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Nudists: Foley's (R) attack on camp is malicious (Florida)
The Miami Herald ^
| Peter Wallsten
Posted on 07/07/2003 11:22:49 PM PDT by LdSentinal
In his quest for a seat in the U.S. Senate, Rep. Mark Foley has rankled a group that is barely covered in most elections: nudists.
Foley, of West Palm Beach, has hit the national TV and radio talk-show circuit in recent weeks to bash a Tampa-area summer camp not unlike most camps -- except that the boys and girls, ages 11-18, are naked.
Foley, a Republican hoping to replace Sen. Bob Graham, says that letting naked teenagers play together is immoral and potentially dangerous.
But ''naturists'' who say the camp exposes their children to a perfectly healthy and wholesome education see something more calculated: A candidate with a reputation as a social moderate on issues such as gay rights and abortion has found a convenient target to boost his reputation among conservatives who decide GOP primaries.
A group of camp representatives and officials of the American Association for Nude Recreation is scheduled to meet with Foley today in West Palm Beach. ''We're going to tell him that what he's doing is irresponsible and malicious,'' said Shirley Mason, a Miami naturist and former association board member. ``The fact is these children are naturists and have grown up with naturists.''
Foley began his tear last month after reading a feature story about the camp in The New York Times.
The story included interviews with children and camp officials touting the experience as healthy but noted an episode in which a stranger had been seen trying to peep and was led away.
The camp is at Lake Como in Pasco County, which has been a haven for nudists for years.
''This seemed to me to be beyond the pale of something that would be lawful,'' Foley said in a telephone interview last week.
PART OF BID?
Foley, co-chairman of a congressional caucus created to advocate for missing and exploited children, denied that his rail against the camp was related to his bid for the Senate.
The campaign pits him against the socially conservative former Rep. Bill McCollum and possibly other more conservative contenders who have yet to enter the race.
It just so happens, he said, that network television producers and others in the media view the issue as interesting. He said he has not sought out the interviews that he's landed with the likes of Diane Sawyer on ABC's Good Morning America, Harry Smith on CBS's Early Show and Bill O'Reilly on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor.
''This might be an important issue that conservatives want a solution to, but I'm not doing this to energize the base,'' he said. ``I'd be pursuing this with the same vigor as I would if I were just seeking reelection.''
After he read The Times article, Foley sent a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush asking how a camp allowing naked children to play together could be legal.
The governor directed the issue to the Legislature, which might take up a bill to address the camp this month when it convenes for a special session to address medical malpractice insurance rates.
For years, Foley has faced criticism from Christian conservatives -- a key voting bloc in the Republican primary -- for supporting gay rights and for opposing the overturning of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Also in recent months, Foley and his advisors have sought out issues to help cast him as a conservative, touting his support for gun rights, pushing for further restrictions to child pornography on the Web, and calling for greater limits on illegal immigration.
By targeting the nudist camp, said Nicky Hoffman, president of the Wisconsin-based Naturist Society, ``He's trying to blur some issues.
``He's trying to take the focus away from himself and put it somewhere. That's the way politicians do things.''
Hoffman said nudist activists took notice recently when Foley demanded that the media respect his privacy regarding rumors about his sexual orientation.
`ASKING FOR PRIVACY'
''We're all parents, and we're just asking for the privacy to raise our children in the way we want to,'' Hoffman said. ``Turnabout is fair play.''
The naturists plan to invite Foley to visit the camp and judge it for himself -- an invitation Foley said he plans to refuse.
''He's uneducated,'' said Marion Hofmann, a St. Petersburg naturist whose three grandchildren, ages 16, 11 and 11, attend the camp.
``These kids come home more mature and comfortable with who they are. If [Foley] wants to see it for himself, he's more than welcome.''
TOPICS: Culture/Society; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: 2004; billmccollum; bobgraham; childexploitation; conservative; environmentalists; florida; greens; hippies; homsexuality; indecentexposure; markfoley; morality; naturism; nudism; nudistcamp; nudists; nudity; primary; publicnudity; senate; summercamp
I think you're catching up to me in the number of posts :) I have been slacking of late!
posted on 07/07/2003 11:28:32 PM PDT
(http://home.frognet.net/~thowell/haunt/ ---->our ghosty page)
posted on 07/07/2003 11:30:12 PM PDT
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Foley, of West Palm Beach, has hit the national TV and radio talk-show circuit in recent weeks to bash a Tampa-area summer camp not unlike most camps -- except that the boys and girls, ages 11-18, are naked.
If I recall correctly, the camp boasted a ratio of 1.5 counselors to every kid. Do clothed camps usually offer this much observation of the minors by young adults?
If these kids went over to a nude sleepover at a friends house, do you think that most of America might send up some red flags? (I do recall that Dear Abbey fell for this as a hoax one time but was all for it, she even reran the letter a couple of years later, there is an FR thread on it somewhere).
The lack of parental presence is one danger sign about this type of camp. The NY Times article even included the comment that some kids are shy and self-conscious about their nudity their first time at the camp. Doesn't sound like it is fully their decision to be there. Why not let the kids go clothing optional (undressing only as much or if they want to)?
Someone mentioned Hippie Hollow (in Austin) in the other thread but that park in Texas has an age of 18 years minimum.
If parents want to bring their kids up a nudists, I don't think that it qualifies outright as child abuse. However, where does indecent exposure in front of a minor begin? Obviously at the camp there are strangers present and add to that the parents of the kids are not present (some are sent in from out of state).
posted on 07/07/2003 11:42:02 PM PDT
Are there many Republican nudist votes to go after? Don't they usually support the Green Party or at least the DNC?
posted on 07/07/2003 11:46:06 PM PDT
I doubt there are many nudist Republicans in Florida or in the rest of the country. Foley is doing this to score points to conservative voters in next year's primary and to dispel the notion that he is gay, which would turn them off from his candidacy.
LOL.......This is a hoot..........In a state where bikinis are made of dental floss this guy wants to harrass a bunch of old nekid people, who probably look like sunburnt sharpei puppies ,for showing to much skin.
One more polidiot spending taxpayers money on viable issues...........:o)
Stay safe Chance !
posted on 07/07/2003 11:56:50 PM PDT
(Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.)
I don't think that he's so concerned about the wrinkled nekid hippies, the focus is on the minors being brought in to hold naked youth summer camp.
posted on 07/08/2003 12:00:18 AM PDT
Whether he is a homosexual or not may not affect his candidacy. I'd think that if he is homosexual that could get him some support in South Florida (but he could get a backlash statewide). The question is if the crossover votes he gets would outweigh those who would stay home or leave the office blank (I doubt that conservatives would cross party lines for his lib opponent).
The primary is where they will have their say.
I don't know Florida politics enough to know how his pro-abortion stance will affect his candidacy (but I would suspect that it's a bigger factor than if he is a homosexual).
posted on 07/08/2003 12:04:00 AM PDT
Comment #10 Removed by Moderator
To be totally honest, judging from the articles I've read on this camp, I don't see anything immoral or dangerous about it. So far, everything I've read about it sounds like the people who run the camp are being very responsible in ensuring the childrens safety and quotes from the children that I've read sound like they don't associate nudity with sex. Their lifestyle is taking the curiosity out of nudity that most children that age have and they likely won't be as tempted by to fool around as they get older just out of curiosity because they know what is underneath the clothing and it's nothing new to them. I really think that if the man complaining so loudly about it isn't willing to visit the camp and learn first hand how it is run and how the children behave then he has no right to condemn the place because he's ignorant on the whole matter. He is the one who has the perverted ideas on it, not the children or parents apparently. If anyone has an immoral attitude about it, it's him and his perverted thoughts. I'd be willing to bet the boys there aren't hiding playboys under their beds and the girls are probably less promiscuous that the average kids their age. I'd love to see some statistics on teen pregnancy and sexual activity comparing children of naturists verses other children who's parents are not. It would be interesting to see how the percentages compare.
posted on 07/08/2003 12:21:11 AM PDT
"Obviously at the camp there are strangers present and add to that the parents of the kids are not present (some are sent in from out of state)."
Another article about the camp said they were very very watchful of people who don't belong there being kept away. It said they guard very carefully to prevent perverts from attempting to get nearby just to watch the kids. Of course that wasn't their wording but a summary of the point they were getting across. Some of the children were a bit self-conscious at first apparently because they are normally around mostly adults or very young children at nudist get togethers. Plus, all kids that age are self-conscious when they meet new people regardless of what they are or are not wearing. If I remember correctly they also do thorough background checks on all their staff as well. They probably have better staff than most regular kid camps because if something happened with one of the kids at this type of camp all hell would break loose and it would get them all shut down I'm sure. They should have each of the kids write an essay at the end of their camp visit about their experience there and publish them for everyone to read. I wonder if they have an email address or a number I could call to suggest that. It might ease some of the worries a lot of people have about it.
posted on 07/08/2003 12:31:41 AM PDT
"In a state where bikinis are made of dental floss this guy wants to harrass a bunch of old nekid people, who probably look like sunburnt sharpei puppies ,for showing to much skin."
Well, to be more accurate, he's harrassing yong naked children, their naked parents, and the nude camp they go to. He just wants some attention and this is an easy way to get it. I don't think I would count any of his views on this place as credible unless he would take their advice and visit the place himself to see if he truly thinks something wrong is taking place.
posted on 07/08/2003 12:34:49 AM PDT
I'm not rabidly out to stop the nudists. I'd feel better about it if the kids' parents were present and if there was more oversight to permit the kids to remain clothed if they wish. One way to forestall government oversight is to regulate themselves (the motion picture industry, comic book publishers, and music industry all formed their own non-governmental review boards; I'm sure that there are non-censorship boards, these were just the ones that came to mind).
I don't think that such boards are flawless but it is a good way to stop outside regulation (local or federal).
I am uncomfortable with the reality that these kids may be exploited or coerced into this lifestyle.
Kids don't get "much" say in rebelling against their parents' religion but certainly one could understand intervention on behalf of the Family/ The Children Of God cult (whom River Phoenix and Rose McGowan were both child members of). Kids are sent out by the parents to flirt or hook for "lost souls". The parents send their underage kids out to have sex with adults so that the parents can then "save" the adults. On a surviors site someone asked how could parents be so callous in sacrificing their kids for others' salvation.
The above example on The Family is clearly child abuse, the question that could be asked is where does the nudist lifestyle (for minors) approach child abuse?
posted on 07/08/2003 12:41:58 AM PDT
...and they likely won't be as tempted by to fool around as they get older just out of curiosity because they know what is underneath the clothing and it's nothing new to them
They may not fool around out of "curiousity" but I don't think that this is any kind of a safeguard against fooling around. Many young adult nudists go to the burning man festival in the desert and that is not a sex free /temperance event.
If the kids choose the nudist lifestyle, that is one thing, but there is the risk of being forced into it. Society has laws that say at what age teens can consent to sexual activity. Parents are even at risk of arrest for taking nude photos of their own kids.
The courts are vague on prosecution and perhaps some standards need to be established.
posted on 07/08/2003 12:48:57 AM PDT
It all comes down to who you trust. The parents that send their kids in from out of state never meet the full staff.
The staff poses the bigger threat as "voyeuristic strangers" than the gate crashers.
If the parents weren't sending their kids to another state for a week (of being naked) I wouldn't have as much concern. If it were a standard nudist camp with the parents' present even I wouldn't have as much concern (I trust that the parents will guard their kids even though I don't accept that all kids buy into their parents' recreational domgatic lifestyle).
posted on 07/08/2003 12:53:53 AM PDT
It was an odd enough phenomena that the NY Times wrote about it (spuring his interest in the issue).
I wouldn't put it high on the list of issues to persue. Has he actually said anything new on this issue or is this just a local rehash of the story of his response to the NY Time article several weeks ago? It could be the writer trying to stick this issue to his campaign (as a right wing extremist). The writer certainly tried to taint his campaign by saying that this is a dodge because there are rumors that he is a homosexual. If the writer believes this, perhaps the story and headline could be Closeted Republican Begins Run For Senate Seat. Instead that charge is couched so that it would require Foley Begins Run For Senate Seat, Quiet On The Homosexual Question. Or even "Dodges The Homosexual Question".
If homosexuality is not an issue, then why even drag it into his campaign?
I'm not a Florida resident so I can't vote but I am interested in hearing what makes him a conservative and why he should be in Congress.
posted on 07/08/2003 1:02:38 AM PDT
"The choice of naturalists seems odd to me. As does public breast feeding."
Why does public breastfeeding bother you? I don't want to have a heated argument over it, but I don't understand why that bothers some people so much. I've had to nurse my children in public many times, but I always make sure that I'm not showing any skin (which really isn't hard to prevent.) I know some women just flop it out and let everyone see everything they have and it's hard for men not to stare. That's just impolite though. It bothers my parents so much that even if I'm not showing skin, I have to leave the room to feed the baby in their house. It embarrasses my dad so I can't feed the baby in front of him. There are some places you go though where you just have no other choice. Doing it in the bathroom is just unsanitary and most places don't have a private area where you can do it privately. And if you are in a restaurant the only other option is to sit in the hot car while your food gets cold inside. I've had people make the rudest comments to me though even when I try to find a semi-private corner to nurse when there wasn't a private place to go even though I was fully covered. And with my children (and many other breastfed babies) a bottle with expressed milk isn't an option because mine and many others just don't know how to work a bottle because it's very different to get the milk out of a bottle than out of the breast. So what are we supposed to do when we are at a public place with a crying and hungry baby and have no private area to go to? Should the baby have to suffer and just be hungry because someone might get offended by getting fed the only way it knows how to eat? I think the better option is for the person who doesn't like it to just look the other way. Breasts aren't just sex objects, they are there for a purpose and the milk is so much better for the baby. I think a lot more women would breastfeed if American Society would learn to look the other way when a woman needs to feed her baby rather than getting upset because they are afraid they are going to see a nipple. I really am not trying to fuss at you. I hope it didn't sound that way. I just wanted to help you understand a bit why breastfeeding in public shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing. We need a lot more nursing mothers in America. The bond it creates between the mother and child is amazing and the feeling you get seeing your child grow up totally from nutrition you provided by the means God gave you to do so is indescribable. It shows you how perfect a woman's body was created to nurture her child and makes you feel more womanly and self-confident than anything or anyone else in the world could ever make you feel. It won't be long until I wean my 8 1/2 mth old and losing that special bonding time is really going to be hard. With my son I think it was harder on me than it was on him.
posted on 07/08/2003 1:04:21 AM PDT
"If the kids choose the nudist lifestyle, that is one thing, but there is the risk of being forced into it. Society has laws that say at what age teens can consent to sexual activity. Parents are even at risk of arrest for taking nude photos of their own kids."
A lot of kids are forced into lifestyles they do not choose but that are also not considered child abuse. When you raise your child as Catholic or whatever religion you are, you aren't giving them a choice in that lifestyle as children. Many people raise their kids as vegetarians too without a choice and that isn't considered abuse either. I know I have read in another article that the camp has a strict no touching policy in regards to private areas of the body. I just really don't see this as an abuse situation.
posted on 07/08/2003 1:11:08 AM PDT
"The staff poses the bigger threat as "voyeuristic strangers" than the gate crashers.
If the parents weren't sending their kids to another state for a week (of being naked) I wouldn't have as much concern. If it were a standard nudist camp with the parents' present even I wouldn't have as much concern (I trust that the parents will guard their kids even though I don't accept that all kids buy into their parents' recreational domgatic lifestyle)."
I think the camp has a good reputation which would show the parents they are trustworthy. Even in a regular kids camp a lot of the parents never go and meet the staff. Bad things can happen regardless of whether the kids are wearing clothing or not.
posted on 07/08/2003 1:15:47 AM PDT
Comment #21 Removed by Moderator
"Part of the problem is that the State enforcers (and snitches)are everywhere and the application of law is not flexible (or just). When I was a teen, kids were skinny dipping in local ponds, mooning, and streaking. Don't think laws meant for flashers should be applied. But if there is a prohibiting law, the police (in today's world) will enforce it in a robotic manner and the judge will sentence."
You are right on that. We definitely don't need even more laws. In fact, we need to get rid of a few.
posted on 07/08/2003 10:16:15 AM PDT
Part of the problem is that the State enforcers (and snitches)are everywhere and the application of law is not flexible (or just). When I was a teen, kids were skinny dipping in local ponds, mooning, and streaking. Don't think laws meant for flashers should be applied. But if there is a prohibiting law, the police (in today's world) will enforce it in a robotic manner and the judge will sentence.
It may've been a Constitutional abortion to rival Roe, but IMHO Lawrence will provide all the legal "cover" necessary for this private activity so long as the parents consent.
To: Pubbie; JohnnyZ; Theodore R.; Nathaniel Fischer; AuH2ORepublican; Kuksool; William Creel; ...
Foley vs. wrinkled tan gherkins *ping*
posted on 07/08/2003 3:07:20 PM PDT
(~Remember, it's not sporting to fire at RINO until charging~)
Put some clothes on!!
posted on 07/09/2003 5:08:34 AM PDT
(Dear Justice O'Connor, If you want to see your cat alive again.....)
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