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Nudism fosters healthier individuals, society
By: David Manning - Commentary

Editions of the North County Times Serving San Diego and Riverside
Counties Tuesday, April 5, 2005 Contact Us Archive
Last modified Monday, April 4, 2005 9:31 PM PDT

I was born nude. Nothing unusual here. In 1962, I was 8 years old, my parents took on the management of a nudist club in Colton. For the next 12 years this was my home. My family were members of other clubs before that so I have been a nudist all of my life.

In the late '70s, I spent an afternoon being interviewed by Dennis Craig Smith, who along with William Sparks wrote, "The Naked Child: Growing Up Without Shame/Social Nudity/Its Effect on Children," a statistical study of adults who were brought up in a nudist environment.

This study, along with others, concludes that the idea of exposure to the naked human body during one's formative years is somehow detrimental to one's adult mental state is not only wrong, but that the opposite is true. These studies also point out that there is less drug abuse, fewer unwanted pregnancies and lower rates of sexually deviant behavior exhibited than that of the general population. Additionally, people who grew up in nudist environments are better educated, more tolerant of others and better adjusted to life in general.

With this information at hand, I am completely astounded that, in 2005, there are those whose ignorance of fact allows them to attack a private
gathering of nudists under the guise of "protecting the children." (I have to assume we are talking about protecting them from sexual abuse, as opposed to getting caught in the crossfire of spontaneous gang violence).

The primary Bible thumper behind this attack, James Hartline, who brought this "potentially harmful" activity to light (and whose rather complicated background can be examined via a quick online search), has obviously never bothered to educate himself by reading these studies or the Bible he's waving in everybody's face.

Here is one man quoting from Genesis, "They were nude but they were not ashamed." Furthermore, because God created it, Pope John Paul II said, "The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve its splendor and its beauty."

As far as protecting the children from a group, it would appear that the Catholic Church should be at the top of Escondido Councilwoman Mare Waldron's list, as well as every other group, both private and public, in which children are present. Groups are not the problem, pedophiles are the problem. These people do not do their damage in public. I can guarantee that no priest has ever molested a child in front of the congregation.

Attacking any group is not the answer, growing healthier adults is. To that end, by all available data, it would appear that bringing the next few
generations of children up in an open nudist environment (not necessarily a nudist club, but a healthy "see, I'm OK, you're OK, nothing mysterious here" atmosphere) is the best available option our society has.

By the way, if gang members were naked, it would be damn near impossible to carry a concealed weapon. (And if they did conceal them, they'd be where they belong!)

David Manning lives in Encinitas.

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