Summer Solstice Sees Strenuous Sects Sashaying
This cartoon was published in Los Angeles, California, at the top center of page 1, just below the masthead of The Evening News, July 23, 1906. The city had been rocked by what was taking place at the Azusa Street Mission. The Azusa Street Mission first opened its doors to a couple dozen worshipers on April 15. By July 22 attendance at the Mission was estimated at between 500-700 people. As a result, the city was abuzz with all that was going on. Sides were drawn. Ridicule abounded. The title, “Summer Solstice Sees Strenuous Sects Sashaying” is clearly a tongue-twister intended to ridicule speaking in tongues. July 22 was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The cartoon characters demonstrate the derogatory names being hurled at the people of the Mission. The language of “tongues” surrounding the woman at the lower left, ranges from Oopsquee [Pig Latin] to e pluribus unum [Latin] with ditties and noises as well. The poem at the bottom of the cartoon takes a shot at the extensive role that women legitimately played in the Azusa Street meetings, based upon the Mission’s understanding of Joel 2:28,29. The reference to Paul, on the other hand, is to 1 Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep silence in the church,” the position of most traditional churches at that time. This cartoon not only ridiculed the Mission, it acted as a form of free advertisement as well.