Fair enough. As you say, it depends on the sect. But what your own history says to me is that it is quite unusual. Most Catholics are not third order Franciscans. Most protestants are not in the Pilgrim Holiness Church.I was brought up as a Catholic and am a former member of the 3rd Order of Franciscans. Articles of faith, no divorce and remarriage, holy days of Obligation, excommunication for abortion, Humane Vitae (no birth control)...Our family friends were Protestant self described "evangelicals" which is really their way of saying they were fundamentalists. The dad was brought up in Pilgrim Holiness Church- a direct descendant from the Puritan Church. Their son and daughter, just a couple years older than I, went to a college where they had to sign a pledge not to smoke, drink, dance or play cards. A friend of mine who wanted to go to a psychic was told by her church's deacons that she could not.
So, no, my experiences and what I've witnessed are different from your description above.
Groups like those have a basic vested interest in portraying themselves as normal. Maybe I'm misreading your post — message boards are a thin channel — but my impression is that you're implying, "Hey, I KNOW organized religion, buddy — my parents were Third Order Franciscans!" As if an upbringing like that is more authentically and authoritatively religious. But to me, that's exactly the pitch that extreme sects so often try to make: they tell you that they're the only real deal. In fact, that's dead wrong. They are not the norm, at all.
To some extent that's true; but religions definitely can and do reform themselves from within. Moreover, 'secular means' only existed in the first place, in the western hemisphere at least, because they evolved out of medieval theocracy. Even just a couple of generations ago, western societies used to be very much more religious than they are now. But if those religious societies were really so narrowly conservative, how the heck did they ever evolve into what we have today?Most of the rights and wiggle room modern day Christians enjoy - and I'm sure this extends to other faiths like Hinduism- were obtained by secular means.