Theses Master's

Evangelical Dating Culture and Anti-Democratic Violence: Evangelical Gender Norms as a Threat to American Democracy

Schwartz, Eden

This paper, through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of Evangelical dating books, aims to illustrate the effects of promoting religious beliefs as fundamental truths. These truths, which seep out of religious areas into secular spaces, have human rights impacts on all Americans. Analyzing Evangelical dating books in conjunction with male far-right online spaces, this paper aims to reveal Evangelical dating culture’s potential to undermine American democracy.

This paper begins with contextual information to situate Evangelical dating books within the human rights sphere. The second chapter comprises the quantitative and qualitative analysis of Evangelical dating books’ most frequently used terms and major themes. The third chapter relates Evangelical dating books’ ideologies to the online proliferation of dangerous antifeminist rhetoric in male spaces.

The final section is dedicated to articulating how the normalization of Evangelical culture dating books contributes to antidemocratic political violence including the January 6th, 2021 insurrection and the October 28th, 2022 attempted attack on Nancy Pelosi. This paper traces the ways in which modern Evangelical culture has normalized an anti-human rights rhetoric, particularly through the denial of gender equality and sexual rights. Rather than making a causal argument, this paper points to the cultural shift that has been supported by the mass production and consumption of Evangelical dating books that promote gender hierarchy and sexual purity as the only true organization of social relations.

The culture of singular truth and misogyny in these publications has contributed an important building block of legitimation for “manosphere” claims on the internet and wider anti-democratic cultures of conspiracy theories and violence. This paper does not claim that antidemocratic violence is the product of Evangelical books alone, but instead that the resistance to any recognition of gender and sexual rights in these books is one contributor to the normalization of antidemocratic culture.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Jakobsen, Janet R.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
March 8, 2023