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Religious Interests in Community Conflict

Beyond the Culture Wars

Paul A. Djupe and Laura R. Olson, editors

Publication Year: 2007

This volume investigates some of the most visible issues in American politics today, including gay marriage and race, along with ongoing concerns that often fly below the radar of the mass media, such as healthcare and homelessness. The book uncovers explores the political motivations, effectiveness, and interplay of organized religious interests as they confront public problems in their local communities.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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List of Tables and Figures

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi- xi

We began this project in an academic effort to contribute to theory building in religion and politics, but we also managed to have an enormous amount of fun working on the book that has resulted. Our field is very collaborative, and this book is as well. The two of us had worked together on other projects before beginning this book, and we had also worked with many of the volume’s contributors. We believe the...


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Chapter 1:Toward a Fuller Understanding of Religion and Politics

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pp. 3-16

Religion and politics have been profoundly intertwined in the United States since before the founding of the republic, despite constitutional prohibitions against state intervention in religious matters. Religious interest groups lobby government alongside secular interest groups. Political candidates target specific religious constituencies for their...

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Chapter 2: God and Gaming: Community Conflict over a Proposed Indian Casino in West Michigan

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pp. 17-50

When a major commercial development is proposed for a small, rural community, conflict is likely. When that development is an Indian casino and the rural community is largely white as well as culturally and theologically...

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Chapter 3: Sweet Land of Liberty: The Gay Marriage Amendment in Nevada

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pp. 51-72

In 2002 the voters of the state of Nevada passed the second of two referenda (Question 2) required to amend the Nevada Constitution to define “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman. As a result,...

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Chapter 4: Clergy and Controversy: A Study of Clergy and Gay Rights in Columbus, Ohio

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pp. 73-102

In 2004, voters in eleven states voted on various forms of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and the proposals passed by comfortable margins in all eleven...

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Chapter 5: Religious Interests in Community Collaboration: The Quiet Fight for Health Care in South Omaha

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pp. 103-122

This chapter tells the story of how a coalition of religious interests responded to growing health care crises in an urban neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. Two Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America [ELCA]) ministers began a process that brought various religious interests...

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Chapter 6: Homelessness, Ecumenism, and Politics in Racine, Wisconsin

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pp. 123-144

From 1993 until 2005, a faith-based organization almost singlehandedly sheltered the burgeoning homeless population of Racine, Wisconsin, a small city south of Milwaukee. Each year, a network of seven churches—some longtime participants in the program and other...

Part III: Religion in the Public Square

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Chapter 7: Religious Interests and the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in Greenville, South Carolina

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pp. 145-172

Greenville County, South Carolina, is exactly the sort of place to observe “culture wars” first hand. As the state’s largest county, Greenville is a big notch in the Bible Belt: one birthplace of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination...

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Chapter 8: Salt Lake City’s Main Street Plaza Controversy

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pp. 173-196

During the past several years, an enormous conflict erupted not only in Salt Lake City but also across the entire state of Utah over the sale of a block of Main Street in Salt Lake City to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

Part IV

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Chapter 9: From Riots to Reconciliation: The Religious Interests Involved in Healing Cincinnati after Racial Unrest

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pp. 197-228

The city of Cincinnati is no stranger to the spotlight, having been on the front lines of national debates involving morality and family values for decades. Battles over the distribution of Larry...

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Chapter 10: Unity in the Face of the Faceless Clergy Opposition to the Ku Klux Klan in Northwest Arkansas

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pp. 229-252

Whenever the Ku Klux Klan comes to town, there is apt to be conflict, especially if the town they come to is Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Struggling to distance themselves from lingering southern stereotypes, residents...


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Chapter 11: A Meditation on and Meta-analysis of the Public Presence of Religious Interests

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pp. 253-280

In this volume, we set out to take stock of the public intersections of religion and politics in the United States, tell some engaging stories, and build evidence to assess the theoretical work that has been completed during...


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pp. 281-290


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pp. 291-324

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About the Contributors

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pp. 325-328

Michael W. Bowers is vice provost for academic affairs and professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is author...


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pp. 329- 341

E-ISBN-13: 9781602580947
E-ISBN-10: 1602580944
Print-ISBN-13: 9781932792515
Print-ISBN-10: 1932792511

Page Count: 353
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1st

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Church and social problems -- United States.
  • Social conflict -- United States.
  • Religion and politics -- United States.
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