Now, she helps run Courage Conference, a gathering of people who have left abusive religious communities, and listens to the struggles of the women who attend."Their lives are very difficult now that they've gotten free.Such a rule did not hold in my time, at least not among the people I knew. The only women any of us ever saw were women that were dating our friends.If it were not permissible to date them in our turn, we would have had no one to date.The man's role is generally to be established and someone who provides the full income," said Easter, who runs the Courage Conference for survivors of church sexual abuse. While a woman of 15 or 16, if she's been trained for a long time looking after her younger siblings, in their eyes she might be ready for marriage." The culture of courting that Easter and Brightbill described is one limited mostly to fundamentalist religious communities, including certain Christian groups and those of other religions, such as some Orthodox Jewish or Mormon communities.For most evangelical Christians, relationships between older men and teenage girls are viewed as wholly inappropriate.
"In the South, in general, younger marriages would have been more common. It may have happened in some occasional context, but it would not have been a cultural norm." He said the reaction of most Southern evangelical communities would be "extraordinarily negative. He said he's not sure what to make of the report about Moore, and he's not sure whether he'll vote for him. "I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and say let's see what the truth is." He said he wants to talk to Moore and his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, and then send his personal conclusion to his email list of 3 million evangelical Alabama voters.
Of course that's untrue, but surely somebody could internalize that shame," she said.
"Unfortunately, there's a lot of abuse in those patriarchal communities," she said.
Moore, who was reported in the Post story to have initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old when he was 32 and to have dated three other teenagers when he was in his 30s, has long established himself as a staunch defender of conservative Christian beliefs.
Evangelical leaders' responses to the allegations that came out this week ranged widely, from Ed Stetzer, who wrote in Christianity Today, "If Roy Moore did what he is accused of, he should be out of this race and face the consequences," to Jerry Falwell Jr., who said to Religion News Service, "It comes down to a question who is more credible in the eyes of the voters - the candidate or the accuser," and added, "I believe the judge is telling the truth." Most prominent evangelical pastors did not immediately reflect publicly on whether the evangelical culture Moore embraced in Alabama contributed to his pursuit of teenage girls.