God, Sex, and the U.S. House of Representatives
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Georgetown University Press
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My father used to regale me with stories of his days as an altar boy growing up on Staten Island, New York. He loved being an altar boy. For one thing, altar boys were excused from school to serve at funerals. For another, sometimes he and his friends had the opportunity to steal communion wine...
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Many people contributed to this project, and I am happy to have the opportunity to acknowledge them. Thank you to Larry Dodd, Ken Wald, Jim Button, Peggy Conway, Marty Swilley, and Debbie Wallen, all of whom are at the University of Florida. Larry and Ken, in particular, continue to be...
Introduction: Guns, Race, and Culture
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Inspired by the Sermon on the Mount, Puritan leader John Winthrop preached to the early European settlers in North America that they should model themselves as “a city upon a hill.”¹ In the years that followed, this image of America as a Godly “city upon a hill” became a popular metaphor for the...
1. Seeing and Believing in the Foreground
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Regardless of historical era and context, in the foreground of American politics members of Congress want things. They are purposive and goal oriented, and they act to achieve their goals. Scholars have elucidated an array of legislative goals that to varying degrees structure behavior, institutional...
2. The Culture of Progressive Sexuality
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Representative Barney Frank envisions a role for government as the protector of public morality. The moral vision he advocates, however, is not informed by religious values. The moral vision Frank seems to promote is one in which government carves out and defends individual autonomy, directed...
3. The Culture of Religious Traditionalism
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On August 17, 1992, Pat Buchanan took the podium in prime time at the Republican National Convention and characterized the presidential election as a choice between President George H. W. Bush, a “ champion of the Judeo- Christian values,” and Governor Bill Clinton, a champion of...
4. Choosing Folkways
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Sumner’s aphorism—often parsed as “You can’t legislate morality”—endures as a common refrain in American politics. Yet even if stateways cannot change folkways, stateways certainly can institutionalize and legitimate folkways. The U.S. Congress does this every year—or, at least, it...
5. Managing Morality
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I now turn my attention to how the House of Representatives tries to “outlaw sin,” focusing in particular on the role leaders play in managing the politics of cultural issues. Individual legislators are free to pursue their own goals in the foreground, but leaders must concern themselves with larger issues...
6. Cultural Scuffles and Capitol Hill
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The original working title of this manuscript was “Culture Wars and Capitol Hill.” That title, however, mischaracterizes the argument I pursue. As a national deliberative body, the U.S. Congress is an arena for punctuated cultural conflict (or scuffling) but probably not continuous culture...
Appendix A: Elite Interview Information
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Appendix B: Variable Specification, Coding, and Description
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Page Count: 262
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: Religion and Politics series
Series Editor Byline: John C. Green, Ted G. Jelen, and Mark J. Rozell, series editors