Defenders of Faith

Defenders of Faith

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2388-8.ch005
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Abstract

In the past few decades, the question of whether and how civil society should recognize committed intimate relationships between two people of the same sex is a prominent and divisive policy issue. This chapter discusses the heightened lawmaking efforts by legislators that are more inclined toward religious claims due to their opposition to homosexuality.
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We're elected to represent our constituents when they're right, and to vote our consciences regardless of whether our constituents are right. And our conscience should be telling us to stand up for civil rights regardless of how unpopular it may appear. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” Such a time is now. With your no vote on this bill, you can help break the silence and stand with those who have no one to stand with them. ~ Iowa State Representative Ed Fallon

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Introduction

The founders’ perspective on the relationship of religion and politics was predicated on a separatist approach. Despite other differences in political theory, the Republican justifications for the exclusion of religion from the political processes are analogous to liberalism's justifications for a similar exclusion of religion (Pangel, 1988). For a considerable time, the two viewpoints of America have created political tension because of the opposing views of the proper Christian society. Conservatives insisted that a Christian state required some official recognition and support for churches. By contrast, Separatists contended that state support of an established denomination infringed upon the freedom of individual conscience and of the other churches (Kammen, 1980).

In fact, some studies of legislative behavior have included measures of religious affiliation to capture the preferences of individual legislators (Benson &Williams, 1982; Gohmann & Ohsfeldt, 1994, 1994; Green & Guth, 1991). As a result, legislators do not simply disagree over an instrumental policy goal; the fundamental issue frame is in dispute. What for one group is clearly a religious wrong, for another is clearly a civil right. In that context, legislators become the defenders of a way of life — a divinely ordained way of life. These arguments represent the type of wedge issues that divide families, parties, states; and challenge governance (Lowi, 1969). These are conflicts over morality issues and are defined by “clashes of first principle” or arguments over fundamental values on “technically simple and salient public policy issues with high citizen participation” (Mooney & Lee, 2000). In the past few decades, the question of whether and how civil society should recognize committed intimate relationships between two people of the same sex has is an example of a prominent and divisive policy issue. This chapter discusses the heightened lawmaking efforts by legislators that are more inclined toward religious claims due to their opposition to homosexuality.

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