June 22, 2018

Topless Swim Suits

By James E. Cooper

The latest stir in the news of ladies' fashions concerns the subject of topless swimsuits. There has been uproar about it, but certain stores that handle the model still report that the demand far exceeds the supply. News media report that stores in California and New York cannot supply the women with this style. Other communities outlaw it. It appears to me to be quite a commentary on the people and the times.

Before this latest "style" came out, we had already been subjected to the bikini suit, etc. Hal Chadwick had already candidly observed that "Just about all that some women's bathing attire leaves to the imagination is the color of the eyes behind the dark glasses!" This new style makes his observation more literal than ever. And, the designer insists that this suit will be the fashion within the next few years. Those who are prone to hoot at the idea might well remember the first reactions to the "sack dress" some years ago didn't hinder that model from becoming "the fashion."

I am wondering what our brethren and sisters in the church will have to say about this latest development. Will those who justify the public wearing of shorts and halters, bathing suits, and mixed bathing still say, "There is nothing wrong with it"? Will they still claim that the prevailing style of dress determines what is right and wrong along this line? I know that the prevailing style determines the current fashion, but does it determine decency?

Before the gospel of Christ reached Corinth, it was known to be an exceedingly immoral city. Its name had been coined into an expression depicting the basest of morals --"to corinthianize." The apostle warned the church there about keeping company with fornicators, and his letters show that one of her greatest problems was regarding sex. He did not tell them that the prevailing attitudes of the people determined what is right for Christians. Instead, he said, "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters" (2 Cor. 6:17). He wrote to the Romans: "Be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2). He desired that "women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety . . ." (1 Tim. 2:9).

It is strange that a race of people who carried the gospel to the dark corners of the world, and taught the heathens to wear clothes, is now trying to take up the customs they found there. I remember seeing pictures of pagan women in such magazines at National Geographic, when but a boy. As I recall, those women had had the topless idea a long time ago. And we were led to believe that their conduct was to be expected of the ignorant, heathen creatures that knew not God.

J. Edgar Hoover has observed "Crimes of passion increase in the summer time." If the styles worn by women have already produced such a situation, how much worse will it be after this newest idea becomes popular? It would appear to me that any woman who wears such a suit is hanging out her red light.

Why do women follow such "fashions"? Is it because they are just going along with the crowd? If the topless swimsuit becomes the "fashion," will you continue to "go along with the crowd?" Are women ignorant of the effect upon the man of the sight of her nakedness? Do you realize that she contributes to sin by causing the man to "commit adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28)? Or, are these particular women simply lascivious at heart, desiring to be indiscriminately provocative to others than to her own husband?

I cannot imagine a faithful, self-respecting, modest, Christian woman appearing in public places so attired. In fact, if a woman should so appear in a public place, I would take that as a sign that she was immodest, and lacking in self-respect, or shamefastness. What kind of character does your dress show?

Truth Magazine IX: 9, pp. 15-16
June 1965