Are purity balls the next big thing to sweep the nation — ushering in chastity, wedding day virginity and, from the looks of several YouTube videos (pro and con), huge wooden cross- and ballroom dancing-filled galas?
The mass ceremonies are now occurring in 48 out of 50 states, reports the Daily Mail.
The girls who are the stars of purity balls are frequently around the age of 12.
The main event at a purity ball takes place when young girls decked out in fabulous gowns make public promises to their fathers that they will remain virgins until they are married. In exchange, the girls’ fathers publicly promise to watch over their daughters and to protect their collective maidenhood.
The ceremony is memorialized by a purity ring given by each father to each daughter. The ring symbolizes the girl’s commitment to virginity until matrimony.
A typical purity ball pledge — on the dad’s part — goes like this:
I ………’s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father.
I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and my family as the High Priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.
Each daughter then commits to live a virginal and pure life for the next several years by silently setting down a white rose at the base of the aforementioned large wooden cross (which the preteen girls lug into the ceremony en masse beforehand).
After all of this symbolic pageantry, the fathers and daughters dance as couples.
Then, there is general dancing and tasteful frivolity.
A number of journalistic enterprises have documented purity balls. Most of these journalists appear to be Europeans who not-so-secretly abhor the whole concept.
Nightline Prime is the latest news outfit to cover a purity ball. The one Nightline chose has been going on for 14 straight years at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. (“a gracious and beautiful resort,” according to tripadvisor.com).
One of the many scenes in the Nightline segment shows a father giving a gold purity ring to his daughter.
“This is just a reminder that keeping yourself pure is important,” the doting dad says. “So you keep this on your finger and from this point you are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.”
As the Mail notes, the original purity movement started among Evangelicals in the United States in the 1980s. It has since spread to some 17 other countries.