Ask Kelley Taylor, a Southern Baptist college student, if she's opened the steamy pages of Fifty Shades of Grey, and she has a ready response.
"Some of my friends have read it but I decided not to because I just heard about the content and didn't think it was something I should be reading," said the North Carolina State University senior, who is majoring in wildlife biology. "I think that it's kind of contrary to what the Bible says about fleeing from sexual lust and temptation."
Taylor is not alone. Many evangelical women say they wouldn't touch the best-selling book, often described as "mommy porn" because of its escapist appeal to working mothers and suburban housewives. But evangelical leaders also realize that some members of their churches and Bible studies can't resist.
A month ago, worried that the book—the first in a trilogy and the basis of a highly-anticipated movie adaptation—could harm Christian marriages, leaders atSouthwestern Baptist Theological Seminaryhosted a closed-door women's meeting on what it all means and what churches should do about it.
"I think they're asking first of all, 'Is it truly pornography?'" said Terri Stovall, dean of women's programs at the seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Stovall moderated the session for the school's young women, who often are married to ministers or are single and pursuing ministry themselves."We say yes it is because it creates pictures in your head."
Many of the sexual practices featured in the book—such as bondage, domination, sadism and masochism, or BDSM for short—were described during the meeting. "Especially my single students, ...