After 20 years preaching the gospel of nudity, the author of skinny-dipping guidebooks, coloring books and take-it-all-off “naturist” magazines is using an old ally in his bid to spread the naked truth — the Bible.
“Nudity & Christianity,” his 596-page compendium of scripture citations and selectively-chosen observations by the likes of Pope John Paul II, C.S. Lewis and Kahlil Gibran, promotes a world view sacrilegious to some but perfectly natural to Cunningham.
Contrary to popular opinion, nude is not lewd, he insists.
“There’s lot of references in the Bible to being naked. In the early church, all Christians were baptized naked — men, women and children. It wasn’t an issue.
“My point is that the church, instead of changing the world, has let the world change it. It’s accepted (Hustler publisher) Larry Flynt’s definition of the body, instead of the Bible’s. If the body is just lust bait, then modesty is making sure it’s always covered.
“But if the body is what the Bible says it is — the temple of the Holy Spirit and the image of God — then modesty doesn’t mean always covering up, it just means comporting yourself in a way that does not cause lust in others,” he said.
If you think Cunningham’s interest purely prurient, think again.
The 53-year-old father of five, a conservative Catholic and former parochial school teacher, is blind.