Bill Mouser with a fine post on religious madhouses. He explains:
Now, what’s wonderful about religious madhouses is this: they usually appear utterly normal. All the psychic (or, theological) horrors are well hidden behind the visible veneer of civility, piety, and bible-babble. Stained glass, well-polished and padded pews, tasteful colors and the soft rustle of choir robes or clerical vestments render it all so, well, staid.
Yes, the gentle slopes, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings. It’s all quite familiar to those of us who’ve spent many Sundays in mainline church pews.