Garrison Keillor once remarked that Puritans came to the New World seeking the freedom to be harsher with themselves than English law allowed.
The apostate Puritans of today continue that noble tradition by seeking the liberty from Catholic oppression and bourgeois tradition in order to be brutal and self-degrading. Instead of bearing the onerous yoke of hearing “You are precious in God’s sight and he loves you” and “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” postmodern Americans (and roughly 500 million readers) long for the freedom of bondage. Smart.
Greg Popcak has an interesting diagnosis of how this sick dynamic has emerged in our post-Christian culture. I think he’s on to something.