Tag Archive: Purity Culture

Dear Unmarried Evangelical Women: Can You Prove You Are a Virgin?

awesome sex

Evangelicals worship at the altar of female virginity. Premarital sex is verboten, and women are expected to maintain an intact hymen until their honeymoon. Men are expected to not dip their pens in the ink either, but rarely do Evangelical preachers mention male virginity. The reason is simple, women are viewed as gatekeepers. Evangelical boys and men are weak, pathetic horn dogs that will fuck their way through their churches unless stopped by iron-padlocked vaginas. In some circles, virgin teen girls and women sign purity contracts with their fathers, pledging to be daddy’s little girl until marriage. Frankly, I find purity contracts, along with daughter-father purity jewelry, downright creepy — especially in light of the ongoing sexual abuse scandals roiling through Evangelicalism.

Despite the monumental effort by Evangelical churches/pastors/parents to thwart their daughters from having sex before marriage, sexually aware teens and young adults do what they always have done — fuck. Smart parents teach their children about safe sex and birth control, realizing that it is more likely than not that their children will not be virgins when they walk down the wedding aisle; that is if they bother to marry at all.

In Deuteronomy 22:13-20, the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God sets forth how questions of virginity should be handled:

If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

As you can tell from this passage of Scripture, virginity worship has been around for thousands of years. The Abrahamic religions, in particular, covet hymen-intact vaginas. Husbands expect their new wives to be unsullied when they have sexual intercourse for the first time. If they find out that another penis has been there before theirs, the woman is labeled a whore and the husband is free to divorce her. Keep in mind, the Bible says nothing about male virginity. I know, I know, s-h-o-c-k!

If a man says, hey, your daughter is not a virgin, it is up to her parents to prove otherwise by providing evidence of her virginity — a blood-stained sheet. I am still at a loss to understand how a man could have sex with a woman and not “see” the blood-stained sheet underneath him and his new wife. Perhaps, the woman’s parents were lurking nearby and gathered up the sheet as soon as the deed was done. But, even then, wouldn’t they have held the sheet up to their daughter’s husband and said, see, she was a virgin. She’s yours now?! So many things in this story that don’t make sense; not that such insensibility is rare for the Bible. Remember, not only is this passage straight from the Christian God’s holy book, but it is also the never-changing law of God.

If a woman’s parents proved to the city elders that their daughter was indeed a virgin before marriage, her husband was required to stay married to her all the days of his life. Imagine THAT marriage! Imagine living with a man who accused you of being a whore and tried to have you executed. All the husband had to do to right the matter is pay 100 shekels to the father of the bride. After all, it was HIS reputation that was harmed by the husband’s accusation.

If the woman’s parents couldn’t prove their daughter’s virginity, their daughter was to be taken to the door of her father’s home and stoned to death by the men of the city. She would forever be known as a whore.

Explain to me, again, why any woman would ever want to be a Christian? (Why Would Any Woman Want to be an Evangelical Christian?)

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Jodi Heckert Pledged to Protect His Daughter’s Virginity, Now in Prison For Child Molestation

jodi heckert and daughter

Jodi Heckert and his daughter appeared in a June 14, 2014 Slate Magazine article titled “Striking Portraits of Fathers and the Daughters Whose Virginity They’ve Pledged to Protect.” (While Heckert’s daughter is now an adult, I have decided to not publish her name.) The story features the photography of David Magnusson. As a photographer, I found Magnusson’s work to be stunning (and creepily disturbing), but I do wonder, based on several of his quotes in the article, if Magnusson really understands the American purity culture. For those of us who were once a part of the patriarchy movement, David Magnusson’s photographs are reminders of the many girls who are smothered by their God-fearing, hymen-worshiping “protective” fathers. Heckert, pictured above with his 13-year-old daughter, is one such father. In August of 2015, Heckert was found guilty of attempted child molestation and sentenced to ten years in prison.

jodi heckert inmate

jodi heckert prison record

jodi heckert prison record 2

Arizona Department of Corrections Inmate Search

Here’s what Ayperi Karabuda Ecer had to say about Magnusson’s photographs:

David Magnusson’s focus is not on the individuals, it is on the relationship. The strength, the tenderness, the domination, and all the contradictions springing from adult men seeking promises which will guide young girls’ intimate lives and their infinite need for love and protection.

Each shoot takes up to an hour. That is no longer a “moment”; it is a long time to maintain intensity. Yet some of the fathers and daughters spend the hour physically clinging to each other.

The light is what makes this project visually coherent. All photographs are organized to be shot an hour and a half before dawn. Yes, it is beautiful. Many of the fathers refer to light in their interviews. One of them quotes Psalm 40: “I was plucked from a miry pit and sat into a marvellous light”, another thinks that “as Christians we’re supposed to be the light in the world.”

David Magnusson’s lighting appeals to those who pose but its airy subtlety also adds a surreal tone which contrasts with the solid convictions of the photographed. The setting seems to be from a fairy tale but we are confused by the cast.

David Magnusson knows that what is missing in a frame is as important as what is present. As fathers and daughters intensely try to embody the presence of God, one wonders what fears and hopes lie behind their mutual determination? Who are the men that inspire such fright and such need for protection? What past scars do the fathers want to redeem? Will these girls ever be able to love anyone more than their own progenitor? How much do our own demons suggest interpretations?

Purity is a personal visual project that offers a stage for intense emotions and questions.

As with all images, these carry different meanings depending on where and by whom they will be viewed. Ideally they need to be accompanied by the interviews and a balanced introduction.

But as with so many other images they will also be encountered divorced from initial purpose and control in an unpredictable journey.

Purity is a project about contradictions, love and domination, beauty and fear, relying on the very singular complexities of the photographic process.

Please take the time to view Magnusson’s photographs, and when finished please let me know what you think in the comment section.

HT: Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Hey Girlfriend: Is it a Sin to Kiss Your Boyfriend?

no kissing

No Kissing Graphic from the Pure Dating YouTube Channel

According to Baptist Scott Croft, a married man who has a readily available sex partner, any romantic physical contact between unmarried people is a sin. In a 2007 article titled, Biblical Dating: Principles for Drawing Boundaries, Croft states:

“I believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, and all romantically oriented physical activity is sexual activity. In my view, this includes premarital kissing.”

Croft believes that any romantic bodily contact between unmarried people is a sin. Hand holding? Kissing? Snuggling? Putting your arm around your boyfriend or girlfriend? Sin! Sin! Sin! Let me give you a real life illustration of how this kind of thinking works. Bethany Baird, an attractive 27-year-old Christian woman had this say when she answered the question, Should Christian Girls Kiss Before Marriage:

I’m just going to be honest from the get-go.

I’m twenty-five years old, I’ve been in two serious relationships, and I’ve never kissed a guy. It’s not because I think kissing is gross, or that I’ve never wanted to kiss. The fact is, I’m saving my very first kiss for my future husband on the day of our wedding.
Kissing is totally the norm.

In a day and age where kissing is the norm for elementary schoolers and losing your virginity in, or by high school is expected, it seems absurd and ridiculous that anyone would possibly save their first kiss for marriage.

I’m totally aware of the fact that many of you reading this might have already given your first kiss away and possibly your virginity. If so, check the note at the bottom of this post before you continue reading.

I want to take you through five points that will help you better understand why I’m saving my first kiss for marriage, and why I think you should too. Even if you’ve kissed in the past, I want to challenge you to stop kissing and start waiting from this point forward.

….

Baird gives five reasons for why young women should NEVER kiss before their wedding day:

  • Your Kiss is a gift. As the years have gone by I’ve to come to view my kiss as a gift. I view it as something very special, something I can treasure, something that I can save and share with my future husband alone…Instead of viewing your kiss as something meaningless and cheap, I want to challenge you to view it as a very expensive treasure box. It’s your job to keep your treasure safe until the person with the right key comes to unlock it.
  • Viewing guys as brothers in Christ. It’s our job as Christian girls to live out a Biblical mindset. Even if you are a dating a guy, according to Scripture he is your brother in Christ until the wedding day. It’s not until the wedding day that he switches to the husband. Only then do we see the sexual dimension come in to play. No sooner and in no other type of relationship.
  • Relationships with a purpose. We as Christian girls need to look to the Bible as our example and guidebook. The entire point of “getting to know” a guy or girl shouldn’t be for the goal of fun and pleasure, it should be for the purpose of discovering whether you two should marry.
  • What does the Bible say? The most important question you can ask yourself about romantic relationships is this, “What does the Bible say?” I realize the Bible doesn’t say “thou shalt not kiss,” but it does give us some incredible principles and some pretty clear direction on where we should be headed.
  • The Pure Bride. Did you realize that as a Christian your future marriage represents the Gospel? Just check out Ephesians 5. The chapter is filled with illustrations that compare an earthly bride and groom to Christ and the Church. A huge goal in each of those relationships is absolute purity, holiness and blamelessness. Instead of trying to scrape by until your wedding day, shoot to arrive as completely pure and undefiled as possible. Don’t ask, “How much can I get away with?” Instead ask, “How pure and undefiled can I be?”

Based on the Bible verses Baird quotes in the aforementioned post, she believes that kissing=sexual immorality. That’s right, kiss your boyfriend and you are committing sexual immorality. I will assume Baird thinks that kissing is fornication. So then, following Baird’s illogical logic to its theological conclusion, no young Christian woman who regularly necks with her boyfriend will go to heaven when she dies. I can hear Baird screaming from here, NO! NO NO! That’s NOT what I said. Yes, but it is what the Bible says. 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 states:

 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 states:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

And while we are playing the Bible Sex Manual game, let me press this issue even further and say that having thoughts about kissing someone will land a person in hell. If kissing is immoral (fornication), then thinking about it is too. The Bible is clear on this matter. Matthew 5:28 states:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Surely Baird would agree with me that a longing desire to kiss is no different from “looking on a woman to lust.” Surely, if Christian young women entertain the thought of being kissed and give off the I’ll let you kiss me vibe, they are committing, in thought and deed, fornication. If this is so, then these lustful, vile hussies shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

I feel sorry for Evangelical teenagers and young adults who have bought into the fundamentalist lie about pleasure and sexual gratification. There is a vast chasm between kissing a young man and starring in a Girls Gone Wild video. A look or a kiss does not lead to sexual intercourse unless a person wants it to. Evangelical parents emotionally cripple their children when they teach them that sexual desire and gratification must be avoided until marriage. Even masturbation, a sure-fire way of releasing sexual tension, is frowned upon, and is, in some dark corners of the Evangelical world, considered a horrible sin.

If I were given the opportunity to give sexually-aware Evangelicals a bit of advice I would tell them this:

Pleasure is not a sin. Having sexual feelings and desiring to act upon those feelings is not a sin. Being physically intimate with someone is not a sin. Forget all that you have been taught in church about sex and sin. Instead, educate yourself about human sexuality, especially birth control. You are in control of your body and sexuality. You decide when, where, how, and if you will have sex or do any of the things that lead up to sex. You do not have to do anything sexually you are not comfortable doing. Do not give in to peer pressure, nor allow anyone to pressure you into do anything sexually you don’t want to do.

Above all, remember, you are the master of your sexuality. Choose wisely.

Let me conclude this post with a no-kissing video by Nino Guarisco, pastor of H2O Campus Church (Assembly of God) at the University of Michigan. Guarisco is married, has 4 children, and freely admits that he was once a fornicator. In but a few minutes, Guarisco piles a mountain of guilt on teenagers and young adults who have already done the dirty (kissing) or are contemplating doing so.  By far, this is the worst video I have ever seen on this subject.

Video Link

Hey Girlfriend: You Only Need One Man to be Truly Satisfied!

jesus is my superman

Did you know that you only need one man in your life to be truly satisfied? That’s right, ladies. According to the Girl Defined website, young women have a hole in their hearts that can only be filled by the most awesome man e-v-e-r: Jesus.  In an undated post, guest writer Addi wrote:

I have a God-sized hole in my heart but I’ve been trying to fill that hole with a marriage-sized cork or a man-sized puzzle piece.

Neither of these were meant to fill the hole so they aren’t going to fill the emptiness.

I have learned that only one man is able to truly fulfill me.

Only one man has the ability to fully satisfy me.

We all were born with a hole in our hearts—an emptiness and void inside of us. There’s is only one man who can fill that hole and His name is Jesus Christ.

We, as girls, can try to stuff it with the things that surround us. We can choose to fill it with our desire for a relationship, our longing for a specific career, our group of friends, our greed for more possessions or more money . . . but none of these things will satisfy us—nothing of this world ever can.

….

My first thought was quite base: I know a hole that Jesus can’t fill. Only a real flesh and blood man can fill this hole. Someday, Purity ring-wearing young women will fall in love and get married. If they have not “sinned” before their wedding day, they will learn, for the first time, that there are certain things that only a man (or a vibrator or dildo) can do for them. While Jesus might be able to fill the mythical hole in their hearts, Jesus is no match for a real man with a penis.

I’m convinced that teachings like those espoused on the Girl Defined website are quite harmful. First, there is the denial of normal human sexuality. I dealt with this yesterday in a post titled, Hey Girlfriend: Eight Steps to Sex-Proof Your Life. Second, one day these young women will marry and they will carry unrealistic expectations into their marriage. Their husbands will always be second to Jesus. When their husbands don’t meet their physical or emotional needs, they will turn to Jesus, the only man who can truly satisfy their every longing. Jesus will always be a better friend, confidant, and lover.

Marriages like this are actually polygamous: husband, wife, and Jesus. Years ago, I mentioned to a close pastor friend of mine that Polly and I listened to the Carpenters during our lovemaking (it was the only secular CD we owned). My friend told me that he and his wife only listened to hymns when they made love. Even then, when I was still very much a card-carrying member of the Evangelical church, I thought, hymns? Really? What, did they play Victory in Jesus when they had orgasms?  My friend and his wife believed, and still do, that Jesus should be a part of everything. Jesus becomes a voyeur, always lurking nearby.

Someday, Addi will find that having a real man to snuggle up to on a cold winter night beats a mythical Jesus every time. When she finds herself in a dark place, when it seems that Jesus is nowhere to be found, her husband will be there for her to talk to. When pain and loss bring tears to Addi’s eyes, it won’t be Jesus who holds and caresses her and wipes away her tears. Jesus makes for a great cliché, but Addi will one day learn that the people who really matter aren’t found in the pages of a religious text.

Hey Girlfriend: Eight Steps to Sex-Proof Your Life

purity shirt

Bethany Baird is a writer for the Lies Young Women Believe website. In a post titled 8 Ways to Fight For Purity, Baird gives sexually aware young women eight ways to sex-proof their lives. If young women follow Baird’s advice, they can be certain that they will never get laid until their wedding day. Isn’t that good news?  Here’s Baird’s prescription for a sex-proof life:

  • Get in the Word.
  • Pray for strength.
  • Take up your shield of faith.
  • Confess when you fail.
  • Get rid of the bad.
  • Fill your mind with good.
  • Find a solid group of girls.
  • Get accountability.

Girlfriend, are you dating a young man who wants to get in your pants? Read the Bible, pray, and take up the shield of faith. How does this work? Evangelical Suzie is out with Billy Bob and Billy starts getting frisky. Should Suzie call a time out for Bible reading and prayer? In what universe would this EVER happen? As study after study tells us, Evangelical teenagers and young adults engage in sexual intercourse at roughly the same levels as their unsaved counterparts in the “world.” Instead of teaching sexually aware young women to be responsible for their sexuality and to plan for sexual intercourse, Baird presents a voodoo-list of spells she hopes will extinguish raging hormones. Spells, by the way, that do not work.

Baird should be honest with her readers. The only sure way to make certain young Christian women never, never do the dirty is to avoid any contact with the opposite sex, the same sex, or their index finger. If young men are the problem, shouldn’t young women just stay away from these horn dogs? Why not cut the temptation off at the source? Of course Baird won’t suggest this because she knows that young women want what young women want: boyfriends.

Baird, thanks to her fundamentalist indoctrination, lives in denial of basic human biology. Instead, she suggests that young women spiritually cross their legs, blocking access to their vagina.  The minds of young women, honed by evolution, naturally desire to mate. If this wasn’t so, our species would have perished long ago. Instead of preaching the failed gospel of purity, people like Baird would better serve their readers if they talked honestly about human sexuality. Of course they can’t do this because the Bible says that any and all sexual activity (fornication) before marriage is a sin against God.

I’m all for teenagers understanding everything there is to know about sex. From biology to contraception, teenagers need to know the facts. Far more effective than Baird’s eight steps is sexual knowledge. Equipped with this knowledge, young adults can then determine when or if they want to have sex. Telling them to Just Say No (and No including masturbation) is setting up young adults for failure. Baird knows this, but she has to justify the continuation of her ministry, so she continues to guilt young women unto ignoring their sexual desires.

Let me finish this post with several of the comments that  appeared on Baird’s 8 Ways to Fight for Purity. I think most readers will find these comments heartbreaking illustrations of what happens when young women buy into Baird’s guilt-inducing purity gospel:

(All grammar errors in the original. Each paragraph is a new comment)

I had sex outside of marriage. I feel so ashamed even if I prayed. Please pray for me. I know our God is a good and forgives but the guilt inside me is killin’ me and making me feel unworthy of God’s love.

I don’t know what to do… i masturbute. I know its wrong but I don’t feel sorry when I’m done. I don’t feel anything. I feel like I can’t stop. Pray for me!!!!’

Do you think that God still might call some young women/girls to be like Jephthah’s daughter and be dedicated to God to never marry and remain abstinate?

Love it! Sadly for me I have no Goddly girls in the area! I do have some that I have met, who are close with the Duggar family! A year ago I decided to come out of public school, and do an online school, and I am so thankful God put opportunity in my life. After a while, with all the time I had, I found the show 19 kids and Counting! They helped me to change my life (before I started to date because everyone was doing it!) So glad!!!! They helped me to realize that you don’t HAVE to do everything that the world does. God loves you, and you need to think about the future. Then I started a CHRISTIAN online school, and boy did that help! Anyway, excuse me for the long backstory. I, one day decided, to get one of my special rings that my Grammie gave me, and have it be my “purity ring!” Every time I look at it, I remind myself that God DOES care what I do and think about!!! The kind of purity I keep for myself is more on the moral side, and less on the physical purity side (because I don’t plan to date for a while, I’m 15!) So maybe you could just have your own purity ring, and wear it as a reminder! Mine isn’t fancy or anything! Hope it helps someone!

Note

Bethany Baird and her sister Kristen Clark blog at Girl Defined: Getting Back to God’s Design