NAC Advisory
Naturists Meet with Congressman Mark Foley

July 7, 2003

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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                             ADVISORY
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                 http://www.naturistsociety.com/NAC/
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DATE   : July 7, 2003
SUBJECT: Naturists meet with Rep. Mark Foley
TO     : All naturists

Dear Naturist,

This morning a coalition of naturists met with U.S. Rep. Mark Foley on the matter of his public posture and comments concerning youth camps at naturist facilities. The meeting, which took place in Rep. Foley's Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, district office, lasted close to an hour. It was followed by a well attended press briefing and interview availability session presented by the naturist coalition in a meeting room of a nearby hotel.

BACKGROUND

Based solely on a New York Times newspaper article that appeared on June 18, the Congressman has labeled youth camps at nudist facilities to be a "reprehensible exploitation of children," and he has called for the immediate closure of what he calls a legal "loophole" that "subjects impressionable youths to denigrating and dangerous behavior and could expose them to pedophiles."

Naturists, of course, take vigorous exception to this vile misrepresentation of one of the ways in which naturist parents may involve their children in their family recreational and lifestyle choices.

The youth camp featured in the Times article was put on by the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and the Florida Association for Nude Recreation (FANR), a regional affiliate of AANR. The newspaper article itself was the result of a recent media blitz by AANR and its hired public relations firm.


THE COALITION

The Naturist Action Committee participated in this morning's action in close cooperation with a coalition that included B.E.A.C.H.E.S. Foundation, South Florida Free Beaches / Florida Naturist Association, Central Florida Naturists, Sunsport Gardens and The Naturist Society. Also in attendance was a representative of the Christian naturist community, as well as a youth who had attended a recent nude youth camp, and the boy's grandmother.

Coordination for the collaborative activity was provided by Shirley Mason of B.E.A.C.H.E.S.

AANR and FANR were both invited to be a part of the coalition facing Foley directly on this issue. Both AANR and FANR declined to participate.


THE MEETING

Naturist participants met with Foley in his office at 9 a.m. and immediately let the Congressman know that they were displeased with his characterization of them and the irresponsible accusations he had tossed about. The meeting remained civil, but there was a definite edge to it throughout.

Naturists pointed out that nude youth camps have an enviable record for protecting the children involved. In fact, if one were simply looking toward the protection of children, instead of trolling for a campaign issue, there are many other types of youth camps that are statistically far more deserving of attention and scrutiny. Naturists challenged Rep. Foley to use his influence to improve the safety of children at all camps generally, rather than focusing on nude youth camps as a target for his unwarranted attacks.

The participants promised to provide Rep. Foley with additional material to assist his further education on the topic. Foley committed to a review of his inflammatory rhetoric, and he agreed to an immediate modification of his web site.

Recognizing that chances were slim that Foley would comply, naturists nevertheless demanded that the Congressman send a followup letter to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, reflecting the new understanding he'd acquired as a result of this morning's meeting.


COMMENT

Mark Foley was polite and attentive. He certainly was generous with his time. As a result of this morning's meeting undoubtedly had his eyes opened to some facets of this issue. However, it's not clear how much he's willing to back off.

Indeed, much of the damage has already been done. A state lawmaker in Texas has already filed a legislative bill to outlaw nude camps for children, and a Florida lawmaker has threatened to do the same. Both are direct results of the frenzy whipped up by Mark Foley with his unresearched and overblown reaction to the New York Times article.

Even if Rep. Foley appears conciliatory at the moment, we must not lose sight of the fact that Mark Foley has not suddenly become a friend to naturists.


WHAT CAN I DO?

This is an Advisory. The Naturist Action Committee is NOT asking for your action at this time


PLEASE HELP NAC HELP NATURISTS IN FLORIDA AND ELSEWHERE

The Naturist Action Committee exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. NAC is a volunteer nonprofit
organization that relies on the grass roots participation of naturists
who understand that individuals working together can make a difference.

NAC has no membership roster on which to assess dues, and it relies
completely on voluntary contributions from concerned and involved
naturists like you. Monitoring lawmakers across North America is
expensive, but NAC knows that it's necessary for the protection of our
freedoms.

Won't you take a moment to help NAC by sending a generous donation? You may send your donation to the address below, or you may call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard or Visa.

  NAC
  PO Box 132
  Oshkosh, WI 54903
 

Thank you for choosing to make a difference!

Naturally,

Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

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Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton      - <ctnudists@aol.com>
Board Member Morley Schloss    - <morleynaturist@hotmail.com>
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick - <naturist@sunclad.com>
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