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Church of Nudism--possible?

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  • Church of Nudism--possible?

    In Indiana, both the state and IRS have granted church status and tax-exempt status to the First Church of Cannabis as written in USA Today. If the bar is set this far low, why not go for the Church of Nudism?

    Bob S.

  • #2
    There have been various religious groups throughout history that have had nudity as part of their worship. Wiccans still do, and certain Hindu ascetics are nude. Nudism/naturism is compatible with many religions. It is the belief that nudity is not "bad" or "evil" but that social nudity is a valid/good part of existence. How does that simple belief turn into a church?

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    • #3
      The landed club I attend - Cedar Waters Village - has a chapel on its grounds, which my wife and I attend during the summer months.

      But it's GOD we worship in those services, and not nudism, although you may attend nude if you like.

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      • #4
        The riddle we face is that the people with fervor are religious about fabric. Naturists are like fabric atheists. Being non-religious about clothing, we instead need protection from the Church of Textiles.

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        • #5
          Why not have a Church of Nudism? The Supreme Court ruled a few days ago that clothing choices based on religion are protected under civil rights legislation.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/02/us...case.html?_r=0

          Muslim Woman Denied Job Over Head Scarf Wins in Supreme Court
          By ADAM LIPTAKJUNE 1, 2015

          WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday revived an employment discrimination lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch, which had refused to hire a Muslim woman because she wore a head scarf. The company said the scarf clashed with its dress code, which called for a “classic East Coast collegiate style.”

          “This is really easy,” Justice Antonin Scalia said in announcing the decision from the bench.

          The company, he said, at least suspected that the applicant, Samantha Elauf, wore the head scarf for religious reasons. The company’s decision not to hire her, Justice Scalia said, was motivated by a desire to avoid accommodating her religious practice. That was enough, he concluded, to allow her to sue under a federal employment discrimination law.

          The vote was 8 to 1, with Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting.

          ...


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          • #6
            Tying into mosquito bait's argument, A&F would have to hire any nudist that walked into the store as a member of the church of nudism simply because all of their advertising contains nothing but nude models selling their clothes...it would be quite hypocritical for them to not high a nudist now that this case has been settled.

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            • #7
              I have read some literature about Christian nudism and the subject of Christian nudists in general. I also understand that there is a newsletter entitled "The Fig Leaf" which is solely centered on Christian nudism/naturism. Does this newsletter still exist? I also saw a video about two or so years ago about a church somewhere in the Midwest,possibly in Kentucky, in which most or all of the congregation members were nudists. I can't remember the name of the church unfortunately. Does anyone have any knowledge of this?

              Ken Palmer

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              • #8
                I had seen the "Church of Cannabis". When in a culture you form a "church" to get a license to do X, and get "married" to get benefit Y, and Joe Blow sends off $25 to a website in Iowa to be designated "Reverend Blow" so he can administer the church and perform the wedding - then though God is alive human perception of truth is dead.

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                • #9
                  The state might go with a church of nudism. But that ain't no church, mosque, synagogue, temple, shrine .... Worshipping nude is not worshipping nudity; assembling nude is not worship. Better to get an online degree in Applied Naturism and apply for a nudity permit at city hall.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ken Palmer View Post
                    I have read some literature about Christian nudism and the subject of Christian nudists in general. I also understand that there is a newsletter entitled "The Fig Leaf" which is solely centered on Christian nudism/naturism. Does this newsletter still exist?
                    The website is still active. Whether the newsletter is still around, I'm not sure. I used to be on its list but can't recall seeing it in recent months.


                    I also saw a video about two or so years ago about a church somewhere in the Midwest,possibly in Kentucky, in which most or all of the congregation members were nudists. I can't remember the name of the church unfortunately. Does anyone have any knowledge of this?
                    It COULD be referring to a church on the grounds of a nudist park. It is not uncommon for nudists to gather for Christian worship, or nearly any other type of religious celebration. There were a string of articles about a chapel on the grounds of White Tail Park, in Ivor, Virginia; some years ago, The club we belong to - Cedar Waters Village - also has a chapel on its grounds where services are held during the season.

                    BUT - it should be noted - these are not churches of nudism. They are sites where the members go to worship - and they are not worshiping nudism.

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                    • #11
                      I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advise or commentary

                      Anyone can establish a church or religion. Government has no say in that. However, when it comes to obtaining an IRS tax exemption status there are many questions to answer and a fee to be paid. If you establish "clergy" with an expectation those people will perform weddings, those people have to be registered in many states in accordance with state laws. This is not government intrusion but a state's right to know who is performing weddings since this is a civil contract to cohabitate and obtain various privileges from state and federal taxation. And making things complex, many states have varying statutes on who much register and who doesn't. As an example, New York state doesn't have a specific requirement for its resident clergy, but New York City has its own requirement for clergy to register due to its sheer population density. Ohio requires all resident clergy to register once with a fee of $25 to be on their books as being allowed to perform a legal wedding. And to clarify... I speak of a full-on ability to perform a wedding and sign a marriage certificate, not a religious commitment between two people. Those are different.

                      There have been nudist clubs that have attempted to use status as a church to get tax exemptions for property that have failed.

                      You can form a religion without also having a brick and mortar building. Many churches worship outdoors or use another churches building by arrangement. In my area the Spiritualist Church used the building of the Unitarian Universalist church.

                      Having nudity as a tenet of your beliefs could run afoul of some laws especially in public places. Many religions have attempted to get exceptions to state and federal laws for specific portions of their beliefs but ran into "a state's compelling interest." An example of this would be a Native American tribe that attempted to get an Ok to use peyote in their ceremonies for a vision quest and be able to do this openly. Government shot that down due to the dangers associated with that drug as a state's compelling interest in the health and well-being of people in general.

                      That aside, the SCOTUS ruling on the Muslim clothing was spot on.

                      Courts have ruled that a person need only hold a specific belief or religious practice in special regard in order for it to have accommodations. In my state para-mutual workers at a race track refused to work Christmas and were fired. They sued to get their jobs back on religious discrimination since they believed they could not work on Christmas or be forced to work on a high religious holiday. The state brought in a Roman Catholic priest to testify that the RC church allowed people to work on Christmas. They lost their case. Then on appeal to the SJC of the state, the SJC overturned the decision ruling the local court erred with the priest's testimony because that improperly engaged the state in determining what is and what is not a valid religious practice and it violated the Separation Clause.

                      So a religion steeped in nudity may not have been legally tested and maybe it has been. I know the Jains tend to prefer a state of undress but I have yet to run into one on the street. Attempting to gain an Ok for nudity in public on religious grounds would be a legal quagmire that might not get far.

                      As always YMMV.

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                      • #12
                        This is an interesting concept.

                        Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act states, the following.

                        Sec.8.
                        (a) Except as provided in subsection(b), a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
                        (b) A governmental entity may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.


                        If a person claimed to have a religious need to go nude, the state would have to demonstrate a compelling reason to regulate the person's nudity and would have to find the least restrictive means of doing so.

                        Many states have similar laws.

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                        • #13
                          A possible parallel is Pastafarianism. Followers worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster and wear pasta strainers on their heads. Several have fought for the right to wear pasta strainers for their drivers' license photos, and some have actually won their cases.


                          https://time.com/4114369/pastafarian...license-photo/

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                          • #14
                            A religion must have a belief system with some kind of rule either written or traditional and some belief in a supreme being or beings. Less than that they would likely be considered a cult. There could be a branch of an existing religion or denomination that has the belief that clothing is deemed unnecessary, but most religions add clothing when at worship and many require more clothing than what is acceptable to the general public. In the 50's we were not allowed to wear shorts to our Catholic school picnic.

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                            • #15
                              I don't think it is a mandate that a religion has to be theistic. Buddhism is mostly non theistic and their gods are not necessarily superior to humans. As for what to wear, most religious services require more modest clothing than normal, but there are places where one can come as they are. However, this isn't necessarily a religious code, just a rule that applies to certain religious ceremonies or gatherings. There are nudists parks have nude religious worships and weddings. There are some normal church services that allow street clothes for its worshipers. I know at my temple, which has a small congregation, for the Sabbath services, no one dresses too fancy. No ties for men, usually either button up shirts or buttoned collars. Women just wear simple dresses or nice pants and shirts. For the Hannukah party or Passover Seder, street clothes are fine.

                              Bob S.

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