Dads Against Daughters Dating

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If this t-shirt were on The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert it would be funny; even with the target and the gun. But it’s not on Comedy Central, nor is it funny.

The t-shirt is being sold by Reformation Bookstore which is a division of Tolle Lege Press. Reformation Bookstore is one of the broadest outlets for Christian Reconstructionist books, especially those by Rousas John Rushdoony, while Tolle Lege Press has republished the 1599 Geneva Bible, with an advisory board of Reconstructionists:

Gary DeMar, president of American Vision
Marshall Foster, Founder & President of the Mayflower Institute
George Grant, Director of the King’s Meadow Study Center
Joe Morecraft III, Senior Pastor, Chalcedon Presbyterian Church
Doug Phillips , founder and president of The Vision Forum
Mark R. Rushdoony, son of Reconstructionist founder R.J. , president of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, editor-in-chief of Faith for All of Life (formerly Chalcedon Report)

The promotional materials boast that the 1599 bible was the first to include chapters and numbered verses… and was widely popular because of the marginal notes written by reformation leaders (especially John Calvin).

Tolle Lege Press and Reformation Bookstore were founded by Brandon Vallorani who now also works for Gary DeMar’s American Vision in the suburbs of Atlanta. These organization comprise a very tight knit community of men (they appear in various configurations on the boards and as employees of this handful of groups) that have widespread exposure in the conservative Christian subculture and especially in the homeschool community.

A case in point, Vallorani is also the former Executive Vice President for Answers in Genesis (AIG). You might recognize AIG as the organization that built the 7000 square foot, $27 million creation museum.

Apparently “customers who bought the t-shirt have also bought” two books, Raising Maidens of Virtue and Fathers and Daughters: Raising Polished Cornerstone, both of which lay out a strategy for raising young women to conform to “Biblical family values.”

In this core group of Christian Reconstructionists there is a biblical critique of girls or young women functioning autonomously from male authority, even in the process of finding a mate. Girls are to rely on their fathers to do this for them and remain in submission to their fathers until they have been given over to submit to their husbands. These organizations all promote literature, lectures, conferences, and other materials intended to promote this perspective, as well as the starkly delineated gender norms and expectations upon which this view is based. I’d be willing to bet the t-shirt will be showing up at homeschool conventions across the country this spring.

jingerso@unf.edu'

Julie Ingersoll is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Florida. She is the author of Evangelical Christian Women: War Stories in the Gender Battles and is currently writing a book on the influence of Christian Reconstructionism.