The right to bare all
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If you go out in the woods today, you could be in for a big surprise. You could see some bares.
That has already occurred in Ontario's cottage country, where a Bracebridge man is in court arguing it's OK to go for a walk in the park or turn up at the A&W drive-thru without any clothes on.
Brian Coldin, whose very name induces shrinkage, is a self-declared Christian Naturist. He believes the section of the Criminal Code governing nudity violates the constitution. And he has some high-priced legal talent on his side, including the fully and handsomely attired Clayton Ruby.
My favourite moment in the trial to date came when the fast food clerk who took Coldin's order was driven to tears as she testified she could see his genitals during the incident. It's simply something they don't tell you about at Burger University. ("Be sure to ask if he wants fries with that.")
This is not the first time Naked Man has been in trouble with the law - he says he has been picked up by the (long-suffering) police more than 200 times. And he still hasn't got the sense to cover himself. He thinks the police are trying to prevent him from practising his Christian Naturist beliefs. I thought Christ was a Scientist, not a nudist. I must be confused.
While section 174 of the Criminal Code could probably use an overhaul - theoretically, if you get caught coming out of the shower in your own home after forgetting to pull the curtains, you could get busted - imagine if Coldin wins and every Tom, er, Dick and Harry who wants to let it all hang out can and does.
It's not a pretty picture. You can bet that most people compelled to make a spectacle of themselves will be near-sighted. Really good-looking people are rarely inclined to take it all off at the A&W. Probably because it might cause nearby Christian Naturists to join in the fun.
Of course, Naked Man enjoys the support of the president of the Federation of Canadian Naturists, who points out that casual nudity should not be in the same league as "theft, robbery, assault and murder." Well, maybe not murder.
But they're asking the wrong people. Whose rights are really in peril here? People who want to ride the bus naked? Or the rest of us who will be forced to bare witness to their folly?
Stand up and be counted. And just make sure your pants stand up along with you.