I’ve written about anti-saggy-pants legislation several times, but this is an argument I’d never considered before.
It was made in Dadeville, Alabama (pop. 3,200 and falling), where the city council is about to regulate not only pants height but also inseam and hemline lengths, according to this report. The pants issue was first brought up on August 25 by council member Frank Goodman. “The reason I brought this up,” he said, “is I think people deserve respect when they are in public. I think slacking [also known as “sagging”] is disrespectful.” He also seemed to be concerned that slackers might influence young children to slack likewise. “I think it gives our younger generation the wrong impression of what is cool,” he said.
Yes—it is for the older generation to determine what is “cool” and impose it on the young, by law if necessary. That is the way of things. And therefore let us have the city attorney draft an ordinance.
There was an objection, though, when the matter came up again last week. The objection, of course, was that the proposal did not go far enough. “My concern is, it should be for everybody,” said Stephanie Kelley, another council member. “I think for the girls,” she said, “with these shorts up so high looking like undergarments and dresses so short, I don’t want us to be showing favoritism.” (Ah—for a second there it sounded like she didn’t approve of the clothing, but actually it’s about discrimination.) It’s not clear whether this change was made, based on the city attorney’s comments about his draft. “I hope to have it ready for the next meeting [on Sept. 22],” he said. But “[i]f the council wants me to write in something for the females—it will take a little more creativity on my part.” Good luck with that.
The focus for now, though, is male slacking, which is greatly troubling Mr. Goodman these days. Not only is it disrespectful to others, he noted, it generates no respect for the wearer. “We have people walking down the street with their hand in front of them holding up their pants,” he complained. “Then they have the nerve to walk into a place of business and ask for a job…. Who is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself?” Well, maybe that guy was trying to earn enough money for a belt, and I could respect that. But in general, I agree with what Goodman was saying here about this incredibly stupid “fashion” trend—I just think that where pants are concerned, ridicule is more effective than legislation.
It appears, though, that Mr. Goodman believes more direct action is necessary, at least partly because that is the Lord’s will. “I prayed about this,” he said, and the Lord gave him guidance. “I know that God would not go around with pants down.”
This I find mystifying.
I wonder about lots of unusual things. But it had never occurred to me until I read that quote even to wonder whether God wears pants at all, let alone how He might wear them if He did. Other people have had somewhat similar questions, it turns out:
Probably those people are not being serious, though, because Google is obviously not where you look for the answer to a question like this.
But as far as I can tell, the Bible says nothing at all about God’s clothes. The concept really doesn’t make sense, because God is said to be a “spirit” (John 4:24) and His glory is such that mortals generally can’t even look at Him directly. At least, not at His face:
And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
Exodus 33:20-23 (emphasis added; all citations to King James Version). Slackers might argue, I guess, that if the Lord showed Moses His “back parts,” it can’t be sinful for them to do likewise by wearing droopy jeans. But of course that’s reading “back parts” way too literally. Probably the point is the mortal inability to comprehend or even perceive all of God; at most we can see only part of Him. And even if Moses could see some part of God, that doesn’t mean he could see details like what God might have been wearing. This is consistent, actually, with the one reference we do get to God’s appearance below the waist:
And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
Ezekiel 1:27 (emphasis added). So, even if God did wear pants—and He could if He wanted to—they would be too glorious for us to perceive. The bottom line is there is no Biblical evidence that He did.
It’s possible Mr. Goodman was thinking of Jesus, who of course took human form. But there’s no evidence that Jesus ever wore pants, either. In fact, the Bible never mentions “pants,” “trousers,” “pantaloons,” or anything similar. It does mention “breeches” (see Leviticus 6:9, Exodus 28:42), but that’s referring to linen underwear, not pants.
Trousers had been invented by then, but tended to be worn only by people who spent a lot of time on horseback. See, e.g., Ulrike Beck, et al., “The invention of trousers and its likely affiliation with horseback riding and mobility: A case study of late 2nd millennium BC finds from Turfan in eastern Central Asia,” 348 Quaternary International 224 (2014). In Biblical times people were much more likely to wear robes, tunics, girdles, and so forth, so that’s probably the kind of thing Jesus wore.
You could certainly speculate that if Jesus had worn pants, He would not have let them droop, but it would only be speculation. I wouldn’t legislate based on that, is all I’m saying.
Actually, I notice that Jesus did have something to say about clothing: quit worrying about it.
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? … Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Matthew 6:25, 6:31. So people should wear something, but not worry about it too much. That’s the lesson I take from all this, anyway.