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The Atlanta shooter was fueled by Christianity’s unhealthy attitude toward sex


The mass shootings at two Asian spas in Atlanta have put a spotlight on the disturbing rise in anti-Asian violence across the nation. The suspected shooter, Robert Aaron Long, told authorities that he was battling a sex addiction and wanted to remove the source of his temptations.

Long had a strict Christian upbringing, and the Southern Baptist church that he attended condemned the shootings as “the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind.”

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As the church’s statement shows, Long’s actions are being portrayed as entirely inconsistent with his faith’s teachings. But there’s also reason to believe that what he learned in church was part of Long’s problem.

Long was raised in what conservative Christians call a “purity culture.” Purity culture relies heavily on old-fashioned gender roles and a fanatic denial of sexuality outside of marriage. It believes that sexual urges—a natural biological mechanism—are sinful. Acting on them before marriage is even worse.

Needless to say, purity culture is designed to warp people’s views of sex and sexuality. Young men and women are taught to not only deny their feelings, but to consider them the work of the […]

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