Dear Prudes about Nudes:

The style of life in 1968 is pretty well epitomized by the ubiquitous mini-skirt on the maxi-mum. Americans today seem obsessed by the desire to view or reveal as many curved inches of skin as the occasion will allow. In any major city, skin-flicks formerly shown clandestinely at stag parties now are big box office at “art” theaters. Lurid still shots lure customers in to see such epics as The Nudies Meet the Nasties. In countless cabarets, bottomless ecdysiasts now draw the leering lechers formerly titillated by the artistry of strictly topless performers.

In such a culture it is hardly surprising that churchmen who get their inspiration from observing humanity’s endeavors to be truly human should produce a film like Another Pilgrim, a forty-minute experimental feature recently screened at New York’s Judson Memorial Church. Its climax comes when a minister totally disrobes at the close of a service. The Rev. Al Carmines, who produced the film for the World Council of Churches, explained that the disrobing had a symbolic significance. Standing nude before his congregation, the minister in the film, it seems, dramatically demonstrates the need for absolute honesty.

Now I’m not exactly against honesty, and I enthusiastically endorse the human body—especially the female—as God’s greatest work of art. But I must protest the unrestrained exploitation of nudity for any cause—moral or lascivious. When will people learn to leave a good thing alone? To glut the market with nudity is to diminish its mystery and lessen our appreciation of it. Any woman realizes that sexual attraction depends more on charming concealment than blatant exposure. And many men know that after you’ve seen so many, they all look alike. ...

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