Purity Culture, the False Gender Binary, and Abuse at Heritage Christian School

Heritage Christian School recently wrote to parents, alumni, and supporters asking them to contact their representatives to oppose the Equality Act. This excellent and necessary video from Eliza Rose is the response to Heritage everyone needs to witness. Rose leads by defining some terms and explaining the false gender binary, and then gets into the misogyny, grooming, sexual violence, racism, religious manipulation, spiritual abuse, and weaponized shame at Heritage Christian School.

Selected quotes:

So to them, and you will see in the video, any folks that are LGBTQIA+, darkskinned, indigenous, non-Christian, struggling with addiction, rape, etc., those folks don’t matter.

Their stance is that they do all of this to “protect women”, but Heritage Christian, historically, does not protect women. In fact, they enable male abusers.

And it is because of the same religious manipulation tactics that justify coercion, abuse, and oppression and marginalization of trans folks.

You can’t create a reason to oppress and marginalize people and then say it’s okay because, “That’s what God wants.” That’s just not how things work.

The harm and miseducation that is being perpetuated by Heritage Christian School has caused many of us to need to seek therapy outside of the school.

What they’re doing is not helping children get an education. What they’re doing is enabling abusers, not teaching consent, holding victims accountable for the trauma they experienced at the school.

You cannot simply pray away abuse and abusive policies. You have to take action to end them yourself.

The history is grim. The culture of “praying away abuse” has lead several former staff and students to take their own lives due to inaction on behalf of the Administration members. Many of the students that did make it out have had to seek therapy with external resources as a result of the abuse that occurred on campus. We demand that Mr. Terry, Larry Curtis Meyers, and Dave Watt never be allowed back to work at the school or attend school events after continued sexual exploitation of students and forced-silence onto the survivors. The phrase “boys will be boys” should be abolished from all classrooms — as it encourages a lack of male accountability and is a formative function of rape culture.

Source: We need to talk about abuse at Heritage Christian School + the false gender binary (CW: SA) – YouTube

Purity culture and the false gender binary pervert everything. They are “formative functions” of bigotry and abuse, and they are curriculum at Heritage and its ilk.

Thank you, Eliza.

Via:

That thread has corroborating receipts.

Previously,

“Those Burning Crosses Are Symbols of Evangelicalism”

Those burning crosses are symbols of evangelicalism.

Source: ‎Exvangelical: White Evangelical Racism with Dr. Anthea Butler on Apple Podcasts

I’m not here to fix evangelicals. That’s the job of those who still find value in it. My purpose in writing was to hold up the historical mirror to the movement, and show them who they really are.

Source: I’m Not Here to Fix Evangelicals, But to Show Them Who They Are: An Interview With the Author of ‘White Evangelical Racism’ | Religion Dispatches

Dr. Butler brings the hard truth about evangelicalism in her book and on the Exvangelical podcast.

White Evangelical Racism tells a concise history of the evangelical movement and-here is the hard part-the racist and racial elements that imbue its beliefs, practices, and social and political activism. It is racism that binds and blinds many white American evangelicals to the vilification of Muslims, Latinos, and African Americans. It is racism that impels many evangelicals to oppose immigration and turn a blind eye to children in cages at the border. It is racism that fuels evangelical Islamophobia. It was evangelical acceptance of biblically sanctioned racism that motivated believers to separate and sell families during slavery and to march with the Klan. Racist evangelicals shielded cross burners, protected church burners, and participated in lynchings. Racism is a feature, not a bug, of American evangelicalism.

“To a great extent, the evangelical church in America supported the status quo. It supported slavery; it supported segregation; it preached against any attempt of the black man to stand on his own two feet.” These words, uttered in 1970 by Tom Skinner-the son of a Black preacher and a former gang member turned evangelist-still ring true today.

Evangelicals’ support for current-day policies that seem draconian and unchristian is linked inescapably to a foundational history that we will uncover in this book. American history chronicles evangelical support for and participation in racist structures in America. Skinner got it right.

Source: White Evangelical Racism | Anthea Butler | University of North Carolina Press

Why did you choose the subtitle The Politics of Morality in America?

The subtitle is about the thesis of the book: simply put, morality isn’t a religious issue for evangelicals, but a political tool they hide behind that allows them to obscure the racist and sexist pronouncements and laws they often back and promulgate. From the ways in which white women were put on a pedestal by white men in the Reconstruction and Redemption era, to the lifting up of the “family” as a way to disparage Black families as not being “moral” if there wasn’t a two-parent household, evangelical moral issues about sex, family and money have never been applied stringently to themselves or their leadership the same way they’ve applied it to other religions or ethnic groups.

One of the book’s theses is that evangelicals’ unwavering Trump support cost them a lot. But has it? What would you say to someone who suggests that their reputation with the general public hardly matters, given both the short political memory of white Americans and that the Electoral College, Senate representation, filibuster, gerrymandering, and voter suppression grant them disproportionate power anyway?

It may not matter to evangelicals that their reputations are shattered—after all they are used to saying that they’re persecuted. It fits their narrative. It does matter that the news media and voters keep believing that they actually care about moral issues. They care about power. And many of them are in power, so that is a concern for all sorts of policy issues, especially for reproductive and sexual rights.

It matters that the media and voters understand that moral issues are a tool for wielding power, and for obfuscating evangelicals’ need for access to it. It may be that they have power because of patriarchy and whiteness, but the pendulum swings, always. While their ascension has seemed to be a steep, uphill climb, I think the jig, as they say, is up.

One more note. There isn’t much about Trump in this book, for one particular reason: evangelicals didn’t become this because of Trump. Trump was simply the apotheosis of who they have been for a long time. He was close to the pinnacle of all they could want in a leader. He was just a bit too crass for the more refined evangelicals.

Source: I’m Not Here to Fix Evangelicals, But to Show Them Who They Are: An Interview With the Author of ‘White Evangelical Racism’ | Religion Dispatches

On the Atlanta spa killer:

The terrorists, the sheriff, and the church are all working together.

Source: ‎Exvangelical: White Evangelical Racism with Dr. Anthea Butler on Apple Podcasts

Spot on.

Trinity of Toxic Nonsense: White Supremacy, Misogyny, and Purity Culture

When the latest mass-murdering white man mentioned “sex addiction”, he revealed the flavor of fascism he sups. This act is indelibly stamped with white evangelical culture. Evangelical churches all over America teach a toxic trinity of white supremacy, misogyny, and purity culture that repeatedly come to a head in killers’ heads.

The moment I read that the man who confessed to the murders was the son of a youth pastor who told police he had a “sex addiction,” however, it struck me that we must not ignore the specifically evangelical Protestant contours of this story.

One of the most significant conclusions Grubbs’ research points to, however, is that conservative Christian men are prone to believe that they have pornography or sex “addictions,” even when they do not.

If Long is telling the truth about his desire to “eliminate” the “temptations”-that is, women-that he claims exacerbated his “sex addiction,” it’s likely that he learned to think of himself this way, and to objectify women, in church. In evangelical institutional environments such as churches and Christian schools, discussions of sex are usually steeped in purity culture, that is a complex of beliefs and practices associated with an unhealthy fear of sexuality and intense pressure to remain “pure”-that is, sexually inexperienced-before marriage. I am among the many ex-evangelicals who were essentially coerced into signing “purity pledges” in the 1990s, which is just one of the many manipulative practices associated with purity culture.

Source: Don’t Discount Evangelicalism as a Factor in Racist Murder of Asian Spa Workers in Georgia | Religion Dispatches

Far from being an essential feature of historic Christianity, the popular purity teachings of today are a result of white anxiety around being able to produce enough well-behaved Christian babies to remain in charge of Western society. This relatively recent soup we’re all swimming in is the basis of the modern purity movement—or what many people refer to as purity culture.

Purity culture is a direct path to sexual shame. Different people respond differently to purity culture, and often our privilege insulates us from consequences that people with less privilege have no choice but to internalize. So not everyone will be carrying ten tons of baggage with them into adulthood. But almost everyone who grew up in purity culture exhibits signs or attitudes of sexual shame. And sexual shame is one of the main things that leads churches into silence when someone is abused in their midst.

We can look at the role culture plays in abuse while also holding abusers ultimately and finally accountable for their actions. Abuse is always the fault of the abuser, and the culture of a church will either reward or punish abusive behavior—attract it or repel it. Purity culture is fundamentally complicit in abuse.

Source: #ChurchToo: How Purity Culture Upholds Abuse and How to Find Healing | Broadleaf Books

White Evangelical Racism tells a concise history of the evangelical movement and—here is the hard part—the racist and racial elements that imbue its beliefs, practices, and social and political activism. It is racism that binds and blinds many white American evangelicals to the vilification of Muslims, Latinos, and African Americans. It is racism that impels many evangelicals to oppose immigration and turn a blind eye to children in cages at the border. It is racism that fuels evangelical Islamophobia. It was evangelical acceptance of biblically sanctioned racism that motivated believers to separate and sell families during slavery and to march with the Klan. Racist evangelicals shielded cross burners, protected church burners, and participated in lynchings. Racism is a feature, not a bug, of American evangelicalism.

“To a great extent, the evangelical church in America supported the status quo. It supported slavery; it supported segregation; it preached against any attempt of the black man to stand on his own two feet.” These words, uttered in 1970 by Tom Skinner—the son of a Black preacher and a former gang member turned evangelist—still ring true today.

Evangelicals’ support for current-day policies that seem draconian and unchristian is linked inescapably to a foundational history that we will uncover in this book. American history chronicles evangelical support for and participation in racist structures in America. Skinner got it right.

Source: White Evangelical Racism | Anthea Butler | University of North Carolina Press

Selected tweets from relevant experts:

Related: Sex Ed: Toxic Masculinity, Emotional Expression, Online Privacy, Identity Management, Dress Codes, Bodily Autonomy, and Purity Culture