Forget what you’ve read in the media about an angry, hard-line, fundamentalist movement of preachers demanding the death penalty after a child is punished for a dance. As someone who has worked closely with the group and attended its events for a dozen years, I can tell you that those groups are actually the opposite. They’re the most well-adjusted, most tolerant groups of Christian ministers. They embrace the idea that there’s nothing inherently wrong about sex outside of marriage. They’re very open about sex and sexuality and even make sure that people are comfortable asking questions. They’re not very intolerant in how the religious are treated. For them, it’s not only OK to have sex with your partner and have children, they think there’s nothing wrong with that, and people actually really like it.
There are thousands of organizations doing this stuff all over the world. But the Bible Belt movement doesn’t have the following like it has on the West Coast. They do not do “picketing,” because they see it as an act of violence. They’ve just started doing “biblical fasting” — they go to church on weekdays during fasting time, but they don’t have any of the ritual associated with it, and they don’t do “priesthood fasting” — because they don’t want to get labeled as crazy. They’ll do any of this just to be inclusive. If someone doesn’t like it, that’s fine.
“I’m very respectful of my elders,” one of the women says.
But there are still the issues about being a member of a Baptist denomination.
We’ve really, really grown to respect our elders. This group has actually been really supportive of me going out and getting tattoos to get more recognition. As a church, it should support people’s sexual choices, in general. And as adults, it should let us know that they have a lot more than we do. I’ve got to be careful about things like tattoos and fasting and all of that, because that’s how people can see me to be an outcast. It’s just like they used to do to women in the past: They would take us, and then they’d beat us or just beat us. And it’s really the whole idea that I’m just as important and as worthy as they are.
I asked my sister-in-law where she thought the evangelical movement was headed in five years, but she’s not sure. I mean, it’s still a very
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