Joyce analyzes the work of countless evangelical Christians authors, including Debi Pearl and Michael Pearl–authors of the controversial “To Train Up a Child,” which encourages parents to use corporal punishment with their children. Joyce discovered these authors earn nearly one million dollars a year, writing: “Michael Pearl has said that a sixth of the three million home-schooling families in America use his materials.”
In her interview, Joyce discussed religious stories to look for in the future: “I think some stories to watch in the next year or so include the ways in which the conservative movement and the religious right are restructuring themselves; at the evolution of a vocal religious left and the continued journey of the more politically centrist progressive evangelical movement, and the tensions that exist between them; and how the enduring culture war issues like gay marriage and abortion are fought under a Democratic administration.”
She continued: “A lot of journalists I know who cover religion are amused by the cyclical media theme of the death of the religious right or the decline of conservative religious influence in U.S. politics. History doesn’t tend to bear that out, and I think a lot of astute religion writers and editors are keeping that in mind in covering the new administration and political climate.”
She explained how her research began: “I came across a surprisingly well-organized coalition of evangelical anti-contraception groups, some of whom were arguing that Christians should leave their family size and spacing in the hands of God … I began to see a vehement anti-feminism and another, startling motivation for large Christian families as well, as the Quiverfull authors told readers that by having very large families, and teaching their children to do the same, they could win the culture wars through numbers alone.”
Joyce will be reading tonight in Brooklyn at the Flying Saucer Cafe, at 494 Atlantic Ave (between Nevins and Third Ave.). Get all the details here.