Sunday, February 20, 2011

United Pentecostal Church International: Modesty

Hello all!  This is the fourth post of my mini-series on the doctrine of the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI).  The list of doctrinal positions can be found at  The UPCI's fourth positional paper is on "modesty" (see for the full article).


"Many times what we wear helps to mold their expectations as well as our own. When a woman wears an immodest dress, she begins to think of herself as seductive and acts accordingly. Other people perceive her as provocative and treat her as such, which reinforces her behavior. In short, appearance both reflects and to large degree determines what we are in the eyes of self and others."

Believe it or not, I almost fully agree with this statement.  The only part I would contend is where they mention, "When a woman wears an immodest dress, she begins to think of herself as seductive and acts accordingly".  I think they have the cause and effect mixed up.  A women who thinks of herself as seductive is the one who would wear an immodest dress and reinforce her behavior.  I don't believe that if you forcibly require a shy/timid woman to wear an immodest dress, she will suddenly become seductive.  Much like putting a seductive woman in a modest dress wouldn't make her seductiveness go away.  Sadly, however unfortunate it may be, people judge you based on the way your are dressed, how you present yourself, and how you look.  This is just reality.  I would prefer that the actions people take and values they hold are how we judge people, but we all make the mistake of forming an opinion of someone before they even open their mouth.
"God considered baring the leg and uncovering the thigh to be shameful exposure of nakedness. This gives us a good idea as to what God would regard as the minimum standard of modesty, regardless of culture."
Why would God be ashamed of our nakedness?  God must have self-esteem issues if He doesn't want us to be seen naked and we are made in his image.  Come to think of it, He is a jealous God that only allows a few lucky people to see Him.The basic reason for modesty of dress is to subdue the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.
"The exposed body tends to arouse improper thoughts in both wearer and onlooker. To implement the purpose behind modest dress, the body should basically be covered, except for those parts which we must use openly for normal living. This suggests that clothes should cover the torso and upper limbs. Reasonable guidelines, then, would-be women’s dresses over the knee and sleeves to the elbow. In addition, we should avoid low necklines, sleeveless dresses or shirts, very tight clothes, very thin clothes, and slacks on women because they immodestly reveal the feminine contours of upper leg, thigh, and hip. Likewise, swimming in mixed company is immodest. Since the primary effect of makeup is to highlight sex appeal, we reject makeup as immodest."
Sounds like the writer of this policy must have a fetish for natural looking, innocent women clothed with baggy garments.  Very similar to the fetishes of the leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, after all, Mormons wear "magic" underwear.

In all seriousness, it is very difficult to restrict the human body's desire to have sex.  Do you honestly think that sexually explicit thoughts are diminished significantly because the opposite sex is dressed more modestly?  Also, where is the extensive coverage of the ways in which men should dress more modestly?  Is a woman's lust less significant or less potent?  Although, I guess it makes sense because God is sexist.
"Conduct, gestures, gait, body language, and speech must be modest. If a woman wants to, she can display her body immodestly and act seductively even in the most modest of dresses. We must never use dress to promote immodest conduct, and no degree of external modesty can cover-up an immodest, lustful spirit."
Guess what, still isn't going to make men not have an erection every once in a while!  Sure, there is a culturally placed, arbitrary line of things appropriate for being in public and those things appropriate for the bedroom (with Christian groups such as Quiverfulls, Pentecostals, etc. being notorious for having excessive amounts of children, we all know these groups are not being modest in the bedroom). This being said, what is the problem with looking attractive in public?  What grave danger is anybody in that would justify dressing overly modest as opposed to having on a shirt that outlines your breasts?  I do not hold anything against the people who wish to dress modestly in public (or even privately).  This does not seem unsettling or weird to me at all.  When your cult asserts that the people that are dressing "immodestly" are filthy and unholy, your cult is pathetic.  In fact, I don't understand why it is illegal to be naked in public.  Personally, I don't think I would walk around naked in public, but I wouldn't mind if someone wanted to do that in the slightest.

It is imperative that humans, being animals, have sexual feelings for the opposite sex.  If you have sexual feelings towards the opposite sex, there isn't anything wrong or immoral about that.  When I use the word "imperative" I mean, "important if the goal is reproduction".  There is a reason that sex feels good and there are obvious evolutionary rationalizations for this fact.  Those animals that have more pleasure having sex are more likely to have sex.  Therefore, their genes are more likely to pass on (because they are having more offspring).  Restricting human sexuality is utterly pointless and having distorted views on sexuality is demonstrably destructive (google "Vatican and pederasty").

E-mail me at if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments!  Leave a comment below if you wish!  Have a great start to the week! 

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