Moral crusader

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A moral crusader is a moral entrepreneur who campaigns against perceived evil on the basis of their own moral assumptions regarding good and bad, and right and wrong.

As Ronald Weitzer says in his article, "MORAL CRUSADE AGAINST PROSTITUTION"[1]:

"Moral crusades arise in reaction to a perceived social problem, which they define as an unqualified evil: participants see their mission as a righteous enterprise whose goals are both symbolic (attempting to redraw or reinforce normative boundaries) and practical (aiming to crack down on evildoers and/or provide relief to victims).
Crusaders typically call upon political elites to do something about the problem, and successful crusades result in some kind of institutionalization--in policy, law, or enforcement practices. Apart from winning legal and policy battles, successful crusades also benefit insofar as their ideotogy is given official endorsement by the state, which helps to affirm the crusaders' moral standards, elevate their status, and often generates an influx of new resources.
Moral crusades take the form of "moral panics" if the targeted evil is blown out of proportion, if the number of alleged victims is far higher than what is warranted by the available evidence, and if the claims result in exaggerated anxiety or alarm among at least a segment of the population. In a moral panic, the gravity and scale of a menace or threat far exceeds its objective reality. By this definition, the current crusade against prostitution can be considered a moral panic par excellence."

The past 30 years has seen a horrific moral crusade directed against BoyLovers. Some of the first moral crusaders were Anita Bryant, "the wicked witch" Judianne Densen-Gerber, and "the evil nurse" Ann Wolbert Burgess.


  1. Moral crusade against prostitution, doi: 10.1007/bf02687593, Ronald Weitzer, Society, 2006, pp. 33--38, Springer-Verlag Available here:

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