Fresh Website, Stale Theology

For years, I’ve had a common retort to those who oppose gay marriage on biblical grounds: Do you make women wear head coverings in church? That’s because prohibitions of homosexuality and head coverings have about the same amount of biblical attestation. When I ask that question, my interlocutors most often pivot to arguments from natural law. That’s because no one — NO ONE — is really a biblical literalist. We all live on the slippery, relativistic slope of biblical interpretation.

Well, now there’s a slick new website that claims there’s a “movement” to bring back head coverings in worship. Oh, I should mention, it’s head coverings for women only — they don’t seem to be interested in the Torah commandment that men cover their heads while at prayer.

As is often the case in such things, you can’t find out much about the “movement” on its website. You can find a link to the “movement’s” founder (and possibly its sole member), Jeremy Gardiner. He writes about himself,

I’m an entrepreneur who was born to work in front of a computer. I’m the founder of Gospel eBooks & The Head Covering Movement. I also do security for Republic of Doyle (TV Show).

I’m part of the hip-hop culture and love rap music. I’m a hockey fan who cheers for the Edmonton Oilers. I love technology.

And, it seems, he loves to subordinate his women.

Anyway, I’m not saying that Jeremy is a bad guy. He seems to be a pretty good web designer. But his theology stinks.

  • 2TrakMind

    From the head covering website… “The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church…?” – R.C. Sproul

    Uhhhh, no. You see, after nearly 2,000 years, people finally began to realize that there was a new covenant in place, and all of the old rules (such as covering your head), which Gentiles were never bound by in the first place, had been done away with. But don’t bother reading about it in the New Testament. You really won’t like the other things that we don’t have to do anymore, like sacrifice lambs and sprinkle blood, or even abide by the Ten Commandments…or tithe! ***Gasp*** My God; what has the world come to?

    • 2TrakMind

      OK, so I spouted off a bit prematurely. His site does use the 1 Corinthians 11 instruction for women to cover their heads when praying, but it also says that women have long hair as a covering, so it seems redundant for a woman to cover her head a second time.

    • dapowellii

      The NT also says women should be silent in church, but that isn’t practiced nowadays either.

      • curtismpls

        WELS practices a form of this. Women are not allowed to teach men, or to vote on church matters.

  • stephendhood

    Women put a cover or hat on their heads in the Episcopal Church in large numbers until the mid 70s. Then, the practice ended for the most part. There were no fights at General Convention or multi-year studies. The women just began showing up without coverings. Now, I’m sure there are a few places that have fought this practice, and there are still women in my congregation that cover their heads, but I haven’t ever heard anyone lament the fact that women stopped the practice despite Paul’s protestations to the women of Corinth. I often use this example as how the church sometimes changes without anyone really noticing. In some Anglo-catholic parishes that continue this practice, the men, especially the clergy, often cover their heads as well.

  • Sofia

    I’d be opposed to this “movement” no matter who started it, but the fact that it’s a man is even more repulsive. God forbid we regress to this kind of ridiculous oppression: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/05/iranian-swimmer-elham-asghari

  • Joy

    Actually, it never went away – some Mennonites still do this. I grew up in a church that practised this and have family members that still do.

  • sdd63

    Don’t know what religious community they’re from but we do have some women in our town who never seem to appear in public without head coverings and long, plain dresses. It must be either a house church of some sort or the independent church that I know little about.

  • http://www.djchuang.com/ djchuang

    Hmmm… and if one had international sensitivities, this kind of a movement is quite relevant in parts of the world where women cover more than just their head most of the time, a la the Middle East.. this could be revolutionary for the next phases of Arab Spring..

  • Pat68

    R.C. Sproul is quoted on the homepage of the heacovering site:

    “The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church…? – R.C. Sproul”

    I wonder if Sproul still adheres to this belief.

  • Lisa Carson

    Thanks for this – keeping us informed and whatnot. Hey Tony, this reminds me of this huge conversation we all seem to be having in regards to – bible, family, and God – It seems to be within everything, and when we don’t quite know what to do, or how to view family and children/generational needs, we tend to revert into re-trending ideas based within the inability to really know. It would be interesting in an attempt to get into more of that family-questioning and actual needs (verses society based constructed needs/peer pressure, “what mom’s do”, “what dad’s do”) to ask people that have had to step outside the norm (divorce, death of partner, foster children, gay parents/children of, etc) what they learned in terms of the realized needs of one another and the children or what was – through that experience – revealed as not really needed, or what is needed. Probably reflect on this later….

  • Susan Paxton

    If you watch EWTN, there are a couple diehards who wear mantillas during their televised mass. You couldn’t get that near my head.

  • Erin KT

    Might this be satire?


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