Is This The Most Sexist Christian Book Ever Written?


Is This The Most Sexist Christian Book Ever Written?

Every once in a while I stumble down an internet rabbit hole.

Usually, it ends up just being a giant waste of time that I’ll never get back (even though it may have seemed profoundly entertaining at the time). But sometimes the journey through the rabbit hole leads to something worthwhile.

Such was the case today.

After a lot of clicking I came to a website that, as a church history guy, I just love. It’s called Old Time Religion and the guy that curates it – Jim Linderman – has amassed a fascinating collection of vintage Christian tracts, pictures of old fashioned revivals, and many other wonderful religious artifacts.

Of course, not everything is wonderful in the sense that it is inherently good. Some of it evokes wonder that such a travesty could ever exist.

Such was the case with this traveshamockery.

(Credit: Jim Linderman)

In this 1941 classic, evangelist John Rice laments the downfall of femininity….

Oh, women, what have you lost when you lost your femininity! When you bobbed your hair, you bobbed your character, too. Your rebellion against God’s authority as exercised by husband and father, has a tendency, at least, to lose you all the things that women value most. If you want reverence and respect from good men, if you want protection and a good home and love and steadfast devotion, then I beg you to take a woman’s place! Dress like a woman, not like a man. Have habits like a woman. And if you want God to especially bless you when you pray, then have on your head a symbol of the meek and quiet spirit which in the sight of God is of such great price.

And he warns that if women cut their hair too short, they could cause angels to sin….

Thus, when a woman with bobbed hair and a rebellious heart comes to pray, angels who are near and see her head and see her heart are tempted to sin; are tempted to commit the sin which such women commit, the sin of rebellion against authority. Because of the angels, every woman should wear long hair and be careful that she does not have a rebellious heart lest she should be a curse to the angels God has sent to be our ministers and guardians.

Personally, I had no idea that angels were so easily swayed by a haircut, but I guess you do learn something new everyday.

Theological revelations notwithstanding, I’m not sure what amazes me more: the incredible fact that this book is still available for purchase (albeit at an absurd price) or the sad reality that the church is still filled with people who enthusiastically embrace John Rice’s misogynistic gospel.