By Gary Henry
Hermit that I am, I did not find out until just a few weeks ago that there are ladies who claim to be Christians who actually make the argument that a two-piece bikini is immodest but a one-piece swimsuit is not! I thought I had heard it all, but I guess not. It reminds me of the article by Brother Ed Harrell I once read concerning the Amish people, among whom questions of modesty are excitedly debated. Some of the Amish believe that suspenders on a man are gaudy and immodest. Other more “liberal” groups among the Amish believe suspenders maybe worn acceptably. And, you guessed it, there are even some who argue two suspenders are immodest, but one is not!
But this business about the one-piece swimsuits not being immodest reminds me of something else of a more serious nature, and that is that once we have decided to preserve our pet practices we only see what we want to see and are blind to anything which disagrees with us. Facts, plain evidence, common reason, and what may be obvious to the eyes of just about everyone else suddenly become unable to penetrate our willful blindness. (I cannot help throwing in here the conspicuous example of smoking. It is remarkable that virtually no Christians are willing to admit their practice is harmful to their health when all around them non-Christians are quitting the habit by the thousands for health reasons alone!) Let’s be frank: the traditional one-piece ladies’ swimsuit is immodest because it is sexually arousing to any normal male, and it takes a Christian bent on wearing one not to be able to see that.
A friend of mine who knows that Pat Boone and his family are “Church of Christers” told me the other day that this month’s issue of Playboy magazine carries a photograph in its gossip column of Debby Boone, the singer, in a swimsuit. And the photograph apparently is accompanied by a caption in which the Playboy editors comment sarcastically on the discrepancy between Miss Boone’s clothes and her religious convictions. I asked my informant what kind of swimsuit she was wearing in the photo and he jokingly remarked that it was nothing but a one-piece suit!
Playboy Enterprises is a multimillion dollar corporation which has made its fortune distinguishing between modesty and immodesty. Naturally it approves of immodesty. The more the better, they think. But when Playboy says a thing is immodest, it is. Their profit margin depends on being able to distinguish what turns men on from what does not. How far have we drifted from any real concept of true modesty when Playboy magazine can see that a one-piece swimsuit on a girl of professed religious convictions is out of place, but Christian women themselves cannot see that? There are truly none so blind as those who will not see.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 34, p. 553
August 31, 1979