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Making Chastity SexyThe Rhetoric of Evangelical Abstinence Campaigns$
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Christine J. Gardner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267275

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267275.001.0001

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Fearing God, Not AIDS

Fearing God, Not AIDS

Abstinence in Africa

(p.143) Chapter 6 Fearing God, Not AIDS
Making Chastity Sexy

Christine J. Gardner

University of California Press

This chapter follows the American evangelical sexual abstinence rhetoric to sub-Saharan Africa to explore the differences between the American and African cases. It shows that the abstinence message in Kenya and Rwanda largely borrows the rhetoric of the abstinence campaigns in the United States, with a stronger emphasis on the fear of AIDS. Surprisingly, Rwandan youth express less fear of acquiring HIV/AIDS than fear of displeasing God. American evangelicals offer a positive focus on purity and emphasize that pleasing God has tangible benefits for the individual. In contrast, Kenyan and Rwandan youth emphasize that pleasing God is an end in itself. For evangelicals in the United States, sin is an individual problem; in the context of sub-Saharan Africa, sin is viewed as a structural problem. There are gender differences, too: in the United States, the campaigns portray females as possessing power over their bodies; in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenyan and Rwandan young people portray females as bearing responsibility for their bodies.

Keywords:   evangelical abstinence campaigns, abstinence rhetoric, sub-Saharan Africa, sexual abstinence, sin, HIV, AIDS, Kenya, Rwanda

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