Georgetown University Press

Religion and Politics series

John C. Green, Ted G. Jelen, and Mark J. Rozell, series editors

Published by: Georgetown University Press

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Religion and Politics series

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Reverse Mission

Transnational Religious Communities and the Making of US Foreign Policy

Timothy A. Byrnes

Many Catholic priests, nuns, and brothers in the United States take a strong interest in US policies that affect their "brothers and sisters" abroad. In fact, when the policies of their native government pose significant dangers to their people internationally, these US citizens engage actively in a variety of political processes in order to protect and advance the interests of the transnational religious communities to which they belong. In this provocative examination of the place of religion in world politics, Timothy A. Byrnes focuses on three Catholic communities -- Jesuit, Maryknoll, and Benedictine -- and how they seek to shape US policy in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Based on years of fieldwork and on-the-ground interviews, Reverse Mission details the transnational bonds that drive the political activities of these Catholic orders.

This fascinating book reveals how the men and women of these orders became politically active in complex and sometimes controversial causes and how, ultimately, they exert a unique influence on foreign policy that is derived from their communal loyalties rather than any ethnic or national origin.

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To Serve God and Mammon

ChurchûState Relations in American Politics

Newly revised and updated, To Serve God and Mammon is a classic in the field of religion and politics that provides an unbiased introduction and overview of churchûstate relations in the United States. Jelen begins by exploring the inherent tension betwe

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Uncompromising Positions

God, Sex, and the U.S. House of Representatives

Elizabeth Anne Oldmixon

Cultural factions are an intrinsic part of the fabric of American politics. But does this mean that there is no room for compromise when groups hold radically different viewpoints on major issues? Not necessarily. For example, in a June 2003 Time/CNN poll, 49% of respondents identified themselves as pro-choice and 46% identified as pro-life. But in the same poll, 81% indicated that abortion should be "always legal" or "sometimes legal," suggesting that "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are not discrete positions but allow room for compromise. How do legislators legislate policy conflicts that are defined in explicitly cultural terms such as abortion, gay marriage, and school prayer? American political institutions are frequently challenged by the significant conflict between those who embrace religious traditionalism and those who embrace progressive cultural norms. Uncompromising Positions: God, Sex, and the U.S. House of Representatives investigates the politics of that conflict as it is manifested in the proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives. Oldmixon traces the development of these two distinct cultures in contemporary American politics and discusses the decision-making and leadership tactics used by legislators to respond to this division of values. She argues that cultural conflict produces an absolutist politics that draws on religious values not amenable to compromise politics. One possible strategy to address the problem is to build bipartisan coalitions. Yet, interviews with House staffers and House members, as well as roll calls, all demonstrate that ideologically driven politicians sacrifice compromise and stability to achieve short-term political gain. Noting polls that show Americans tend to support compromise positions, Oldmixon calls on House members to put aside short-term political gain, take their direction from the example of the American public, and focus on finding viable solutions to public policy—not zealous ideology.

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The Values Campaign?

The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections

John C. Green, Mark J. Rozell, and Clyde Wilcox, Editors

The Christian Right never ceases to surprise professional observers of American politics. With the Christian coalition in disarray, many expected that the movement would play less of a role in the 2004 elections. But when exit polls reported that "moral values" were the most commonly cited reason for presidential vote choice, pundits immediately proclaimed the importance of the "values vote." Yet the role of the Christian Right, of statewide referenda on same-sex marriage, and of religious mobilization remained the subject of debate. The Values Campaign? The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections reaches well beyond the instant analyses of the post-election period to provide an assessment of the role of the religious right in 2004. The contributors to this volume are among the leading scholars of religion and politics in the United States, and many have contributed for over a decade to ongoing discussions of the role played by the religious right in national elections. The authors consider national mobilization and issues, and also explore the role of the Christian Right in specific states. Their evaluations contend that the "values campaign" was not an aberration but a consistent pattern of national politics, and that moral traditionalism will likely continue to be a significant factor in future elections. A timely study of the 2004 elections, this volume will appeal to scholars and observers of electoral politics, state politics, and religion and politics.

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