Bare Facts
Copyright 2000 Lake Edun Foundation, Inc.

Official Publication of the Lake Edun Foundation, Inc. January 1, 2000

Box 1982; Topeka, KS 66601 Voice Mail: 785-478-BARN e-mail: Website:

Biology Party At Bill's

Dizzie and Biology Bill will host our January party in Lawrence. It will be on January 22nd, starting at 7 pm at Biology Bill's home. They will provide a sandwich tray; you should bring a covered dish of your favorite recipe! Dizzie's favorite recipe is homemade vegetable stew; Biology Bill is famous for his yummy blueberry muffins. Guess we know what they will be bringing. If you have a favorite CD, bring that also and come prepared to have a good time!

Winter Workers Have Their Days

Although winter is hard upon us, we know that spring and another great season are just around the corner. There are a number of projects that are more easily done in winter, such as preparing a new beach, cutting Cedar trees or clearing the dam. We are going to begin working on these whenever the weather allows. Check the schedule and help out, if you can. The work will be canceled if the weather does not cooperate at least a little.

Like last year, we expect these work details will be hard but fun for those willing and able to help. It is a good opportunity to get to know a few Eduners better.

Socially Speaking

Dave did a great job opening his home to about 40-50 Eduners for our annual Christmas party. The weather was only luke-cold, making it a wonderful evening. Unfortunately, the hot tub was out of service, but warm socializing more than made up for that.

The gift exchange showed the creativity of Eduners. The gifts were both unique and useful. Thanks to Dave for sponsoring the party and Vickie, our Social Chairperson. If you have an interest in helping with the Social Committee, let us know.

Don't miss the January party in Lawrence. Sponsored by Biology Bill and our Prez, it should be memorable.

Items We Need

We would like to measure the length of our trails next spring. If any Eduners have access to a measuring wheel we could use to get an accurate length of our trails, please let this be known.

We also need more lids for trash barrels. These should be designed to fit over a 55 gal barrel and keep the rain out.

Report From The Board

The Board of Directors of the Lake Edun Foundation were busy at their last meeting. They completed work on the Y2K budget and also made some important policy decisions that will affect most of our members and many who would like to be members.

It was lengthy with much good discussion. It was also very productive. See related articles is this issue of Bare Facts about the new budget; our new membership class; our new membership rates; how current members can save on their membership renewal; and our plans for Return to Edun/8.

The board elected officers for the coming year. Be sure you thank these Eduners who volunteer their time to make our Foundation great and spread the word about the advantages of naturism. The following Eduners were elected:

President Kelly Shepardson

Secretary Dorothy Sands

Treasurer & Vice Pres. Webb Garlinghouse

Education/Outreach Henry Hiebert

Member Relations George Hess

Promotion/Publicity Larry Forbach

Social Vickie Knueppel

Return to Edun/8 Nancy

Facilities Carlie

Conservation Syd Weybrew

At this point, it appears we are moving into a wonderful and exciting new year with a great deal being planned for the Lake Edun Foundation. If you want to help, contact a member of the Board.


Jan 8; Sat; 1-5; Winter Worker Day

Jan 8; Sat; 7-9; Sauna

Jan 21; Fri; 8-10 pm; Heartland Naturists swim in KC

Jan 22; Sat; 2-4; Board of Directors Meeting

Jan 22; Sat; 7 pm; Party at Bill's in Lawrence

Jan 23; Sun; Noon - 4; Winter Worker Day

Jan 23; Sun; 4-6; Sauna

Feb 11; Fri; 7-9; Sauna

Feb 12; Sat; 12-2; Board of Directors Meeting

Feb 12; Sat; 1-5; Winter Worker Day

Feb 12; Sat; 7 pm; Party at Jeff & Carlie's

Feb 18; Fri; 8-10 pm; Heartland Naturists swim in KC

Feb 27; Sun; Noon - 4; Winter Worker Day

Feb 27; Sun; 4-6; Sauna

Mar 11; Sat; 2-4; Board of Directors Meeting

Mar 11; Sat; 7-9; Sauna

Mar 17; Fri; 8-10 pm; Heartland Naturists swim in KC

Mar 18; Sat; 7 pm; Marge's March Madness

Apr 15; Sat; 2-4; Board of Directors Meeting

Apr 15; Sat; 7 pm; Tacks party at Vickie & Carl's

July 14-16, 2000; Return to Edun/8

Presidential Pearls

by Kelly "aka Dizzy" Shepardson

Welcome to the new millennium!

I'm glad to see that we survived Y2K! It's nice to see that we did not need generators, canned food, bottled water and a stash of cash because all the computers, and atm's shut down!

Everyone had a great time at the Christmas party on the 11th. Thanks again to Dave who hosted a great party as usual! Partygoers were treated to a goofy gift exchange! There were many goofy gifts ranging from men's cologne, a set of Budweiser salt and pepper shakers, and the coveted gift of two coffee mugs that had an aerial view of Lake Edun on them (one of which is sitting quite nicely on my desk at work to show off to co-workers!).

This new year promises to be full of good things happening at the lake. We have a new board of directors who are full of a many great ideas on how to make things at the lake better. Return to Edun 8 promises to be the best one yet, since Nancy H. already has the bands lined up and ready to go. She has some great vendors lined up as well! Plan to buy your tickets early and reserve your space as ticket and membership prices are going up.

Vickie K. is lining up some great house parties for us this winter to get us through the spring. In January, Biology Bill and I will be hosting a party. See the details to the right.

I hope everyone has a happy nude year. Remember, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach me at

Working Memberships Changed

In an effort to better define our expectations of those taking advantage of the savings available to Working Members, the Board has adopted specific guidelines for Working Members. Please note that the number of working members eligible for each category is limited. They are available on a first come basis. This is a listing of the categories currently available. If you are a working member and wish to reserve a responsibility, make your preference known soon.

Spray poison ivy within five feet of trails and clearings.

Properly plant 75 bare root seedlings.

Mow the parking area as necessary.

Mow the main areas and trails between them on the east side of the lake as necessary.

Build two additional bridges over creeks for the North trail

Construct a floating dock at the South Beach

Construct a better, more permanent foundation for stage.

Serve as a lifeguard as needed, especially Return to Edun (must be certified)

Build a shade shelter for the South Beach.

Cut cedar trees on the West side of the lake

Paint the barn

Collect trash and put by the road on a weekly basis.

Periodically, collect aluminum cans and take in for recycling. Give the money to the treasurer.

New Membership Rates

At its last meeting, the Board of Directors voted to increase membership rates in the Lake Edun Foundation by $50 per year. This will make a single membership cost $225; and a couple cost $250. The board also voted to increase the daily visitor fee to $20/single; $25/couple.

We have known for quite some time that our membership rates were the lowest in the country for any comparable organization. Even after this increase, we are still the best bargain we know.

These new membership rates take effect January 1, 2000. However, in order to minimize the impact this has on our member's personal budgets, the Board voted to allow current members three months to renew their membership at last year's rates.

Any member wishing to take advantage of this offer may renew their membership for one year at the current membership rate of $175/single; $200/couple. To qualify for this offer, we must receive your renewal before April 1 of this year. You may charge your renewal, if you wish.

Associate Membership Created

The Board of Directors voted to create a new class of membership open to some of our more distant members. Associate members may join at a $100 discount from the regular membership price.

Associate Members of the Lake Edun Foundation will receive the attractive Lake Edun Foundation membership card and a one year subscription to Bare Facts. In addition, they can receive membership prices for admission to Return to Edun and may join in Foundation activities five times or days during the year.

Associate Membership is open to anyone who lives more than 125 miles from our special place who is interested in learning more about naturism and the Foundation, but may not be able to join in foundation activities frequently

If you are interested in becoming an Associate Member, complete the application included with this newsletter.

Caretaker Planned For The Summer

As part of its planning process, the Board of Directors is planning to hire a caretaker for our summer season. We anticipate this will be a full time position for a responsible person with good people skills. The individual will need to greet all members, visitors, and guests as they arrive and insure everyone is properly registered. In addition, the caretaker will be responsible for general security, maintenance of our equipment, and providing direction to members who wish to help with upkeep.

We will be looking for an honest, responsible individual, capable of performing these tasks. Preference will be given to non-smokers who are light or non-drinkers. The candidate must be resourceful, able to maintain our equipment, and must have excellent people skills

If you know of an individual who might be interested in this position, please let us (and them) know.

Y2K Budget

The Board of Directors adopted a budget for this year, in the words of a former Kansas Governor, we believe to be "austere, but adequate." It projects a 15% increase in regular memberships plus addition of a new, associate class of membership. It also anticipates an increase in visitor fees and a very successful Return to Edun/8.

Compared to the cost of other recreational venues in the area, our family rates are as good as it gets. Hunting or fishing clubs, fitness centers, racquet clubs, etc. are all much more expensive than an annual membership in the Lake Edun Foundation. Besides, as a member of the Foundation, you don't have to buy all of that silly equipment.


Memberships 27,075

Visitor Fees 8,500

Subscriptions to Bare Facts 400

Return to Edun/8 8,448

Legal Defense Fund 500

Other 4,000

Total Income $48,923


Care Taker 7,210

Education/Outreach 3,000

Facilities/Improvements 4,300

Insurance 1,600

Lease Expense 4,000

Reimbursable expenses 5,000

Legal 6,000

Membership in organizations 780

Newsletter postage & printing 2,500

Worker Discounts 1,500

Utilities 1,120

Return to Edun 6,000

Other 5,695

Total Expenses $48,705

Total income for year $218

For Facilities and Improvements, the board anticipates building two additional bridges for the north trail, building a floating dock for South Beach, fixing the supports for the stage, adding some additional signage and building some shade for South Beach. All of this will continue the progress we have made in past years to make our place one of the premier facilities of its kind in the country.

As you can see, the budget is tight and leaves little as surplus. Some claim our income projections are optimistic. For this budget to work, each member must help introduce others to the wonderful experience the Lake Edun Foundation has to offer.

A Canadian Visits Lake Edun

By Ron Schout

My trip started out on the web, first finding it through netnude's directory of clubs and then emailing the club for directions. I was very surprised at the response timing: like next day. Congratulations and thank you!

Getting the directions and printing them out I left for the unknown club early Saturday afternoon from Wichita. The drive was an easy one. The directions were simple and easy to follow.

Arriving at about 3:00 with a temperature of about 68 degrees, I parked my car on the side of the road. The chain was across the gate not permitting me access to the parking lot, which I was informed about in my email (not many detail were left out). I stepped over the chain, found a well trampled foot path that seemed to lead off into a bush area, removed my clothes (literally hoping I was at the right spot since there were no signs posted that said Lake Edun), and walked the path.

It wasn't long before I knew I was in the confines of the club. I saw the first sign. It was a NOTICE sign basically telling ALL that they must sign in at the barn. It was sort of go directly to BARN, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.00, and if you're a jerk, turn around and leave now. Not considering myself a jerk, I continued in the nude to explore this new found haven. As I broke out from the trees, I could see a wonderful naturist facility unfold. Before pursuing my adventures, I did as requested and signed in at the barn and then started looking around the facility.

Of course I was alone since the temperature was a bit on the chilly side, but eh, I thought it was a wonderful day. The sun was shining, and not a cloud in the sky. Any normal naturist Canadian would not let an opportunity of such a beautiful day go by without a visit to a naturist club on a weekend.

In looking around, what I saw was wonderful. Certainly rustic,. My first impressions were wow, what potential! And then as I thought about it more, I realized the way it is, is the way it should be. There is a small sandy beach area adjoining a lake you can easily swim or canoe across. Wandering around, basically going from one path to another, I found volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, tenting site, and a play area. Everywhere I turned, it was good.

I saw a trail that looked like it led to the back side of the lake and followed it. What I discovered was a network of trails. I don't think I ever found the end of any one trail, but I certainly took the tour. It appears that you can easily spend a couple hours walking trails in the back forty. One of the trails goes all the way around the lake. I continued until I came back out at the beach, and my starting point.

Walking out on the dock, I stuck my finger in the water and decided this would be a grand opportunity to sit naked on the dock and stare at the surrounding scenery. The water was too cold even for a Canuck to go swimming. After 20 relaxing minutes of starring into nowhere and meditating, I picked up my clothes, and took foot for the outbound path. It was then I saw another sign, Clothes must be worn beyond this point. Oh, oh! I had already broken that rule when I came in. And so, I trodded off to the car, jumped in unnoticed (I think) and drove home, yes, in the nude (some day I will be able to attest to doing this in every state and province).

For more information on this wonderful place visit their website at or email them at:

Perhaps I Am Not A Nudist

Musings by Webb Garlinghouse

Recently, I realized that perhaps I am not actually a nudist. By that I mean I do not avoid clothing all the time. There are even some occasions when I believe clothing is desirable (such as winter). While I am not compulsive about being nude; it does happen to be a state I enjoy when I am outdoors, or with good friends, or on the couch reading a book, or in front of the computer, or most of the day on Sunday, or . ...

Now, some of my friends, on the other hand are compulsive about wearing clothing. No one would ever accuse them of being nudists. They will never be seen outside

their house without clothing; indeed, I wonder if they are ever seen inside their house without clothing. For some, even their children have never seen them nude. Before they leave their house, they must be "dressed to the nines." They are compulsive!

Since I believe I am not compulsive on this point, but my friends seem to be, why is it that I get the tag and they do not; why am I a "nudist" but they are just people? When we fail to speak up, we allow this to be turned around. We need to set the record straight. These clothing-compulsive people should be referred to as "textile-ists" since they are the one with the fetish; we, on the other hand are just people. The Naturalist Naturist

By Biology Bill

By the time you read this, it will officially be the year 2000 (although not officially the 21st century for another year yet). However, for most of the inhabitants of Lake Edun the turning of the calendar from 1999 to 2000 made absolutely no difference at all. Instead, the crucial event occurred not two weeks earlier: the winter solstice.

On December 21st, if you watched a weather forecast, you were probably reminded that it was the first day of winter. Well, how does anyone decide when one day is in the fall and the next in winter? It's not based on an arbitrary calendrical convention like the celebration on January 1; instead, it marks a seasonal milestone of supreme importance to the wild animals and plants of Kansas.

For many animals, New Year's Day is like any other day: simply another challenge to find food, shelter, and to stay out of the way of other animals trying to eat you. For others, it is just more time passing in the middle of a long winter's nap or a period of semi-frozen stupor. The real marker occurred on the solstice, which is the day of the year with the shortest time between sunrise and sunset.

As it moves in orbit around the sun, the earth's axis of rotation is always tilted from straight up by a few degrees. For half of the year our hemisphere is tilted towards the sun (resulting in longer periods of day than night), and for the other half it is tilted away from the sun (resulting in longer nights). (For two fleeting days, one each in March and September, the angle of inclination is tangential to the path of orbit resulting in equal periods of day and night.)

Because the sun shines on us for a shorter time in the winter, and also because the angle is lower in the sky, that part of the earth's surface that we call Kansas is exposed to less of the sun's radiation than during other times of the year. As a result, it is on average colder than when the sun is overhead for longer in the summertime.

By that reasoning, the winter solstice should be the coldest day of the year. This season it was pretty cold, but we all know that the exact temperature conditions on a given day are dependent not only on the season but on whether it's cloudy or sunny, which way the wind is blowing, and many other factors.

Indeed, the fact that the solstice is not guaranteed the coldest weather of the year is a main point of this column. Other than people, animals and plants do not have calendars. Nevertheless, they still know what time of year it is even if the weather is behaving strangely. In March, even if it is still cold and snowy, birds know spring is coming, and they had better think about migrating to their breeding territories because the sunrise is getting incrementally earlier every day. Additionally, even if it is 95 degrees on an August evening, squirrels will be reminded it is closer to winter than spring because the sun sets earlier every day, and they get busy preparing their caches of nuts for the oncoming winter. Generally, day length is the main thing in nature that is guaranteed for a particular time of year. Whether the spring is cold or the winter warm, the pattern of the sun's movement through the sky remains highly and completely predictable.

Of course, people have noticed and studied this phenomenon for thousands of years. Ancient mariners used the position of stars in the sky (equally predictable as the sun's pattern) to guide their ships, and many Native American cultures have a tradition of celebrating the solstices. However, in the year 2000 it is easy for us to lose track of these natural patterns somewhat in this age of gas heat in the winter and electric lights after dark. So, the next time you are outside without buildings blocking your view, take note of a few things: the height of the sun in the sky at midday, the point on the horizon on which it sets, and at what time that happens. Over the coming months you will see the sun rise higher in the sky every day and for a longer time, and you will watch it creep gradually around the horizon at sunup and sundown.

Eventually, it will be June 21, the summer solstice. On that day we will probably have seen a 100 degree day, and we will be in the midst of final preparations for Return to Edun 8. It, of course, will also be the longest day of the year, marking the opposite to the winter solstice. The next day, however, we may be the only creatures at Lake Edun thinking of the long, hot summer ahead; other creatures will have noticed that days are getting shorter, and their thoughts will begin to turn again to the winter to come.

Random Thoughts & Reflections

The lake is full and already, the water has frozen. But, our special place is always a very special place to visit. Perhaps we are encumbered by clothing, but as we walk the trails, it is easy to allow our minds to relax, leaving the stress of city life behind; in the parking lot, or even outside the gate. Isn't life wonderful!

Saunas are a great time to relax and talk with other Eduners in an informal atmosphere. If you haven't joined us for a sauna yet, be sure you do before the weather begins to warm.

Maybe you prefer swimming. Be sure to include joining Heartland Naturists for one of their swims in the KC area.

From The Mail Bag

Dear Lake Edun;

I saw your nudist club listing on the internet and was interested in receiving more information on your organization. You have a very nice web site and from looking at the pictures, you have a very pretty place...


Uncovered Opinions

by Dave Bitters

Where Have All the Playboys Gone?

Christmas is difficult for me. It's not that I'm a latter-day Scrooge, but I have a large imagination gap. Usually I put off Christmas shopping until the last day or so, then troll the mall frantically in search of inspiration.

This year was no exception.

Books provide handy solutions for the imagination-challenged. So naturally I checked out the stock at the B. Dalton's and Waldenbooks outlets at my favorite mall. I also checked the magazine racks while I was at it.

It appeared that B. Dalton's no longer carries Playboy, Hugh Hefner's famous (notorious?) entertainment for men. Waldenbooks offered it for sale in an opaque wrapper that conveyed the message, forbidden fruit inside. Flipping through the pages to decide whether to buy wasn't an option. It was take it or leave it--buyer beware.

Time was when you could peruse Playboy at any B. Dalton's, Waldenbooks (or even 7-11 store) in the country. What happened? What forced the policy changes at these the outlets? To be sure, the contemporary version of Playboy tends to be less coy about the female anatomy than 25-30 years ago. But the content really hasn't changed that much. Hugh Hefner still imagines himself the life of his lavish parties, though he now comes across more as a pathetic old man. However along with the usual airbrushed cuties, the magazine often runs interesting articles with a pragmatic, libertarian flavor. They're worth pondering; I enjoy reading them in the barber shop. (Yeah, I know. You're rolling your eyes and thinking, "Here's another guy who claims he's only interested in the articles.")

The economic censorship that drove Playboy underground (or at least behind shrink -wrap) resulted from pressure in the 1990s from the likes of Focus on the Family's James Dobson and the American Family Association's Donald Wildmon. They threatened boycotts of the 7-11s and the large bookseller chains that refused to make "adult" magazines inaccessible to minors. They claimed these magazines were harmful to kids; at least this was their public position. However the changes they forced denied the rest of us the opportunity to make informed purchase decisions. How many times do you buy a magazine at a newsstand without looking through it first? I can't speak for anyone else, but I seldom do. Thus, one suspects that the mantra of "protect the children" was a smoke screen for a subtler agenda.

Wichita Naturist Mike Jan reported recently that the Wichita city council debated (and finally passed) an anti-nudity ordinance aimed at sexually -oriented nightclubs. Mike spoke eloquently in opposition to the ordinance from the Naturist perspective, in the process garnering a good deal of favorable press. He argued that it was overbroad because it might affect Naturist activities such as swims at rented public pools. Some council members even admitted that he might have a point. But this didn't stop them. Horror stories about harmful effects of adult businesses promulgated by the so-called "Community Defense Counsel" [sic] (, formerly called the National Family Legal Foundation, evidently won the day. (Where were all the cowboys?)

In the early 1990s Kansas City experienced a "decency" campaign led by skillful propagandist Chris Cooper and his Coalition Against Pornography. (Shades of Anthony Comstock.) We saw strategically placed sensational billboards counseling us that "Pornography Destroys." Cooper succeeded in shaming or coercing most of the mom and pop video stores in the area into dropping their adult videos under threat of litigation or boycott. Once he'd minimized the availability of adult videos he turned his attention to cabarets. As he hadn't counted on the emergence of "juice bars" that featured nude female dancers minus alcoholic beverages, things got interesting for awhile. Several of the municipalities in the greater Kansas City area passed "not in my back yard" anti-nudity ordinances in response to sensational press articles decrying the "threat" of juice bars. (In a couple of instances these ordinances have snared Naturists in their web.)

In January 1993, after it became apparent that the juice bars might become too popular, a legislator from Platte County decided that enough was enough and introduced a bill in the Missouri legislature to make public nudity a felony. It was reported that the following week or so Baptist churches across Missouri generated 10,000 postcards in support of the bill. (Naturists and other interested parties spent a good deal of time, energy and treasure to defeat that bill.)

In December, 1993 Olathe School District Superintendent Ron Wimmer ordered that copies of the award-winning book Annie On My Mind be removed from the school libraries because in dealt with a lesbian theme. (The American Library Association voted Annie the Best Book in 1982.) The American Civil Liberties Union sued the school district and, in 1995 won a $400,000 judgment.

In the summer of 1998 a preacher from Independence launched a one-man decency assault on Barnes and Noble outlets in the metropolitan area, ripping up copies of photo anthologies by Naturist photographer Jock Sturges. He claimed that the books were child pornography. Similar attacks occurred at Barnes & Noble outlets in several other cities around the country. Fundamentalist pop-psychologist James Dobson was the probable catalyst for these attacks. Though the Independence preacher received a fine for his actions, the damage was done. Barnes & Noble started shrink-wrapping the Sturges books (as well as the Naturist magazines they carried).

In January 1999, Shawnee preacher Phil Ellsworth demanded that the Shawnee-Mission School district cease showing the acclaimed video Romeo and Juliet because it showed 20 seconds of male buttocks and 4 seconds of female breast. Without having seen it, he claimed that the film was pornographic. Although the school district refused Ellsworth's request, they also failed to back English teacher Tim Thornburg (who showed the film) and the latter eventually resigned.

This past summer the Kansas Board of Education, at the urging of fundamentalist Linda Holloway, the board's chair, voted to de-emphasize evolution and the big-bang theory as part of the state's science curriculum standards. More specifically, they left local school districts the option of teaching so-called "creation science" as an alternative "theory." The board collectively adopted the position that it's only fair to allow students equal access to various theories of how the earth was formed. How much more democratic can you get? (I'll spare the many details that show why "creation science" constitutes bad science). If the board's current policy persists past the elections next year, look for there to be increasing Phil Ellsworth-type pressure on local school boards to dilute or eliminate those aspects of their science curricula that religious activists dislike. (I note without comment that Linda Holloway attends Phil Ellsworth's church.)

The list of these incidents, both local and national, seems endless. While I'm inclined to dismiss most conspiracy theories as products of fertile imaginations I can't do so with the "culture war" that religious activists have waged to restrict pluralism, civil liberties and individual choice during the past two decades. Nor do I think their efforts are entirely unrelated to the millennium event.

Apocalyptic predictions have been around for a long time. Nevertheless Y2K presents an important and highly visible benchmark for those who interpret the Bible (or at least the portions that suit their leaders' agendas) literally. I still recall a lecture in the History of Western Civilization course I took as a college freshman in 1960. Midway through the first semester we discussed the first millennium. The turn of the calendar represented a period of great fear and uncertainty in Europe. Many believed that the apocalypse was at hand and the world was about to end. This didn't happen, of course. The lecturer pointed out that the result was a gradual re-thinking of fundamental premises, leading eventually to the renaissance and the rise of the scientific method. Then he made a remarkable comment, "Wait until the approach of the next millennium. All sorts of strange things will happen."

So where HAVE all the Playboys gone? The great cultural clash that we've witnessed during the past two decades involves values rooted in tradition and absolutes on the one hand, and on the implications of the knowledge explosion and the application of the scientific method (including to the social sciences) on the other. Those who accept the absolutist view have witnessed one after another of the beliefs they accept as self-evident disproved or contradicted. Unable to win the public over to their views in the marketplace of ideas, they have resorted to economic and legislative coercion. To effect the latter they have counted on the apathy of the voting public. Rather than promote their candidacy openly they run as "stealth" candidates, blitzing churches but otherwise remaining virtually invisible. Linda Holloway was a good example of a stealth candidate. She provided local media only minimal information about her views and positions, but these were obvious if one read between the lines.

Robert Scott, a publisher of amateur erotica videos in the St. Louis area, offers the following concerning his business, "Christian fundamentalists understand that we, the adult industry, represent the greatest threat to their longterm survival.

"We aren't threatening them consciously, of course. We aren't instigating the burning of churches or urging people to boycott religion. But what we are doing is showing that sex between consenting adults is wonderful, exciting, and, when pursued responsibly, without negative consequences. Or, to put it more simply, sex is fun and it feels great--we know it, and we show it. The first time a young adult sees a sex video and discovers this for himself, it casts a shadow on everything that the church has been saying. 'The church tells me that sex is dangerous, dirty, and shameful... yet I have found that it is not,' says he. 'What else are they lying about?' "

While we might forgive Scott for a certain amount of hyperbole and overstatement, his point is well-taken and is applicable to other areas as well. Consider the Board of Education decision concerning evolution and the big-bang theory. People with even a modicum of training in the scientific method understand that, in an absolute sense, no theory can ever be proven. Theories provide unifying frameworks that serve to generate hypotheses to test. In a hypothesis test one (almost) never proves; the best one can do is disprove, and even then one accepts a small pre-determined probability of error. But when one uses a theory to generate dozens or hundreds of research hypotheses and fails to disconfirm any of them, this lends great credibility to the theory. Conversely, rejection of an important hypothesis based on a theory signals structural problems with the theory and the need for revision of the model.

The scientific method often is used to choose among competing theories and explanations as well. Recall the debate over "cold fusion" several years ago. Two researchers claimed that they'd found a way to create a nuclear fusion reaction without the intense heat that this process otherwise requires. This would have been a startling breakthrough had it been true. But there were skeptics. The physics just didn't seem right. The researchers failed to rule out the possibility that a chemical reaction might produce the effects they observed. Indeed independent experiments showed this to be the case.

The conservative members of the Board of Education demonstrated little appreciation for the kind of tedious work that's involved in building the case for a scientific theory. Basically all they saw was that the evolution model threatened their religious beliefs because it contradicted them. It's not difficult for those of a legalistic bent (as creationists often are) to criticize any scientific theory. (In fact, scientists do it all the time. The scientific method explicitly accommodates and encourages this kind of self-criticism.) So, the board voted to allow the questions of origins and cosmology to be based on the political process at the local level rather than on the informed consensus of the scientific community. Given the low turnout in board elections, this increases the likelihood that local school boards will be pressured into accommodating what amounts to junk science.

Ideas that contradict deeply-held beliefs can be dangerous, hence the urge to suppress or restrict them. This is what has happened with the Playboys, the gay-theme books and the adult videos. Suppression has proved more difficult with things like evolution; direct attempts to ban evolution from school curricula would invite immediate lawsuits. But it appears that the current Kansas science standards permit an end-run, at least for private and religious schools and home-schoolers. Since macro-evolution and big-bang aren't part of the testing standards, it follows that they won't be part of the accreditation standards either. Hence private-sector schools can omit discussion of these topics or tailor the presentation of them to suit other school agendas, without loss of status.

The same urge to suppress has been applied to Naturist pursuits as well. During 1999 Naturists suffered some important losses, including the loss of a premier nude beach in Hawaii and the passage of an anti-nudity law in New Jersey. (The impetus behind the latter may have been real-estate greed, but supporters of the measure certainly played the ideology card.) In Wisconsin, there is pending anti-nudity legislation directly aimed at closing Mazo Beach, a nude beach with a long tradition. The catalyst behind this was Ralph Ovadal, a fundamentalist preacher with views similar to those of Fred Phelps.

In fact, I'm surprised that Naturists haven't been targeted even more vigorously than we have been. This may be because Naturist supporters are a very small, low-profile minority, particularly in the Midwest. Basically we don't want to be hassled, therefore we tend to keep a low profile. We welcome all who have a sincere interest in what we do and what we represent, and who are willing to accept our standards of conduct. But if nude bathing were to become popular at public beaches and parks, you can bet that vigorous attempts to suppress would not be far behind.

The reason is simple: to most of our textile neighbors, nudity (both ours and theirs) is frightening, except within narrowly-defined cultural contexts. While the causes of this "collective unconscious" mindset (to paraphrase Karl Jung) are numerous and complicated, arguably they trace back to a literal interpretation of the Genesis tale. In my readings I've found 3 or 4 different interpretations of the Adam and Eve myth. But the one that informs the vocal fundamentalists probably goes something like this: Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, this opened their eyes and they realized they were naked. Nakedness thus became the visible manifestation of (or metaphor for) our sinful (animal?) nature. For this reason we (must) cover our nakedness.

This is a handy western explanation for why we wear clothes. Counter-arguments that other cultures have different viewpoints (there are lots of nude beaches in Europe, naked aboriginals seem to enjoy perfectly well-adjusted, happy lives, etc.) don't pass muster.

Personally, I can't see how one can be a Naturist without being on the progressive/scientific side of the great cultural debate of the 1990s. The progressive/ scientific view goes roughly like this: (1) The Adam-Eve sequence is exactly backward. The base case of the human zygote is female. Males develop in the embryo stage because of a massive dose of testosterone usually (but not always) triggered by the X-Y chromosome structure. No testosterone, no male. (2) The DNA sequence of the human is about 98% identical to that of the bonobo chimpanzee, lending strong support to the evolution argument. (3) The best anthropological and biological evidence we have to date suggests that humans evolved from a common female ancestor ("Lucy") about 4 million years ago in Africa. Human populations were forced to leave the forests and to forage in the grasslands as a result of changing climatic conditions. This, along with natural selection, explains both our bipedal characteristics and our hairless condition. (These gave us a competitive advantage as grassland hunters.) (4) For most of our 4-million year heritage we wore no clothes. We didn't need them in the warm climate of tropical and sub-tropical Africa. From an evolutionary viewpoint, our natural state is nude. Clothes are a relatively recent development for protection and adornment, as human populations migrated to colder climates. (As an expert on nude hiking, I can affirm that clothes are unnecessary and perhaps even undesirable above freezing, as long as one keeps moving.) (5) A possible explanation for our interest in recreational sex is that it strengthens the pair-bond. Humans share with a few other species a phenomenon called neoteny, i.e. our young are born structurally immature. This is due to the accommodation of the female pelvis to the upright walking position. Thus, our young take a long time to mature. The pair-bond provides the competitive advantage necessary to ensure survival of our young. So sex provides a two-fold advantage.

To the extent that the Naturist world-view puts us in the progressive/scientific camp, it's unsurprising that we fall under the same cross-hairs as homosexuals, nude cabaret dancers, pornographers, abortion providers, sex educators, evolution and big-bang supporters, etc. Those who believe God's history has already been written would rather that we'd all accept their views or go away (either willingly or, if necessary, by force). We represent a dangerous, uncontrolled rabble that threatens their tidy medieval world-view.

Who knows, despite all the facts and research to the contrary maybe they're right. Maybe the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse will soon ride through and knock down all but the elect. But I wouldn't be willing to bet on it. On the other hand, maybe when we get past Y2K some of the millennial madness will begin to subside and our culture once again will begin to favor the rule of reason. Let's hope so.

Have a Happy Millennium.