O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

The All-Important Toupee Question

I have a serious question about a silly topic: preachers who wear toupees. I am not dogmatic about very many religious things. I’m pretty easygoing and tend to think, as a rule, grace is always better than judgment.

Except for this. I am judgmental about this one thing, almost all the time: I personally have a hard time respecting a preacher who wears a toupee. Seriously. In the town where I live, there are at least a couple of highly visible (and well-respected) senior pastors of large churches who disguise their baldness under a synthetic rug. They’re not fooling anyone. Pretty much everyone knows. And yet they continue to perpetrate the fraud.

The guy below is not one of them, but it makes for a good illustration, in an insane televangelist kind of way:


Anyway, toupee-wearing ministers really bother me.

Here’s the dictionary definition of the noun “lie“:

lie (n.)
1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.
So when you put fake hair on your head, isn’t it for the purpose of giving people the impression you actually have real hair? And isn’t it a deliberate presentation of something being true (“I have hair/I am not bald”) when it’s actually false?


So according to those definitions, when it comes to preachers who wear toupees — aren’t they chronic intentional liars?

Anybody else got a problem with that?

I do. Not that I’m not a liar and an egotist and a sinner myself. I am all those things. But I’m also balding. I’ve had a receding hairline for years, and you know what? I’m cool with that. I’ll eventually be bald. But you’ll never see me wearing a toupee, so this is the one stone I can throw. My opinion: Hairpieces are vain. Hairpieces are a form of lying. To me, a preacher who wears a hairpiece might as well be wearing a sign that says “I am vain and I am a liar.”


I want to trust you, Pastor Hairpiece. But I can’t, because I take one look at you and think: Liar.

I bring this up because an emailer took me to task recently for complaining about a toupee-wearing preacher in this article. Who are you to be so mean about a person’s appearance? she demanded. I felt kinda bad. For about a second. But then I realized I wasn’t mocking the preacher’s natural appearance — his natural appearance (baldness) was not on display during the church service. It was artfully hidden beneath an obvious hairpiece. I wasn’t mocking the way God made him. What I was mocking was his need to conceal the way God made him. (Anyway, mocking a bald prophet of God can have disastrous results.)

So, I want you to weigh in the issue. Am I off-base here? Am I being a jerk? Anyone else feel this way about pastors with toupees? I want your honest opinions. Comment away…

Comments read comments(8)
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tonia chapman

posted June 26, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Well, I’ve never really thought about this before, but now that you’ve brought it to my attention…I guess it is lying. I have a feeling most of those people don’t see it as such, but it does make you wonder why they feel compelled to conceal the baldness. Do they care a little too much what others think of their appearance? Hmmm. Of course, we could carry this line of thinking further and say that according to the definition of a lie, anyone using a hair coloring product is also lying. Where is the line drawn between harmless enhancements/alterations and lying when it comes to things like that? I don’t know. I just finished Pocket Guide to the Bible today…it was great!

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posted June 26, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Not just pastors. I think a toupee is ridiculous on any guy!

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posted June 27, 2008 at 6:05 pm

I have to go here… what about makeup, tanning, cosmetic surgery, highlights, fake nails… I totally agree that toupees are lame, but from your standpoint, all of the above are altering the way God made people. I’m not sure where one draws the line?

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posted June 28, 2008 at 2:14 am

there is, i think, a distinct difference between blue eye-shadow/hot-pink nail polish and a brunette hair-piece.

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Jason Boyett

posted June 28, 2008 at 8:52 am

kate:I’ve considered your point about tanning, fake nails, etc. I think there’s a nuanced difference, in that those things are enhancements of what you already have, rather than false disguises meant to give the opposite impression of what is true. Fake nails or hair highlights are building on what you’ve got. A toupee makes people think you’ve got something that you actually don’t have. A minor difference, but a significant one when it comes to this argument.And I’ll admit, it’s a pretty dumb argument anyway.Cosmetic surgery? A whole different question.Tonia:Thanks. Glad you liked the book!

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posted June 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm

I totally agree with your argument now. A toupee is a lie, and the others are enhancements. Hey, I am up for a dumb argument any time. I love to debate way too much…

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posted July 1, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I cannot respect a pastor, or anyone, without a beard. I live in a world in which the vast majority of men disguise their facial hairiness using a synthetic razor. They’re not fooling anyone.Seriously, I think you’re overreacting on this one. In my mind a hairpiece is no more offensive than makeup, and a great deal less offensive than most plastic surgery.I also think your explanation as to the difference between makeup and hairpieces is slightly off the mark. By your reasoning, a hairpiece would be permissible if the pastor were merely augmenting some small amount of natural hair.A toupee mimics youth and vitality in much the same way as any number of other activities and applications that don’t seem quite so objectionable. As long as I own a mirror and look into it semi-regularly, I consider my own glass house too fragile to start aiming at toupees.

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posted July 9, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Well, I’m not sure I’m ready to stone them crows for their crow-black hairpieces. Although they musta been stoned when they were talked into buying them. Our previous pastor had one; never liked the thing. Our current pastor dyed his hair for years before finally deciding that brushed-up gray was cool. ‘Course, he is a Texan…As if this were a serious argument, anyway! I, myself, rebelled against God’s grand design for my Earthly Glory by using Rogaine for a couple of years. Don’t waste yer fundage– just embrace the new, hairless you. God will bless you for it. With humility. ‘Cuz there’s not much there to be proud of…- Jim Bob

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