Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence

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Oxford University Press, 2015 - Religion - 219 pages
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First taking hold of the American cultural imagination in the 1990s, the sexual purity movement of contemporary evangelicalism has since received considerable attention from a wide range of media outlets, religious leaders, and feminist critics. Virgin Nation offers a history of this movement
that goes beyond the Religious Right, demonstrating a link between sexual purity rhetoric and fears of national decline that has shaped American ideas about morality since the nineteenth century.

Concentrating on two of today's best known purity organizations, True Loves Waits and Silver Ring Thing, Sara Moslener's investigation reveals that purity work over the last two centuries has developed in concert with widespread fears of changing traditional gender roles and sexual norms, national
decline, and global apocalypse. Moslener highlights a number of points in U.S. history when evangelical beliefs and values have seemed to provide viable explanations for and solutions to widespread cultural crises, resulting in the growth of their cultural and political influence. By asserting a
causal relationship between sexual immorality, national decline, and apocalyptic anticipation, leaders have shaped a purity rhetoric that positions Protestant evangelicalism as the salvation of American civilization.

From the purity reformers of the nineteenth century to fundamentalist leaders such as Billy Graham and Carl F.H. Henry, Moslener illuminates the evolution of a strain of purity rhetoric that runs throughout Protestant evangelicalism.

 

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Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Moslener, a professor of religion at Central Michigan University, traces the development of Christian rhetoric around sexual purity through the 19th and 20th centuries, with a focus on the links drawn ... Read full review

Contents

Sexual Purity and National Security
1
1 Sexual Purity and Civilization Work in the 19th Century
16
Religious Revival and Sexual Deviance in the Cold War Era
48
3 Making Family Values
77
4 New Purity Revolution
109
5 Performing Sexual Purity in the Media Age
130
Fear and Accommodation in the Contemporary Purity Culture
154
Notes
169
Bibliography
195
Index
209
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About the author (2015)


Sara Moslener is Assistant Professor of Religion at Central Michigan University.

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