Secret Keeper Girl: An Inside Look at Evangelical Cognitive Dissonance


High-heeled shoes for 10-year-olds. String bikinis for children who’ve not yet hit puberty. Shirts with slogans that promote “sexiness” to young children.

Dannah Gresh and Suzy Weibel, founders of Secret Keeper Girl, point to these as signs of our culture’s modesty and sexualization crisis, and they believe a mother’s relationship with her daughter is of utmost importance in fixing it.

Secret Keeper Girl (SKG), an evangelical Christian ministry aimed at girls ages 8 to 12, publishes and hosts books, devotions, trips, and tours. The group believes in Christian purity and modesty—women need to save their “secrets” (their bodies) for their husbands at marriage. To accomplish this, they promote loving Jesus, being close to one’s mothers, and dressing modestly.

SKG’s recent Crazy Hair Tour came to my town on November 7. It was being hosted at my old church, and was sponsored by the local Christian music station. I decided to go.

The night kicked off as one would expect, with fun, energetic games and songs, before diving into the kid-oriented lessons and memorized Bible verses. The Virginia-based all-woman group One Girl Nation sang and helped out with the event throughout the night.

The first thing I noticed was the pink. It was everywhere—absolutely everywhere. The stage was covered by a large set featuring the SKG logo in bright shades of pink, and many of the girls in attendance, most of them skewing younger than 10, were wearing the color.

The second thing I noticed was the ableism. The theme of the evening was “choosing to be crazy for God,” based on a verse from 2 Corinthians (translation from The Message):

If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.

The idea is a common one in Christianity—separating yourself from people in the rest of the world by not going along with their sinful ways and being willing to be called a “freak” or “crazy.” However, the entire evening was based around the idea that being “crazy” was a choice that religious people made. Such an ethic contributes to the erasure of people who struggle with mental illness and the idea that they are genuinely “crazy.” This use of “crazy” erases people like me, who has found much solace and normality in finally treating an ongoing anxiety and depressive disorder and who took a Xanax shortly before attending the event.

Beauty is a hot topic in evangelicalism, and the Secret Keeper Girl show was no exception. The one bright spot within their discussion of beauty was an affirmation of non-feminine gender presentation. Suzy Weibel told a story of how she was a softball player and an athlete for many years; she loved it and was good at it. But she gave it up in her mid-teens because she was told that it wasn’t attractive to boys. She didn’t play again until she was in her 20s. Weibel has short curly brown hair and wears clothing that, while modest, doesn’t align with traditionally feminine clothes—no skirts, very little makeup, and almost no jewelry. It is helpful and good for little girls in the church to see a model of feminine expression that is not all dresses and pink. However, as the evening ended, there was a “fashion show” that undercut any good that may have come from Weibel’s speech in the first half. In seeking to be “not of this world,” in Christian-speak, the speakers discussed 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NIV):

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

There’s a certain irony in this verse being used at an event where young girls were encouraged to show up with elaborate hairstyles.

What’s more, many Biblical scholars have read these verses to be about inordinate displays of class and wealth—fine jewelry and hair being ways to say “I have money!” in Biblical times. As such, “modesty” in that context isn’t so much about not showing skin, but rather preventing division because of classism.

This isn’t how Secret Keeper Girl read it, though. Jordan Smith, one of the evening’s hosts, suggested that these verses mean that we need to be beautiful from the inside out, that chasing after Jesus and working on the “fruits of the Spirit” will make us more beautiful and attractive. The verse, Smith said, was meant to “push us into goodness, not into making a bunch of rules. But, the verse does mention clothing.”

What followed was a rapidfire round of “Truth or Bare” tests for whether or not one’s clothing is showing too much skin. “God wants nothing of how we dress to distract from the good things we are doing for Him,” Smith said.

Instead of wearing short skirts like the “mean girls” at school, the Christian girl puts on leggings or wears pants. In the “raise and praise” test, the young girl’s belly should not show when she raises her hands above her head to praise God; if it does, she needs to go to the boys’ clothing section and get a long tank top to layer. And if you put your hand palm down on your chest under your collarbone, you should only have shirt showing below your pinky finger.

When Smith asked the crowd, “Is it ever OK for a Secret Keeper Girl to wear a low-cut top?” the crowd said “NO!”

The organizers then trotted out girls ranging in age from 6 to 12 for a “modesty fashion show,” meant to demonstrate that you can look good while being modest.

For all its affirmation of little girls’ intelligence and humor, it’s hard to get past the cognitive dissonance inherent in Secret Keeper Girl’s modesty doctrine: We shouldn’t care about how the world perceives us, unless we’re talking about our clothing, in which case that’s the only thing that matters.

At 6 years old, children don’t need to be worrying about whether or not their shirt shows “cleavage.” And they shouldn’t be taught that wearing a short skirt is a sign of being “ungodly.” This marriage of spirituality and misogynistic social mores is a dangerous cocktail that teaches women to fear their own bodies and fear each other. It teaches these young girls that the clothing they wear is just as important as who they are as a person. In spite of the earlier messages about “accepting who you are,” the resounding lesson of the evening is that how you present yourself physically matters much more than your attitude or beliefs.

Much of the problem with these modesty rules is not only the mixed messages it gives Christian women, but how it sets up white, thin, able-bodied women as the ideal. The physical tests of clothing challenges—raising your arms, bending over, sitting down cross-legged—are dependent upon the girl being able-bodied. Other tests—the palm on chest, for example—are dependent on the person being thin and flat-chested. God help the girls who grow up to have 36DDs.

Such teaching is also based on classism. The sold-out event, which cost $15 per person, contained advice to “just go buy some leggings or pants or a new tank top.” It seems to have not occurred to these leaders that their modesty teachings can only be put in practice by those who can afford to go shopping frequently.

The group also does Christian charity, and one of its charitable acts is taking the Secret Keeper Girl tour into “inner-city New York”—the Bronx and Brooklyn—for free. It’s hard to see a campaign led by suburban white women to teach “inner-city” kids not to wear short skirts as anything but condescending.

The Secret Keeper Girl campaign has some good intentions—the organizers want young girls to realize their worth and to affirm girls as they are. But they fall into a trap that plagues many gendered evangelical charities; trying not to sexualize while emphasizing a modesty perspective ends up promoting superficial rules at the cost of a Godly perspective. And by targeting women, the group itself feeds into the legacy of patriarchal rules and oppression.

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  • aspromised

    Surely this emphasis on clothing and covering-up reminds us of some other religions…?

    • CJ99

      No doubt if the christian extremists had their way we’d start seeing female circumscision (mutilation in reality) appearing here in North America as well.

      • Sieben Stern

        right? because you can’t be considered pure for your husband unless you bleed. *sighs* :/

        • CJ99

          and the lifetime of health problems & pain that go with it. It’s an ugly thing that benefits NOONE! I wouldn’t be a man if I forced that on anybody.

  • sakaly22

    Another consideration is how this “being modest” and keeping your “secrets” hidden also feeds into our rape culture, in which a women who is sexually assaulted/raped can be blamed if she was dressed less “modestly” than Secret Keepers feels a woman should dress. This mentality could also lead to a false sense of security that being dressed modestly will deter a possible assault. The clothing a woman wears has NOTHING to do with being sexually assaulted, but raising a woman’s appearance to this kind of importance implies that it does.

    On another note: I laughed out loud, literally, at the thought of suburban white women strolling thru inner-city New York, telling kids what they should/should not wear. Good luck, ladies, lol

    • CJ99

      Perhaps when these “christians” get mugged & their absurdly expensive shiney rocks (aka jewellry) or cadillac gets stolen they should be lectured for “not dressing modestly”.

  • Tom Foxglove

    And the alternative? Teach 6 -12 year old girls to slaughter their gestating babies in utero after behaving so promiscuously that they do NOT know the fathers of their precious babies made in the Imago Dei; but then again it does not matter because NOT the father but only they. the mothers, have been temporarily afforded by a CRAZY Judiciary the CRAZY privilege — NOT the right — to commit homicide with impunity until the CRAZY Justice System on Xanax catches up to traditional American Justice again, and repents!

    • squwelly

      Mr. Foxglove:

      You sure do read a lot of right-wing hang-ups into the author’s article.

  • JamieHaman

    When Christian evangelicals start teaching boys and men they are not in charge of any body except their OWN body, when they start teaching boys and men they do NOT have the right to ‘chastise’ women, when they start teaching boys and men NOT to rape, MAYBE then I will listen to what they have to say about girls and women. Not before.

  • CJ99

    What this article points out so glaringly is something I’ve seen for a long time, christian extremist dogma proudly proclaims that ignorance & stupidity are praiseworthy virtues and indeed the wealthy are “better” than the rest of us. It also gives no regard to biological reality that our bodies (both men & women) are created that way for some genuine reasons. Being attractive is not a crime. blaming women for being attractive while absolving those who rape is just as big a crime as the rape itself. Further proof of another article on this site which rightly states that “purity culture is rape culture”.

    • Ella Warnock

      Every woman has the absolute right to be young, beautiful, and desirable. It’s an intoxicating thing, and a pleasure to be enjoyed without shame or guilt.

      • CJ99

        Yes Ella and they can be smart & well educated too, a right that should be equal for everyone whether girls, boys, adults from peterborough, pittsburg, pretoria, portugal or pluto.

        • Ella Warnock

          I’m not sure why you’re sounding angry, CJ. I think women should be all of those things. I was pointing out my own experience of being taught that I should have hidden away both my attractiveness AND my intelligence when I was a young woman. I didn’t personally find that message very beneficial back then, and I don’t think it is now, either.

          • CJ99

            Actually I’m not angry, I’m agreeing with you. As often happens it got lost in this text only medium. btw, in some ways my experiences are not so different. but when the same group comes back around trying to use religion to push their own restrictive ways on other I have a tendency to kick back instead of getting run over.

          • Ella Warnock

            Yeah, after I read it a few more times, I realized I was seeing anger where none existed. Sorry for my confusion. Sometimes it’s really difficult without facial expressions and body language!

          • CJ99

            No need for worries. there are times I don’t always understand the intentions of posters on here either.

          • Arekushieru

            Yes, it is. But, there is actually a lot more tone than one would expect in the written word, although not nearly as much as with verbal expression. Which is why I so often have much more difficulty than my peers usually do when interpreting non-verbal signals, because of my Non-Verbal Learning Disorder.

          • outrageous

            I used to wear really short skirts in high school. My friend would tell me that I was obsessed with sex I told her that *she* was the one with the sex obsession because she cared more about my short skirts than I did! I did get accused of being a s1ut a lot in high school which was funny bc I never dated and remained a virgin for a loooooooooooooong time after grad.

          • CJ99

            yet the bible is so full of sexual innuendo it would probably make Larry Flynt think twice. Solomon & David are 2 examples I often mention.

          • outrageous

            Yeah from what I have heard the Song of Solomon or whatever had been around for aaages so they kinda had to include it in the original bible.

            It was an ancient sex/fertility song or something.

          • CJ99

            thats not all of it either, as I mentioned in comments to another article here previously Solomon also had 700 concubines & 300 wives. So much for the “biblical standard” of “1 man 1 woman”.

          • Arekushieru

            Is that like antis claiming all Pro-Choice women are s1uts, then me pointing out that probably every anti-choicer I’ve talked to has had sex at least one more time (meaning once) than I’ve had?

          • CJ99

            Of the sluts I’ve met and there have been meny, all were men.

  • cjvg

    Anyone who perceives a 6, 7, 8 etc year old as sexual when her t-shirt comes below her collarbone or when her shorts/skirts show her upper leg, is sick and should be treated for the sexual disorse of pedophilia!

    • CJ99

      That’s very true. As I’ve said before, I’ve never heard of an athielst sex scandal but those are very common among religious fanatics.

      • cjvg

        True, I always wonder if religious fanaticism appeals to pedophiles (it both being a symptom of mental disease) or if religious fanaticism creates other disease symptoms like pedophilia in susceptible individuals.

        However it does seem that there is an inordinate concentration of sexual offenders (including pedophiles and rapists) who are religious fanatics

        • CJ99

          I have noticed large numbers of perverts among zealots. Which is a cruel irony as so many of them proclaim that normal human contact is “perversion” instead. My suspicions are that those extremely abusive restrictions among varying religions does show a direct link. The only thing I’m unsure of is which causes which. Indeed mental illness among both groups (which overlap) is a strong possibility, the question being is the the same condition or 2 found operating in unison? that I feel is a very important question which I’ve not seen asked or answered but an answer is urgently needed.

          • cjvg

            This probably has never been researched because no sexual deviant/criminal who is a religious fanatic would consent to answering questions pertaining to this.

            In fact all they ever spout is that god already forgave them and that they are “different” people now so they should not be punished and the victim should forgive them too.
            Or even worse god told them to do it because “god works in wondrous ways” and the victim needed to be treated that way.

            Besides, can you imagine the screeching and outrage among the “compassionate” conservative religious crowd, if there would be such a study proposed?!

          • CJ99

            Statistics gathered on those convicted of rape / pedophaelia & other crimes would start towards painting a more accurate picture. Many such instances have already come to light, the slimey televangelist John Hagee being just one who’d left his wife & church in the 70’s with a member of his congregation whom he’d cheated on his wife with. He went on to found a megachurch and is still on the air weekly with his vicious diatribes and is now 1 of the wealthiest televangelists in the world. Another, Mike Warenke, is another egregious example who claimed to be the leader of a “satanic coven” that murdered & raped thousands of children in the 60’s n 70’s yet never lifted a finger to assist law enforcement prosecute the offenders (including himself) or locate the victims. mainly cause it never happened. While he alleged that was going on he was in fact a member of “campus crusade for christ” in college which is now known as “power to change” (though unrelated their main stated goal is to force muslims to become radical christians).

          • outrageous
          • CJ99

            So “god made him do it” when he tortured a woman in her own home in front of her kids. Religious vileness knows no bounds. That is nothing but GRRRR.

          • Jennifer Starr

            That’s just unbelievably sick.

        • crash2parties

          “I always wonder if religious fanaticism appeals to pedophiles (it both
          being a symptom of mental disease) or if religious fanaticism creates
          other disease symptoms like pedophilia in susceptible individuals.”

          They are both about power over others, at their core.

          • CJ99

            Controlling others is certainly the biggest part but it’s still very much what I call insane in the membrane.

  • Arakiba

    Women should leave the Abrahamic religions en masse.

    • CJ99

      men as well. being a guy who grew up in fanatical chrstianity I found it impossible to live with and have any sense of self worth or self determination. Christianity is far from alone in that either. Whats worse is the “movement” described in the article isn’t just a quest for power over other its milking its victims in much the same way televangelists too.

      • outrageous

        Always nice to see a pro-choice guy supporting women! Of course, anti-choicers just love to lie and say that men are feminist only to get laid or because they are ‘sissies’.

        • CJ99

          Yeah no doubt they would but I’d burst that bubble faster than they could mumble “snuffeluppagus”. for anyone who’s ever seen me they know I’m no wuss. And anybody stupid enough to think any guy only trying to get laid among feminists has been smoking waaaay too much pizzabanana

    • Arachne646

      That’s not true. Jesus was a feminist, and you have to look at the any Scriptures through the eyes of people who wrote them in a particular time, place and culture, as well as the exact language they used, for the Holy Spirit to inspire the right message for you from them. We get the impression from extremists that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam themselves are innately oppressive to women, when there are large progressive movements in each of these religions.

      • CJ99

        yet these extremists religions your so ignorantly proud of already disprove what you claim. Jesus & the creator are NOT represented by any such religion in any way. Much of what they said was edited out centuries ago by the fanatics you think don’t exist.

      • Arekushieru

        I have to agree with CJ99, and I, myself, am Christian. I think by and large that the fanatics have ruled the roost for a LONG time, and that includes the people who wrote them in a particular time, place and culture, as you put it. Those WERE very misogynistic times and we can’t just excuse people simply because of the times they grew up in, after all. We can’t say that these people weren’t fanatical just because times were different, otherwise, those who look back on OUR present as their history, could say the same about US, no?

        The progressive movements that you speak of are largely a new concept, I believe.

        I also distinguish between religion and faith. And I DO believe that people should be leaving religion behind en masse. The progressive movements will be much more effective leaving behind the ritualized constructs of religion, anyways.

        • Arachne646

          Of course, religion has served the needs of our patriarchal culture, and all have been used mainly as tools of it for a long time. That does not mean that the founders and early followers of our faiths were not revolutionarily out of touch with the rules and beliefs of their time. Paul, for example, wrote: “there is no male or female, slave or free, Jew nor Greek, all are one in Christ”. That is the way the Church organized itself, as well. There were house Churches in cities run by women, and Paul referred to one woman as an Apostle like himself.
          Islam was equally revolutionary for treating women as people in its founding community. Although my knowledge of Islamic history is, of course, very small, I know that like the early Christians, their society was a refreshingly different one than prevailed elsewhere, one where women were just childbearing possessions.
          Of course, progressive movements that are present today are a modern concept, but like feminism, they are preceded by past waves in the Church, and aren’t a fundamental divergence from the nature of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, but are returns to their basic roots.

          • CJ99

            That is pure fantasy based on absolutely nothing real. Do the world a favour and stop posting stinky rubbish as fact.

          • Arachne646

            John S. Spong “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism”
            Marcus J. Borg and John D. Crossan “The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon”
            Reza Aslan “No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam”.
            I would totally recommend these books, and authors, as particularly mainstream examples of the views I have espoused, which are not mine alone. They are developed from reading and discussions with clergy who have been educated in mainline schools of Theology within prominent Canadian universities. Clergy of US mainline denominations like ELC, UCC, Episcopalian, and Methodist have similar educations and have at least been exposed to these views at school.

          • CJ99

            The problem is you have no clue of which you speak. Your referencing to 20th century books discussing a problem that started 2 millenia (or more) ago. The bible hasn’t just been hijacked by fanatics (including yourself) who are alive today. The problem has existed for many many centuries. The “holy” books are indeed very old and have been corrupted during their writing and many times thereafter. The second half of your comment shows what you truly espouse that is the extremist culture described in the article is what you really believe as those schools of theology you listed are the ones promoting those totalitarian fantasies as reality. You forget I grew up in that fanatical subculture and I’ve witnessed its abuses with my own eyes & ears. And what I’ve seen / heard shows what you claim is not based on anything real.

          • Arekushieru

            Actually, Episcopalian and UCC are generally pretty liberal churches, although, as you have indicated, there may be some outliers. However, I would not classify the above named churches as mainstream thought, myself.

            Also, I do believe Arachne is Pro-Choice. So, their positions are not arising from a fundamentalist-supported Pro-Life view, as it looks like you may believe…?

          • CJ99

            I’ve seen that type of argument Arachne is making before, starting out appearing to be in agreement but quickly doing a 180 shortly after. Another person did it in comments to another article here on RH, 1st stating they were prochoice then quickly condemning with statments to the tune of “casting yourself apart from god forever”, I’d have to lookup their exact wording but that was the literal meaning. That sort of thing does get my GRRRR mood going at times.

          • Arekushieru

            No, I’m pretty sure Arachne is Pro-Choice; after all, this is the only time I’ve ever been in disagreement with them, and there are numerous occasions when I’ve found people who support the Pro-Choice position but also the belief that the Church is not an inherently misogynistic institution. That Arachne isn’t arguing that the Church is a feminist organization based on its protection of life, but on something completely unrelated, is what makes me think that this isn’t similar to those instances you’ve mentioned and that I’ve encountered on rare occasions.

          • Arekushieru

            I should point out that I believe Jesus was the greatest feminist that ever lived but Paul was a misogynist and homophobic.

            “and aren’t a fundamental divergence from the nature of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, but are returns to their basic roots.”

            I am not in disagreement with this. My opposition simply came from the fact that religion has been, for the most part, an oppressor, and that my belief is that women should flee religion en masse, if they plan on preserving their agency, otherwise religion will eventually erode all traces of it from these women’s lives. That’s what it *currently* stands as, an either/or situation, and I am highly supportive of the endeavours that Arakiba calls for, *for* that reason.

          • CJ99

            Church is absolutely not needed for a connection with the creator. Fact is it gets in the way as do other religions.

        • CJ99

          Completely right, I desire my connection to the creator, which is not a rich white lunatic in a cheap suit and expensive watch running a huge megachurch (or even a small 1) who insists on controlling every1. Religion as it is, and how its been for a very long time is not about god, its about lust for power, fame and unbridled wealth concentrated in the hands of very few while the rest of humanity suffers. I do not need a very old book with some truly vile passages to live life.

  • CJ99

    exactly why the chrstian fanatics are commonly called the american taliban. yet those proponents of such idiocy are often wearing very expensive clothes & jewellry all paid for those they con with their snake oil. Modesty my butt.

  • sophie

    “The Secret Keeper Girl campaign has some good intentions—the organizers want young girls to realize their worth and to affirm girls as they are. ”

    Their so called good intentions do nothing except to propagandize their “worth” in very rigid religious terms, and the only affirmation they are receiving is that they are considered to be sexually provocative–even before young girls know what that means. Ultimately, this is a disgusting manner in which to indoctrinate young girls that their “private areas” are somehow nasty and unpure, and must be covered up, and it echoes the “purity pledges” many religious conservatives force their daughters to take. The very name “Secret Keeper Girl” implies that female sexuality is something to be hidden. This type of religious misogynistic indoctrination must be protested– LOUDLY.

  • crash2parties

    “…the young girl’s belly should not show when she raises her hands above her head to praise God; if it does, she needs to go to the boys’ clothing section and get a long tank top to layer.”

    Wait; what’s that passage that is so often quoted by these very same people in order to condemn transgender people? Oh, that’s right. It’s Deuteronomy 22:5.

    (from the King James Bible:)
    “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

    Sinners.

    • CJ99

      When I was that age I wasn’t thinking about sex at all. I was certainly never inflamed by the sight of a girls bellybutton.

      • crash2parties

        It’s not the Christian children that are thinking about them & likewise it’s not the Christian children who are the problem. As a subculture, Christian adults sexualize children as a matter of course & it’s wrong.

        • CJ99

          yes it happens on multiple levels. it invariably gives kids a very distorted view of their fellow human beings. Things like fear, mistrust, complete lack of self respect or respect for others, even loneliness.

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      They never actually read the book they thump.

      • CJ99

        that very same book has been so heavily altered by propaganda that it’s original meaning is long lost never to return. What’s left is corruption.

  • Melanie Victoria

    While I do consider some of this campaign to be problematic, I do see value in teaching girls to respect themselves. Yes, men and boys should be taught to be respectful of the wishes of women and girls. However, this does negate the fact that girls should be taught self esteem and self worth in addition to men/boys learning about respect and consent. What is wrong with telling a girl that her sexuality is not the entirety of her existence, that being attractive is not her only worth in this world and that sex should be engaged in a safe way that is consensual and meaningful? I differ from the religious crowd in reserving sex for marriage, but I agree that a culture which divorces sex from any ethical or spiritual considerations needs to be challenged. This does not mean that I advocate no sex or only one form of sexuality. People can engage in non-monogamy and have other arrangements which are considerate and thoughtful to them. And hey, some people enjoy sex for the sake of having sex and divorce it from any meaning. These realities cannot be ignored. However, I think it is for the individual to decide if they want to engage in sex devoid of any meaning and this is not behaviour I will encourage in my own children.

    • CJ99

      The problem with this “movement” is what you describe is most definately *not* whats actually happening, quite the opposite. purity culture is pure manipulation and leaving underage kids open to very unsafe sex and vulnerable to further manipulation. Having grown up in that “world” I can say for certain it also absolutely destroys self esteem & intellect in every way possible. Purity culture indeed does tell girls (even some men) that sexuality is all of their existance and that they’re entirely to blame for it. That’s what this article is attempting to expose. And btw in their purity culture sex, at least for the women involved is never consensual being controlled by parents then husbands as is every other aspect of womens lives.

    • outrageous

      Purity and modesty are just other forms of objectification. The message is that a girl’s only value lies between her legs. That is sexual and reproductive objectification. That women are mere tools to provide sexual pleasure and offspring for their husbands. In short. Fuck you

      • Melanie Victoria

        While it is acceptable to disagree with my perspective, personal attacks detract from the argument and are not respectful. I might actually be persuaded by an original argument rather than an insult.

        • Quis ut Deus

          I could care less about your hurt feelings. You are dehumanizing girls by demanding that they be taught that their value is between their thighs.

        • CJ99

          Your propaganda is an insult to all of humanity not just women. the problem you so willfully ignore is that what you espouse not only objectifies children it takes away their self esteem and demeans them as 2nd class citizens by telling them they must always be controlled by others & not think for themselves.

          • Melanie Victoria

            I find it interesting that you refer to what I have said as propaganda (although in my comment I have attempted to be respectful and understanding of multiple perspectives) and yet you are the one who states that what I have said is an “insult to all of humanity” without any critical reflection on what this statement implies. This is an extreme exaggeration and a distortion of my original comment. Your vitriolic response to a comment which was stated respectfully illustrates that whatever offence you have taken to my comment lies within you and not merely with what I have said. I expect for others to disagree with me, but for someone to say “fuck you” and that I have insulted all of humanity is indicative of a larger problem within the commenter that cannot be solved with a mere posting of comments.

          • CJ99

            No you try to APPEAR to be respectful, that is vastly different from actual respect and far more transparent than you lead yourself to believe. You cannot fool anyone through faux agreement. And just so you know I never said “fuck you” to yourself or anyone else on this blog. What I am doing is calling BS where I see it. That’s the difference between you and me, I am not afraid of being honest nor do I deflect arguments with hyperbole as mysoginistic conservatives (such as yourself) do on a regular basis. In the end I live in a world based on reality, not fantasy.

          • Quis ut Deus

            Fuck you.

            We don’t have any patience for misogynists here, and we don’t care how ‘civil’ you are.

        • Quis ut Deus

          You don’t deserve respect.

  • CJ99

    that’s no surprise to me at least. some of the things I’ve seen at the caucasian only church I used to go to with family would truly shock you. It was lick stepping into germany of the late 1930’s

  • RainbowExplorer

    Having been raised as an evangelical, fundamentalist Christian and having left it far behind, decades ago, I can’t help but note how there is no comparable “modesty” programs for the male members of these churches. Men are not expected to constrict and restrict the displays of their bodies, yet females are expected to shutter themselves up tight. The cognitive dissonance of THAT feature of the situation, alone, reeks of the perpetual hypocrisy that is rampant throughout these groups.

    Males are not expected to maintain constant control over their own lustful and/or angry impulses, but it is the females who are expected to “prevent” any out-of-control actions of the opposite gender. The constant refrain of white, male privileges is so pronounced within the evangelical, fundamentalist Christian communities, they’ve become core to everything – so engrained that few ever even think about it, let alone question it. Yet, they can’t figure out why the numbers of their congregations are rapidly and permanently dwindling.

    • CJ99

      I grew up in a similar situation when I was a kid I was 1 of the very very few boys who was heavily restricted. All of my male cousins were left to run wild by their evangelical idiot families while the girls were virtual prisoners and married off to their arranged husbands at 17 or 18. It’s sickening. I wasn’t even victimized nearly as much as others were & I’m still recovering in my 40’s. It’s nothing but abuse & it completly fucks up peoples lives. My apologies for strong language but that’s the only term that carries enough weight to describe it.

      • RainbowExplorer

        Believe me, I understand the need for strong language to describe the horrors that go on inside these types of families. The language doesn’t even begin to describe the misery that is endured, then usually passed along to all future generations. I decided to change the course of my entire family’s history, by leaving it, finding a new path, then coming back for my nieces and nephews. It’s been a very tough row to hoe but I want those kids to have more choices and better ones than any of my siblings had.

        I’m 52 and have spent more than half of my adult life in individual and/or group therapy, dealing with all of the issues involved with this, especially the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse/neglect. I’ll probably continue to need it until I die, since the complexity of my life now far out-surpasses that of most people’s existence. I don’t think I’ll ever be “recovered”, since there’s no way to make my life free from the damage, scars, and traumas I’ve been through, including massive butchery done to me during a “minor surgery” which has left me paralyzed and in severe kidney failure..

        What I can do is to help stop it from being handed down to future generations. I dream of a time when no child ever has to know what any type of abuse or neglect is about – where they feel secure, wanted, and treasured, free to grow and develop naturally, are able to be educated throughout their entire lives, and violence has become so rare, children cannot define it. In the meantime, there’s plenty of work for all of us to do, toward that end.

        Best wishes to you in your recovery work. I’m sorry you’ve needed to deal with all the trauma your family and church dumped onto you. It’s never a fair situation to have to cope with.

        • CJ99

          neglect & abuse does sum up with “christian life” is about for kids. It just makes me GRRRR that it’s still going on and those who perpetrate it walk around free with smug grins as if they’re royalty.

          I too nave a nephew & neice and neither of them unfortunately will ever escape. they’re both in 20’s & finished university (real universities no less not those bible diploma mills). The Neice took medival music history, didn’t meet the pre-requistes for graduation but still graduated having taken lots of comparitve religion & arabic language classes and is now a televangelist wannabe living on church handouts while working for that “power to change” cult. Her wedding was over the top insane where her and her woefully ignorant husband (has a math degree & still struggles with basic concepts) making the most insane statements. both of them stating “divorce is not an option”, “1 man 1 woman homosexuality is an offense to god”, “the wife is an unquestioning servant of the husband always” (she herself repeated that line several times, and he stated her most attractive quality was “her desire to force muslims to become christians”. That was all part of their wedding vows which inspired people to get up & walk out shaking their heads before the wedding was even over with. My nephew is no better off, he took a 4 year sports medicine program and abandoned it as soon as he graduated to work in a kids after school program (6 hours a week minimum wage after more than $60k in university education) and is trying to sneak in prosylytizing (aka “faith based witnessing”) without getting caught by the school board.

          I know I’ve rambled on about this a lot but it should serve as a warning to others not to fuck up kids lives with idiotic religious propaganda. Whether humanity survives the next 50-100 years will be decided entirely on if we abandon our present course of bullshit to our own destruction or find a way to live that isn’t based in superstition, hatred & bigotry.

    • CJ99

      Your last sentence offers the only slim glimmer of hope left. That with any justice in the world those fanatics, whom I also survived growing up with, will die off. The downside is theres still a newer generation very willing to step up & continue their sanctimonius bullshit.