I’m not sure I believe a word that I read in The Mail on Sunday. There is perhaps a little more truth in what they write than there was in the recently defunct, but little lamented, Sunday Sport. At least their rival The News of the World made some attempts to uncover the truth, although by illegal means that they have been forced to apologise for.
So it is with a pinch of salt that I take the following story. The Church Mouse alerted me to this on his twitter stream, but perhaps wisely tweeted
Good grief. Not sure I can be bothered to take this apart.
But I am trying to follow David Ker’s advice, at least the part about blogging controversy, so I will jump straight in.
What then is the story? The headline in The Mail on Sunday is
The cathedral in question is Manchester Cathedral, in the Church of England. This cathedral seems to hit the news quite regularly, most recently over its planned Spirit of Life Festival, which allegedly included tarot card readings. The newspaper reports the following as having been on the Spirit of Life website:
naturism is a liberating lifestyle and belief which encourages self-respect, respect for others and for the environment, and embodies freedom and a unique sense of communion with nature.
Christian naturists see this as God’s design for living. It is purposefully non-erotic and non-sexual and engenders a wholesome appreciation of self and others.
The article also mentions the Christian Naturist Fellowship, an apparently genuine organisation which promotes a similar positive view of naturism.
The story is not really news because
The item was posted by Manchester Cathedral several weeks ago
but has apparently only just come to the attention of the press. However, as the newspaper reports,
all references to nudity suddenly disappeared from the site last week,
so I can’t give any links or even confirm that there ever were any. How convenient for a newspaper that the only evidence for its report disappeared before publication! There is however some kind of confirmation in an earlier article by Charles Raven in the Church of England Newspaper – but this could simply be based on a previous report in the Mail.
Is this really so shocking? I wouldn’t think so. Here in the generally cool and wet north west of England I doubt if nudism, or naturism, will ever become popular. But it does have its attractions on a warm weekend like this one. And, as a page at the Christian Naturist Fellowship site shows, there is no good biblical reason for insisting that Christians wear clothes, as long as they don’t cause offence by their nakedness. As the Fellowship’s tagline reads,
If God wanted us to be naked … we’d be born that way