By J.S. Smith

I am all for school spirit. I have season tickets for the Pflugerville High School football team and rant and rave with the best of them at every game. My objection to cheerleading is not about school spirit or extracurricular activities, which are both profitable. My objection to cheerleading centers on the undeniable fact that it places young women and girls into immodest costumes and engages them in lewd exercises before hundreds of boys and men.

The Costume

In days gone by, the cheerleading uniform was not immodest and I would have no problem with it at all. It consisted of a skirt that descended below the knees and a top that concealed both chest and midriff. Today’s cheerleading uniform is often times nothing more than a miniskirt and halter top. Many uniforms today even bare the mid- riff.

If this uniform were stripped of its insignia and worn as everyday attire, most Christians would see its impropriety. Because it is associated with a school activity, considered wholesome in America, should not mitigate the clear fact that such attire is immodest and will tend to incite lust in the vulnerable hearts of young men (Matt. 5:27-28).

Paul addresses even our young women when he admonishes them to “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation . . . which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Tim. 2:9-10). To imagine a Christian gleefully donning such a costume in public is beyond belief. Any young women dressed in what amounts to a miniskirt is not professing godliness, but a lack of concern for the souls of men who see her. Her attire is a stumbling block that will surely help some souls down the road to perdition (Matt. 18:6-7). Can anyone seriously deny that her costume is likely to cause someone to lust?

The Bodily Movements

The Holy Spirit includes lewdness among his list of works of the flesh that will disqualify anyone from inheriting the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21). Lewdness is one of those words which meaning in the English language has evolved away from the intent of the original Greek Paul used. Thayer defines aselgeia as “wanton acts or manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, un- chaste handling of males and females, etc.”

Again, take the cheerleader off the side- line and have her perform the same exercises on the dance floor to music. Modern cheerleading is an exhibition of young women performing indecent bodily movements in the presence of hundreds, if not thousands, of men. It has the same power to incite lust as modern dancing and is just as lewd. We might want to excuse it as a school activity, but such a justification amounts only to situation ethics, a byword of humanism, wherein the black-and-white nature of sin is blurred for our convenience.

Not All Bad

I am aware of at least one high school which has cheer- leaders who wear modest uniforms and refrain from performing lewdness on the sideline. Their cheers are done in a respectable way and I think that is fine. These young women are engaged in a wholesome activity, which does not place them in thigh-and-belly-bearing outfits or direct them to dance about in a way that might incite lust (Matt. 14:6).

Just how important are the souls of our young people? Lewdness disappoints God and will keep them out of Heaven. Is that more important than popularity on Earth?