Some of you are ultra-conservative but I am not. I wear dresses and skirts just above my knees. I even wear shorts once in a while and some of my thigh shows. (One woman told me there is a verse about the thigh not showing so I asked her for it but she never responded.) I watch some TV (Hallmark, Fox News, The Duggars and The Bates Shows, and a few others) and go to the movie theater (but am careful about what I see – no nudity, sex scenes, vulgar language, etc.).
Recently, someone grabbed a picture that my daughter-in-law posted on her Instagram story of me with a skirt on with shorts underneath and some of my thigh showing. It was the Fourth of July and I was with my sons and their families and Ken. My legs were up on a footstool so more of my thigh shows than normal.
If I knew my daughter-in-law was filming me and even if another man besides my sons or husband were around, I would have put my feet down on the ground but I didn’t know and had no clue that some woman would use it against me but this is what they do. They search and scour everything I write and every picture they can find about me (even from my children and their spouses) to try to destroy my ministry and make me into a hypocrite.
My family knows about it and they think it’s silly because they all know that I dress modestly. I never wear leggings unless I have a dress over it. I never wear low-cut tops, bikinis, short shorts, or a short skirt or dress. My modesty standards may not be the same as yours (some women were upset with a comment Ken made about some thigh showing) but that doesn’t mean we are wrong. I listen to godly men and what they consider immodest and dress accordingly. I don’t believe we need to wear burkas (as some women have told us) and cover our hair, faces, shoulders, and ankles. This isn’t what the typical man lusts after.
I have heard that some men have foot fetishes but this doesn’t mean we can never go barefoot. This is a problem with the men and yes, there are men who are perverts and will lust no matter what women wear but this isn’t our problem. It’s theirs. As godly women, we need to know how the typical man thinks and dress to not be a stumbling block to them.
Annie Peguero and her nineteen-month-old daughter attended church last Sunday at Summit Church in Springfield, Virginia. During the service, Peguero’s baby became hungry, so she breast-fed her. Little did she know that she was surrounded by horny, weak, pathetic men who can’t control their sexuality when ‘forced” to view a breastfeeding mom’s partially exposed breast.
Annie Peguero was trying to soothe her agitated 19-month-old baby in church on Sunday when she did what she often does — she nursed her. But her efforts to calm her daughter caused a stir in the sanctuary of Summit Church in Springfield.
A woman promptly asked the Dumfries mother to decamp to a private room, she said. Peguero declined and was later told that the church does not allow breast-feeding without a cover because it could make men, teenagers or new churchgoers “uncomfortable,” she said. One woman told her the sermon was being live-streamed and that she would not want Peguero to be seen breast-feeding.
The mother of two left her seat in the back of the church and fled, embarrassed and in shock. The next day, she posted her own livestream video on Facebook — with her baby, Autumn, at her breast — telling viewers what happened and urging women to stand up for breast-feeding.
“I want you to know that breast-feeding is normal,” she said.
It is also a legally protected right in Virginia, where the legislature passed a 2015 law that says women have a right to breast-feed anywhere they have a legal right to be.
Peguero, a 42-year-old personal trainer and fitness and nutrition specialist, often posts live videos online with tips and advice about managing life with two young children. She talks about getting through the day when a spouse is deployed, drawing on her own experience as the wife of a Marine serving overseas.
The self-described “hippie mama” said she looked forward to breast-feeding long before she had children.
“I knew it was the very best thing for my baby,” she said. “I wanted to give them that gift for as long as I could, and that’s what I did.”
She nursed her older daughter — now 4 years old — until she was 8½ months pregnant with Autumn. In all that time, she never had a problem nursing in public, she said.
“I have breast-fed in a few different countries. I have breast-fed all over the place,” she said. “No one has ever said anything to me.”
Virginia was one of the last states to pass a law protecting a woman’s right to breast-feed in public.
Before passage, women in Virginia had the right to nurse their babies on state-owned property, but restaurants and other privately owned businesses that were open to the public could prohibit it.
Under identical bills brought by Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax) and Sen. Jennifer T. Wexton (D-Loudoun), mothers are permitted to breast-feed anywhere they are “lawfully present.” The measures cleared the Republican-controlled House and Senate without opposition and were signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
Albo and Wexton were not familiar with the details of Peguero’s case but said the law clearly gives women the right to breast-feed anywhere they are otherwise allowed to be.
“Women don’t really have a choice,” Albo said. “If you have a kid, and the kid’s hungry, you have to feed ’em.”
Wexton said she brought her bill after hearing from a woman who had been told she could not nurse her baby in a hallway outside the children’s room at her gym. Employees said she could only breast-feed in the bathroom, Wexton said.
“The fact is, women just want to feed their babies. Women are very discreet about their breast-feeding. . . . It’s not in any way an indecent exposure situation,” she said.
Leave it to Evangelicals to have a big problem with a human natural process — breastfeeding. What’s more natural than a mother feeding her child using the mammary glands the good Lord gave her? The problem is that Evangelical men are deeply immersed in a culture where women’s breasts have been sexualized. And as with anything having to do with sex while the lights are on, Evangelical churches and pastors — at least as far as the keepers of male mental virginity at Summit Church are concerned — overreact and enact stupid policies and rules.
Sadly, a century of Evangelical obsession with sex has resulted in multiple generations of men being taught that they are not in control of their sexuality, and that women are seductresses out to bed them. Women are forced to cover up their bodies and mute their comeliness lest some horn-dog of a man cast a glance their way and feel some sort of sexual stirring. Evidently, the Holy Spirit living inside Evangelical men is not enough to keep them from lusting during their pastors’ sermons.
Non-Evangelicals read posts such as this one and snicker while shaking their heads. There is nothing sexual about women breastfeeding their children. Babies need to eat, end of discussion. As long as women are discreetly feeding their babies, I can’t think of one reason why their doing so should be a problem. My wife breastfed all six of our children. Rarely did she leave a church service to do so, and if she it did it was because the child was being fussy and she didn’t want to disrupt the service.
I pastored scores of breastfeeding women during the twenty-five years I spent in the ministry. I can think of only one time where a woman breastfeeding a child proved to be a distraction. One Sunday, as I was preaching away on the unsearchable riches of Christ, a church member sitting about three rows back unbuttoned her dress, pulled up her bra, and fully exposed her breast. She did this so her four-year old child could have a snack. Most church members had no idea what was going on in the third row, but unfortunately for me, I had a boobs’-eye view.
In many Evangelical churches, men are viewed as metaphorical infants, unable to control their desires. Women are repeatedly told that they must be the adults in the room, and for the sake of infantilized men, cover their bodies. What’s even more astounding, as in the story mentioned above, is that it is left to church women to police their ranks. Taught that they must be gatekeepers, church women make sure that no Jezebel tempts their men. Perhaps the real solution to the breastfeeding problem is for men to own their sexuality. Stop with all the silly rules that only serve to embarrass and demean women. To Evangelical women, I say, it’s time to rebel against thinking that reduces women to sex objects. Of course, such rebellion requires Evangelical women (and men) to stand against the patriarchal, anti-women bullshit that their pastors preach Sunday after Sunday. Sadly, I am not hopeful that church women will do so. The pressure to conform is so great, that only by leaving Fundamentalist churches can women truly be free.
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.
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.
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.
Many women are rebellious today and want to do what is right in their own eyes. They are rebellious to all types of authority and they don’t want to be told what to do: what to wear, what to do with their bodies, and what to do with their lives. They want to do what they want to do regardless of who it hurts in the process. One example is from a man who wrote about his disgust with so many women wearing yoga pants.
Yes, this is very foreign in today’s culture since most women are taught to be independent and do their own thing since the women’s liberation movement freed them from the shackles of modesty, motherhood, marriage, and all the other things that they believed held women in bondage.
I wrote an entire chapter in my book on modesty since women are not taught modesty anymore. I warned about yoga pants since I know they are not modest and cause men to stumble. It’s a little tough on guys to continually avert their eyes when almost every single women they see is wearing them no matter what they look like in them.
Most everything that is good, decent, and the Lord’s ways are offensive to women today. Try to teach Titus 2:3, 4 to younger women and see all the offended women come out of hiding. The things that should offend them, like evil, don’t offend them anymore…. No, never tell women what is good and right and what the Lord requires of them since they are their own god now and decide what is right.
Church of Christ preacher Al Shannon wants pubescent teen girls and women to know that if they dress “immodestly” and are raped it is their fault. And if parents don’t teach their girls to dress modestly and they end up being impregnated by Christian horndogs it is the fault of lax mothers and untrained daughters. Shannon writes:
Mothers with young girls will do them a real favor by teaching them while little to learn to dress in modest apparel. It just may keep your unmarried daughter from being raped or getting pregnant out of wedlock.
Shannon also wants sexually aware girls and women to know that if they dress inappropriately and some poor, hapless, weak, pathetic teenage boy or man lusts after them, it is their fault. Shannon writes:
The Bible teaches that we must dress in modest apparel. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame facedness and sobriety” (1 Tim. 2:9). A failure to dress properly induces others to sin. Mary Quant, the London fashion designer and mother of the miniskirt said, “Mini-clothes are symbolic of those girls who want to seduce a man . . . and leads to sex.
Modesty Enforcer Shannon also wants teen girls and women to know that if they wear skimpy bathing suits they shouldn’t be surprised if teen boys and men lust after them and want to fuck them. Shannon warns:
Women on board the hi-jacked pleasure ship Santa Maria left off wearing “enticing clothing of shorts, halters and swim suits” and stayed out of the ship’s pool for fear the rebels might have designs on them sexually! This was in the 1960’s. If you plan on swimming, you need to pick a place other than where there is mixed swimming. When women dress in such a way as to entice men, don’t be surprised when they want to do more than just look! Women of the millennium wear macro [sic] bikinis that reveal every aspect of he [sic] human anatomy. In other words, women of today parade themselves naked before the eyes of the world to see and cause them to lust after their bodies.
What about how teen boys and men dress, Preacher Shannon? Here’s what he had to say:
Fathers need to also talk to their boys about proper attire. Way too often today we see boys wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants and revealing the imprint of a certain body part. This is totally indecent.
Oh my God, teen boys are showing off their underwear by wearing it outside of their pants and this somehow indecently shows the imprint of “certain” body parts! I wonder what that “certain body part could be? Penis? Dick? Or any of the dozens of euphemisms men have for their rod? Is Preacher Shannon ashamed to say the word “penis,” lest he corrupt the minds of his readers? How does wearing underwear outside of your pants show off your penis any more than wearing underwear inside of your pants? And why doesn’t Shannon mention men’s bathing suits?
While women continue to make inroads outside of the Evangelical church, within its walls they are still viewed as the keepers of zippers. If teenage boys and men are to keep their “certain” body parts in their pants, it is up to teen girls and women to make sure that they never dress in ways that will cause lustful Johnny to reach for his package. Once Johnny unzips his pants and lets loose his manhood, why, there’s no telling what he might do. And if he impregnates or rapes a woman he’s not to blame! Remember, the Bible says in Proverbs 7:
For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
Never, ever forget that when men lust women are ALWAYS to blame. If teen girls and women would just dress like they did in the days of Little House on the Prairie or wear some sort of Christian burka, burning male lust would be extinguished, women would no longer be raped, and no children would be born out of wedlock. Or so say the Al Shannons of the world. Perhaps the real solution is for women to stay away from Evangelical churches, much as they would dimly-lit alleys late at night. If Christian men are so easily aroused that exposed cleavage, legs, or tight clothing causes them to lust and have thoughts of rape, wouldn’t women be safer if they spent Sundays at home?