Recent poll data shows increasing support for same-sex marriage in the U.S., especially among White Catholics and mainstream Protestants. When and how can we use polls to gain insight about social policy and public debate? How much support is “enough” to change the way our institutions operate? And what is the role of progressive religious mobilization in changing attitudes on these kinds of “values” issues?Read the rest of Same-Sex Marriage? Well, the data say. . ..
Penny Edgell is a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota. Her research has focused on the relationship between conflict and commitment (Congregations in Conflict, 1999), religious ideals of "the good family" (Religion and Family in a Changing Society, 2005; Sociological Forum), and the relationship between religious culture and social exclusion (American Sociological Review, Social Problems). Read Penny Edgell's contribution to Surveying religious knowledge.
Posts by Penny Edgell:
What is the relationship between rates of church attendance and national identity? When more than 50 percent of a country’s population does not attend religious services, is that the tipping point that makes for a secular nation?Read the rest of How many “nones” make a secular nation?.
When does a crisis become a turning point? Dr. Russell Moore, dean of SBTS’s School of Theology, hopes the Gulf oilspill crisis will amplify and expand an emerging environmental concern among evangelicals. Is this a defining moment for a new kind of evangelical activism or . . . just another crisis?Read the rest of Generic crisis or defining moment?.
Susan Jacoby’s recent post is one of the best statements I’ve seen in opposition to the “mamma grizzly” feminism of Sarah Palin et alia. But no one riposte is going to settle a debate that taps into deep, and deeply felt, cultural contradictions. We may be in the post-feminist era, but questions about feminism and women’s bodies and reproduction are far from “over.”Read the rest of When the personal keeps on being political.
Regardless of their stance on secularization, both classical and market-based positions take modernity for granted as the starting point for meaningful theorizing about religion. Both perspectives largely agree on modernity’s core features, and both are dominated by a substantive, neo-Weberian approach to religion as an object of study, focusing on self-identified religious groups and institutions. In this approach, religion provides coherent and bounded belief systems to which individuals commit through a process of rational assent, and which they find appealing for reasons of elective affinity with a religion’s capacity to make sense of the contemporary social environment and to orient behavior in effective ways to achieve desired ends.
From this perspective, the religion that thrives in the modern world, to borrow (and perhaps misuse) a metaphor from Mary Douglas, is a pig that has learned to chew its cud, an ill-fitting social form transformed into something that fits, albeit precariously, in the modern order.Read the rest of The pig is not the problem.