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Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Quickie on "Defrauding"

It was a popular teaching by Bill Gothard that clothes on women could "defraud" their brothers. He used a verse in 1 Thess. 4 to prove this:

"3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified." (A better interpretation of verse 6 says: "and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.")

He took this verse to mean that all women should be careful how they dress so as not to "defraud" their brothers in Christ with their clothing, which he defined as causing them to stumble or lust. Besides the obvious stretching of the context and content of this verse, there are a few problems with this definition of "defraud."


verb (used with object)

to deprive of a right, money, or property by fraud

Some synonyms of "defraud" are: "bamboozle, beguile, burn, chouse, circumvent, clip, con,  deceive, delude, do number on, dupe, embezzle, fleece, foil, hoax, jive, outwit, pilfer, pull fast one, rip off, rob, shaft, sucker into, swindle, take to the cleaner's, take, trick, victimize"

In order to say that a woman's clothing can "defraud" a man, you would have to prove that
1. A woman's body is the right or property of another person
2. A woman is wrongfully offering her body to any man who gazes on her
3. A woman is lying by offering her body to another without intent to follow through with the deal
4. A woman is taking something from any man who looks at her, just by the piece of clothing she is wearing.
5. A woman is responsible for a man being deprived his rights any time he thinks something immoral about her

I really hope I wouldn't have to detail why all of the above is wrong, but in case I do, here goes:

I am not anyone's property or right. No one owns me except myself. I am not offering anything by the clothes I wear. If you think I am offering you something by my clothing, I am not responsible for your wrong thoughts. I cannot steal anything from you by the clothes I wear, especially not something that is owed to you, since I owe you nothing. I cannot control the thoughts of everyone who sees me, as I do not expect everyone else to control my own thoughts. I am not responsible for your thoughts or actions, as you are not responsible for mine. You are not a victim of my clothing if you desire me sexually. I have not bamboozled you out of your property by wearing a short skirt. I cannot dupe, hoax, trick, or rob you of anything by the jeans I wear. It doesn't even make logical sense.

Quite simply put, one cannot "defraud" anyone else by one's clothing. Or, as another wise person once said "I do not think that word means what you think it means".


  1. I've been reading through Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye for a research project and came across a passage just last night that uses a similar definition of "defraud." He says it's "ripping someone off by raising expectations but not delivering on the product." Apparently I can rip off a dude by kissing him but not having sex, or by having sex and then not getting married, or, like you said, by the way I wear. As if my body is part of some weird marketplace of sexual acts. I had the same response as you. My body is MINE and I don't owe anyone anything at all.

  2. Short,to the pointand well-said! I am so glad to read this and know that there are others out there who think this way. Too many people get caught up in all of the ways a woman can supposedly "defraud" a man - completely forgetting that each person is responsible for their own thoughts and behavior. Excellent post!
    Kathy F.

  3. Of course, it certainly fits with the historical worldview that women are chattel. Property. The spoils of war to be claimed by the victor.

    I found that once I started looking at both radical Islam and Christian Patriarchy from that point of view, many things make sense. Try it with your favorite doctrine...

    Women must always be under the control of, authority of, accompanied by a man. (No stray dogs, now!)

    Women exist to be "helpmeets," that is, to accomplish the man's vision. Kind of like a tool.

    And of course, the "modesty" ideal. Women are treasures to be possessed by the men. "You don't count your money while you're sitting at the table..." The beauty of your possession isn't to be seen by anyone but its owner.

  4. Yes, it all goes hand-in-hand with a low view of women, regardless of which religion we're talking about.

  5. DARCY!! You hit this one one the nail!!

  6. I am totally agree with your information please keep updating your blog.

    Thank you for sharing with us.


  7. I agree with what you've written here. Whatever a person is doing to another by the way they dress cannot be called 'defrauding'.

  8. Darcy wrote:
    "Yes, it all goes hand-in-hand with a low view of women, regardless of which religion we're talking about."

    Sounds to me as if the common denominator is the problem.

    1. Apologies for any vagueness, I was shooting for brevity and chopped out too many words. As to your question, clearly the former.