Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 3, No 1 (2008)

Health, Moralization, and Negotiating Judgment in Two Evangelical Ministries

Lynne Gerber
Issued Date: 15 Jul 2009


Evangelical Christian weight loss programs and ex-gay ministries both rely on religious categories in moralizing the issues they address; homosexuality and over-eating are both depicted as sinful. Yet these programs are also concerned about the social judgment fat people and gay people face and see themselves as places where that judgment is suspended in the pursuit of change. Through a qualitative analysis of the discourse of “health” as used by these groups, this paper argues that both ministries turn toward the seemingly neutral but in fact highly morally charged language of health in an effort to alleviate the tension between the condemnation inherent in the languages of sin and the desire to offer a respite from, and a limited critique of, the judgment their members experience.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v3i1.7

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