The latter category, which as of this post includes the administration of certain universities, has prompted today's lament:
I have seen a great evil under the sun. Men--grown men--walking into a bathroom with masculinity fully intact, leaving clean shaven--shame faced--unable to look you in the eye as they mutter, "I feel like a 12 year old."
Christian institutions are wielding Hanun's razor, ignoring nature's lesson concerning gender-distinctive hair dynamics.
Why is this? Lewis offers a suggestion through the demon Screwtape, who says to his nephew Wormwood,
“It is the business of these great masters to produce in every age a general misdirection of what may be called sexual ‘taste’...Thus we have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male (such as the beard) disagreeable to nearly all the females — and there is more in that than you might suppose…"Of course, Lewis was not alone in this. 1,800 years before him, St. Clement of Alexandria said,
“How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at the mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them!…For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest—a sign of strength and rule.”
What if the question is not, "are men permitted to grow beards," but rather, "are men permitted to shave?"
Every Scriptural reference to the shaving of beards involves disease, idolatry, judgment, or mourning.
Indeed, it is with mourning that our beards go down to Sheol.
I ask you, when will the carnage end?