“Does God really care what I wear?” That’s the headline on a flyer on an exhibit table at this year’s Values Voter Summit, the annual evangelical political confab sponsored by the Family Research Council. The exhibit hall is an especially good reminder that the evangelical community may be among the last bastions of American prudery.
Modesty Matters, the group behind the flyer, is a new addition to the event this year. It was founded by a modestly dressed retired pharmacist from Roanoke, Virginia named J.H. Woolwine. He gave me a leaflet showcasing some models of modest dress for young people. They look like Mitt Romney’s high school yearbook photos: Buttoned up college students from 1965 wearing knee-length dresses and neckties.
Of course, the information Woolwine is handing out might put off a few potential supporters, especially the women he’s seeking to persuade. On the flyer asking whether God “cares what I wear,” the writer explains that women need to dress more modestly in church because “men are particularly visual. Immodesty in church can trigger lustful thoughts.” It’s an interesting sentiment among a crowd obsessed with the possibility that Islamic militants could impose Sharia law on America. Woolwine is also distributing a “Resolution for Women,” which asks women to make a number of pledges, including “I will champion God’s model for womanhood in the face of a post-feminist culture.”
This is 2012, NOT the 1920’s, you far-right fuddy-duddies!