Evangelicals' fixation on sex draws scrutiny after Atlanta shooting

Atlanta spa shootings suspect Robert Aaron Long reportedly telling police he had a "sex addiction" has drawn new attention to the fixation on sex in his church.

The New York Times explored the subject on Saturday under the headline, "Atlanta Suspect's Fixation on Sex Is Familiar Thorn for Evangelicals."

"When Brad Onishi heard that the man accused of a rampage at three Atlanta-area spas told detectives that he had carried out the attacks as a way to eliminate his own temptations, the claim sounded painfully familiar. Dr. Onishi, who grew up in a strict evangelical community in Southern California that emphasized sexual purity, had spent his teenage years tearing out any advertisements in surfing magazines that featured women in bikinis. He had traded his online passwords with friends to hold himself accountable," the newspaper reported. "The evangelical culture he was raised in, he said, 'teaches women to hate their bodies, as the source of temptation, and it teaches men to hate their minds, which lead them into lust and sexual immorality.'"

"Many people saw clear signs of misogyny and racism in the attacks, in which six of the victims were women of Asian descent. But Mr. Long's characterization of his motivations was also very recognizable to observers of evangelicalism and some evangelicals themselves. He seemed to have had a fixation on sexual temptation, one that can lead to despair among people who believe they are failing to follow the ideal of refraining from sex and even lust outside heterosexual marriage," the newspaper reported.

Read the full report.