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NAC weighs in on clothing optional access petition?

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The Naturist Action Committee is not asking you to take specific action on this matter. However, if you've familiarized yourself with the petition, you may wish to sign it.
- NAC Advisory (Jan. 21, 2014)

It was to say the least, disappointing to see the tepid response from the Naturist Action Committee to the "We the People" petition that asks federal policy makers to expand clothing optional access to public lands. The petition initiative was in no way meant as some misguided attempt to compete with NAC or take anything away from the good work that the Naturist Action Committee has done in the past to secure the rights of naturists to live their lifestyle.

[LEARN more: The White House.gov Petition]

While the advisory states, "NAC encourages responsible grass roots activity on behalf of naturist interests, whether or not it originates with NAC," a careful reading of the advisory that represents considerably less than a ringing endorsement for the petition, which is by the way responsible grassroots activity, leaves one to wonder if NAC truly does encourage such. Perhaps the real message is, don't try this at home boys and girls, naturist activism isn't for amateurs. It is best left to the professionals.

As has been widely and openly stated from the beginning, the chief goal of the petition initiative was to engage and energize the rank and file naturist and nudist and to give them a chance to stand together and speak in a collective voice on an issue important to them. Many of us understand that our lifestyle faces more opposition from an increasingly social conservative majority than perhaps at any time since the 1950s. People who are paying attention understand that. The efforts of our national nudist and naturist organizations are more important than ever to the survival of our lifestyle and the protection of our freedom to openly live it. Some of us simply think it is also time for more individual involvement and engagement at the grassroots level.

One thing I can agree with that was included in the lukewarm NAC advisory is this: "Perhaps the only real risk from signing the petition is the chance that you'll come away with the notion that simply signing it is enough, and that the need for your personal participation and financial support has been satisfied."

That is very true and of course no one associated with the petition suggests that signing it is the end of individual responsibility or any substitute for the ongoing work of our national organization advocates.

Fact. Petitions alone are not typically going to change any policies, but that’s not the point. So many people feel powerless to do anything individually to promote change when it comes to their government and society. Petitions are simply a way for your opinions to be heard, to start a dialogue. What is most powerful about getting people to sign a petition is it's the beginning, not the end of building engagement and consensus in a community. Ideally, once this petition initiative ends, regardless of the outcome, more nudists and naturists will be encouraged to join a nudist or naturist organization, pay dues and make financial donations and find ways to stay engaged in the movement.

As far as the NAC advisory goes, I disagree with the statement, "One could perhaps observe that 'wilderness' lands may not be the most reasonable initial target for clothing-optional recreational use..." As readers know, a survey was conducted before the decision was made to launch the petition. One of the questions asked was this;

"What type of public lands would you be most likely to visit for nude recreation or naturist activities if it were available and within reasonable proximity to your home?"

Ninety-two of the respondents said both. The remaining 8-percent chose either the "national park or forests" option or the "public beaches" option alone.

Clearly, at least based on this one survey, a significant percentage of naturists are just as interested in clothing optional access to wilderness recreational areas as they are in having access to clothing optional beaches. Just because the history of an organization has always been advocacy of free beaches doesn't mean they shouldn't poll their base from time to time to see what people actually want.

The petition arguably asks for something reasonable that is perfectly within the power of government policy makers to give should they choose to do so. There really isn't a rational way to argue that the petition doesn't represent an issue squarely in the interest of most nudists and naturists.

While any individual or organization is perfectly in the right to decide whether to support or endorse the petition or not, one is left to wonder what message NAC is sending with this advisory; "The Naturist Action Committee is not asking you to take specific action on this matter. However, if you've familiarized yourself with the petition, you may wish to sign it." That isn't really support is it? Not really. So why even bother commenting?

As a member of The Naturist Society I feel I'm going to have to do some serious thinking about who I think is looking out for me and for naturists in this country, before I write another check for dues or donations.

I don't want to influence your opinion. I invite and urge you to read the NAC advisory for yourself in its entirety which you can find at: NAC Advisory - Petition to whitehouse.gov - issued: January 21, 2014. Maybe I'm completely missing the point here. But I don't think so. Read it and then you make the call. Come to your own conclusion about who is looking out for you and your interests. If you aren't satisfied with the tone of this NAC advisory, join me in letting them know. If you are that's great. Then you feel they are looking out for you and you probably should send them a check.

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