God doesn’t mind if you go naked on the beach — because you’re showing off His handiwork, not simply displaying your shortcomings.
A devout Christian and naturist will make essentially that argument next week at the fourth annual Canadian naturist festival in Quebec.
Festival spokesperson Paul Rapoport said the presentation by Vincent Pigeon, a member of the Federation of Quebec Naturists and a practicing Catholic, will include references to the Adam and Eve story from the Bible.
“Certainly the Garden of Eden story, which most people know from Genesis, does not suggest that the crime or the sin of Adam and Eve was being unclothed,” said Rapoport. “It was disobeying a higher power.”
He said it is widely believed that Christianity and other mainstream religions are opposed to nudity.
“Many people assume that the main religions of the world are dead against any kind of nudity, except in a medical situation,” said Rapoport.
“The first thing is, Christianity itself is not against nudity in a variety of situations. For those who comb the Bible for references, for example, it’s pretty clear that the Bible isn’t against nudity — it’s against sin.
“The aspects of nudity that lead to what Christians would call sin are not really the fault of the state of dress or undress. They have to do with an attitude of mind or misbehaviour. That’s the negative side. The positive side involves really proclaiming what is considered to be God’s magnificent creation.
“There are a lot of people involved in naturism and religion who say they are much closer to the God-given creations of the natural world when they are not forced to wear the constant artificiality of clothing.
“A lot of naturists believe that not only is there nothing wrong but there is something very positive about reclaiming that little bit of the Garden of Eden in the way that we don’t have to dress.”
But no man of the cloth — or non-cloth in this case — will be at the event to argue in favour of covering up. “It’s a presentation, and there will probably be a discussion from a naturist point of view,” said Rapoport.
“In an environment like that at a naturist resort, you’re not going to get negative expression and peculiar questions like you would in the regular clothed world.”
Between 50 and 100 people register for the festival, he said. Other events at the festival, which runs Aug. 16-19, include volleyball, swimming pool games, and relaxing at clothing-optional beaches.
The festival takes place in St-Antoine-Abbe, about 50 km south of Montreal.