1st Edition

Political Justice and Religious Values

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ISBN 9780415989657
Published May 28, 2008 by Routledge
248 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Why do individuals and groups hold distinctive theological views? Why do these beliefs change? In what ways do theological interpretations influence concepts of spiritual and political justice? How and why do these concepts of justice affect policy preferences held by religious liberals and conservatives?

Much has recently been written about the relationship between power, conservative politics, and evangelical religious groups, but very little attention has been paid to so-called "progressive" religious groups among Protestants, Catholics, and Jews and their relationship to political thought and action.

This wide-ranging and interdisciplinary work, ideal for use in college courses on religion and social issues, explores the impact of theological interpretations about God, the individual, society, church, and government on attitudes toward procedural and distributive justice. Major issues revolve around civil liberties, sexual choice, gender equality, world peace, prison reform, and income distribution

Table of Contents

List of Tables viii

Preface ix

Chapter 1. Interpretations of Religion and Politics 1

Political Attitudes and Religious Values 2

Political and Spiritual Justice 10

Meaning of Justice 10

Sources of Knowledge about Justice 22

Application of Spiritual Principles to Public Policies 24

Religious Discourse and Political Change 27

Conclusion 33

Chapter 2. Perspectives on Biblical Justice 36

Interpretations of the Scriptures 37

Jesus, Justice, and the Challenge to Elitist Rule 43

Paul, Justice, and Citizenship in Heaven 52

Conclusion 59

Chapter 3. Walter Rauschenbusch: Prophet of the Social Gospel 65

Capitalist Modernization and the Progressive Movement 67

Theological Views about Justice 74

Public Policy Preferences for Justice 80

Conclusion 83

Chapter 4. The Social Gospel and Political Action 90

Protestant Activists 93

Jim Wallis 95

William Sloane Coffin 102

John Shelby Spong 113

Dorothy Day: The Catholic Worker Movement 123

Rabbi Michael Lerner: The Network of Spiritual Progressives 130

Conclusion 138

Chapter 5. New Thought and the Power of the Individual Mind 140

The Heritage of New Thought 148

Early Christian Gnosticism: The Gospel of Mary 148

Transcendentalism: The Influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson 151

The Teacher of New Thought: Emma Curtis Hopkins 158

The Unity School of Christianity 164

Religious Science 172

Conclusion 181

Chapter 6. The Policy Influence of Religious Liberalism 186

The Exercise of Political Influence 191

Religious Vision 197

Political Organization 200

Individual Support 207

Conclusion 213

Chapter 7. Liberal and Conservative Attitudes toward Justice 219

The Motivational Basis of Attitudes 224

Hypotheses about Issue Preferences 233

National Public Opinion 238

Public Opinion among Religious Groups 243

Conclusion 256

Appendix: Measurement of Variables 261

References 266

Index 316

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Charles Andrain is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at San Diego State University.


"Andrain’s striking interdisciplinary study at the intersection of politics and theology boldly promises to bring liberalism back as an intellectual force for justice and social integrity. His account of the social gospel in U.S. moral history reminds us of the great prophetic power of engaged Christian liberalism, so deeply at odds with the politically complacent and narrowly ambitious conservative Christian politics of today." -- Christine Helmer, Departments of Religion and German, Northwestern University

"This book offers a broad, exciting look at religion's role in conceptualizations of justice. Truly interdisciplinary, the book will appeal to scholars across many disciplines.  It also offers a particularly timely look at how religion and politics might be married together in ways that go beyond the Religious Right's "values" rubric." --   Laura R. Olson, Professor of Political Science, Clemson University

"Andrain has a deep knowledge of American political sociology...This text will be of greatest interest to scholars of American religion and political sociology." Choice, 2009