Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence

Hardcover | June 23, 2015

bySara Moslener

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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 movementthat 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, nationaldecline, 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 acausal 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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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 movementthat goes beyond the Religious Right, demons...

Sara Moslener is Assistant Professor of Religion at Central Michigan University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 9.09 × 6.3 × 0.71 inPublished:June 23, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199987769

ISBN - 13:9780199987764

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Sexual Purity and National Security1. Sexual Purity and Civilization Work in the 19th Century2. From Adolescence to Lost Innocence: Religious Revival and Sexual Deviance in the Cold War Era3. Making Family Values4. New Purity Revolution5. Performing Sexual Purity in the Media AgeConclusion: Fear and Accommodation in the Contemporary Purity CultureBibliographyNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Moslener provides fascinating insights into the initial appearance of moral-purity rhetoric that was used to both support and oppose the burgeoning Victorian feminist movement, and later, to prompt Cold War-era fears of nuclear annihilation . . . an engaging read that provides valuablehistorical and intellectual context for an important American religious trend." --Publishers Weekly