1st Edition

Political Justice and Religious Values

By Charles Andrain Copyright 2008
    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    248 Pages
    by Routledge

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    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

    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


    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