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Author’s Name, “Title of Essay,” Religion and Justice, Edited by Ronald A. Simkins and Zachary B. Smith, Journal of Religion & Society Supplement 21 (2020), Pages of the essay [URL of this page].
A century of theoretical and empirical work in the psychology of religion has attempted to establish the links between different forms of religiousness and various types of prejudice. The present study examined the connection among four types of personal religiousness and four targets of prejudice. Using a sample of college students, we found that religious fundamentalism, religious ethnocentrism or exclusivity, religious commitment, and religious quest had complex patterns of relationships across measures of anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti-gay, and anti-poor hostility. The results depended on the particular form of personal religiousness, the particular target of prejudice, and type of statistical analysis used. There was one consistent finding: religious ethnocentrism was strongly and positively connected with all prejudices in all analyses. Anti-gay prejudice was the most successfully predicted outcome variable by the religiousness variables (R2 = .45, p < .001), and anti-poor prejudice had the weakest correlation with the religiousness variables (R2 = .07).
This essay places twentieth century white U.S. Protestant theology in conversation with the liberation theologies of Ignacio Ellacuría and James Cone. Drawing on Ellacuría’s belief that theology begins with “taking hold of reality,” it demonstrates the ways that the most prominent threads in white U.S. Protestant theology and ethics failed to take hold of the reality of racism, neglecting those Cone calls “the crucified people” in America – African Americans. It then argues that black liberation theology supplies the perspective and methodology – at least in U.S. Protestant theology – for following Ellacuría’s proposal. The Black theology of Cone, in light of Ellacuría’s concerns, offers a different model of doing theology in the U.S. context, one that corrects for the blindnesses and abstractions in conventional white Protestant theology.
In 1891-1892, the Roman Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica published three texts addressing the morality of lynching in the United States – an exchange prompted by the lynching of eleven Italians/Italian Americans in New Orleans. While reflecting the traditional restriction of capital punishment to public authorities that characterizes Catholic social thought, the anonymous participants in the journal’s exchange also raise considerations about the rights and social standings of the victim. In addition, the exchange illustrates the perils of crisis exceptionalism as an excuse to ignore the rule of law.
This essay reconsiders the nation’s current immigration problems by examining how social gospel leaders faced the country’s first immigration laws based on the standards they devised and asks who, if any, exemplified the heart of the social gospel in relation to immigration. It focuses on four leaders of the social gospel: Washington Gladden, the so-called Father of the Social Gospel; Walter Rauschenbusch, the movement’s most prominent theologian; Josiah Strong, a leader of the social gospel most often, if perhaps unfairly, remembered for his proclamations of Anglo-Protestant superiority; and Sidney Gulick, a missionary and social activist. While immigration was a major issue in the United States then and now, scholars have given little attention to the relationship between the social gospel and positions on immigration policy. The essay argues that while founders of the movement like Gladden and Rauschenbusch did not live up to the movement’s potential in regard to immigration, leaders like Strong and, to a much greater degree, Gulick did.
This paper engages in a thought experiment by applying the legal obligations set out in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to the United States government’s treatment of Central American asylum seekers arriving at the southern border of the U.S. since 2013. It asks what legal obligations the U.S. government would have toward people who cross the border if those people were either civilian nationals, or soldiers, of a hostile power with whom the U.S. was at war. After demonstrating that current treatment of asylum seekers falls short even of legal obligations to prisoners of war, the essay argues that poor treatment of asylum seekers does not, as a practical matter, deter people from coming to the U.S. to seek asylum. It closes by describing how better cooperation is needed at a global level to deal with contemporary movement of human beings, especially the migration of refugees and asylum seekers.
While fences, walls, and ever more dehumanizing restrictions on migrants and asylum seekers go up in various continents, Christians are increasingly realizing that their religious commitments demand an ethical as well as theological recognition of migration tragedies playing out across many regions in the world. Taking the existential actualities of the “age of migration” seriously as a source of theological inquiry also calls for a new mode of constructive liturgical theology. The commitment to such a transformation of theological imagination calls for a shift in how the very notion of “liturgy” is envisioned. In conversation with theologians, liturgical scholars, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Emmanuel Levinas, this article explores how the presence and unjust suffering of migrant neighbors can reshape liturgical imagination to constructively bridge the glaring gap between liturgy and life, worship and ethics, doxology and righteous action.
This essay presents a critical exploration of the genesis of authority as a male prerogative by examining biblical texts that comprise a sustained gender discourse spanning the length of biblical tradition. Focal texts include 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Genesis 1-3; 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36; and 1 Timothy 2:11-15. The discussion includes consideration of the legacy of biblical gender discourse in legal coverture and in the textual and discursive coverture of women in Catholic justice discourse.
We believe that the continuing emphasis on the sexual-abuse of minors in the Catholic Church, correct though it may be, helps to cover up the justice-abuse of both minors and adults, which is enabled by the exaggerated power and privilege presumed by and allowed to clerics that is rampant in the Church. This essay approaches the issue of justice-abuse from a perspective guided by the principle of faith that sees injustice and does justice and draws from scripture to explicitly challenge the use and abuse of power individually and institutionally that has led to sexual- and justice-abuse and its cover up in the Catholic Church.
This paper develops a theological understanding of the harm done when survivor testimony regarding clergy sex abuse is not believed. Using recent philosophical research in epistemic injustice, I trace the epistemic challenges to survivor testimony being both given and received, and argue that they constitute an injustice in their own right. I develop the concept of “theological harm” to speak precisely about both the epistemic and spiritual harm that is done when a person’s testimony is not received by her community; and to name the harm to theology itself when it fails to listen to the God-talk offered by survivors. A theology of testimony may play a part in helping us cultivate the very virtue we need in order to listen to it well and, therefore, to prevent abuse and support survivors.
This essay argues that climate justice understood as faithful, prudent action to address climate change is essential to the mission of the Catholic Church. The first section outlines Catholic ecclesiology, missiology, and theological ethics as a response to God who is love (1 John 4:8). The second section outlines post-conciliar missiological conceptualizations with focus on the controversy about “action on behalf of justice” surrounding the 1971 synod of bishops’ document Justicia in Mundo and subsequent preparations for the 1974 synod of bishops. The third section presents the causes and consequences of climate change and the fourth section argues that climate justice is essential to the church’s mission. Section four especially suggests how climate justice might be enacted by persons and communities through charitable works and social justice and emphasizes the need for both proclamation and spirituality. The fifth section highlights the importance of prudence to climate justice.
Prevalent theological concepts of human dignity purport to safeguard human lives equally, but in fact, because they ground human inviolability in assumptions of the violation and violability of animal lives, they expose and endanger those human beings whose differences – whether racialized, gendered, embodied, or in relation to colonial power – have been historically constructed through animality. As an alternative, this essay works out an account of dignity as the creaturely respiration of God’s Spirit, manifest in cultivated solidarities of creaturely life and expressed especially through shame and gentleness.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relied on their church court system for seeking “justice” or the cause of Zion throughout the nineteenth century for a variety of practical and theological reasons. First, the Saints believed that Isaiah’s cause of Zion transcended the more limited purposes of the corrupt civil state. Second, the Saints had become alienated from the secular legal system by what they perceived were injustices they had received at the hands of the existing state authority. Third, the priesthood eschewed the corrupt and costly influence of they described as “gentile” lawyers. Fourth, church leadership reviled against the divisive influence of litigation before the ungodly. Fifth, civil courts relied upon man-made laws that were ill suited for building the Kingdom of God. A sampling of ecclesiastical court cases demonstrates each of the above reasons why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints preserved the exclusive jurisdiction requirement for their Church Courts for most of the nineteenth century.