Tim Bayly Thinks Clothing is a Moral Choice?

Tim Bayly Thinks Clothing is a Moral Choice? June 2, 2018
Had to restrain myself from posting another photo of scantily clad macho men polishing up penile-appearing rockets. Yes, another Bayly complaining about men not looking macho enough.

Found this only because another Good Christian Patriarch ™ Doug Wilson was slinging mud at a upcoming conference for gay Christians.   Tim Bayly’s pals of Warhorn Media and Out of Our Minds has been verklempting in four part harmony over the the conference and the very idea that someone Christian might identify as gay. But Tim himsel is busy yet again with the idea of morality, sexual identity and sin being wrapped up and openly displayed in what we wear, how we coif our hair and other outward signs.

Knitter please! If only it was that simple.

Tim says he is responding to a “shoutfest” of the day before with no links to where it was that his ideas on gayness and clothing received pushback.

Here’s what he said:

Oh my, my, that’s some interesting pearl-clutching going on over someone elses clothing choices and appearance, which appears, yet again, to be exactly none of Tim Bayly’s business. It is only inside of Christian Evangelical near-cults, like Quiverfull, where the type of socks you wear or the looseness of your skirt determines where you might go in eternity. Outside of the fearful cult walls most of us know that what anyone else wears that does not violation local laws is really their own business.

What Tim and others engaged in the hectoring over proper dress fail to realize is that what is appropriate for you might not be for me. Example: I live in a tropical clime, you will never see me wearing more clothing than flip-flops, a swimsuit with a beach dress over it. That’s it. It’s routinely in the 90s daily and I am in and out of the swimming pool and ocean three or four times daily. This is how people dress here Even at church we have people that show up with less than that on, right down to swimsuits. One of the ladies involved with worship team wears a bikini top and cut offs.  It’s okay, no one is sinning, everyone is simply trying to stay cool in a hot climate. It’s our business.

I missed the part in the New Testament where Jesus was all catty about footwear and clothing. All of those rules about clothing in the Bible are more about not being prideful and showing off in your clothing during church! Which is likely not a good idea in the first place because there will always be someone with less money that will envy all those crazy hair styles, flashy clothing and sparkling baubles involved with being overdressed. Inciting jealousy in others is not so great.

Sometimes humor, sarcasm and ‘derision’ holds a mirror up to ridiculous notions, showing the world that they really are no different than that naked monarch in the old story ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ It can be a good thing. At least it makes you consider how ridiculous something might be.

I suspect that the reason that some Quiverfull Evangelicals are so obsessed with controlling what others wear has more to do with their own mental hangups over bodies than any amount of theology.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Michael Neville

    Demanding that someone wear particular clothes and specific styles of clothes has much less to do with “moral character” and much more to do with controlling other people.

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    Oh dear. A major plot point in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is that the *appearance* of goodness does not equal *moral* goodness.

    And since a shaved head has such unfortunate implications for white people I keep my hair in a buzz cut.

    And I exclusively wear trousers. And even shorts!

    I’m sure Tim would be scandalized.

    Should we send him some clutching pearls and a fainting couch?

  • heleninedinburgh

    No joke, I thought ‘clothing’ in your title referred to clothing as opposed to nakedness, and Tim announcing that it was sinful to walk around in the nip. Too much James Dobson on my part.

  • AFo

    I have honestly never seen a grown man freak out about other people’s hair and clothing with the frequency of Tim Bayly. Maybe he’s jealous that he can’t pull off real fashion. Maybe he’s panicking because people are waking up and realizing the rules he and his ilk have pushed for so long (that also conveniently put people like them in charge) are idiotic. Maybe he needs to take a long hard look at himself and decide if this is how he wants to spend the rest of his life.

  • Saraquill

    The style of hair part is a mark of how Christian a guy is? What is Bayly smoking?

  • Mel

    My two-cents is that Tim Bayly hates himself deeply for his attraction to other men. A year (or so) ago NLQ covered a weird story of Bayly’s about him spending a lot of time working on “converting” a gay man – even to the point of sending elders of the church to talk with this guy when he returned to the big city to continue his opera career. It was super-weird .

    Bayly is all sorts of messed up – and takes comfort in condemning anyone else who seems to be more comfortable in their sexual identity than he is.

  • heleninedinburgh

    ‘I can turn myself straight by saying repeatedly that being gay is disgusting,’ part 4,298,680,958,484. No, sorry, doesn’t work like that.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I think we’ve all pretty much come to that consensus. He’s clearly got issues with sexuality.

  • SAO

    The CPM has confused tokens of belonging with actually taking the message of Jesus seriously. To actually spend your time and money doing good is a heck of a lot harder than criticizing others’ clothing choices.

  • Martin Penwald

    Had to restrain myself from posting another photo of scantily clad macho men polishing up penile-appearing rockets.

    Aawww… Too bad.

  • Sol III

    “I suspect that the reason that some Quiverfull Evangelicals are so obsessed with controlling what others wear has more to do with their own mental hangups over bodies than any amount of theology.”

    Of course it’s women’s clothing their obsessed with….the christian version of the burqa

  • Anri

    No, Mr. Bayly, it’s not “hands-off”. You may draw whatever conclusions about other people due to their attire that you desire.

    I mean, you understand that you may not foist these superficial judgments off onto other people, or insist that they share them, and you will be spectacularly wrong with great frequency, and functioning adults will see your attitude as aggressively shallow and puerile…

    …but you can think whatever you like, and spout it publicly.
    Just so you understand that your opinions aren’t “hands-off” either.

  • lady_black

    I would ask people who think like Tim Bayly “For what reason do we wear clothing?” For most people, I would bet it’s not about making a statement. Otherwise, we’d all waddle around in those impossibly-tight-around-the-legs gowns worn by some women on the red carpet. Never mind that we can’t walk in anything resembling a normal gait.
    If you’re like most people, when you get up in the morning, and decide what to put on, you’re thinking about 1) the kind of day you have planned, for example, if you’re going to work, you don’t dress in gardening attire. 2) The weather conditions that day. 3) Whether what you want to wear fits and is clean.
    I dress to protect my skin from the elements, and to the extent possible, to be comfortable doing what I need to do. If I went to church (which I don’t) I would still be keeping the same purposes in mind, and to hell with what anyone else thinks it says about me. If Tim has a problem with cleavage, or a bra strap showing, he need not look.

  • lady_black

    It must drive them absolutely bonkers that many clothing items exist that are gender-neutral, such as jeans and T-shirts.

  • lady_black

    Jesusweed. The most toxic of all.

  • lady_black

    Every summer, my sister gets a Mohawk haircut. She said other women have come up to her, expressing interest and asking what the style is called. It works for her.

  • bekabot

    What does it say about us that we’ve lost this discernment. Or worse, hold it up to derision?

    What does it say about Bayly that he doesn’t wear the full rig-out of a sacrificial priest, complete with the breastplate and the pomegranates and the bells? It says he doesn’t dress that way because he knows he’d look ridiculous if he did, and what’s more, he knows he’d catch hell if he tried it. It says he’s a 20th/21st-century man, whatever his protestations to the contrary, and that he knows enough to dress like one. It says that he knows he doesn’t live in the Bronze Age and is willing to dress accordingly. It says he’s got brains or “discernment” enough to know what millenium he’s living in, and that he’s not willing to violate the conventions of his own time, no matter what Moses may have had to say on the subject.

    And what does it say about him that he indulges in Jeremiads like this one? It says that though he claims the right to dress appropriately for his own time and place he denies other people the same privilege. Instead, they’re supposed to dress in such a way as to squeeze themselves into some kind of fantasy he has. (I’ve noticed for a long time that while men on the fringes of the Fundagelical world usually look unexceptionable or even sharp, women are bundled into prarie jumpers and gunnysax. The men, IOW, can pass more or less as ordinary folk, but the women can’t, and aren’t expected to. The women draw the gaze but the men can pass unnoticed. The women can be picked visually out of a crowd, but the men can’t be.)

    It means that Bayly claims the right to live in his own time, with all that implies: he expects to have the access to the technology and modes of transportation and improved medical care and forms of entertainment befitting a 20th/21st-century man, he’s not willing to allow all of the people around him, especially not all of the women around him, access to the same benefits. They are to dress in a way which makes them easy to spot but hard to see and which suits the conventions of a vanished planet. He imposes a burden he’s not willing to share. He doesn’t feel called upon to dress that way — but they should.

    It says that sometimes derision fits like a glove.

  • Rachel

    I remember our pastor talking about how much my sister and I “loved the Lord” at the point in my life where I wasn’t reading the Bible anymore and I certainly wasn’t praying. I think he 100% based his praise on the fact that we looked the part in church. We kept our hair long and kept our bodies covered up to a ridiculous extent. Very rarely do clothes anything accurate about what’s going on inside, because it’s so easy to just dress the part to slide under the radar.

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    The reason I wear clothing? So I’m not naked.

    I’d burn in summer and freeze in winter, so clothing is not optional.

  • Saraquill

    I don’t know, I’m sure there are hippy churches who would love something like that.

  • persephone

    Year ago, when I studied Japanese, I used to watch a block of programming on Sunday evenings that was from Japan. It was provided by a channel in Hawaii, which beamed it over to us in NorCal. I loved the commercials, because it would show people with briefcases going into banks and businesses, but they all wore sandals, shorts, and Hawaiian shirts. Dress for the region. Dress for your job.

    ETA: I can still hear the voiceover for Sumitomo Ginko.

  • heleninedinburgh

    The reason I wear clothing is that I need a pocket to keep my keys in. If you’re naked you can always put them up your – I mean in your cheek pouch; but that’s very uncomfortable.
    … So I’ve heard.

  • heleninedinburgh

    Atheists always part their hair on the left. It’s how you can tell.

  • lady_black

    Well, what do you know? That’s the exact same reason I wear clothes.

  • SAO

    Women get most of the costs of symbols of belonging to the CPM tribe. They are stuck with ”witnessing by attire”, they are the one risking their health with too many, too closely spaced pregnancies,with submission, with make headship, etc, etc, etc.

    How many men have ‘proven’ their godliness by putting ridiculous restrictions on their daughters?

  • Jen (*.*)

    It’s actually the theology that creates the mental hangups. Once you’re sucked into this rabbit hole it becomes an obsession.

  • smrnda

    “Previous generations of Christians” – like who? Christians in the time of Constantine didn’t dress like 17th century English Puritans. Did Christian farmers dress like Christian aristocrats?

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    Shockingly, I am yet another person who wears clothing because it’s usually more comfortable and acceptable than being naked. Not only would my neighbors wonder if I went out to water my flowers in my birthday suit, but I would sunburn so fast between April and October that I could be used as a lighthouse beacon thereafter for at least a week. And while most non-Californians would insist that it never gets cold here in the winter, I beg to differ. (Though one of my undergrad classmates routinely went barefoot even in winter, when the ambient highs were in the 50s and the concrete and asphalt were pretty cold. She claimed she was toughening her feet up, but she never said what for.)

    I generally wear capris all year round, unless we have a real cold spell or I have a reason to dress up. (San Francisco Bay Area.) My shirts seldom have long sleeves. But by all the deities, I have a coordination hangup The shirt and capris or pants have to coordinate based on the definitions in my brain. The other day I spent at least three minutes staring at a printed shirt and and pair of greenish-gray capris, trying to decide if the grays in the shirt clashed with the capris. Finally I decided that they were both clean, the rest of my laundry wasn’t, and I couldn’t worry about it. I can’t imagine anyone else thought about it.

    I’m sure I’d be a reprobate in Bayly’s eyes anyhow. I’ve worn my hair quite short since my 20s (I’m 58) because it’s still too damned oily not to wash very frequently, and I have no intention of doing anything other than brush and go. My bottoms generally have pockets for an asthma inhaler and grocery lists. I carry a bunch of keys attached to a waistband, have since some trauma during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Purses, credit cards, and even driver’s licenses are replaceable, but you’d damned well better have your car keys on you after a quake and you can’t safely get back into whatever building you were in. I stuff my feet in clunky but very supportive sandals. I’m sure, despite the fact that Husband and I will celebrate 38 years of marriage next month, Bayly would write me off as a (gasp!) evil lesbian minion of Satan, because looks. (Not that there’s anything wrong or evil about being lesbian, and I have Satanic Temple friends.)

  • Oh, shit, I did not know that. Fun fact: I part my hair on the left, because my father once told me that in the late 60ies German students would use the term “rechtsgescheitelt” (someone who parts his or her hair on the right side) to describe a closet nazi.

  • I usually wear clothes that cover quite a lot, because I have very light skin and get burnt easily. People sometimes assumed I adhered to some conservative religious community.

  • heleninedinburgh

    Hope you don’t mind me asking you this (OT), but what do you think of the Satanic Temple? I’ve been considering joining that, but I want to know if there’s anything dodgy/unpleasant about it (as I think there is with the Church of Satan). Would it be ok with/for a (disabled, LGBT, feminist) Socialist? Sorry to ask if you don’t know much about it but I don’t know anyone else with even a tangential connection to it, AFAIK.

  • heleninedinburgh

    ‘Witnessing by attire’ – that’s what they call it? Seriously?

  • SAO

    That’s my term. I’ve heard teens expected to wear modest attire are also expected to explain their reasons when asked by strangers.

  • zizania

    I watched too many movies in my youth where women ended up trying to climb out of an overturned ship or run away from a stalker while wearing stiletto-heeled shoes and tight skirts. If I ever have to run for my life, at least my clothes aren’t going to hamper me. And, as I’m generally either gardening, hiking, or slinging cartons of books around, jeans and T-shirts (sweatshirts in winter) just make more sense. Our local symphony festival is coming up, though, so I may have to dust off some of my nicer, but still sensible, clothes.

  • smrnda

    Does anyone really approach them? People usually only comment on clothes if they are giving what will be perceived of as a compliment. I’d suspect that the frumpy denim jumpers just make the teenagers less likely to be able to fit in and reduces their possible social circle.

  • If these evangelical jerks were really concerned about dressing like Jesus and the disciples, they would keep their beards and hair a bit longish and would wear robes and sandals.

  • AFo

    I wonder if the elders get angry or confused that the girls can’t “witness” since no one cares enough about their attire to ask. I live very close to NYC, and we have a lot of that “ignore anything that’s not my business” ethos, so if we did see any girls and women out and about in the standard fundy uniform, they might get some side-eye, maybe a person whispering “What’s that all about” to a friend, but no direct interaction, because we either don’t care, or have much better things to do with our time than hear about how dressing in hideous clothes is glorifying God.

  • Brian Curtis

    Well, Jesus and his friends often wore long robes and open-toed sandals, so… y’know, that makes THEIR moral character pretty darn obvious.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    and no real underwear

  • heleninedinburgh

    Well, none that’s mentioned in the Gospels, at any rate. Although they were trying to make Jesus look good, and they wouldn’t talk about his knickers or mention that he had a bollock slip while giving a sermon or whatever.

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    Sorry it’s taken me awhile to respond, been busy. The friends I made who were members made me think it might be a pretty good organization. In my area (South SF Bay, California) they have meet-and-greet picnic potlucks periodically. I’ve never been able to get to one, always had a schedule conflict, but another friend who was also interested in them was very impressed. I don’t know anything about the Church of Satan, but I would characterize the Satanic Temple folks as humanist activists, feminists, comfortable with all variations of sexual orientation and gender identity, and probably needing some schooling on ableism like the rest of us. Politics are generally progressive. Check them out.

  • heleninedinburgh

    Thanks for getting back to me! What you say definitely sounds good, and I’ll check them out.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    They disable certain kinds of click functions. I don’t understand the technology behind it, I just know that there are some sites that are almost impossible to get a shot of with the program I am running.

  • The Jack of Sandwich

    If Jesus made a big deal about how everyone should dress, why don’t Christians dress the way Jesus would have?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    No underwear, a robe and sandals? Would work here.