printable version

Men Arrested For Topless Bathing
By Arlo Moehlenpah

During the past few centuries there has been a gradual decline of decency and morality in many areas of life. As an example of the decline in modesty I show the following picture where as recently as 1936, the year I was born, it was illegal for men to wear topless bathing suits in New York.1

The boiling frog legend describes the premise that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used to show the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. People should make themselves aware of gradual change lest they suffer eventual undesirable and perhaps eternal consequences. Let me give some examples of gradualism.

Old family picture albums or google images for "women's bathing suits in the 1930s" reveal that the immodest trend in women's apparel is even worse than that of men. In 1946 when the bikini was introduced in Paris, the French models refused to wear it because skin beneath the belly button was revealed. Nude dancer Micheline Bernardini was the only woman willing to model the scandalous new bikini. The bikini bathing suits of today are even more revealing.2 Some women may not realize that revealing clothing could be perceived as a statement of their character. Probably the next step will be for the women' rights movement to demand the same right as men to swim topless in public. We are almost there. The immodest trend in women's clothing away from the beaches also can be clearly seen by looking at pictures in high school yearbooks. I graduated from a public high school in 1953 and have yearbooks that show the girls with skirts well below the knees even while sitting. All one has to do now is go to a public elementary, high school, or university and see how they dress today. Yes, "You've come a long way, baby"3 but where is the way leading? Men are affected more than women by the lust of the eye. Paul admonished that women should "adorn themselves in modest apparel" (1 Tim 2:9). This still applies today. If you and your family are not dressing modestly it is time to hop out of the hot water of immodesty.

Another gradual trend that I am very concerned about are piercings, tattoos and makeup. Sometimes piercings start when a mother has her little girl's ears pierced for earrings. Then it gradually expands to piercings of the nose and face and in some cases grotesque holes comparable to the heathen in Africa. On July 15, 1959, for an Adolescent Psychology class at the University of Minnesota, I wrote a paper entitled "An Educational Program to Prevent Adolescents from Obtaining Tattoos." At that time tattooing was popular mainly among people under military and penal conditions. One writer in the 1930s found that tattooing was one of the first indications that a child was going astray.4 I don't remember seeing a woman with tattoos until the late 1950s although there were probably some before then. Now all one has to do is to go to a place like Disneyland to see many men and women covered with tattoos. I am disturbed when I see kids come home from birthday parties proudly wearing their fake tattoos. Does this create a desire for them to get tattoos when they get older? "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord" (Lev 19:28) NKJV is a principle that I do not believe has been abolished by the New Testament.

The use of make up is not new. When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel painted her face, tired her head and looked out the window (2 Kings 9:30). Why did she do that? Because of her past, which included whoredoms and witchcraft, some think she was a making an attempt to seduce Jehu, lest he kill her. Jesus referred to Jezebel when He described what He had against the church in Thyratira (Rev 2:18). The custom of using paint to color and to change the looks of the face to make it appear "prettier," originated in harlotry.5 The cosmetics industry has grown to be a multibillion-dollar industry in the U.S. The use of makeup seems to start when mothers let their little girls put on toenail and fingernail polish and later lipstick and mascara. Paul said "Your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost"(1 Cor 6:19). I do not believe anyone is pleased if their building of worship is covered with graffiti, nor do I think we should defile our bodies with tattoos, piercings or makeup. I can understand a person who has a birthmark or a scar from an accident wanting to cover this but to paint it to try to look pretty seems vanity.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement has also gradually slipped up on the USA. When I was in high school homosexuals were practically unknown and were called queer or perverted. Gay was a good word. Gay was the first name of one of the most popular girls in our high school. The Thorndike-Barnhart dictionary copyrighted in 1955, defined gay as "1. happy and full of fun; 2. merry, bright-colored, 3. fond of pleasures, 4. dissipated; immoral. The Webster's New World Dictionary copyrighted in1970 adds wanton; licentious, (Slang) homosexual. Evil marketing took a good word (gay), and added a sinful meaning. We have been on a slippery slope since then. Our president proclaimed June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month6 and on June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act7, and paved the way for gay marriage to resume in California. President Barack Obama applauded this Supreme Court decision that made married gay men and women eligible for federal benefits, and he directed Attorney General Eric Holder to review all relevant federal laws to ensure the ruling is implemented. From the beginning of Creation, God ordained marriage to be between a male and a female (Gen 2:24, Mk 10:6-9). The water is near to boil and if something is not done quickly our nation will be destroyed. Homosexuality is clearly defined as an abomination in the Bible (Lev 18:22, 20:13) and those who practice this will not inherit the kingdom of God (Rom 1:24-27, 1 Cor 6:9). Fortunately a homosexual can be saved (1 Cor 6:11) if they repent and jump out of this cesspool of iniquity.

Profanity has gradually increased in our country. When I was a boy my parents washed my mouth out with soap if I used slang or curse words. Today one hears profanity not only among ordinary people but also from teachers, prominent politicians, the media and children . People need to know that many words frequently used are euphemisms for words that should not be spoken. Our prayer should be "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord" (Psa 19:4). Also, we should realize that "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks"(Mt 12:34). Lord give us clean hearts.

I will now try to show possible causes of this downward trend of immorality and indecency. On January 10, 1963 forty-five current communist goals, taken from "The Naked Communist" written in 1958 by Cleon Skousen, were submitted to the Record of the U. S. House of Representatives.8 Communistic goals include capturing one or both political parties, get control of the schools, gain control of all student newspapers, infiltrate the press, gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures, eliminate all laws governing obscenity, present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy," infiltrate the churches and discredit the Bible, eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools, discredit the American Constitution, infiltrate and gain control of more unions, discredit the family as an institution, and encourage promiscuity and easy divorce. It is amazing how most of those 45 goals have already been accomplished.

The entertainment media, whether it be TV, videos or the Internet, no doubt has been responsible for much of this gradual decline in morality. Let us consider content of the movies. Most of what I know is from reading because I was privileged to have a mother who did not allow us to go to the movie theatres. The movies, which used to include things like Mickey Mouse, the Lone Ranger and Superman, have gradually become worse as far as morals are concerned. I remember flying to Europe in the 1970s, when movies were shown free on the planes on their overnight flights, seeing part of a movie where a scene was shown of a man and woman committing adultery. I could not believe that this was being shown in public where children could see. From what I have read, the movies and their so called "stars" have grown worse and worse and have influenced many to get involved in immorality. "I will set no wicked thing before my eyes."(Psalms 101:3) should still be our guide no matter what means is used to present it.

The educational system has also been responsible for the gradual decline in morality. My wife often tells of how when there was trouble in her high school in Bemis, TN the principal would read from the scriptures. Before 1963 a Pennsylvania law stated that: least ten verses from the Holy Bible shall be read, without comment, at the opening of each public school day.9 Any child shall be excused from such Bible reading, or attending such Bible reading, upon written request of his parent or guardian. Also a Baltimore statute provided for the "reading, without comment, of a chapter of the Holy Bible and/or of the Lord's Prayer" before the start of classes.10 The U. S. Supreme Court on June 17, 1963 ruled that that the Constitution forbids any establishment of religion, that prayer is a form of religion, and that state-sponsored or mandated Bible reading in public schools cannot be allowed. The schools are now controlled by teacher's unions, which are for abortion, gay rights, sex education and distribution of condoms. In California many public schools celebrate Harvey Milk day11, which honors a homosexual who was killed, yet they are not allowed to celebrate Christmas Day, which honors Jesus Christ, the one who died for their sins. Also the 2004 Science Framework for California Public Schools12, which must followed by all publishers, states "Neither the California nor the United States Constitution requires that time be given in the curriculum to religious views.' Instead of the fact that "God Created the heaven and the earth and all that is in it," the educational system insists on teaching the theory of evolution. If there is a Creator they would have to abide by His rules and they want nothing to do with that. The American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO is supporting the idea that understanding evolutionary biology should begin as soon as children enter school.13 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee."(Psalm 119:11). The entire family should read the Bible and memorize portions of it.

The government also must share part of the responsibility for the gradual decline in morality. The president last year announced his support for same-sex marriage in the midst of his re-election campaign.14 We are responsible for who we elect. Elected officials often appoint judges and heads of organizations and committees who are dragging us down the slippery slope away from Christian Principles. Since the Roe vs Wade decision in 1973 it has been estimated that over 50 million abortions have taken place in the USA.15 The problem is deeper than that. 83% of the abortions in America are performed on unmarried women.16 Yet never do you hear of the government passing laws against fornication and adultery, which is the cause of these pregnancies. The Bible teaches against these sins.

The news media also has been a major factor in the downward slope propagating the anti godly agenda. Most of the major newspapers and newscasts are very biased and many present only one side of the story. Some feel that the only hope is for people to use the "new media" (the internet with blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and bulk email) to warn people about what is really happening. Also, the people of America need to reverse these trends in the coming elections.

The church also must share the responsibility for the "slippery slope." In many churches rarely does one hear strong teaching against immodesty, improper language, or what we should or should not listen to, read or watch. Churchgoers now attend the same movies, rent the same videos and watch the same TV shows as the world does. Much of this would have been called "pornography" years ago.17 Also, liberal theologians have also twisted the meaning of scriptures. "There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ "(Jude 4). One said that the Bible has no condemnation for "loving, committed, gay and lesbian relationships."18 Others say that the account of the friendship between David and Jonathan was of a sexual nature.19 They now have a Gay Princess Bible which among other things quotes Genesis 2:24 as follows "Therefore shall a woman leave her mother, and shall cleave unto her wife: and they shall be one flesh."20 If you are presently attending a church that teaches these ideas, may I suggest that you find a church to attend that declares what the Bible really teaches.

Last but not least in the factors contributing to the downward slide of morals is the decline of the family. Two-thirds of children are born to unmarried parents. Divorce is rampant. Children are not trained in godly principles. God's plan is that every child should have a father and a mother.21 A father is to bring children "up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" Eph 4:4.

I hope no one will label me as a Pharisee, hypocrite or legalistic. I do believe that one should first have the inside cleansed by the blood of Jesus. However the inward cleansing must be demonstrated by our actions and words if we are to be good witnesses. Please contact me if you would like for me to teach this at your church. I have a decent PowerPoint presentation that I can use or if you would like to teach this I can send it to you. You can modify it as you deem necessary.


1. Parade magazine, October 3, 1982
2. <br
4. Solowjewa, M.W: Die Tatowierung der junendlichen Verbrechen, Arch F. Krimin. 87:214-219, 1930
13. American Educator, American Federation of Labor, Quarterly Journal, vol. 36, No. 2, Summer 2012, p.13
17. Drury, Keith, "The Holiness Movement: Dead or Alive?"
21. Reynolds, David, "More Money for Public Education Will Not Fix Our Children...Only God Can!" Save Our Families Series, July 2103

back to top