It's beyond me how any Christian father can allow his daughter to be a cheerleader...

(Tim) IU's half-naked cheerleaders make a much more prominent appearance at the games when you're there in person than watching on the television. And the prostrating themselves to the IU flag that's a staple of every game at Assembly Hall, it's hard not to think of them as something approximating cult prostitutes. This is one reason Taylor and I love going to IU soccer games. No feminine tease intricately woven between plays. Just straight soccer without interruption for ninety minutes. It's this way with international soccer, too. No cheerleaders. No women giving sideline color. No ads. Just soccer--straight up.

Speaking of which, Taylor passed on this link to an ESPN Page 2 article on a Pentecostal school in southwestern Tennessee where modesty extends to the men's basketball team.

They wear long pants and shirts under their jerseys. Most of the article is an interview with the school's principal, Wayne Elliott. Here's my favorite part:

ESPN: Please forgive my ignorance on this point, but is there a specific verse of the Bible that addresses this?

Wayne Elliott: There is, but I'd have to look it up -- I don't have it handy, but it's definitely in Scripture.

Comments

Yet another reason to love dem Stillers: no cheerleaders.

Great game yesterday, Brandon. Joy to you, after the shower, that is.

Love to Lauren and Noah,

Hey,

The Texas Aggies have no cheerleaders. We have yell leaders, which are members of the Corps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggie_Yell_Leaders

> The Texas Aggies have no cheerleaders.

Howdy, Brett! Does Reveille count? Being a former all male military school helps in the No Cheerleaders Department.

> We have yell leaders, which are members of the Corps.

Yes, but unfortunately, women are now in the Corps. So, I guess some day, some woman will break the Yell Leader Ceiling for the first time in the history of the universe and get to wear the overalls. I guess they'll at least be modest, if a tad manly-looking/acting.

Gig 'em!

While there is no need for slutty, half-naked cheerleaders [they used to wear long skirts into the mid-20th century, see Wiki-link], there is an interesting gender-angle here. The men are on the field doing battle, the women are cheering them on. The football team is all men. It isn't egalitarian. No women trying to be men. Something actually remains as it should be, as far as that goes.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/58/PostcardCornellUniversityCheerleader1906.jpg

> It's beyond me how any Christian father can allow his daughter to be a cheerleader...

When you look at cheerleaders from, say, the 1920s to the 1940s, they look better than many Christian girls who are members of our conservative churches!

http://www.tjhs-news.com/cheerleaders.htm

What really kills me is when you see a high school or even junior high car wash in town. I end up saying to my daughters, "Do you think those girls' dad's love them?"

I mean, it's not that simple I know but I want my daughters to realize that I sometimes try to make prudes out of them because I love them.

Reminds me of the old version of Cheaper by the Dozen.

There's half-naked cheerleaders, then there's 75-85% naked Christian women at the public beach or pool. I'm not at all defending cult prostitutes, but sometimes they're wearing more/exposing less than a bathing suit which our own women wear. The point being: we know the world's messed up, but what are we doing that may be just as messed up?

The whole swimsuit thing is quite incredible to me. Why is it okay for a Christian woman to take her clothes off at the beach or at a pool when there are men around? It doesn't make any sense. Godly women who would blush to have their skirts blown up by the wind will simply drop their skirts at a pool and think nothing of it.

I don't get it. But maybe I'm just African...

No, you get it just fine I'm glad to see, Lucas.

I decided almost 20 years ago I didn't need to be around when the sisters were "bathing." That was at a church beach party. They didn't look quite the same undressed, and too much was none of my business. I figured I would respect them more if I was not around at such times. Not a good arrangement for a church fellowship.

Never been to Africa.

A comment from the female viewpoint on swimsuits ... Christian men need to take responsibility for their "bathing" attire as well. Don't think that women or teenage girls can't be tempted by well-muscled guys in Speedos or less.

--Sue

I have never, EVER understood why churches have pool parties! Especially after all the admonishment about purity and modesty, I never got why everyone would want to go and swim half-naked together.

The story about the long pants reminded me of a story the principal at my high school used to tell us. At one of his former schools, one of the boys, though talented in basketball, would not play for the team because they wore shorts.

I was also impressed with the valedictorian in my senior class, who always went out of her way to be modest and consistently exceeded the (strict) modesty standards my school had. Any time I saw her outside of school, she was dressed the same way.

Well, Crystal Laws had the same idea about bathing suits, Lucas.

The point we quickly get to with this is that any sort of clothing can become provocative - so how should people dress? Well, with a mind to the fact that their purpose is not to draw sexual attention to themselves. Men and women alike do this in various ways and sometimes it's almost as much through the presence of clothing than the absence of it. Also, sensuality is through attitude and way of carrying oneself. So once again, the issue is the heart but we shouldn't be stumbling blocks to others. Most of us are influenced by advertising and our culture far too much and they sell with sex.

There was a funny thing I noticed, I was at my Grandmother in-law's house and she had a calendar of old photos of Chicago. One was a 1930s picture of people swimming in Lake Michigan, most of the men were wearing speedo type swimsuits (a little bigger than modern ones but about the same) there was one woman who had the fully-clothed looking bathing suit but most didn't - they had modern-looking one-piece bathing suits.

You think of the those earlier times as being more modest but they weren't necessarily. I found myself wondering if a lot of the people in that photo were immigrants and brought different attitudes from other countries. I guess I thought people didn't dress like that in the 30s.

"I have never, EVER understood why churches have pool parties! Especially after all the admonishment about purity and modesty, I never got why everyone would want to go and swim half-naked together. "

I agree, Rebecca. We used to host all-church pool parties at our home, or youth group pool parties, and it suddenly dawned on us that we were encouraging the very thing we were trying to teach against - immodesty. Talk about a light bulb moment! So that stopped - immediately. (Just one more reason I'm glad not to have a pool anymore.)

Congrats, all you Stiller fans - nice save in the final moments.

What about the old days when you only swam with the same sex and people didn't have to worry about swim suits at all. :)

> Christian men need to take responsibility for their "bathing" attire as well.

You're right, Sue. I decided I didn't like being seen in wet boxers, so I got rid of my bathing suit. Now I only bathe in my birthday suit at home.

> I have never, EVER understood why churches have pool parties!

Rebecca, I had some run-ins with a couple who liked to host missionary kids at their house for pool parties, which included a hot tub! I told them I had no business in a hot tub with other women, and the same went for my boys with any girls, such as their daughters. They didn't/don't see anything wrong with high-schoolers doing this.

As far as the men's basketball pants, I think that's great. I also got rid of my shorts many years ago, and only wear long pants. It gets hot in Texas, but I've never been so hot I wished I was wearing shorts. It's just a sloppy culture thing we've grown accustomed to, if you ask me.

Boys used to long for the day when they were old enough to wear long pants like a man, now men wear shorts and look like little boys on the playground.

"You think of the those earlier times as being more modest but they weren't necessarily."

Amen to that! My first sortie as an intern pastor was in San Juan Capistrano (Southern Orange County, CA). I was soon invited to a church picnic at San Clemente Beach. I showed up in longish denim cutoff and T-shirt, intending to wear these in or out of the water.

But I was gobsmacked by everyone else's attire -- the skimpiest, teensiest bits of cloth tied around various tender bits with what looked like sewing thread. Bunz galore. Breasts galore, generous swaths of skin below navels. Fur galore, in the places you don't ordinarily see except in same-sex dressing rooms in gymnasiums. And the fabrics were obviously designed to reveal the shape and size of whatever was otherwise "hidden" from immediate view.

If everyone had taken off ALL their clothes and cavorted tee-totally-nekkid, they woud have been LESS immodest, for all the swimwear did was to highlight, exaggerate, and attract attention to what was supposed to be covered.

This was in 1978, at what was supposed to be a sort of starchy-fundamentalist Bible Church. It still boggles my mind.

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel . . .” (I Timothy 2:9)

1. How can it be, that pastors who have the courage to preach the whole counsel of God--which includes this verse--and have the courage to make specific applications, such as “hemlines below the knee,” or “nothing form-fitting or tight,” or (gasp!) “no mixed swimming” -- how can it be-- that these pastors are accused of legalism?

2. And how can it be, that men (***who know how other men think***) especially men who are elders in the church, how can it be, that they allow their wives and daughters to dress immodestly, even provocatively, even to church?

Gonna stick my neck out... please know that I say this with much trembling and love.

Though I agree that modesty and chastity ought to characterize our daughters and our churches, this is not the mark of a godly church per se. I grew up strict Plymouth Brethren ("Tunbridge Wells")... we were not much different than traditional Mennonites except that we held that our church was the only one where Christ was in the midst during the Lord's Supper... a true heresy. Our pride extended into every area of life including dress, tv watching, sabbath keeping, you name it. But I submit to you that we were farther from Christ than those who wear bathing suits, watch tv and don't observe any sabbath because we did not trust in Christ alone for our righteousness but instead were seeking after a righteousness all our own. We were mostly white washed tombs, in other words.

So while I agree that modesty ought to characterize us, it should flow out of our resting in the finished work of Christ. We'll probably all say that we agree on that point, but it is very subtle and easily works its way into our hearts and out or fingertips when we fix our gaze on externals and are glad that we are better than the pagans.

Those of you who know me will testify that my quality of godliness is not something to write books about, but this I know: Christ died for me and my family. This is the starting point from which obedience must flow. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Mark,

I understand what you are saying, but I don't think anyone is (at least I hope not) saying these things out of pride. In other words, Pastors Bayly don't advertise CGS or CTW as "Reformed, Evangelical, and oh, BTW, we're against co-ed swimming to boot!"

When I think of the elders and men at CGS (and I'm mentioning them, because that was the first place I was ever INFORMED about modesty, and I didn't even start going to that church until I was 25, having been a Christian for most of my life), I think of how jolting it would be to sit under the teaching of biblical manhood and womanhood, modesty, and purity, and then turn around and have a party with them in a bathing suit. It's not that the leaders and congregants are holding up their level of modesty right along with their salvation, but they aren't dummies either. They don't try to sugar coat the weight of the sins of lust, pornography, and adultery that are so rampant in our culture, and even in our churches. In fact, the last few disciplines that I'm aware of (that unfortunately ended in excommunication) were because of sexual sin. So, if there is a practical way to guard against these temptations which lead to sin, then they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

Also, the Apostle Paul filled his writings with do's and don'ts regarding the Christian life and conduct. I think it was an "understood" that he was speaking in such a way that said, "Because of your faith in Christ, act this way..." I believe that the men and churches that you are addressing are doing the same.

>We'll probably all say that we agree on that point, but it is very subtle and easily works its way into our hearts and out or fingertips when we fix our gaze on externals and are glad that we are better than the pagans.

Amen, brother. Very well put. Thank you.

>I believe that the men and churches that you are addressing are doing the same.

Dear Rebecca (and others),

Maybe. Maybe not. We all fall in many ways. This discussion has not sat easily on my own conscience as a father, husband, and pastor. Thank you, brothers, for your careful poking and prodding.

Love,

Dear Friends,

Like Tim, this discussion has caused me some unease. Ten years ago I would have been readier to agree with opponents of mixed bathing and less-than-voluminous bathing suits. Now I'm not so sure.

I'm convinced modesty is generally more a function of carriage and attitude than dress. Though understandable, our tendency to focus on dress is regrettable. It strikes me that we're in danger of looking askance at Moses here when he describes Rachel as fair of form and face. What? "Form?" Surely Scripture wouldn't comment favorably on a woman's figure, would it?

In Christ,

David Bayly

David Bayly said, "I'm convinced modesty is generally more a function of carriage and attitude than dress."

I guess I would agree, if we are talking more or less rather than either/or. I've seen generously covered women who were the least modest beings in the place - rather more inclined to violation of Paul's injunctions against finery and expensive accessories than bare bellies.

On the other hand, in the current cultural climate, I sometimes think a little extra cover is no bad thing.

One thing I have noticed about myself - when I wear a headcovering in worship, I am very much less likely to cast my eyes around to see who is wearing what and who is sitting with whom, etc. It seems to naturally engender a modest demeanor, and probably would even if I was wearing jeans.

I think the same probably goes for clothing in general - someone who is generally modest will tend to act less modestly when dressing less modestly. I know I gave away a top that turned out to be cut a bit too low for my comfort after wearing it just once - I didn't like the way it made me feel.

Kamilla

Also, an aside about cheerleading. At my high school, the cheerleaders wore ankle-length skirts and sweaters. (The gym was rather cold, anyway.) The focus of the half-time routine was an evangelistic cheer with the girls in the formation of a cross. What a contrast. I graduated in 1992, by the way, not 1952.

someone who is generally modest will tend to act less modestly when dressing less modestly.

Wow, this thread has reminded me of my youth.

My principal used to say that when you come to school dressed to play, you will play. When you come dressed to work, you will work. Which was one of the reasons for the dress code - a button-down dress shirt, slacks, tie, belt and dress shoes. More formal than most offices today.

First paragraph was meant to be in italics. I didn't realize that tag doesn't work. Anyway, no intent to "steal" Kamilla's work.

Hey Scott, Where did you go to school?

Grace Baptist Academy, Angola, IN.

Not to open up the whole swimsuit debate again, but I did want to point out that there are modest swimsuits for women out there. My favorite are available through wholesomewear.com

You guys are all screwed in the head. If it wasn't for naked or half naked women, what the heck would all the men in the world think about instead?

In short... Get over it and worry about yourself!!!

Dave,

Did you get here by typing "naked cheerleaders" in Google? Glad to disappoint you. My daughters won't be on your menu either.

When you realize that there's more to life than sex, come back to this blog ... and learn.

-Clint

Huh. It's always a little jarring when the far right and the left converge. I also despise cheerleading as it is currently practiced but for different reasons. I object to it more as a demeaning display of sex-based subservience (and I mean "sex" both in the sense of the "female" sex and in the sense of sexiness or sexuality).

I don't know if I would outright forbid a teenaged or adult child from participating, but I would hope she had sufficiently internalized the issues to make her own wise decisions, or else learn from her mistakes. I would voice my disapproval and I would probably refuse to pay for it. Interesting issue!

>>sufficiently internalized the issues to make her own wise decisions

Dear Maggie,

This is the sort of statement the whole world makes knowing nothing of what they say. One thing is certain, though: a child raised to "sufficiently internalize the issues to make her own wise decisions" will never ever make her own wise decisions. She'll simply go with the flow of her culture not knowing how to do anything else.

It's only children who have been raised by fathers and mothers who command obedience to God who have any ability to stand against the world and its lusts. And your own reasons for not wanting this for your daughter demonstrate the complete cultural bondage you, yourself are in.

When a mother is more concerned about her daughter entering into an unequal power relationship than putting her body on display to lechers, that mother has been blinded to truth by her pashion for fitting in to this evil generation.

May I suggest you find an orthodox Biblical church and sit under the Word of God each Sunday? Repent of your bondage to this world, dear woman, and believe on Jesus Christ so you may be released to live a life of holiness and freedom.

From love, Jesus Christ came to save sinners like us.

Love,

"What really kills me is when you see a high school or even junior high car wash in town."

I'm not sure I understand. Whats the problem with high school car washes?

In Jr. or Sr. High car washes, the girls (often only 12 or 13) wear bikinis. They seem to be advertising on the street corners using their bodies, like other "professionals"

-Clint

wow. never seen that at car washes before. that must be how they dress up north. never seen that before.

Living all of my life in the Midwest, Bobby, I've seen what Clint described the young teen girls "advertising" or participating in car washes, but I sure wouldn't say it's universal. I've also seen the young gals in t-shirts and cutoffs, too.

--Sue

This is a micro-mini version of what Fr. Bill experienced in his first church and is probably not worth much more than a chuckle if that.

When I met my then future husband (Alex) he was 29 and I was 31. Neither of dressed in a way that would make us stand out in a crowd.

My apartment complex had a pool that was hardly ever used, so Alex came over to swim often. Him - swim trunks; me - standard Lands End tank suit. We invited one of his grad school friends and his wife over to swim. Both of us turned redder than Jonathan apples when we saw Peter in a Speedo and his wife in a Brazilian type bikini (she was originally from Brazil). For the times (mid-80's) this was probably acceptable swimwear, but we'd just never been up close and personal with folks who couldn't make a hand towel with both of their swimsuits sewn together.

Sue I live in South Carolina & our weather allows for more car washes than you can have up in Ohio or Indiana(they play football in Indiana?). While time to time I might see a girl in a revealing outfit most of the time its just t-shirts & shorts.

But I can't imagine giving up football for soccer because of the cheerleaders. Soccer? I might as well become a European socialist. I'll stick to American sports!

Hey Bobby,

I live in Ohio, but I bleed cardinal and white. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin and I am a rabid Badger football and basketball fan.

I'd never give up Badger football or basketball just because there are some good looking male cheerleaders. They look too young to even be shaving sometimes. I'd rather have my husband with a little more meat on his bones and a nice thick beard.

Soccer -- I'll say what Mama taught me -- if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Who said anything bad about soccer. Its fine for the rest of the world.But if I start following soccer I might as well become a European & wear a beret (with a polyester Manchester United shirtto boot)

I would like to add another perspective about cheerleaders. I was a hockey cheerleader for two years in high school. Minnesota is cold (as are ice rinks) thus our apparel was "modest" -- thick leggings, skirts, turtlenecks, and sweaters. What was worse than having men eyeball me from head to toe if I had been, let's say, a basketball cheerleader who wore something more closely resembling a swimsuit, is what I witnessed the players say and do. We rode on the same bus as the hockey players to and from every game/tournament and it was there that I learned every curse word in existence, the most crude racist and/or sexual jokes, and experienced borderline sexual harassment. The problem wasn't the men in the stands, but the men on the team! "Locker room talk" does not always end when the players leave the locker room. It wouldn't matter if I was a Christian now or not (I wasn't then); I would be very hesitant to let my daughter become a cheerleader!

In Jr. or Sr. High car washes, the girls (often only 12 or 13) wear bikinis. They seem to be advertising on the street corners using their bodies, like other "professionals"

In 1972 I bought a bikini that my parents knew nothing about. Imagine my father's horror when he came to our youth group car wash (in the church parking lot)and was greeted by me in all my non-apparel. Imagine my horror. My father drove home and got me some clothes. I can't imagine why the youth group leader had not sent me home.

Now when I drive by the corners where bikini clad girls are advertising car washes, I always want to lean out the window and say, put some clothes on honey. What are their parents thinking? But then again, maybe their parents don't know.

Not to put too much pop-psychology into this, but the parents will be as permissive toward their kids as they are to themselves. If a mother believes that her worth or measure of success lies in how many male heads she can cause to turn, she will want the same for her daughter (without ever admitting that that is so). I see this same attitude when I see coverage on little girls in beauty pageants. People say, "Why do the parents let these kids do this?" Well....look at the parents.

It is NOT beyond me in any way how a Christian father/mother could allow their child to participate in cheerleading. I do agree that some teams go very far off the deep end, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders for example. I sincerely and respectfully disagree with the poster for several reasons...
-There are two main forms of cheer, competitive, and just sideline/backside shaking/next gen Vegas show girls. There is in my honest opinion nothing wrong whatsoever with COMPETITIVE cheerleading as it is all about the exhibition of stunting, tumbling, flexibility, synchronization and dance. It is not intended to appease the male eye nor turn heads from sensuality. It is for the sole purpose of exhibition of athletic talent and teamwork.
-My second, albeit less important, point is that even the sluttiest, least covering outfits for cheer (real cheer, not Dallas Cowboys stuff) is still by far more covering than a typical bathing suit of a girl who's father is holier than the pope.

You may ask my reasons for knowing anything on the subject...Well for the last four years I have been involved with competitive cheer gaining three national championships and numerous other successes at local level competitions.

You people are just as bad as the islamic fundamentalists. No wonder people around the nation laugh at you...

To a lecher, modesty is incomprehensible. But sometimes, God is merciful and blesses him with daughters who, in rare cases today, suddenly awaken him.

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