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“Thou Shalt Meet Thy Sexual Needs in Marriage”: Southern Baptists and Marital Sex in the Postwar Era

  • Sarah Potter (a1)

Abstract

This article traces the changing sexual politics of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) from the 1950s through the 1980s. It argues that the moderates who led the denomination in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s joined other supporters of “sexual containment” during the early Cold War to develop a theology about the salvific power of marital sex—and the personal, social, and national harm created by extramarital sex—which undergirded the sexual conservatism of the denomination's fundamentalist leadership who rose to power during the 1970s and 1980s. This analysis reframes our understanding of Southern Baptists within the broader religious right coalition as it reveals how the SBC's commitment to marital sexuality, which was forged during the early Cold War, informed its approach to later hot-button issues like abortion and homosexuality. Rather than simply reacting against the loosening sexual mores of the 1970s and 1980s or in favor of the rising visibility of other politically engaged Christians on issues of sexual morality, the SBC instead drew on longer traditions within the denomination to engage with a changing political and sexual landscape.

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1 For historical scholarship on Southern Baptists’ involvement with the religious right and family values politics, see Ammerman, Nancy T., “Southern Baptists and the New Christian Right,” Review of Religious Research 50, special issue, ed. Carroll, Jackson W. (October 2008): 6991. Williams, Daniel K., God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 89185; Dochuk, Darren, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011), chaps. 1113; Self, Robert O., All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s (New York: Hill and Wang, 2012), 364366; Dowland, Seth, Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015); Griffith, R. Marie, Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics (New York: Basic, 2017), chaps. 6–8; Fitzgerald, Frances, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017), chaps. 7–17; and Johnson, Emily Suzanne, This is Our Message: Women's Leadership the New Christian Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), chaps. 1–3. The New York Times also covered the SBC's involvement in conservative politics regularly. See, for instance, Sandra Salmans, “Christian Fundamentalists Press Own Campaign within the GOP Drive,” New York Times, 17 August 1984; John Herbers, “Activism in Faith: Big Shift Since ’60,” New York Times, 12 September 1984; Anthony Lewis, “Abroad at Home; Cross and Flag,” New York Times, 8 October 1984; John Herbers, “Moral Majority and Its Allies Expect Harvest of Votes for Conservatives,” New York Times, 4 November 1984; Michael Berryhill, “The Baptist Schism,” New York Times, 9 June 1985; and Allen R. Myerson, “Southern Baptist Convention Calls for Boycott of Disney,” New York Times, 19 June 1997. For the SBC Resolutions on Disney, see SBC, Resolution on Disney Company Policy, 1996, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/435/resolution-on-disney-company-policy; and SBC, Resolution on Moral Stewardship and the Disney Company, 1997, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/436/resolution-on-moral-stewardship-and-the-disney-company.

2 For historical analyses of the SBC controversy, see Hankins, Barry, Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American Culture (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002); Worthen, Molly, Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 231240; Williams, God's Own Party, 156–158; Shaw, Susan M., “Gracious Submission: Southern Baptist Fundamentalists and Women,” National Women's Studies Association Journal 20, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 5177; and Flowers, Elizabeth H., Into the Pulpit: Southern Baptist Women and Power Since World War II (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

3 For examples of charges by fundamentalists against moderate leadership, see “James Robison's Pastors’ Conference Sermon: 10 June 1979,” in Going for the Jugular: A Documentary History of the SBC Holy War, ed. Walter B. Shurden and Randy Shepley (Macon Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1996), 24–38; and “News Story: W. A. Criswell's ‘Skunk’ Sermon, The Christian Index, 23 June 1988, 2,” in Shurden and Shepley, Going for the Jugular, 235–236. On the denominational import of gender and sexuality during this period, see Flowers, Into the Pulpit; and Shaw, “Gracious Submission.”

4 The ideology of “sexual containment,” as coined by historian Elaine Tyler May, refers to the belief that sexual immorality—and particularly sex outside of marriage—was linked in key ways to the potential for communist takeover during the early Cold War. It was part and parcel of a broader sexual liberalism of the time which celebrated sexual pleasure within marriage but disparaged sexual pleasure outside of marriage. On sexual containment, sexual liberalism, and the linkage between sexual morality and communist influence, see May, Elaine Tyler, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era, rev. ed. (New York: Basic, 1999), esp. 100118; D'Emilio, John and Freedman, Estelle B., Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 241; Feldstein, Ruth, Motherhood in Black and White: Race and Sex in American Liberalism, 1930–1965 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2000), 6285; Weiss, Jessica, To Have and To Hold: Marriage, the Baby Boom and Social Change (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 141157; Reumann, Miriam G., American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender, and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 128164; Celello, Kristen, Making Marriage Work: A History of Marriage and Divorce in the Twentieth-Century United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 72102; Lewis, Carolyn Herbst, Prescription for Heterosexuality: Sexual Citizenship in the Cold War Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010); Johnson, David K., The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); Penn, Donna, “The Sexualized Woman: The Lesbian, the Prostitute, and the Containment of Female Sexuality in Postwar America,” in Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945–1960, ed. Meyerowitz, Joanne (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994), 358381; Davis, Rebecca L., More Perfect Unions: The American Search for Marital Bliss (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010), 64175; and Moslener, Sara, Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 4876.

5 This ideology built on a long tradition in American Christianity of endowing marital sexual pleasure with religious sanction. See, for example, Gardella, Peter, Innocent Ecstasy: How Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); Moslener, Virgin Nation; Lienesch, Michael, Redeeming America: Piety and Politics in the New Christian Right (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), 5276; Kintz, Linda, Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions that Matter in Right-Wing America (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1997), 6268; DeRogatis, Amy, “What Would Jesus Do? Sexuality and Salvation in Protestant Evangelical Sex Manuals, 1950s to the Present,” Church History 74, no. 1 (March 2005): 97137; Davis, More Perfect Unions, 136–175; Williams, Daniel K., “Sex and the Evangelicals: Gender Issues, the Sexual Revolution, and Abortion in the 1960s,” in American Evangelicals and the 1960s, ed. Schäfer, Axel R. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), 97118; and DeRogatis, Amy, Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelicalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

6 Many studies depict the SBC as just one segment of a growing religious right that gained political power by, in part, rejecting the sexual revolution and embracing “family values.” These studies do not focus on the evolution of gender and sexual politics within the denomination but rather emphasize the similarities between the politics of SBC fundamentalists and their fellow conservative Christians in reaction to an increasingly sexualized and secularized American culture (see note 1 for examples). Most scholarship that focuses exclusively on Southern Baptists, meanwhile, highlights the controversy and disagreements over Biblical inerrancy, treating the denomination's growing involvement in gender and sexual politics as ancillary (see note 2). Key exceptions to these trends are Stephanie Shaw's “Gracious Submission” and Elizabeth Flowers's Into the Pulpit, which bring these threads together to emphasize the importance of gender and sexuality to Southern Baptist fundamentalists’ growing denominational and political power. This article supports Shaw's and Flowers's emphasis on the centrality of gender and sexual politics to Southern Baptists throughout this period. But, instead of unpacking the differences between moderates and fundamentalists, I emphasize their ideological similarities to reveal that the fundamentalists’ “family values” pump was in essence already primed by their adoption of moderates’ long-standing commitment to the power of marital sex—a stance fundamentalists expanded upon over time.

7 SBC, Resolution on Marriage and Family Relations, 1948, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/697/resolution-on-marriage-and-family-relations.

8 Olin T. Binkley, “Sex as a Gift of God,” 1953, p. 2, AR 138-2: Christian Life Commission Resource Files, box 23, folder 4, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (hereafter cited as SBHLA), Nashville, Tenn.

9 Binkley, “Sex as a Gift of God,” 2.

10 Davis, More Perfect Unions, 137.

11 Celello, Making Marriage Work, 72–103.

12 Lewis, Prescription for Heterosexuality, 38.

13 Weiss, To Have and To Hold, 141–157.

14 Binkley, “Sex as a Gift of God,” 1. On other religious responses to Kinsey, see Griffith, R. Marie, “The Religious Encounters of Alfred C. Kinsey,” Journal of American History 95, no. 2 (September 2008): 349377. On shifting sexual attitudes, a more sexualized popular culture, and the anxieties these changes provoked in the 1950s, see Bailey, Beth, Sex in the Heartland (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), 1380; and Strub, Whit, Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 1142.

15 SBC, Resolution on Christian Social Concerns, 1955, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/322/resolution-on-christian-social-concerns.

16 May, Homeward Bound, 82.

17 Lewis, Prescription for Heterosexuality, 37–94; May, Homeward Bound, 80–104; Friedman, Andrea, “Sadists and Sissies: Anti-pornography Campaigns in Cold War AmericaGender and History 15, no. 2 (August 2003): 201227; Johnson, Lavender Scare; and Reumann, American Sexual Character, 54–127.

18 Billy Graham, “New York City - vol. 2, 1957 - June 3: The Seventh Commandment: Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery; John 8:1–11” (hereafter cited as “Seventh Commandment”), Collection 265: Records of the BGEA: Montreat Office: Billy Graham - Papers (hereafter cited as CN 265), Part I: Crusade Sermon Notebooks, 1954, 1957, 1969–2005 (hereafter cited as Part I), box 10, folder 75, Billy Graham Center Archives, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill. (hereafter cited as BGCA), https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrxP1NXtXq1QXhnUVZtRWV1YXM/view. See also the notes for this sermon: Billy Graham, “New York - vol 1, 1957 - June 3: The Moral Problem (7th Commandment); Jn. 8:1–11, Sermon #218,” CN 265, Part I, box 17, folder 27, BGCA, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrxP1NXtXq1ZzlpcHlXa0VrZ3M/view. For attendance figures for the New York Crusade, see Martin, William, A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story (New York: William Morrow, 1991), 236.

19 On Billy Graham's extraordinary influence during this period, see Wacker, Grant, “Billy Graham's America,” Church History 78, no. 3 (September 2009): esp. 489492, 489–491n2; Wacker, Grant, America's Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014); and Miller, Steven P., Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). On Graham's strident anti-communism at this time, see Wacker, America's Pastor, 131–134. On Graham's relationship with Southern Baptism and parachurch organizations, see Wacker, “Billy Graham's America,” 505.

20 Graham, “Seventh Commandment,” 5.

21 Graham, “Seventh Commandment,” 5. Graham made similar points repeatedly when discussing these issues in his sermons and writings in the 1940s and 1950s. See, for instance, Graham, Billy, Calling Youth to Christ (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1947), 1921; Graham, Billy, Peace with God (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1953), 192193; and Graham, Billy, The Secret of Happiness: Jesus’ Teaching on Happiness as Expressed in the Beatitudes (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955), 7779.

22 Graham, “Seventh Commandment,” 6.

23 Graham, “Seventh Commandment,” 7–10.

24 Graham, “Seventh Commandment,” 10.

25 Graham, “Seventh Commandment,” 10.

26 On the reorganization of the SBC during this period, see Flowers, Into the Pulpit, 30–34. For figures on the rapid growth of the SBC as it became the largest protestant denomination in the United States, see Shurden, Walter B., “Southern Baptist Convention,” in Encyclopedia of Religion in the South, ed. Hill, Samuel S., Lippy, Charles, and Wilson, Charles Reagan, 2nd ed. (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005), 745746; “Table 1: Church Membership Statistics; Mainly for the Calendar Year 1962 or a Fiscal Year Ending in 1962,” in Yearbook of American Churches: Information on All Faiths in the USA, ed. Benson Landis, 1964 ed. (New York: National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, 1964), 254; and “Table 1-A: United States Current and Non-Current Statistics,” in Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches: 1982, ed. Constant H. Jacquet (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1982), 235.

27 For broad overviews of these changes, see Beth Bailey, Sex in the Heartland; Allyn, David, Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution; An Unfettered History (New York: Routledge, 2001); and D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 275–325.

28 Joe E. Trull, “A Moral Counterattack,” 15 September 1965, p. 1, AR 138-2: Christian Life Commission Resource Files, box 76, folder 20, SBHLA.

29 Trull, “Moral Counterattack,” 1.

30 Trull, “Moral Counterattack,” 2.

31 Trull, “Moral Counterattack,” 3.

32 Moslener, Virgin Nation, 71–76; and Sorokin, Pitirim A., The American Sex Revolution (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1956).

33 Trull, “Moral Counterattack,” 4.

34 T. B. Maston, “Our Permissive Society,” Baptist Press News Release, 7 October 1968, Baptist Press Archives from 1948 to 1996, SBHLA, http://media.sbhla.org.s3.amazonaws.com/2668,07-Oct-1968.pdf.

35 Graham, Billy, World Aflame (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965), 20. Graham's invocation of communism was not an anomaly. Historian Sara Moslener notes that Graham and other evangelical Cold Warriors linked the dangers of communism and sexual impropriety even after the fall of the Berlin Wall: Moslener, Virgin Nation, 75.

36 Graham, World Aflame, 23.

37 Billy Graham, “5/2/1961 - North Carolina Council of Churches: North Carolina Council of Churches; Sermon #703,” CN 265, Part III: File Cabinet Sermons, 1951, 1953–2006 (hereafter cited as Part III), box 26, folder 32, BGCA, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrxP1NXtXq1RnRXMTZxTG5weTQ/view. On abortion during this period, see Reagan, Leslie J., When Abortion was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867–1973 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 204214.

38 Although Graham mentioned abortion with growing frequency during the later 1960s and into the 1970s, the protection of fetal life did not appear in the records of his sermons until 1979. Billy Graham, “12/23/1979 - Montreat Church Christmas: Montreat Church Christmas; Is. 9:2; Jn. 1:4-5, 8:12, Sermon #1519,” CN 265, Part III, box 21, folder 20, BGCA, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrxP1NXtXq1b3dZV1FYWEo2SjA/view. On the stigma attached to unwed white mothers, see Solinger, Rickie, “Race and ‘Value’: Black and White Illegitimate Babies, in the U.S.A., 1945–1965,” Gender and History 4, no. 3 (Autumn 1992): 343363; Solinger, Rickie, Wake up Little Susie, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2000); and Fessler, Ann, The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade (New York: Penguin, 2006). See the following on the growing acceptability of both abortion and unwed motherhood in the late 1960s and early 1970s: Solinger, Wake Up Little Susie, 235–237; Reagan, When Abortion was a Crime, 216–245; Luker, Kristin, Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 92125.

39 Billy Graham, “Moral Alternatives: Sermon # 661,” p. 7-8, CN 265, Part III, box 25, folder 95, 3/14/1966 - Executives Club, BGCA, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrxP1NXtXq1bjd0d0djVS1RWVU/view.

40 For statistics, see Waldman, Elizabeth, “Labor Force Statistics from a Family Perspective,” Monthly Labor Review 106, no. 12 (December 1983): 18. For an overview of married women's labor force participation, see Coontz, Stephanie, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (New York: Basic, 2000), 155169. On African American wives’ labor force participation during this period, see Jones, Jacqueline, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present, Books, Vintage ed. (New York: Basic, 1995), 269.

41 “Working Wives and Mothers,” 1964, p. 2, AR 140: Christian Life Commission/Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Publication and Promotional Materials Collection, box 17, folder 13, SBHLA.

42 “Working Wives and Mothers,” 3.

43 Davis, More Perfect Unions, 209–210.

44 National Center for Health Statistics, “Table 2-1: Estimated Number of Divorces and Annulments and Rates, with Percent Changes from Preceding Year: United States 1920–70,” Vital Statistics of the United States: 1970, vol. 3, Marriage and Divorce (Rockville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1974), sect. 2, p. 2-5. These numbers rose even more dramatically during the 1970s. By 1980, nearly twenty-three out of every 1,000 women got divorced. See also Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound, xvi.

45 “The Christian, The Church, and Divorce,” 1964, AR 140: Christian Life Commission/Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Publication and Promotional Materials Collection, box 18, folder 1, SBHLA. See also Jerrel Dee Gaddy, “Is Divorce Ever Justified?,” sermon, 17 August 1958, AR 138-2: Christian Life Commission Resource Files, box 81, folder 6, SBHLA.

46 Foy Valentine and James D. Williams, “Basic Values in Christian Marriage,” Baptist Adults, Spring 1965, p. 8, AR 138-2: Christian Life Commission Resource Files, box 158, folder 15, SBHLA. The SBC also sponsored several conferences, published numerous pamphlets, and offered regular Sunday school lessons on marriage, family, and sexuality. See the following collections of the Christian Life Commission/Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission at the SBHLA: AR 140 (Publications and Promotional Materials Collection); AR 138-6 (Seminar Proceedings Collection); and the print run of Baptist Adults.

47 On Valentine's general liberalism, see Miller, Steven P., The Age of Evangelicalism: America's Born-Again Years (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 41; and Worthen, Apostles of Reason, 89–90. On his views on abortion, see Morgan, David T., The New Crusades, the New Holy Land: Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1969–1991 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1996), 115, 153.

48 Foy Valentine, “One Marriage: Material for Study,” Baptist Adults, Spring 1965, 11.

49 Valentine, “One Marriage,” 11.

50 Valentine, “One Marriage,” 11.

51 Valentine, “One Marriage,” 12.

52 DeRogatis, “What Would Jesus Do?”; DeRogatis, Saving Sex; Williams, “Sex and the Evangelicals”; Davis, More Perfect Unions, 204–213; Davis, Rebecca L., “Eroticized Wives: Evangelical Marriage: Guides and God's Plan for the Christian Family,” in The Embrace of Eros: Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in Christianity, ed. Kamitsuka, Margaret D. (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress, 2010), 165179; and Miller, Age of Evangelicalism, 22–27. Conservative Christian counselors at the time, who were similarly distressed by the sexual frankness of American popular culture and the moral relativism of mainstream psychology, likewise began promoting stronger marriages through Biblical passages. See Myers-Shirk, Susan E., Helping the Good Shepherd: Pastoral Counselors in a Psychotherapeutic Culture, 1925–1975 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 221223.

53 DeRogatis, “What Would Jesus Do?,” 108.

54 Miles, Herbert J., Sexual Happiness in Marriage (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1967), 5; and Davis, More Perfect Unions, 206.

55 D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 267–268; and Simmons, Christina, Making Marriage Modern: Women's Sexuality from the Progressive Era to World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 178217.

56 Miles, Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 43.

57 Miles, Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 45.

58 Miles, Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 46.

59 Miles, Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 48.

60 Miles, Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 34.

61 Miles, Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 49.

62 Miles, Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 49. Later printings of this book included an entire chapter on adultery. See Miles, Herbert J., Sexual Happiness in Marriage, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1982), 147154.

63 LaHaye, Tim, How to Be Happy though Married (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1968), 63

64 LaHaye, How to Be Happy though Married, 153. LaHaye expanded on this point in LaHaye, Tim and LaHaye, Beverly, The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1976).

65 SBC, Resolution on Family Life and Sex Education, 1969, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/978/resolution-on-family-life-and-sex-education. Southern Baptists’ growing commitment to sexual instruction during this period parallels the broader embrace of religiously grounded sexual education documented by sociologist Janice Irvine. See Irvine, Janice M., Talk About Sex: The Battles over Sex Education in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 81106.

66 “Roundup for Tuesday PMs,” in “Southern Baptist Convention, June 12–14, 1973, Portland, Oregon,” Baptist Press News Release, 12 June 1973, p. 42, Baptist Press Archives from 1948 to 1996, SBHLA, http://media.sbhla.org.s3.amazonaws.com/3597,12-JUN-1973.pdf. For a profile of Owen Cooper, see “Lay Leader of Southern Baptists: Owen Cooper,” New York Times, 7 June 1972, 16, https://nyti.ms/2JRYY8M.

67 SBC, Resolution on the Place of Women in Christian Service, 1973, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/1090/resolution-on-the-place-of-women-in-christian-service. For an account of the proposal and ratification of this resolution, see Flowers, Into the Pulpit, 50–52.

68 SBC, Resolution on Family Relationships, 1975, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/527/resolution-on-family-relationships.

69 For selected examples, see SBC, Resolution on Permissiveness and Family Planning, 1977, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/796/resolution-on-permissiveness-and-family-planning; SBC, Resolution on Permissiveness and Family Planning, 1980, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/797/resolution-on-permissiveness-and-family-planning; SBC, Resolution on the White House Conference on the Family, 1980, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/530/resolution-on-the-white-house-conference-on-the-family; SBC, Resolution on Strengthening Families, 1981, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/531/resolution-on-strengthening-families; SBC, Resolution on Family Planning, 1981, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/798/resolution-on-family-planning; SBC, Resolution on Concern for Families, 1982, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/532/resolution-on-concern-for-families; and SBC, Resolution on Human Sexuality, 1991, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/984/resolution-on-human-sexuality.

70 Davis, More Perfect Unions, 203–214; Davis, “Eroticized Wives”; Celello, Making Marriage Work, 128–130; and Johnson, This is Our Message, 11–37.

71 For Hull's biography, see SBHLA, “Inventory to the William E. Hull Sermon Collection, AR 736,” http://www.sbhla.org/downloads/736.pdf; and Flowers, Into the Pulpit, 219n66.

72 Hull, William, “The Foundations of Sexual Fidelity,” The Student 59, no. 5 (November 1979): 49. See also Hull, “The Fulfillment Sexual Fidelity,” The Student 59, no. 6 (December 1979): 30–32. In addition, Review and Expositor: A Baptist Theological Journal 68, no. 2 (May 1971) was devoted entirely to articles on “Christianity and Sexuality” (available in AR 138-2: Christian Life Commission Resource Files, box 36, folder 23, SBHLA).

73 There are too many examples of these to list all of the self-help style articles, but for instance, see Malcolm Tolbert, “The Sex Threat to Ministers,” Theological Educator (Fall 1975): 7, AR 138-2: Christian Life Commission Resource Files, box 36, folder 24, SBHLA; “Can Unfaithfulness be Forgiven?” Home Life 31, no. 5 (February 1977): 37; Cardwell, Albert, “A Marriage Counselor Looks at Unfaithfulness,” Home Life 31, no. 5 (February 1977): 38; Harbour, Brian L., “Beyond Infidelity,” Home Life 33, no. 5 (February 1979): 4243; Holley, R. Arnold, “Dealing with Infidelity,” Home Life 37, no. 4 (January 1983): 3233; Rowatt, G. Wade, “What Adultery Does to Marriage,” Home Life 38, no. 4 (January 1984): 1415; A Forgiving Wife [pseud.], “My Husband Was Unfaithful,” Home Life 38, no. 7 (April 1984): 14–15; Boice, Sheri, “Why I Forgave Him,” Home Life 39, no. 9 (June 1985): 1011; Kay, Gerry, “Compelled to Cope,” Royal Service 79, no. 7 (January 1985): 24; and George, Denise, “Do I Really Want an Affair?Home Life 43, no. 1 (October 1989): 1821. Wayne Dehoney, a moderate Southern Baptist pastor who had served as SBC president from 1964–1966, also spoke about the many biblical sanctions against marital infidelity and the power of forgiving adulterers despite their transgressions in a pair of published sermons from 1974: Wayne Dahoney, The Virtue of Fidelity, May 1974, AR 880: William Wayne Dahoney Collection, box 36, folder 9, SBHLA; and Wayne Dahoney, The Christian and Divorce, May 1974, AR 880: William Wayne Dahoney Collection, box 36, folder 9, SBHLA.

74 SBC, Resolution on Homosexuality, 1976, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/606/resolution-on-homosexuality.

75 SBC, Resolution on Homosexuality, 1977, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/607/resolution-on-homosexuality.

76 “Playboy Interview: Jimmy Carter; A Candid Conversation with the Democratic Candidate for the Presidency,” Playboy, November 1976, 69.

77 Dowland, Family Values, chap. 4; and Williams, God's Own Party, 115–119, 156–158.

78 Robert O'Brien, “Abortion Court Decision: Interpreted by Attorney,” Baptist Press News Release, 29 January 1973, 1, 2, Baptist Press Archives from 1948 to 1996, http://media.sbhla.org.s3.amazonaws.com/3520,29-Jan-1973.pdf.

79 LaHaye and LaHaye, Act of Marriage, 235–237.

80 W. A. Criswell, “David: Sexual Drives,” 19 October 1980, W. A. Criswell Sermon Library, transcript and audio recording, https://wacriswell.com/sermons/1980/david-sexual-drives/.

81 W. A. Criswell, “Can a Home Be Happy Without Christ?,” 26 September 1982, W. A. Criswell Sermon Library, transcript and audio recording, https://wacriswell.com/sermons/1982/can-a-home-be-happy-without-christ/.

82 W. A. Crisswell, “The World Around Us,” 20 August 1989, W. A. Criswell Sermon Library, transcript and audio and video recordings, https://wacriswell.com/sermons/1989/the-world-around-us/.

83 Billy Graham, “Houston, 1981 - Nov. 9: Youth, Sex and the Bible; John 8:1–11, Matt. 14:1–12,” p. 6, CN 265, Part I, box 7, folder 4, BGCA, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrxP1NXtXq1ZGgyQmxRaXhXbDg/view. The cover page for this document misidentifies the collection number as 285 instead of 265.

84 Graham, “Youth, Sex and the Bible,” 9.

85 Graham, “Youth, Sex and the Bible,” 11.

86 On Jerry Falwell's role in conservative politics and his religious allies, see Fitzgerald, Evangelicals, 265–327; Williams, God's Own Party, 171–179; and Dowland, Family Values.

87 Falwell, Jerry, Listen, America! (New York: Bantam, 1981), 106.

88 Falwell, Listen, America, 103.

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“Thou Shalt Meet Thy Sexual Needs in Marriage”: Southern Baptists and Marital Sex in the Postwar Era

  • Sarah Potter (a1)

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