Dallas (ABoD) – Should churches have dress codes? If so, should there be a double standard between very curvy women and those who are not so curvy?
After two adult Facebook group postings went viral the last week of August 2015 on the topic of very curvy, bootyfull black sistas wearing tight dresses in church, it dawned on me that this was a very sensitive topic for the black church (and other churches, too, as the one of the churches I go to is mutli-racial), but the focus is on black churches. The common themes from the two posts:
“Her booty is too big for that dress”
“The Bible says ‘Come as you are’”
“‘Come as you are’ is not in the Bible”
“That’s not appropriate for a church”
“God created her with curves”
“Did she just come back from the club?”
“She can’t hide her booty and curves no matter what she wears”
“Men will get distracted from the Word”
“She needs to dress more modestly”
“Maybe she can’t afford any other clothes”
“She must want attention from men”
“The devil sent her to tempt men to sin”
“She’s very blessed with that big booty…can I get an amen?”
So then, the question becomes, if the well-endowed sista was very thin, with no booty and no curves, went to church in a similarly tight dress, would she be criticized for wearing church clothes? Interestingly, in the picture in question, there is a lady standing to the left of the curvy woman who also wore a form fitting skirt but part of her booty was blocked by a little boy standing behind her. Nobody criticized her.
Is that fair?
From my standpoint as a guy with an attractive daughter, I can understand why some church goers have a problem with a curvy woman not dressing modestly. Regardless of the sin, we don’t want to assist in causing anyone to sin. In the case of clothing, however, this is a uniquely tough problem. When you go to a strip club, we all know its purpose: it’s to tempt guests to pay for lap dances and other forms of intimacy. Not judging it, that’s just the way it goes. So dancers purposely wear skimpy clothing (if any) to appeal to the eye for the purpose of lust, let’s keep it real.
However, a curvy woman wearing a form-fitting dress that goes below the knees (or almost to the knees) to church is not automatically a reason to conclude she is trying to tempt men to lust because that is not the purpose for her being there, nor is that the purpose of the church. The purpose of the church is to come and worship. Some women in the church may be more spiritually mature than newer members, so they may feel obligated to dress modestly. But for curvy women who are just now coming back to church or haven’t been there long may not be at the same level and thus may not see anything wrong. And in fact, it may not be wrong if in her heart she is not purposely trying to tempt men to lust.
On the other hand, there are some very attractive, curvy women who know exactly what they’re doing and go to church to, in particular, tempt the pastor, deacons or successful men in the church, regardless if those men are married or not. These women are indeed vessels of Satan and should repent. But again, we won’t know her intent until her motive manifest itself into some kind of action. And trust me, there are plenty of nosey church sistas who will find out and put her on blast! But why discriminate against all curvy sistas in church because of the actions of a few?
As I mentioned in one of the groups on this topic, yes, nowhere in the Bible does it say “Come as you are.” But the spirit of those words is indeed in the Bible. Jesus Christ said He did not come for those who think they are well, but He came for those who were sick. He didn’t hang out only with women who dressed modestly, but with prostitutes as well.
Let’s face it. Some women just feel better in form fitting dresses and don’t like granny dresses. Yet they still wanna worship Jesus Christ without judgements, guilt, and stares from men. Is it too much to ask that those few guys who stare forever to stop and focus? Also, there are curvy women who are struggling financially or went through some crisis where their money situation does not allow for buying a new wardrobe. For those who don’t like her apparel but don’t want to impede her worship, perhaps she might be open to you donating some money to getting her a less form fitting dress that fits her style without being visually challenging to the lustful.
In my days, I’ve seen some women who are so curvy, that not even an full body covering Islamic burqa could hide their curves. They would probably get the death penalty in some extreme Muslim countries even though they can’t help their curves. Let’s not give them the death penalty here.
I’m starting a group called Curves for Christ. The aim is to dispel the myth that all curvy women who go to church in form fitting dresses are there to tempt men. Membership is free for life upon verification of your curviness…just kidding.
Let us know your thoughts.