Quoting Quiverfull: Immodesty Does What?

Quoting Quiverfull: Immodesty Does What? November 23, 2012

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and aks our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

Kelly Reins from Ladies Against Feminism and The Christian Pundit -“What Christian Modesty Looks Like” October 13,2012

“To wear inadequate clothing is to deny that you are a sinner and that you need a Saviour. Immodesty is actually a denial of the gospel, and it has no place in the life of a believer. Wearing inadequate clothing says that you don’t need God’s covering, that you don’t think you’re sinful, or that you are content in your sin. Calvin said that immodesty was an expression of despising the Master, “who intended clothing to be a sign of shame.”


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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • lucrezaborgia

    So that’s why missionaries force American clothing standards on women in Brazil and other countries?

  • Mayara

    I’d have to say “forced” not force. You are aware Brazilian women wear… Well, regular clothes like other people?
    But yeah, missionaries back in the 1500’s did force our natives to wear European clothing. Just like I’m sure they did in the US.
    We do have some religious nutbags that have their own “evangelical” religions and force women to not cut their hair/shave and to wear long skirts and long sleeves. But they’re not really American clothing standards…

  • Saraquill

    So not covering to the standards of Ms Reins and others means I’m a bad person, and cannot possibly be Christian unless I wear what they consider proper, no matter who I follow the gospels otherwise. Sigh.

    It’s as good a reason as any to take up nudity. If you’re naked, you’re not being suggestive, everything is out in the open for anyone to observe. Hence you are being quite honest with others, saying “Here I am, without pretense.” It also satisfies modesty in the sense of not being ostentatious, and emulates life back in Eden. What’s there in the ideology not to like?

  • What. Ever.

  • If being a Christian means being ashamed of what God made-namely me, my body, my mind, anything about me–then I will gladly be a heathen. Fortunately, the bible says that they will know you are Christians by your love, not by your shame. So I can gladly be a Christian and not ashamed of anything. Shame-based ideologies (of which QF/P Christianity is just one) can go to hell in their own handbasket.

  • Being that I was married to a Brazilian man for several years, I can assure you that Americans, in general, have vastly different clothing standards than Brazilians. Brazil is a tropical country for the most part and shorts and tank tops are the norm for a lot of people. Other clothing styles that are very revealing are not considered to be ‘slutty’, even on small children. That’s changing with the importation of American evangelical culture: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2012/09/23/evangelicals-are-becoming-new-face-brazilian-fashion/

  • Wow. The contrast with Valiente’s “And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye are really free, ye shall be naked in your rites” really couldn’t be clearer, could it?

  • BB/VA

    I thought that nakedness was a sign of innocence – at least it was in Genesis, until Adam and Eve SINNED by eating the fruit of the Tree.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

    Matthew 6:28-33 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    Ok, I know it isn’t about modesty but this is what I always think of when people talk about covering up.

  • SERIOUSLY!!!!! That is a stretch. Even if you are a Christian, saying that because someone needs God is not correlated to saying someone needs to wear a bathing suit that goes to their needs. That’s nuts.

  • testing

  • bold strikethrough

  • Sorry that I posted my comment elsewhere and not here – I needed strikethrough to make the point, and I could not quite figure out how to do it here.

  • The_L

    The part that bothers me is this: Who decides what is inadequate?

    Appropriateness of clothing depends on where you are and what you’re doing. I don’t wear bikinis on the beach to be sexy–I wear them because a one-piece bathing suit with skirt attachment gets wet, clingy, and cold, and stays that way for hours. Bikinis have less fabric, so they dry a lot faster in the sun. A formal gown is wonderful at a fancy party, but the worst possible thing to do gardening work in.

    Growing up, my mother always said that the reason she and I wore dresses to church was as a sign of respect, and that women who wore slacks or jeans weren’t being as respectful. She stuck to this idea long after the under-20 crowd at my church became a sea of denim and skimpy tank tops. Even on family vacations, if we were gone on Sunday, we were going to church there, and we would pack our church duds in with the jeans and things we were wearing elsewhere.

    It just always troubled me that the person deciding what was “inadequate” for each environment always seemed to be somebody else. “You should wear a sarong; nobody wants to see those huge thighs.” “I don’t care how nice those pants are, you’re not wearing them to church.” “But look, sweetheart, Mommy’s wearing a dress just like yours! Isn’t it nice that we match?” Shouldn’t the person wearing the clothing be able to decide what to wear once in a while?

  • The_L

    That right there would be why us tree-hugging dirt-worshipers are going straight to hell. Naked to show freedom, indeed–why, surely it’s better to assume the worst and pretend we’re all having blood orgies or something. After all, assuming the worst of non-Christians, instead of just asking us what we’re doing and why, just has to be what’s meant by “speaking the truth in love,” isn’t it?

    (Just in case: heavy use of sarcasm throughout this comment. Also, I may be just a littlebitter at what my progressively-more-fringe-each week cousin says about Everyone Who Isn’t Him.)

  • Wearing inadequate clothing (and my definition for inadequate will differ from hers) – is often a sign of encountering an unusual situation, or just not thinking. You may be dressed appropriately for staying at home with only your husband who will see you, for example, when he walks in with a co-worker. And sometimes a woman simply do not realize her blouse is a little more see-through in sunlight than it was in her bedroom this morning when she put it on at dawn.

    A brazen statement about not needing God? No, just not thinking about the situation at hand.

  • madame

    Pfffff who has the time to put so much thought into what they wear?
    Shame-based religion is crushing and destructive. I’ll wear my short dresses and opaque leggings because they look good on my round figure. I don’t care what some mrs.Pundit thinks, or what a bunch of extrabiblical teaching leaders (some of which are dead!) have to say about my dress.

  • Persephone

    I think we’ve all learned by now that Calvin was a pretty evil man, and anybody who buys into his upside down brand of Christianity is sick and sad.

  • Persephone

    I don’t do skyclad, but studying art leads me to find all types of bodies, nude and clothed beautiful, and it truly saddens me that someone could find such a beautiful machine ugly and evil.

  • Mark

    I continue to be amazed that women do not understand that men do not think like them. Modesty is not about cramping a woman’s style, it is about helping her Christian brother to remain holy in thought. Women must aknowledge that men are “turned on” differently than they are. A woman’s dress (or lack of) can lead a man to lust. Yes, men are responsible for their own thought life, but Christian women must also help their brothers by not dressing in provocative ways. What is provocative? Google “what turns men on” and you will find out. Ask your husband or brother how men talk in the locker room – you might be surprized. I fear Christian men are too timid to tell their wives and daughters how their clothing might be affecting men. Perhaps they (Christian men) do not want anyone to know they are having unholy thoughts, but many are, and the dress of many of their Christian sisters is not helping them in their quest for holiness.

  • Nea

    1) The Bible says “if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out” not “if something you see offends you, blame someone else for making you look.”

    2) Isn’t the whole Christian patriarchy thing supposed to be about how strong and in control men are? How is anyone supposed to reconcile manly strength, wisdom, and leadership with the idea of men not being able to cope in an adult, self-controlled fashion with… well, fashion?

    3) In Christian patriarchy, why do men need the “help” of women in their quest for holiness when they’re supposed to be the ones who are ever so much more mature, Godly, and in control than women – to the point that their God-ordained role is to command/cover/control those women?

    4) Wow, funny how “helping a Christian brother” in thought still ends up cramping a woman’s style in action.

    5) Not all women out there are Christian, so why should they spare a thought to the dictates of Christians regarding their clothing?

    And a spare comment – I don’t need to ask how men talk in the locker room, because I know how *women* talk in the locker room. Do you really think that bodily appreciation and lust are only male qualities? (Of course, if you’re not not being bound up in concerns of purity of thought and vision at all times, you have the advantage of simply saying “Wow, s/he’s stunning, yum” and going on with your day with an appreciation for beauty while being untroubled by thoughts of troubling the person in question or worrying about unholiness.)

  • suzannecalulu

    Yes, but some men will be turned on regardless of what you wear or don’t wear. I am sure there are guys out there that would be turned on by a woman wearing a head to toe burqa revealing nothing.

    If you good “Christian” men are so strong, invincible and leadership material you shouldn’t be tempted into lust by the sight of a bare thigh. Don’t you have more control than that?

    I remember when I lived in Europe, nudity was considered perfectly natural. They had some of the lowest rape stats at the time and no one sexualized nudity. The modesty problem speaks more to the fact that many evangelicals and others are obsessed with sex. Much more than people out in the world.

  • Ever have the thought that those raging lusty thoughts of yours are completely manufactured because you have been brainwashed into believing that you are *supposed* to lust at the sight of a thigh? Once you lose the modesty brainwashing, the world becomes a much less scary and lusty place.

  • Juniper

    “I continue to be amazed that women do not understand that men do not think like them.”
    Meaning that men have a libido and women don’t, or that men are aroused by visual stimulation and women aren’t. Pbttttht

    “Modesty is not about cramping a woman’s style, it is about helping her Christian brother to remain holy in thought.”
    There’s nothing wrong with thinking about sex. Teaching thought crimes to children is hugely damaging and leads to completely unnecessary guilt. It encourages them to waste effort trying to control something which they can’t control, and which hurts no one, when they could be using that effort to serve the poor, or study, or create things. If someone else disagrees and thinks that I’m causing them to commit thought crimes, I am sympathetic to their pain but will not be complicit in this thinking. And saying that modesty is not about “cramping a woman’s style” is basically the equivalent of “I don’t want to trouble you, but…”. Sure, the idea of female modesty doesn’t exist IN ORDER TO cramp a woman’s style. But it declares that it’s OK to cramp a woman’s style for a man’s sake.

    “Women must aknowledge that men are ‘turned on’ differently than they are.”
    In almost every measurable psychological quality, the difference between the average man and woman is far smaller than the spread within each gender.

    But let’s, for a moment, assume that the stereotype true. Magic Mike doesn’t exist. All men are visually turned on. All women are emotionally turned on.

    Shouldn’t we then begin to heavily regulate men’s behavior in order to protect women? We should start telling them that no man is ever allowed to—oh, I don’t know, snuggle a baby, pet a dog, save a family from a burning building, or act in a decisive manner in the sight of a woman for fear that that might be her sexual trigger. Shouldn’t we demand that men disappear as much as we demand it of women? To protect their sisters in Christ?

    “A woman’s dress (or lack of) can lead a man to lust. Yes, men are responsible for their own thought life, but Christian women must also help their brothers by not dressing in provocative ways. What is provocative? Google ‘what turns men on’ and you will find out.”
    If I Google “what turns men on” and then don’t do anything on that list, I will no longer be able to exist. Even if death would not be a sufficient out. There’s someone into that.

    “ Ask your husband or brother how men talk in the locker room – you might be surprized. I fear Christian men are too timid to tell their wives and daughters how their clothing might be affecting men. Perhaps they (Christian men) do not want anyone to know they are having unholy thoughts, but many are, and the dress of many of their Christian sisters is not helping them in their quest for holiness.”
    Some of what people say about other people is dehumanizing and cruel, and that’s not OK because it sends a signal that behaving toward that person in a way that’s dehumanizing and cruel is OK. If they avoid that, then what they say about me when I’m not around is none of my business and I don’t care to know.

    Even if I did agree with you, even if every woman in the world did decide to stick to a rigorous-by-American-standards standard of modesty, the pursuit would be futile, because modesty is a relative rather than an absolute value. Wherever humans have drawn the boundary between “modest” and “immodest”, that boundary becomes sexualized. So the only way to avoid that sexy boundary is to move the goal posts for what is “modest” again and again and again. The only reason that Christian women in long skirts and collarbone-level necklines are able to declare themselves “modest” is because they are MORE modest than other people in their culture. Move them to 1840s America or 1990s Afghanistan, and they become distinctly immodest. And so we have to keep up this arms race of modesty until we find ourselves imitating Renaissance Italy and keeping women locked in their houses and ordered to keep away from windows for fear that some young man will glimpse them and be tempted. And then we’ll just find people moralizing on how we have to completely get rid of those sexy, sexy windows for the sake of our poor, tempted young men.

  • Bassball_Batman

    I want to agree with all the good points made above (the good points whenever they’re stated most politely and respectfully, that is; although I didn’t see the manner level get too bad at all).
    Men should have control over their own thoughts and not objectify. It is also up to women to not cast stumbling blocks onto the road, inviting their brothers to stumble. The same goes for the genders vice-versa. Modesty is, after all, not about cramping anyone’s style.
    That said, “modest” overall means humble enough to not draw undue attention to the self. So modesty is not limited to mean covering the tempting bits (modest about the body), but can mean to not overdress. Modest is a loaded word.
    And now, on to the clothed and nude cultures:
    Those without the clothes that fit the more rigorous modesty standards, too poor to even afford clothes that cover diddly-squat, I can’t imagine being any exception to the “Do not worry” clauses (even though those are not actually about modesty). Now due to the Christian responsibility to behave becomingly and uphold Godly virtues, we are to take care not to offend a weak brother/sister or look like trampy hypocrites to the world. But I think it equally unhealthy to grow up ashamed of/offended by the things of God’s divine hand (including what an unveiled nude body looks like and the truth about where babies come from). I don’t find either of those inherently unclean, as are not anything else from God’s hand (Romans 14:14). We are to be cautious when dealing with someone that esteems it unclean, it’s unclean to him/her though (again, Romans 14:14). I find the reckless appearance of evil (1 Thess 5:22) and strict utter prudishness two unhealthy extremes.
    My take on what culture a Christian should be is like that of the apostle Paul: to “become all things to all men” in order to save some “by all possible means” (1 Corinth 9:22). I would advise (unless I find differently in God’s Word) you to cover up on the right occasions and get naked visibly on the right occasions. There is a time for one and a time for the other. Though the permissible is not always profitable (1 Corinth 10:23), there is a time for everything that is permissible (Eccles 3). Whatever be our freedom though, we are not to be enslaved by anything (1 Corinth 6:12).