Lake Tiberias is a cool, clear lake in the middle of an arid landscape – a refreshing place to take a swim. It’s also known for being the lowest freshwater lake in the world, with its surface at 693 feet below sea level.
Lake Tiberias is where, in August of 2011, Congressman Kevin Yoder, along with a group of 19 other Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, took a swim. The group had gone out to dinner, and and then had some alcoholic drinks, before they leaped into Lake Tiberias for a quick dip.
For Representative Yoder, that dip was a skinny dip. He took off his clothes before he got into the water. Most of the other members of Congress took off some of their clothes to swim, while others claim to have gone into the water fully clothed, presumably in their business suits, as the group had come straight from a day of meetings with local political leaders.
Okay, so Kevin Yoder went skinny dipping. What’s so odd about that? Most people have gone swimming naked at some point in their lives, usually at a time when they haven’t thought ahead to bring a swimsuit with them. That’s what seemed to have happened with Kevin Yoder. It was dark. Yoder says that his swim lasted only 10 seconds of so.
Nobody was hurt. No complaints were made by anybody. Despite this, the Federal Bureau of Investigations was called in to make a formal inquiry.
The reason that the FBI began an investigation into this harmless nighttime swim is that Lake Tiberias, the body of water in which Kevin Yoder swam, is mentioned in the Christian Bible, with the name Sea of Galilee.
Yoder has described his own actions as a serious violation of public trust, saying that “The gravity of the situation and the actions I’ve taken are not lost on me, and I feel certainly regret at what has occurred, and I just want to apologize to my constituents…” Gravity? Where’s the gravity? The whole thing sounds rather lighthearted to me.
Swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee, which some literalist Christians believe is the location of an ancient miracle, has been deemed offensive by some people. But why? Such a swim is what ancient people living around Lake Tiberias probably would have done.
I don’t particularly like the politics of Kevin Yoder, but I don’t want to see Yoder’s re-election campaign fail just because he took a nice relaxing swim.
Let the voters in Yoder’s district hold him accountable because he’s voted against greenhouse gas limits that would prevent future devastating droughts like the one his constituents are currently suffering through. Let voters reject Yoder because he’s supported, without reform, the renewal of Big Brother surveillance against Americans through the Patriot Act.
Skinny dipping? That’s just not politically relevant. It’s time to call the Prude Patrol off the case.