Purity ring, not the Canadian synth pop band, but the affirmation that true love waits. Remember Rebecca St. James singing Wait for Me (2000)? Since she finally married herself, she lets her fans waiting for new albums. Chastity was and still is a favorite topic to preach about in (evangelical) churches. Practices are different, divorce rates among Christians are comparable to non-believers, but still, picture perfect as norm. Since the 1990s, the Purity Movement has been at the center of the national sexual conversation, including White House-issued abstin ence programs. What’s the effect on the generations since then?
Filmmakers Matt Barber and Brittany Machado interview leaders in the True Love Waits campaign, such as Richard Ross, critics of it, academics, and—most effectively—normal people who were hurt by it and others who still willingly follow its tenets. The result is is the 87 minutes Kickstarter funded documentary Give Me Sex Jesus.
“Jesus, don’t come back before I’m married and have sex.”
Pastor Tim Gaydos (Mars Hill Church): “You are worshiping God when you’re having an orgasm, sex is worship.” He laughs about the need for cold showers no remove his arousal. His fellow pastor, Mars Hill Church founder Mark Driscoll, warned that masturbation is only acceptable if you can somehow do it without lusting, and also wrote a book in which he endorses anal sex.
Scott Salamat (Calvary Chapel): “If you masturbate, you’re gay, because you’re making love to another man.” Frank Schaeffer laughs about the inability for evangelical preachers to go out to the streets and take the Leviticus-based sexual education 100% seriously, since it would require penalties like stoning a lot of times.
Have a watch yourself. The documentary streams for free on Vimeo. If you want to read more, try:
- Naked and Ashamed: Women and Evangelical Purity Culture (Amanda Barbee)
- Purity Culture as Rape Culture: Why the Theological Is Political (Dianna E. Anderson)
- The impact of the American Purity Movement on women and women’s rights: Why the anti-prostitution and sexual equality campaigns did not succeed in the United States (Samuel, Kristina)