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Daddy Dearest: How Purity Culture Can Turn Fathers into Idols


May 22 2014
Our pledges belong to the Heavenly Father, not our earthly ones.

Karen Allen Campbell quotes purity ball organizers as wanting to set up "an impregnable wall of fathers" that would, presumably, stand between young women and sexual sin. But that's not how sin works—other people can't block it out for us. It comes from the heart. And that's why young women should be taught to stand against sin themselves, not to expect someone else to do it for them.

The problems we've seen here—father as bridegroom, and father as idol—are what I think a lot of people sensed in these photos. The healthiest and most God-honoring relationships between father and daughter happen when a father and daughter are not doing some sort of idolatrous role play, but simply being a father and daughter. (I think of what might happen if my dad and I attempted to do a dramatic, stone-faced pose in prom outfits in front of a haystack, and I realize it would never work, because we would both fall over laughing.)

By all means, fathers should treat their daughters with tenderness and respect. But that includes entrusting them to God and knowing that, no matter how much their daughters love and look up to them, they themselves are not to be their daughter's gods.

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Daddy Dearest: How Purity Culture Can Turn Fathers into Idols