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by Abigail Van Buren

Churchgoers in Casual Attire Get Reader's Dressing Down

DEAR ABBY: Periodically you invite your readers to "dump on Abby." My beef might seem trivial to many, and if that's the case, "Sorry about that!" but I am tired of seeing tourists in my hometown church dressed in sweatshirts, blue jeans, even shorts! Some might praise the fact that these ill-dressed folk bother attending church while they're on vacation, but why do they slight we year-round residents with their ultra-casual mode of dress?

I recall church at East Coast resort areas when some visitors, the famous among them, dressed casually -- but where most of the congregation were respectfully attired. The issue has reached the point where I, in nifty outfits, feel almost embarrassed for myself. Heaven forbid I should abandon my finery to blend in with the tourists!

At one packed August service last year, a woman with a head of cascading hair wore a halter top, giving the impression to those in pews in back of her that she was topless! Male, female, huge legs, shapely legs, hairy legs -- shorts are the "norm." Lack of consideration for year-round parishioners in resort communities is a sin. Please, dear visiting worshippers -- God loves you all, but give the locals a break. Dress with respect. AMEN! -- AIN'T NO SAINT IN OREGON

DEAR AIN'T NO SAINT: I, too, come from a generation where we were taught to dress up when visiting a house of God. However, in the last few decades, the old "rules" have relaxed considerably. People come to church to heal their souls and gain inspiration for living, and if you are focusing on what you and the other worshippers are wearing, I respectfully suggest that you are focusing on the wrong thing. REPENT!