Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You Can Hardly Bare the Translation, But...

I'm a meat-eater. And I like zoos. I think PETA is an ignorant organization. And I would only join PETA if it stood for People Eating Tasty Animals. But from Thailand, with a garbled English translation, we read:

The famous models held the nudist action in Thailand
26.12.06, 13:30

The famous models have been united for defending the animal rights. There was an action held in Thailand under the slogan Back to the Heaven by Sweden Patrick Ribstair and Filipino Avi Shiva.

They have made a nude appearance at the Bangkok famous studio and acted like the Adam and Eve in the improvised Heaven.

The event was held by PETA - the Animal Rights International Organization, which stands out with the initiative of closing Zoos.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Needed: The Young, the Bold, the Naked

IN THE PIPELINE: Recruiting Gen-X is one group's naked ambition


As Baby Boomers in the United States reach retirement and the number of young adults takes a nosedive, the campaign to win the attention and loyalty of the younger set is heating up.

Solution? Have them take their clothes off. Well, maybe.

The American Association for Nude Recreation, based in Kissimmee, has launched a $53,000 media campaign targeted at 18- to 35-year-olds, Forbes magazine reports in its Dec. 25 issue. Upon first glance, it doesn't seem difficult to woo young men and women to embrace nude recreation - but a closer look at the association's membership profile begs to differ. According to a 1997 survey, 92 percent of AANR members are 35 or older, with the bulk of them being empty nesters.

Steve Vickers, the campaign's 25-year-old spokesman, says his goals are more about education and awareness than increasing membership.

"The interest is there, but it has to be presented to them," said Vickers, a college student who grew up in a nudist resort. "They might not do it now, but when they do have the time, they'll remember."

The drive to "join the nude revolution" includes advertisements in college publications, a MySpace page (, blogs and podcasts. The blogs and podcasts - which should be posted on the AANR Web site ( early next year - will focus on first-time experiences at nudist resorts and clubs, Vickers said.

Though the stereotypical prospect of aging naturists conjures flashes of sagging, hairy flesh and sunburned cellulite, the association's Web site flaunts snapshots of relaxation and contentment, with bare bottoms and smiling faces climbing snowbanks and lounging in hot tubs.

According to the group, nude recreation and travel has grown into a $400 million industry, with 270 resorts, clubs and campgrounds across the United States and Canada. In Jacksonville, there are the Northeast Florida Naturists (self-dubbed the "Friendliest lil club in Florida") who meet and travel in private gatherings. They also have a clothed meet-and-greet for the public to learn about who they are every first Friday of the month.

Carolyn Hawkins, AANR public relations coordinator, stresses that the new campaign makes up only 20 percent of the group's marketing budget and that the AANR's primary market still is the 50 and up.

"But we're always trying to get younger people to join," she said. "We want to be the credible voice of reason and let the young people know we're here."

To be sure, the campaign also is about extending the 75-year-old group's longevity. As its directors become older, there needs to be a new wave of leaders to take their place.

It is a common plight.

Entire cities are duking it out to become the hippest of the hip, in the hopes of attracting and keeping young talent by improving their quality of life and providing a variety of activities.

In the demographics battle for the young, single and college-educated, cities like Detroit and Cleveland are losing while those such as Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta are winning, the U.S. Census Bureau says.

Will the AANR's push to gain Gen X-ers (defined by Censusistas as people born between 1968 and 1979) work? There's no harm in trying - if only so people can say they've done it, Vickers said. After all, nudism is an exotic lifestyle with an air of taboo.

Certainly, there would be less to pack. Just remember the sunblock.

Nudists Need Clothes (Sometimes)

Her shirts 100% off
Renee Christian knows her wares won't wear out quickly - because she sells them to nudists.
Published December 21, 2006



Twenty years ago, Renee Christian went into what seems a counterintuitive business: selling clothes to nudists.

The work requires an unusual fashion eye. One afternoon not long ago, Christian was having a poolside tent sale at Pasco County's swanky Caliente nudist resort when a customer called out with a question.

Belt or no belt?

The customer, Donna Weerts, was posing in a revealing white fishnet dress, silver high heels, silver earrings. But this silver belt?

"I don't know," Weerts murmured.

Christian adjusted the belt, stood back and looked again. "Too much," she finally announced. "I'd take it off."

A brave thing for a clothing saleswoman to say, especially to this crowd.

Christian's store, Under the Sun, has a permanent location on Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz. Its inventory includes sarongs, linen blouses, minidresses that could double as tank tops. Nothing you couldn't shake off pretty easily.

Christian, herself a nudist, markets the boutique largely through word of mouth.

"Actually, nudists love clothes," she said. "We just like the option of not wearing them."

She runs the business with Tom Thielges, her life partner of 25 years. Day to day, in what nudists call the "textile world," Christian wears loose-fitting pants and tunics, silver jewelry, a Bluetooth. Thielges wears shorts, sandals and Jimmy Buffett-style Hawaiian shirts.

They are hip to the funny things about their livelihood. Thielges likes to say Under the Sun customers are "the best dressed nudists in the world." He came up with his own punchy slogan: "People say it's like selling ice to Eskimos. But even Eskimos don't want yellow ice."

The mere existence of Under the Sun raises a question: Behind the walls of nudist retreats, why do nudists need clothes?

Among the answers:

They get chilly.

They may not like dining in the nude.

They may want to dress up for a dance.

An evening out at Caliente's night club, for instance, might mean men in sheer pants or G-strings. Women sport halter tops or plunging V-neck minidresses.

Which gets us to the heart of nudism: Adherents believe the naked body is not primarily sexual.

So dressing provocatively means flashing a little less skin.

The nudist way

Christian and Thielges, both 57, still have the laid-back ways they learned growing up in Minnesota. He pads into the shop's dressing area to offer mimosas to men waiting on their significant others. She is prone to outbursts like "Holy cannoli!"

Thielges got into nudism first and then persuaded Christian to join. He once talked even his mother into visiting a nudist retreat. For the record, Mom liked it.

Nearly 20 years ago, they moved to Paradise Lakes, another Pasco nudist resort, where Christian did poolside pedicures and manicures.

On breezy mornings, she wore an unusual dress, one that could be shaped into eight different styles.

She was the envy of every woman with chill bumps and fashion sense. She bought a few extra dresses to sell by the pool, and Under the Sun was born.

The shop is the only one of its kind in Pasco County. When it comes to their sales figures, the couple is about as revealing as a trench coat.

But in the Tampa Bay area's most naked county, they say, their sales grow every year.

At the recent tent sale at Caliente, Christian recruited two customers to parade around wearing Under the Sun clothes.

One of the models slipped into a red dress that can be worn 16 ways, depending on how she stretches the cowl. She approached the nude sunbathers near the pool and interrupted their snoozing and reading to demonstrate the highly stretchable dress.

When she finished, she gave a little bow. The nudists applauded politely and went back to their reading. They'd have to think about it.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (727) 869-6247. Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report.

Friday, December 15, 2006

UK's Rambler in the Slammer Again (Good!)

TV nudist is sent back to jail for 'unreasonable behaviour'
A MAN who appeared on the BBC television series The Naked Rambler was jailed yesterday for six months.

Stephen Gough, 47, a former Royal Marine from Eastleigh in Hampshire, was found guilty after a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court of exposing himself in public and committing a breach of the peace by walking naked out of Saughton Prison on 3 November.

Gough had just completed three and a half months of the seven-month sentence imposed in August for a similar offence committed in July.

Refusing to wear clothes, Gough did not give evidence himself at the trial. Sheriff Douglas Allan said as Gough had taken this position he had disabled himself from appearing.

Finding Gough guilty, Sheriff Allan said it was not reasonable to walk around naked where there were men, women and children, and not unreasonable that people might have been alarmed and upset or take reprisals into their own hands.

Nudist beach hits raw nerve

Source: Southern Courier
Author: Michelle Wranik Posted: Tue 12 Dec, 2006

Photo by Danielle Butters ( buy this )

Little Congwong beach is in the spotlight again, with a tug of war erupting over its status as a nudist beach.

The secluded La Perouse beach, which is reached only by walking through the Botany Bay national park, has been used peacefully by naturists for more than 40 years, but locals and some Randwick councillors have been fighting to reclaim it.

Last year, the council erected signs prohibiting nude bathing, following a number of complaints about people engaging in explicit sexual acts and gay cruising.

However, naturists responded by forming a lobby group titled the Free Beach Action Group.

The group’s convener, Gerald Ganglbauer, said naturists were being punished by the behaviour of perverts who were not part of the naturist community.

“I’m sick and tired of talking about weirdos, perverts, sexual predators and the old mud throwing,” he said. “These people need help, they have to be reported and this has nothing to do with naturism.”

For the past 12 months, the group has been campaigning and recently wrote to the NSW Environment Minister, Bob Debus, in an attempt to have the beach designated as a nude bathing area under Section 633 of the Local Government Act.

In the letter, naturists pointed out that Little Congwong had been used for nude bathing for many years, and its isolated location meant it had little effect on the surrounding area.

A letter of reply from Mr Debus’s office stated that the matter would receive “close consideration”.

But support for the naturists is waning – at least at Randwick Council.

Earlier this year South Ward councillor Robert Belleli said he would campaign against the beach being declared clothing-optional because he believed it would encourage “sleazy characters”.

At tonight’s (Tuesday) council meeting, Greens councillor Murray Matson will move a motion requesting that residents, not naturists, clean Little Congwong beach during the annual Clean Up Australia day – a move which has outraged the Free Beach Action Group.

“If Murray attacks our Clean Up Australia Day, he is pretty much in opposition not only to other Randwick residents, but also to the media,” Mr Ganglbauer said.

“I was interviewed on the beach and the segment went to air on national ABC TV News, as well as online and on Triple J radio all day – we enjoyed 100 per cent positive media response and did a bloody good job cleaning up our beach, too.”

Nude Loner Gets Cold Hard Naked Cash

Nudist colony to reinstate 'loner'
Man gets $12,000 for lost reputation, opportunity
A Vancouver Island nudist, who was ejected from his colony for failing to be sociable with the other nudists, has been ordered reinstated.
Richard Watts, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, December 08, 2006
A Vancouver Island nudist, who was ejected from his colony for failing to be sociable with the other nudists, has been ordered reinstated.

In a B.C. Supreme Court judgment yesterday, Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein ordered Jerry Grenier be reinstated as a probationary member in the Sol Sante Club.

Stromberg-Stein also awarded him about $12,000 in damages, an award that included $10,000 for loss of reputation and opportunity, since the club is the only one of its kind on the Island.

The family oriented Sol Sante Club, which owns 178 acres in Cobble Hill, is said to rival the Butchart Gardens for beauty. There, its 170 members practise nudism and follow the principles of the International Nudist Federation.

Grenier became a probationary member on May 15, 2004. But on July 24, 2004, without any notice to him, the board of directors voted to rescind his membership for a number of reasons including:

- he didn't engage in social nudism;

- he was a loner who didn't socialize with other members;

- he had posted an advertisement on a bulletin board offering to pay a member's child to perform yard work.

Justice Stromberg-Stein ruled none of the complaints provided any foundation for expelling Grenier. She also wrote Grenier felt he had been unfairly characterized as a sexual predator.

Michael Frey, Grenier's lawyer, said all the accusations were easily disputed or contradicted once they came out in the open. "It was all sort of unstated and implied."

Frey said his client has spent most of his career as a military police officer. He now does security work for the International Criminal Court and is now working, likely in Africa.

Sol Sante members who, according to the judgment, are forbidden by club bylaws from publicly identifying themselves as members, could not be reached for comment.

Nude Beach Scandal in EU

The EU's nudist commissioner, his naked aide and the beach pictures
Roger Boyes in Berlin

Europe's second-highest ranking commissioner was fighting to save his political career last night over pictures showing him naked on a beach with his chief of staff.
Günther Verheugen, who is married, is shown — wearing only a baseball cap — with his newly promoted aide, Petra Erler, on a nudist beach in Lithuania.

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, rushed to the aid of his German Vice-President yesterday, saying that he expected “people’s private spheres” to be respected.

However, controversy over Mr Verheugen, 62, who is also Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, is raging in Germany, three weeks before the country is due to take over the European Union presidency.

Media coverage has completely overshadowed the plans of Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, for the presidency, such as membership negotiations with Turkey and revival of the European constitution.

The mass circulation Bild newspaper published details yesterday of Mr Verheugen’s holiday with Ms Erler, 48, in August when the couple were seen paddling in the sea and relaxing in the dunes. His wife did not join them on holiday. Bild did not publish the photographs, but Focus magazine is expected to publish the photographs on Monday.

Mr Verheugen strenuously denied any intimate relationship with Ms Erler after Focus published earlier pictures of his Lithuanian holiday in which the couple could be seen holding hands. “I believe the question of with whom and where I spend my holiday in August is a purely private affair, which does not concern anyone other than my wife who was informed about it,” he said.

The commissioner is one of the most powerful in Brussels, not only as deputy to Mr Barroso, but is also at the helm of a campaign to break the bureaucratic stranglehold on industry.

In a recent interview, Mr Verheugen criticised the EU bureaucracy for not adapting to the new political culture. “There is a view that the more regulations you have, the more rules you have, the more Europe you have,” he said. “I don’t share that view.”

As a result Mr Verheugen has made enemies in Brussels. So too, it seems, has Ms Erler, who is regarded as the key figure in Mr Verheugen’s department. Both enjoy special protection in Berlin. Mr Verheugen is a senior Social Democrat, and sacking him would cause a crisis in Germany’s Grand Coalition Government. Ms Erler is the only East German in the higher ranks of the European Union and was a member of the last East German Government. One of her staff at that time was a certain Angela Merkel, then a lowly press spokeswoman.

That support now looks shaky. Mr Verheugen was widowed in the 1980s, then remarried to Gabrielle. Mrs Verheugen says that she knew of her husband’s summer holiday to Nida on the Baltic coast of Lithuania last August. Mr Barroso has also defended Mr Verheugen’s promotion of Ms Erler.

The new photographs will raise eyebrows, but still do not prove that Mr Verheugen was lying about his relationship with Ms Erler. They could, however, be seen as violating the Commission code of ethics.

Herbert Reul, the Christian Democratic European Parliament deputy, called for his resignation. “It’s unacceptable that an EU Commissioner should be running around naked on a beach with a senior female colleague,” he said.

The Government’s main hope is that Focus may relent and not publish the snapshots

Matthew Fox "Lost" His Swimsuit

MATTHEW FOX has laughed off rumours skinny dipping has been banned by producers on the set of his TV show LOST. The hunky actor, who is famed for his nude swimming exploits on the set of the hit show, insists even if the reports were true, he wouldn't let the restrictions affect him. He says, "You heard that? From who? Well, I can tell you it's not true. "Nobody's gonna stop me from taking my clothes off when I want to take my clothes off."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Frank and Ernest Join a Nudist Club

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Different Way of Seeing

What's Wrong with This Picture?
By confronting society's greatest taboos, Oakland photographer Frank Cordelle has created something truly extraordinary.
By Lauren Gard
Article Published Dec 6, 2006

It is close to midnight on a crisp Northern California evening, the kind that renders East Coast transplants nostalgic for the musty smell of dry leaves and the kick of hot apple cider. Beneath a full moon, not far from a lawn dotted with a half-dozen languid deer and a fat, skulking skunk, Frank Cordelle sits naked in a hot tub.

It isn't his first time at Lupin Lodge, a naturist resort nestled in the redwoods of Los Gatos along Highway 17. The 63-year-old photographer exhibited his work here once before, seven years earlier, and stayed for a few days then. Cordelle wouldn't call himself a nudist, but as someone who has spent the last twenty-some years focusing on naked girls and women through his camera viewfinder, it's a state he's become comfortable with. For the past month, a collection of his photos has been on display in the homey wooden lodge down the hill, and an hour ago he wrapped up a lecture with a small but dedicated crowd and signed a few copies of his new book.

"So your photos are in the same vein as, say, Jock Sturges?" asks a middle-aged man who'd slipped into the tub with a female companion. One of the two other men in the tub had caught the tail end of Cordelle's lecture, and as often happens when his work is nearby, the fotog finds himself holding court.

"Not at all," Cordelle replies, his voice soft and a bit raspy. He's used to the question. "Sturges' photographs are mostly of beautiful, thin, white, blond girls, with a few others thrown in for good measure."

"Mapplethorpe, then?" Ah, the question that usually comes first.

"No." Cordelle shakes his head and explains that Robert Mapplethorpe's focus was mostly on men, and was often homoerotic. "My work is very different."

"Those photos in the dining room, that's what he's talking about," the woman tells her partner. "I haven't had a chance to look at them all, but there were essays, too, right?" she asks Cordelle. "That the women wrote?"

"Most of them," Cordelle says. "Some, I wrote about."

"There was one there who'd had a mastectomy — " she shudders.

Cordelle is used to such reactions. The gist of his project, he explains, is to document women of all ages as they truly are, from an infant at the moment of birth through a centenarian in her last years. While that may not sound so controversial, there's a reason Cordelle's work shows at nudist resorts and colleges instead of museums, and why he had such a hell of a time getting his book published.

His photos, although profoundly moving to some viewers, come as a shock to many, particularly when viewed out of context. Nude depictions of children and seniors are by nature taboo in a culture rooted in Puritanism. And most, although not all, of his subjects bear physical or mental scars, or struggle with their body image. Some are obese, anorexic, or bulimic. Some have been raped or abused. Some are afflicted with disease, while others have inflicted pain upon themselves. Desiree, nineteen, poses against a white cinderblock wall, a massive T-shaped scar dominating her chest. A year earlier, her uncle slashed her with a knife after she refused to let him have sex with her any longer. Kerry, 41, sits in profile, laughing, her unattached prosthetic legs resting beside her on the couch. Durga, 66, was given a hysterectomy in a Harlem hospital at age 31 without her consent. "Once, when the exhibit was at a college, several students approached me and said, 'We don't see anyone like us represented here. You need to have cutters,'" Cordelle recalls. He photographed one of the women the very next day.

The fotog patiently answers his tubmates' questions — yes, he gets written consent from the parents of minors; he shoots only women because, quite frankly, he doesn't find men's bodies as interesting, or as storied — and shares some favorite anecdotes. He's a gifted storyteller, and true to form, he loves to shock. "One woman I photographed, her parents tried to get her committed to a mental institution at age sixteen," he says. "Do you know what her crime was?" They look at him quizzically. "She wore a tank top to the mall without a bra," he finishes.

They gasp, cluck their tongues, splash gently as they shift in the water. "Do you live around here?" the woman asks.

"Yes, in Oakland," Cordelle says. "But I'm a country boy. Moved here from New Hampshire for my work."

"Do you miss it?" she says.

"I do. After five years here I still feel like a fish out of water," Cordelle replies. "I used to see moose and deer in my backyard, had a huge garden —"

"What do you mean, you moved here for your work?" one of the men interjects.

"Everyone back in New Hampshire looks just like me," Cordelle replies.

He pauses a moment while they appear to consider this: Did he mean a fit five-foot-eight with just a squidge of a belly? Confident and handsome in a boyish, been-there, done-that sort of way?

"White. German, European descent," he clarifies after a beat. "I needed more diversity."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Never Say Never Naked

Sea, sand, skin
Published December 3, 2006

TIERRA VERDE - For 10 years, the county has said no.

But nudists say they're not giving up the fight to make part of Fort De Soto Park clothing optional.

In their latest plan, naturists say they will try to rally tourism leaders around the idea. They argue that clothing-optional beaches could bring in $1-million a year for local businesses because they would attract beachgoers from around the world looking to bare it all.

If the tourism panel gets on board, the naturists figure it will be an easier sell to the County Commission, showing that they have the support of the public.

But commission Chairman Kenneth T. Welch, who also leads the county's Tourist Development Council, said the chances of nudists' getting their beach any time soon is slim.

"Everything isn't a pure economical decision," he said. "Some things are more important than that. Folks want to bring their family to the beach without worrying about running into folks that don't have their clothes on."

The struggle to make a section of North Beach at Fort De Soto clothing optional has been going on since 1996, when members of the Tampa Area Naturists, or TAN, began calling the parks department. County officials vetoed the idea in 1999 and 2001.

"Even if people won't admit it, they cannot imagine how you can be naked without being sexual," TAN secretary Ken Kushman said, referring to the repeated defeats. "And that, of course, is not true."

For Kushman, being bare skinned at the beach with the wind caressing his body is like riding a motorcycle.

"That feeling of communing with nature, it is pretty sensational, and when you have strings and straps digging into you, it spoils that feeling," he said.

A county ordinance on public nudity says women can't take off their tops, genitalia must be covered and thongs are discouraged, said Carl Brody, an assistant attorney for the county.

"Once they start riding up, you are back in violation of the ordinance," he pointed out. "So you might want to wear something bigger just to be safe."

In some places, the freedom to go au naturel is a significant draw for tourists.

In Pasco County, six clothing-optional resorts pull in more money than nearly any other attraction in the area, said Diane Jones, spokeswoman for the Pasco County Tourism Development Office.

But convincing Pinellas' tourism leaders that there is money to be made in naturist beaches might be a tough sell.

Tony Satterfield, chairman of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks setting aside part of the beach for a minority group could be a "dangerous precedent."

Naturists said if there were enough beach space in Pasco to give a slice to clothing-optional bathers, they would leave Fort De Soto alone. But there isn't, so the saga continues.

Richard Mason, president of the Florida Naturist Association, which helped to make Miami-Dade County's Haulover Beach clothing optional in 1991, said he will start sending hotel owners and tourism officials information packets next month. They will include a picture of an empty beach in Fort De Soto and a picture of bustling Haulover Beach, one of the state's few clothing-optional beaches.

"We are not going away," he said. "This is just the beginning."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

From the Naturist Chronicles: TIME Reports on New York Nudists in 1935

Monday, Jan. 14, 1935
Legal Nudism

A high New York State court, peering through a knothole in a legal fence, decided fortnight ago that Nudist Vincent Burke was not guilty of "indecent exposure and openly outraging public decency" when he gave a nudist party in an uptown Manhattan gymnasium. Believing that the court approved the contention of all high-minded nudists that their cult is a matter of Health, Mr. Burke put his head through the legal knothole and crowed: "The court has declared Nudism is legal in New York State and inasmuch as the laws in all the other States are patterned closely after the New York State law, this decision will undoubtedly serve as a model and precedent for the rest of the States" (TIME, Jan. 7).

The crowing reached the alert ears of Alfred Emanuel Smith on the 32nd floor of the Empire State Building. As chairman of the advisory committee of the Legion of Decency which is making cinema companies toe the mark (TIME, June 11, et seq.), Mr. Smith called for a copy of the law Mr. Burke considered so exemplary. It read: "A person who willfully and lewdly exposes his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place or in any other place where others are present, or procures another so to expose himself is guilty of a misdemeanor."

Exclaimed pious Catholic Smith: "The present penal law is not adequate to prevent public mingling and exhibitions of naked men and women. If such action is not an offense against public decency, this league will ask the Legislature to speedily remedy this defect in the law and make it so. It seems to us inconsistent to take a stand for decency on the screen and ignore this latest challenge to the enforcement of decency in reality, We cannot overlook indecency in the substance while condemning it in the shadow."

Thereupon the four-time Governor of New York proposed a new law which he expected the New York Legislature to pass and other State Legislatures to imitate. The Smith proposal: "A person who in any place willfully exposes his person . . . in the presence of two or more persons of the opposite sex whose persons ... are similarly exposed, or who aids or abets any such act, or who procures another so to expose his person ... or who as owner, manager, lessee, director, promoter or agent, or in any other capacity, hires, leases or permits the land, building or premises of which he is the owner, lessee or tenant, or over which he has control, to be used for any such purposes, is guilty of a misdemeanor."

At this moment the Rev. Dr. Ilsley Boone, onetime minister of a Dutch Reformed church at Oakland, N. J.. stepped forward. Dr. Boone is executive secretary of the International Nudist Conference which publishes an illustrated "health" magazine called The Nudist.*

While the ear of the nation was attuned to Nudism, Dr. Boone tried to fill it with rebuttal against Mr. Smith and with arguments for Nudism. Cried he: "There is more social danger to our young folks in a quart of gin than in three miles of State-censored movie film. There is a striking inconsistency between the removal of prohibition from liquor [for which Mr. Smith fought] and the placing of prohibition upon a movement which by actual results, has everywhere been hailed as a blessing and in no instances has been cited as the source of immorality or illicit relations, or disruptive of conjugal happiness."

In what amounted to a notably bold editorial in the lay press, the New York Herald Tribune declared:

"In this controversy it is much easier to go part way with Dr. Boone than it is to go anywhere at all with the League of Decency. . . . The exhibitionists among these folk who would go through the world as they came into it are a trifling minority. ... All testimony goes to show that the great majority of these latter-day Edenites take their antics in the altogether solemnly, if not sadly. ... All nonnudist reporters on the life at a nudist camp find it insufferably dull. They are diverted by nothing about it so much as the quiet but firm sway of the proprieties over groups that affect to live like nymphs and fauns. The truth of the matter seems to be that the average nudist is a puritan. . . . He notes with triumph that he experiences no wicked reactions to visions that are allegedly wicked. This indulgence may seem thoroughly absurd; but when the League of Decency sets out to have it pronounced immoral, is it not simply compounding an absurdity?"

*Circulation, 50,000. Last week buyers of Dr. Boone's The Nudist from Manhattan newsstands were obliged to secure the February issue clandestinely. Charged with obscenity, the publishers had to limit circulation until New York courts decide whether The Nudist's modestly retouched pictures of naked men, women and children violate the law. Complained Dr. Boone last week: "We might tone down the illustrations. We do not desire to break the law. But we feel we should have the right and the privilege to publish unless it can be proved that Nudism is provocative of immorality."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christianity and Naturism

Naturism and Christianity
T.H. Pine

If you are a naturist and you are prepared to tell people about it, the chances are that you will have to deal with quite a bit of suspicion and ridicule. Generally speaking, contemporary attitudes to social nudism could be described as unenlightened, but it hasn’t always been this way.

In ancient Greece nudity was much more widely accepted than it is now. When people participated in sport for example, they did it without clothes. The words “gymnastics” and “gymnasium” come from the Greek word “gymnos” which means “naked”. In certain public situations in Ancient Greece, nudity was accepted and respected.

What has happened in intervening years, and why did modern western society, founded on Christianity, adopt and develop the prudish and prohibitive attitudes to social nudity that we experience today? In trying to find answers, the first and most obvious place to look is the holy Book itself. And what more obvious story than The Creation? Genesis says this of Adam and Eve, the first couple: “… they were both naked; the man and his wife were not ashamed.” ((KJV, Genesis 2:25)
So if Adam and Eve were naked and they weren’t ashamed – where did it all start to go wrong?

Looking at Genesis again, we are told that Eve was tempted by a serpent to eat an apple from the tree of knowledge, and that she gave in to that temptation. In turn she tempted Adam into eating this fruit which God had forbidden. At this point they start to experience problems with their nakedness: “…then the eyes of both Adam and Eve were opened and they realised that they were naked…”

This realisation seems to have prompted them into producing the world’s first clothes: “…so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Now let’s stop here and ask ourselves what precipitated them into this action. It can’t have been the cold- they had been naked up until this point without problems. Some Christians argue that they did it to protect themselves from sin. According to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS): “Adam knew shame because of his naked body…” It suggests further that:
“God gives clothes because of the shame that exists because of sin…”

This branch of Christianity is overtly suspicious of naturism, suggesting that rebellion against society and feelings of lust or sexual desire are primary reasons for people to want to go naked in the company of others. WELS cautions naturists about leading others into moral danger:
“You do not want to be confronted by God on the Day of Judgement with the accusation that your practice of social nudism tempted yourself or others into sin.”

We may well consider this to be a fairly bleak outlook and a damning attitude to naturism generally, there are other Christians who take a very different view, and who also justify their ideas from the Bible.

So don’t these other Christians look at the Adam and Eve story and equate nudity with shame and sin? Well no, they don’t. And as we’ll see, it’s all a matter of interpretation.

Biblical scholars point out that the Bible was not originally written in English. Much of it was translated from Hebrew into Latin, and then from Latin into English. The attitudes and prejudices of the translators often had a direct bearing on how people came to interpret the different texts. It has been said, for instance, that there are 104 references to the word ‘naked’ and its derivatives, in 87 verses of the King James Version, but the New International Version (favoured by conservative Christians) contains only 49 references in 47 verses.

Another example of the difficulties of translation can be seen when we read in Genesis that: “…they made coverings for themselves…” The Hebrew word translated here as “coverings” is “chaogowr” which means a girdle or belt. From this we can deduce that Eve’s original garment went only around her waist, and therefore that she was quite content to go topless. The translators of the King James and Revised Standard Versions of the Bible, however translated the word to mean ‘aprons’, as though they could never bring themselves to accept the idea of a bare-breasted Eve.

Through this and other examples, it becomes clear that the practice of appealing to the authority of the Bible to either condone or condemn social nudity is fraught with ambiguity and confusion. It also becomes clear that what first appears to be cut-and-dried is anything but. H.L Menken’s astute observation that : "There is always an easy solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong,” rings so true when one is talking about the Good Book.

Many Christians today are also committed naturists. For them, the most significant part of Genesis would probably be the bit where it says that God created man “in his own image and likeness”, and that God was pleased with what he created.
Jamie Cotton, a religious scholar, writer and nude model asks: “what is it in our religious history that has defined religion and body love as opposites?”

She finds it significant that in early Christian art, nudity is used to represent holiness in the form of the angels and saints and that nudity is also used to represent evil, in the form of Satan and his followers. Ordinary human beings, however, are never presented naked: “Anthropomorphic beings, whether from above or below were often depicted without clothing. Cherubs and Saints lounged around the heavens sans vetements while the devil and his brigade of fallen followers paraded around below. Halo or pitchfork was clothing enough…”

As Christian art develops from those early times, we witness saints starting to be clothed in billowing robes, whilst Satan and his cronies stay naked. The sinners are the nudists. And just as nudity and sin become entwined, so do nudity and sex.
In modern times, the naked body has become largely associated with sex alone. Almost all of today’s enormous proliferation of nude and semi-nude images propagated by the media are of a sexual nature. As Jamie Cotton puts it:
“The problem with pornography is not that it exists, but that it only exists.”

Thus it is that a significant number of Christians continue to look upon naturism with suspicion. John Kundert who produces a regular Christian Naturist web-based newsletter called Fig Leaf expresses outrage that so called Christians should criticise the naturist lifestyle: “I find it unthinkable that “image-bearers” of God should find themselves so ashamed of human nakedness that they would insist that it should always be covered.”

Kundert’s website is just one of many Christian naturists sites that have appeared in recent years. Their presence indicates that the Christian Naturist movement is strong and thriving.
One common theme that seems to emerge from just about all of them is the idea that naturism can give a sense of completeness- with the spiritual and physical aspects of the self uniting into a celebration of wholeness. As such, it is a striking echo of The International Naturist Federation’s own definition:
“Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature, characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging respect for others and the environment.”

It must also give us hope that we are on the cusp of a more enlightened era; one where naturism and Christianity can peacefully co-exist to the mutual benefit of all.

Nearly Naked for National Security

Phoenix Airport to Test X-Ray Screening

Dec 1, 7:02 AM (ET)

(AP) Susan Hallowell, the director of the Transportation Security Administration's security laboratory,...
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PHOENIX (AP) - Sky Harbor International Airport here will test a new federal screening system that takes X-rays of passenger's bodies to detect concealed explosives and other weapons.

The technology, called backscatter, has been around for several years but has not been widely used in the U.S. as an anti-terrorism tool because of privacy concerns.

The Transportation Security Administration said it has found a way to refine the machine's images so that the normally graphic pictures can be blurred in certain areas while still being effective in detecting bombs and other threats.

The agency is expected to provide more information about the technology later this month but said one machine will be up and running at Sky Harbor's Terminal 4 by Christmas.

(AP) Susan Hallowell holds up a side arm that was detected by the "backscatter" machine at the...
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The security agency's Web site indicates that the technology will be used initially as a secondary screening measure, meaning that only those passengers who first fail the standard screening process will be directed to the X-ray area.

Even then, passengers will have the option of choosing the backscatter or a traditional pat-down search.

A handful of other U.S. airports will have the X-rays machines in place by early 2007 as part of a nationwide pilot program, TSA officials said.

The technology already is being used in prisons and by drug enforcement agents, and has been tested at London's Heathrow Airport.

The security agency says the machines will be effective in helping detect plastic or liquid explosives and other non-metallic weapons that can be missed by standard metal detectors.

Some say the high-resolution images - which clearly depict the outline of the passenger's body, plus anything attached to it, such as jewelry - are too invasive.

But the TSA said the X-rays will be set up so that the image can be viewed only by a security officer in a remote location. Other passengers, and even the agent at the checkpoint, will not have access to the picture.

In addition, the system will be configured so that the X-ray will be deleted as soon as the individual steps away from the machine. It will not be stored or available for printing or transmitting, agency spokesman Nico Melendez said.