Throughout time, religion has been used a weapon to control the masses and oppress those who do not believe or conform. The revivals discussed in Sin and the City are a prime example of this and the effects of these revivals are still felt today.
Society is obsessed with putting people into categories and people following certain guidelines as to how to live their lives. It is justified by appealing to morality and God. The scrutiny that people endure when these guidelines aren’t followed leads to conflict resulting in revivals to save the non-conformers – even if the guidelines set are impossible for the non-conformers to achieve. Middle-class ideals of the woman being in the private sphere and the man being out in the public sphere were hard to meet for immigrant, working-class people. They were often forced to share a home with other families for economic purposes making it impossible to achieve that “privatized space…where assigned gender roles, familial harmony, and religious orientation could do their jobs” (pg 33). In the meantime, the Elite had shunned the private sphere for no other reason than they just enjoyed the growing night life in Chicago and did not want that “notion of home” (pg 33). These public women represented a “loose woman open to corruption, seduction, and possible prostitution” – they were the original Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. The behaviors of women and immigrants combined with the moral assignments given to both African-American men and women in order to uplift their race within society and their “lack of domestic order” (pg 79) had to be stopped. I find it very ironic that the morals that these revivals were trying to instill in people were the same reasons that they were using to justify discrimination against immigrants, women, and African-Americans. “Christian domesticity could cut two ways: one, to provide a moral standard for civilization, and two, to use that moral standard as a tool for discrimination and exclusion.” (pg 79) I also find it ironic that the effects of prohibition used to control these immigrants, women, and blacks are still felt today. With the separation of church and state that is supposed to be in place, you still cannot buy liquor on Sundays in the state of Virginia. I guess if you can’t buy alcohol on a Sunday then you must go to church instead. That is if there is nothing else on television.