Pat Downs and Full Body Scans

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….” This is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Do full body scans and full body pat-downs at airports violate the Fourth Amendment? A former Assistant Administrator for the TSA affirmed, “Nobody likes to have their 4th Amendment [rights] violated going through a security line, but [the] truth of the matter is, we’re gonna have to do it.” And so the official position of the United States seems to be to casually violate its own rule of law. Thus we are in danger of becoming a country ruled by men rather than by law. Yes, the above is old news. But it provides food for thought.

There is a higher law to which governments and individuals, especially Christians, must bow. It is God’s law. The Seventh Commandment stipulates, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). What does this commandment require? It requires “chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior”; and in addition, it requires “modesty” (WLC, 138). Among other things, the Seventh Commandment also forbids “immodest apparel” and “lascivious pictures” (WLC 139).

Reports are that full body scans may reveal nakedness. Depending upon machine settings and/or the manipulation of images, there are various levels of detail. And if reports are accurate, full body pat-downs involve government agents reaching into undergarments and touching private body parts. This includes improperly touching small children. You be the judge. Are these activities government sanctioned violations of the Seventh Commandment?

Not only so, note the Bible’s view of nakedness. Listen to Nahum 3:5, “‘Behold, I am against you,’ declares the LORD of hosts; ‘And I will lift up your skirts over your face, And show to the nations your nakedness And to the kingdoms your disgrace’.” Nakedness is a sign of God’s judgment upon Nineveh. Jeremiah speaks of Jerusalem in a similar way. “Jerusalem sinned greatly, Therefore she has become an unclean thing. All who honored her despise her Because they have seen her nakedness” (Lamentation 1:8).

It is inevitable that images from naked body scans are leaked and posted on the internet. This already seems to be the case. Think about it. If the nakedness of Americans is put on display before a watching world, is the government’s inappropriate touching and the revelations of this nakedness a sign of God’s judgment?

What must we do? First, we must answer several questions. Do TSA requirements really involve us as Christians in violations of the Seventh Commandment? If this is the case, should we submit to full body scans and full body pat-downs? Can husbands allow their wives or parents allow their children to undergo such procedures? Is this the place to take a stand? What are the consequences? Should Christians avoid flying? How does Acts 5:29 fit? “We must obey God rather than men.”

Implementation of God’s commandments, the Seventh Commandment included, is not always easy. It requires diligent study, both individually and corporately. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Second, in this particular case, obedience to the Seventh Commandment also requires us to pray for our leaders and for our country, both individually and corporately. “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

Denny Prutow

2019-05-10T08:05:19-05:00 May 13th, 2019|