Fact-checking the widely cited reason the Christian retail chain is not carrying Rachel Held Evans’s book.
News item: LifeWay Christian Stores has opted not to carry Rachel Held Evans’s new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. While she has publicly stated that she has not been told the reason the retail chain won’t stock the book, she has also said in several recent interviews that it is because she used the word vagina. A few recent examples:
“I don’t know if they were more offended by my vagina or my brain,” she says with a laugh. “The only thing I know is that my editor said, if you leave this word in, there’s a good chance LifeWay won’t carry it.” — Slate
“‘LifeWay hadn’t even seen the manuscript yet,” she says. “This is just sort of standard procedure.'” — Religion Dispatches
“Rachel Held Evans noted in our interview with her that the word penis is used more than once in Lifeway-carried books, so why is it that vagina is particularly scandalous?” — Christian Piatt
“Evans had allowed other mild profanities (damn,kick-ass) to be stripped from her manuscript, but she drew the line at vagina. Her publisher, Thomas Nelson, allowed her to keep it in, but their fears proved correct. … She’ll lose a handful of readers who would have picked up her book at LifeWay thanks to its excellent title and cover.” – The Daily Beast
Could it really be true that LifeWay has banned the word vagina?
Judge for yourself. Here are a few of the chain’s selections, with the number of times they use the word.
A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy by Douglas E. Rosenau
86 (plus images)
The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment by Clifford & Joyce Penner
73 (plus …