

    But I really want to know is what happened to the daughter and volleyball?
    Did they find a way to let her play in modest attire?
    OR
    Did they not allow her to continue playing volleyball?

    Finally, on another subject, is her husband, Dr. Tim Barnette a real Doctor?

    Reply
    1. Geoff

      “Finally, on another subject, is her husband, Dr. Tim Barnette a real Doctor?”

      In a word, no. His ‘doctorate’ is from Covington Theological Seminary which, like almost all such colleges, is simply a diploma mill. Very few pastors, though I suppose there must be some, have genuine doctorates. There needs to some sort of grip attempted on these fake doctorates, which demean the intense study and dedication needed to obtain the real thing.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Lots of Baptist preachers have “doctorates” from Covington.

        Covington is but one of many Evangelical focused diploma mills. There is course work done at many of these institutions, but they pale in comparison to accredited Ph.D. programs.

        His undergraduate work was done at an accredited institution, as was his masters. I’m not sure why (cost, convenience, time?) Barnette chose to go the unaccredited route for his doctorate.

        Reply
      2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Covington’s doctoral program:
        Doctor of Ministry

        Year One 40 Hours

        BI-511 Genesis III
        BI-560 A Panorama of the Old Testament – Part A
        TH-310 The Doctrine of Grace
        PS-535 Pastoral Theology II
        BC-400 Theology of Biblical Counseling
        PS-560 Strategies of Administration
        PS-433 Homiletics III
        CH-420 Church Missions II
        BI-532 or 534 Exposition of Ephesians or Romans 1-8
        BI-700 Ministry Application Project
        Doctor of Theology

        A student is required to first graduate with a Master of Divinity, a Doctor of Ministry, or a Doctor of Religious Education degree in order to be accepted into the Doctor of Theology degree program, or they must have an equivalent degree from an approved institution. The Doctor of Theology degree consists of a Master of Divinity degree plus 64 hours, or it consists of a Doctor of Ministry degree or Doctor of Religious Education degree plus 32 hours.

        Year Two 32 Hours

        BI-482 The Apostle Paul
        TH-503 Eschatology II
        TH-700 Theology IV
        CL-440 Biblical Eldership
        TH-500 Faculty Advisor (grade 48 study guides) (8 credit hours)
        TH-691 Doctor of Theology Thesis (50,000 words) (8 credit hours)

        Reply
  10. Connie

    Kara Barnette I would imagine likes to believe she holds the answers without addressing all the questions.

    So, why is it a lesbian (supposedly a group of folks who only think of sex 24/7) can enter a locker or changing room without attacking all that exposed girl flesh? Why is that?

    Perhaps the idea isn’t how much flesh is exposed. Perhaps, for enlightened folks anyway, the idea is about consent. For example, I’ve viewed nude people who carried themselves with the gravitas of wearing a three piece suit. There was no advertising of sex there! I’ve also interacted with folks who were covered from head to toe and yeah, sex was the expectation. Kara Barnettes idea of one rule, one way is sooo 2000 years ago.

    With all the other revolutions happening now I vote to add skin to the agenda. I mean, I cover up as a public service. Doesn’t mean others have to follow my lead.

    Viva la resistance!

    Reply
    1. anotherami

      I cover myself in the summer out of self-preservation– sunshine turns me into a lobster in roughly 30 minutes without sunscreen. I find myself curious about burkinis, not for modesty’s sake at all, but so that I might actually be able to play on the beach without suffocating from too many clothes or suffering for a week while I blister and peel. Burkinis might very well have a secondary market amongst us pasty white folks.

      Reply
  11. That Other Jean

    Congratulations to you and Polly on your years together. May there be many more, and all of them happy. You both look very appropriately dressed for a church wedding.

    You’re absolutely right, of course. It is possible, with appropriate education and expectations, to be in the company of an attractive member of the opposite sex (or the same sex, for that matter) without being overcome with lust. Or, if you happen to be overcome, to do nothing whatever about it. It is perfectly possible to be married and experience sexual attraction for someone not your spouse. As my husband occasionally says, “I’m married, not dead.” I agree with him, and trust that he will not let it become more than a passing thought, any more than my reaction to an especially good-looking man would be. Trust, when warranted, makes life so much easier than believing that every man, on every occasion, is lusting after any woman within eyesight, and will act on his lust if he gets the chance.

    Also, why does Bathsheba get such a bad rap from fundamentalists? She was minding her own business, taking a bath–on her roof, which was common enough, out of the way of the public gaze–when she was seen by the king, who did what he did because of how HE felt. What was she supposed to do? I suspect it’ would have been difficult to refuse the king, whatever you thought about what he wanted.

    Reply
    1. Trenton

      Im sure charisma “news” will have a new spirit named after bathsheba any day now. Of course they were so busy fighting the jezebel and leviathan spirits that bathsheba justed slipped in.

      Reply

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