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Shock-and-awe tactics with grisly photos of dead fetuses and terror of increased government oversight on family-related issues drummed up droves of supporters buying into the agenda of the Moral Majority.

This terror-based approach to protecting the “traditional family” and “family values” had a watershed affect, driving the Right to work against civil protections for sexual orientation and gender presentation, creating a fear frenzy that drove the War on Drugs to incarcerate an entire generation of young black men, while causing Christian universities (led by my alma mater) to seek legal exemption from being under Title IX if they would surrender access to federal funding.

I would wake up crying and shaking from a dream about being pregnant, and the next morning he’d make me coffee and listen to my stories and try to assuage my fears. * * * ffred learns early on that she is not the first Handmaid to be given to the Commander’s household to bear a child for him and his wife. Offred never tells the reader her real name — she only says she had another one, once.

So when he asked me to have a kid to save our marriage, I was stunned. The last one, she gathers from bits of gossip here and there, committed suicide. Under the new regime, her name is that of the man for whom she exists as a birthing vessel.

I’m curious what you’ll make of it.” The shade thrown by my usually soft-spoken professor caught my attention. And so I did, unwittingly cracking open the beginning of the end for meek, conservative Christian me. To the average American in 1985, it seemed pretty far out there, an unlikely vision of future written as a warning.

We still see this struggle impacting negotiations on the Hill today, as abortion remains an impossibly hot-button issue, regularly derailing policymaking.

Young girls who led the congregation wore white dresses and were stripped of identifying features — no jewelry, no nail polish, hair tied back and not in the face — while wives were submissive helpers to their husbands, with my mother used as the fertile ground for my father to breed a quiver full of Christian culture warriors. As was common in the movement, I was my mom’s right hand.

She sometimes called me her strength, because I helped her co-parent my younger siblings and keep the household running.

And I did the dinner dishes almost exclusively for about 10 years, foregoing activities with my peers at church and in the community because I had too many obligations to fulfill at home.

Like Offred, my life’s purpose was subsumed into serving the “greater good” of my far-right Christian community. My situation grew out of a larger movement in the conservative Christian community to be more invested in politics and cultural affairs on the national level.

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