The pastor said he realized his ban was a "ridiculous ultimatum" when he went out shopping with his 10-year-old daughter for "a cute-but-appropriate one-piece bathing suit" but couldn't find anything good.
For more than 20 years of working as a pastor, Bryce Brewer would force young girls to wear only one-piece swimsuits to church-related events. But today, he calls his ban on bikinis a "ridiculous ultimatum" and can't believe the number of girls he tormented by making them feel like they needed to be responsible for a man's behavior. In a public apology that has now gone viral, the youth pastor said that he realized how hard it was to find "a cute one piece that would be appropriate for camp" after he went shopping with his fiancée and his 10-year-old daughter, according to New York Post.
"I wandered with them through several department stores and through Target trying to find a cute-but-appropriate one-piece bathing suit and they're very very difficult to find," Bryce told TODAY Parents. "I watched a frustration build with both of them, almost a dejection." Eventually, he realized that he had been making young girls carry a burden that wasn't theirs to worry about in the first place.
"I wondered, how many young ladies did I subject to this event over 20 years of ministry?" the preached said. "Times when, because of me, they were desperately searching for a one-piece bathing suit and couldn’t find one?"
After the disappointment he felt during the shopping trip with his daughter, the pastor came back home and wrote an apology for his "ridiculous ultimate" of making girls at summer camp wear only one-piece swimsuits. "I am sorry that I didn’t teach boys to control themselves," the pastor wrote on Facebook. "...I am sorry I laid the weight of purity on a girls swimsuit while she was swimming, and not on the boys responsibility to not be gross."
"I am sorry to all the girls that frantically searched for an appropriate one piece so that some male youth pastor could deem them appropriate," he added. "...I am sorry that we have deemed a young women’s body as something that 'needs to be covered' and let young men’s bodies be ok to be seen..."
The pastor also acknowledged how it's usually men who feel the need to judge what is fit and not fit for women in such religious settings. "I am sorry I ever let this be an item of discussion, usually lead by men, at any youth leader meeting... this must have been awful for my female leaders and students to be part of," he added.
"I am still a fan of the 'No Produce Rule' - No buns, bananas, or breasts need to be seen," the pastor wrote. "But why are stomachs overtly sexual? Why is a little cleavage sinful? Why are women meant to feel they are responsible for men’s actual sin of lust?" "I am sorry if you felt sexualized by us telling you to cover up," he went on to say. "I am sorry I didn’t teach boys to be men, and laid that responsibility on young women."
While speaking to TODAY Parents, Bryce also said, "Women are all shaped differently and for a male to come in and say what a female should wear? That's the most ridiculous thing in my head now. Those conversations and meetings? It breaks my heart that I said some of the things I did. I was totally missing the point."
As he concluded his apology on Facebook, he told female students to "wear a swimsuit that lets you have fun" at camp. And to the male sutdents, he said, "stop being disgusting and control yourself."
In a message to his fellow youth pastors, Bryce added: "Stop being chauvinist and making female students feel bad for having breasts."
Cover image: Representational (Source: Getty Images | Photo by kafl)