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Abortion and Unborn Human Life, Second Edition
Patrick Lee
Catholic University of America Press, 2010
Patrick Lee surveys the main philosophical arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of abortion and refutes them point by point. In a calm and philosophically sophisticated manner, he presents a powerful case for the pro-life position and a serious challenge to all of the main philosophical arguments on behalf of the pro-choice position.

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Adam's Gift
A Memoir of a Pastor's Calling to Defy the Church's Persecution of Lesbians and Gays
Jimmy Creech
Duke University Press, 2011
Jimmy Creech, a United Methodist pastor in North Carolina, was visited one morning in 1984 by Adam, a longtime parishioner whom he liked and respected. Adam said that he was gay, and that he was leaving The United Methodist Church, which had just pronounced that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” could not be ordained. He would not be part of a community that excluded him. Creech found himself instinctively supporting Adam, telling him that he was sure that God loved and accepted him as he was. Adam’s Gift is Creech’s inspiring first-person account of how that conversation transformed his life and ministry.

Adam’s visit prompted Creech to re-evaluate his belief that homosexuality was a sin, and to research the scriptural basis for the church’s position. He determined that the church was mistaken, that scriptural translations and interpretations had been botched and dangerously distorted. As a Christian, Creech came to believe that discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people was morally wrong. This understanding compelled him to perform same-gender commitment ceremonies, which conflicted with church directives. Creech was tried twice by The United Methodist Church, and, after the second trial, his ordination credentials were revoked. Adam’s Gift is a moving story and an important chapter in the unfinished struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil and human rights.


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The Aliites
Race and Law in the Religions of Noble Drew Ali
Spencer Dew
University of Chicago Press, 2019
“Citizenship is salvation,” preached Noble Drew Ali, leader of the Moorish Science Temple of America in the early twentieth century. Ali’s message was an aspirational call for black Americans to undertake a struggle for recognition from the state, one that would both ensure protection for all Americans through rights guaranteed by the law and correct the unjust implementation of law that prevailed in the racially segregated United States. Ali and his followers took on this mission of citizenship as a religious calling, working to carve out a place for themselves in American democracy and to bring about a society that lived up to what they considered the sacred purpose of the law.

In The Aliites, Spencer Dew traces the history and impact of Ali’s radical fusion of law and faith. Dew uncovers the influence of Ali’s teachings, including the many movements they inspired. As Dew shows, Ali’s teachings demonstrate an implicit yet critical component of the American approach to law: that it should express our highest ideals for society, even if it is rarely perfect in practice. Examining this robustly creative yet largely overlooked lineage of African American religious thought, Dew provides a window onto religion, race, citizenship, and law in America.

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Beyond Biology
Rethinking Parenthood in the Catholic Tradition
Georgetown University Press, 2023

A breakthrough in the theology of parenthood, integrating Catholic social thought and social scientific studies of child well-being in order to offer a more diverse and inclusive interpretation

The Catholic Church has a long and diverse history of tolerating various child-rearing arrangements. The dominant Catholic framework for conceptualizing parenthood, however, is highly influenced by concerns over sexual ethics and gender norms. While sexual and reproductive ethics are important, the present consensus that theological consideration of parenthood necessarily hinges on these matters diverts attention from actual parenting practices in their social and cultural contexts. In reality, kinship and caregiving are often negotiated in complex ways.

In Beyond Biology, Jacob M. Kohlhaas uses a historical and interdisciplinary theological method that engages both analytically and appreciatively with tradition to sketch a broader Catholic anthropology of parenthood. Kohlhaas’s identification of interpretive options within the Catholic tradition creates room for meaningful, intellectually convincing, and theologically rich responses to challenges facing Catholic parents and families today.

By marshaling the diversity of the Christian tradition and exploring contemporary research in the social sciences and humanities, Kohlhaas frames a theological conversation on parenthood as parenthood—considering the needs and well-being of children as well as the potentials and capabilities of adult caregivers. In his discussion, Kohlhaas considers adoption and nonbiological parenthood, fathers as primary caregivers and nurturers, caregiving by siblings and grandparents, and communal parenting and coparenting beyond the spousal pair. In Kohlhaas’s view, conceptions of parenthood should be guided by the meaning of Christian kinship rooted in baptism as well as concern for the actual caregiving capacities of adults and the needs of children.


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A Catechism for Business
Tough Ethical Questions & Insights from Catholic Teaching, Third Edition
Andrew V. Abela
Catholic University of America Press, 2021
In the four years since the publication of the second edition of A Catechism for Business, Pope Francis' enormous contributions to spreading the good news of the gospel has led to his promulgation of two apostolic exhortations and now a new encyclical, Fratelli tutti, focusing on human fraternity and solidarity. The vibrant tradition of Catholic thinking on social issues is unparalleled in its capacity to help guide human beings towards individual and communal flourishing. The context of a world emerging from a pandemic and new challenges to Christian faith and practice beckon for a refreshed look at pressing questions. Editors Andrew Abela and Joseph Capizzi offer the updated third edition which will incorporate material from both of these apostolic exhortations and the new encyclical.

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How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy
Anthony M. Annett
Georgetown University Press, 2023

Inequality is skyrocketing. In this world of vast riches, millions of people live in extreme poverty, barely surviving from day to day. All over the world, the wealthy's increasing political power is biasing policy away from the public interest and toward the financial interests of the rich. At the same time, many countries are facing financial fragility and diminished well-being. On top of it all, the global economy, driven by fossil fuels, has proven to be a collective act of self-sabotage with the poor on the front lines. In a new foreword to his book, Anthony M. Annett examines the Biden administration's economic policies and discusses reactions to Cathonomics.

A growing chorus of economists and politicians is demanding a new paradigm to create a global economy that seeks the common good. In Cathonomics, Annett unites insights in economics with those from theology, philosophy, climate science, and psychology, exposing the failures of neoliberalism while offering us a new model rooted in the wisdom of Catholic social teaching and classical ethical traditions. Drawing from the work of Pope Leo XIII, Pope Francis, Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle, Annett applies these teachings to discuss current economic challenges, such as inequality, unemployment and underemployment, climate change, and the roles of business and finance.

Cathonomics is an ethical and practical guide for readers of all faiths and backgrounds seeking to create a world economy that is more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable for all.


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The Code of Codes
Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project
Daniel Kevles
Harvard University Press, 1992

The human genome is the key to what makes us human. Composed of the many different genes found in our cells, it defines our possibilities and limitations as members of the species. The ultimate goal of the pioneering project outlined in this book is to map our genome in detail—an achievement that will revolutionize our understanding of human development and the expression of both our normal traits and our abnormal characteristics, such as disease. The Code of Codes is a collective exploration of the substance and possible consequences of this project in relation to ethics, law, and society as well as to science, technology, and medicine.

The many debates on the Human Genome Project are prompted in part by its extraordinary cost, which has raised questions about whether it represents the invasion of biology by the kind of Big Science symbolized by high-energy accelerators. While addressing these matters, this book recognizes that far more than money is at stake. Its intent is not to advance naive paeans for the project but to stimulate thought about the serious issues—scientific, social, and ethical—that it provokes. The Code of Codes comprises incisive essays by stellar figures in a variety of fields, including James D. Watson and Walter Gilbert and the social analysts of science Dorothy Nelkin and Evelyn Fox Keller. An authoritative review of the scientific underpinnings of the project is provided by Horace Freeland Judson, author of the bestselling Eighth Day of Creation.

The book’s broad and balanced coverage and the expertise of its contributors make The Code of Codes the most comprehensive and compelling exploration available on this history-making project.


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Counsels of Imperfection
Thinking Through Catholic Social Teaching
Edward Hadas
Catholic University of America Press, 2021
For more than a century, the teaching authority of the Catholic Church has attempted to walk along with the modern world, criticizing what is bad and praising what is good. Counsels of Imperfection described the current state of that fairly bumpy journey. The book is divided into 11 chapters. First comes an introduction to ever-changing modernity and the unchanging Christian understanding of human nature and society. Then come two chapters on economics, including a careful delineation of the Catholic response, past and present, to socialism and capitalism. The next topic is government, with one chapter on Church and State, another on War, and a third that runs quickly through democracy, human rights, the welfare state, crimes and punishments (including the death penalty), anti-Semitism, and migration. Counsels of Imperfection then dedicates two chapters on ecology, including an enthusiastic analysis of Francis’s “technocratic paradigm”. The last topic is the family teaching, which presents the social aspects of the Church’s sexual teaching. A brief concluding chapter looks at the teaching’s changing response to the modern world, and at the ambiguous Catholic appreciation of the modern idea of progress. For each topic, Counsels of Imperfection provides biblical, historical and a broad philosophical background. Thomas Aquinas appears often, but so does G. W. F Hegel. The goal is not only to explain what the Church really says, but also how it got to its current position and who it is arguing with. In the spirit of a doctrine that is always in development, Counsels of Imperfection points out both strong-points and imperfections in the teaching. The book should be of interest to specialists in Catholic Social Teaching, but its main audience is curious newcomers, especially people who do not want to be told that there are simple Catholic answers to the complicated problems of the modern world.

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Disenchanted Lives
Apostasy and Ex-Mormonism among the Latter-day Saints
Brooks, E. Marshall
Rutgers University Press, 2018
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons), often heralded as the fastest growing religion in American history, is facing a crisis of apostasy. Rather than strengthening their faith, the study of church history and scriptures by many members pushes them away from Mormonism and into a growing community of secular ex-Mormons. In Disenchanted Lives, E. Marshall Brooks provides an intimate, in-depth ethnography of religious disenchantment among ex-Mormons in Utah. Showing that former church members were once deeply embedded in their religious life, Brooks argues that disenchantment unfolds as a struggle to overcome the spiritual, social, and ideological devotion ex-Mormons had to the religious community and not out of a lack of dedication as prominently portrayed in religious and scholarly writing on apostasy.  

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The Divine Institution
White Evangelicalism's Politics of the Family
Sophie Bjork-James
Rutgers University Press, 2021
The Divine Institution provides an account of how a theology of the family came to dominate a white evangelical tradition in the post-civil rights movement United States, providing a theological corollary to Religious Right politics. This tradition inherently enforces racial inequality in that it draws moral, religious, and political attention away from problems of racial and economic structural oppression, explaining all social problems as a failure of the individual to achieve the strong gender and sexual identities that ground the nuclear family. The consequences of this theology are both personal suffering for individuals who cannot measure up to prescribed gender and sexual roles, and political support for conservative government policies. Exposure to experiences that undermine the idea that an emphasis on the family is the solution to all social problems is causing a younger generation of white evangelicals to shift away from this narrow theological emphasis and toward a more social justice-oriented theology. The material and political effects of this shift remain to be seen.

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Evangelical News
Politics, Gender, and Bioethics in Conservative Christian Magazines of the 1970s and 1980s
Anja-Maria Bassimir
University of Alabama Press, 2022
A comprehensive study of evangelical magazine discourse during the 1970s and 1980s and how it navigated and sustained religious convictions in a time of dramatic social change

The 1970s and 1980s were a tumultuous period in US history. In tandem with a dramatic political shift to the right, evangelicalism also entered the public discourse as a distinct religious movement and was immediately besieged by cultural appropriations and internal fragmentations. Americans in general and evangelicals in particular grappled with issues and ideas such as feminism, abortion, birth control, and restructuring traditional roles for women and the family. During this time, there was a surge in readership for evangelical periodicals such as Christianity Today, Moody Monthly, Eternity, and Post-Americans/Sojourners as well as the feminist newsletter Daughters of Sarah.

While each of these magazines—and other publications and media—contributed to and participated in the overall dissemination of evangelical ideology, they also had their own outlooks and political leanings concerning hot-button issues. In Evangelical News: Politics, Gender, and Bioethics in Conservative Christian Magazines of the 1970s and 1980s, Anja-Maria Bassimir presents a nuanced view of evangelicalism in the late twentieth century through the lens of the movement’s own media.

Bassimir argues that community can be produced in discourse, especially when shared rhetoric, concepts, and perspectives signal belonging. To accomplish this, Evangelical News traces the emergence of evangelical social and political awareness in the 1970s to the height of its power as a political program. The chapters investigate such topics as how evangelicals reenvisioned gender norms and relations in light of the feminist movement, the use of childhood as a symbol of unspoiled innocence, and the place of evangelicals as political actors.


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Faithful Deliberation
Rhetorical Invention, Evangelicalism, and #MeToo Reckonings
T J Geiger II
University of Alabama Press, 2022
Investigates the rhetorical practices used by contemporary evangelical Christian women to confront theological and cultural issues that stymie deliberation within their communities
While often perceived as an insular enclave with a high level of in-group agreement about political and social issues, predominantly white evangelicalism includes prominent voices urging deliberation about appropriate responses to sexual abuse, domestic violence, and the discourses surrounding these traumas. In Faithful Deliberation: Rhetorical Invention, Evangelicalism, and #MeToo Reckonings, T J Geiger II examines theologically reflective rhetorical invention that reconfigures trauma-minimizing commonplaces in order to facilitate community-internal deliberation.

Resting at the intersection of feminist rhetorical studies and religious rhetorics, this book contains four related theological-rhetorical case studies that consider how figures such as Beth Moore, Jen Hatmaker, Rachael Denhollander, Karen Swallow Prior, and others engaged in rhetorical invention. Each juxtaposes differing approaches to contending with rape, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other traumas. Each case contrasts an approach based on appeals to highly circumscribed understandings of grace, purity, and other denomination-specific traditions and values with approaches rooted in those same traditions and values, but with an eye toward community transformation, healing through justice, and reinvigorated forms of forgiveness. Geiger skillfully argues that this faithful deliberation involves practices of thinking, reflecting, storytelling, and acting within a tightly bounded community that can foster change through a recommitment to core values.

These rhetorical practices exemplify the kind of inventive listening deliberative discourse requires, point to the sort of healing they may promote in response to trauma and trauma discourses, and occur within a range of genres including social media posts, blog entries, published interviews, victim impact statements, and petitions. This study of invention for evangelical-to-other-evangelical deliberative discourse contributes to rhetorical studies by demonstrating the civic and social possibilities of rhetoric within religious enclaves. By locating the case studies as recent moments in longer US public and evangelical histories of activism, deliberative practice, and politics, Faithful Deliberation brings into focus how enclaves and the dominant public sphere interact.

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The Family as Basic Social Unit
Living Out Catholic Social Teaching
Kevin Schemenauer
Catholic University of America Press, 2024
The Family as Basic Social Unit seeks to take seriously the claim that a family is a basic social unit. As a basic social unit, a family is both internally social, and socially interdependent with other communities. Since a family is a basic social unit, Schemenauer proposes that family life is a location for applying Catholic social teaching. Kevin Schemenauer specifically applies Catholic social principles concerning the dignity of work and peacemaking to household labor and violence among siblings, and he reflects on how individuals feed the hungry and care for the sick when they care for their family members. In the second part of the volume, Schemenauer describes the social interdependence of families. He analyzes the relationship between families and the Church, civil society, the economy, and the state. Schemenauer proposes that the question for families is not whether to engage with other social communities but how to do so well. He explicitly highlights how consumer capitalism creates obstacles for families attempting to live as a basic social unit. Then, employing the categories of infused simplicity and moral cooperation, he provides a framework for discerning family engagement with broader society. Finally, Schemenauer analyzes the relationship between family commitments and social ministry. Working from the family outward, Schemenauer describes how family commitments can motivate broader social service, but then employs the example of families involved in the Catholic Worker Movement to reflect on the joys and dangers of balancing commitment to one’s family with social ministry focused on the urgent needs of those outside of one’s household.

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Filled with the Spirit
Sexuality, Gender, and Radical Inclusivity in a Black Pentecostal Church Coalition
Ellen Lewin
University of Chicago Press, 2018
In 2001, a collection of open and affirming churches with predominantly African American membership and a Pentecostal style of worship formed a radically new coalition. The group, known now as the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries or TFAM, has at its core the idea of “radical inclusivity”: the powerful assertion that everyone, no matter how seemingly flawed or corrupted, has holiness within. Whether you are LGBT, have HIV/AIDS, have been in prison, abuse drugs or alcohol, are homeless, or are otherwise compromised and marginalized, TFAM tells its people, you are one of God’s creations.

In Filled with the Spirit, Ellen Lewin gives us a deeply empathetic ethnography of the worship and community central to TFAM, telling the story of how the doctrine of radical inclusivity has expanded beyond those it originally sought to serve to encompass people of all races, genders, sexualities, and religious backgrounds. Lewin examines the seemingly paradoxical relationship between TFAM and traditional black churches, focusing on how congregations and individual members reclaim the worship practices of these churches and simultaneously challenge their authority. The book looks closely at how TFAM worship is legitimated and enhanced by its use of gospel music and considers the images of food and African American culture that are central to liturgical imagery, as well as how understandings of personal authenticity tie into the desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Throughout, Lewin takes up what has been mostly missing from our discussions of race, gender, and sexuality—close attention to spirituality and faith.

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Follow Your Conscience
The Catholic Church and the Spirit of the Sixties
Peter Cajka
University of Chicago Press, 2021
What is your conscience? Is it, as Peter Cajka asks in this provocative book, “A small, still voice? A cricket perched on your shoulder? An angel and devil who compete for your attention?” Going back at least to the thirteenth century, Catholics viewed their personal conscience as a powerful and meaningful guide to align their conduct with worldly laws. But, as Cajka shows in Follow Your Conscience, during the national cultural tumult of the 1960s, the divide between the demands of conscience and the demands of the law, society, and even the church itself grew increasingly perilous. As growing numbers of Catholics started to consider formerly stout institutions to be morally hollow—especially in light of the Vietnam War and the church’s refusal to sanction birth control—they increasingly turned to their own consciences as guides for action and belief. This abandonment of higher authority had radical effects on American society, influencing not only the broader world of Christianity, but also such disparate arenas as government, law, health care, and the very vocabulary of American culture. As this book astutely reveals, today’s debates over political power, religious freedom, gay rights, and more are all deeply infused by the language and concepts outlined by these pioneers of personal conscience.

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Goodbye, My Tribe
An Evangelical Exodus
Vic Sizemore
University of Alabama Press, 2020
Goodbye, My Tribe: An Evangelical Exodus is Vic Sizemore’s collection of personal essays chronicling two simultaneous transformations. One is the gathering of unconnected—and nonpolitical—evangelical congregations across the nation into the political juggernaut called the Religious Right; the other is the author’s own coming to terms with the emotional and spiritual trauma of his life deep inside fundamentalist Christianity, and his struggle to free himself from its grasp. Sizemore, whose father was a preacher and professor at a small West Virginia Bible college, attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, arguably the crucible of American evangelical Christianity.
Sizemore began writing these essays with the aim of exploring and understanding what happened when the mythology of his “tribe” crumbled from beneath his feet. He draws heavily on his upbringing and his family history as a framework for how his “tribe” of white evangelicals have found ways to reconcile Christianity with what the author finds to be troubling stances on many social issues, among them race, gender, sexuality, materialism, anti-intellectualism, and white supremacy.
In a clear-eyed and eloquent voice, Sizemore grapples movingly with his own bewilderment and chagrin as he struggles to reconcile the essential philosophical and moral decay that he believes many evangelicals have come to embrace. His insights, arranged topically and thematically and told through graceful and accessible prose, toggle between memoir and literary journalism, along a spectrum that touches on history, philosophy, theology, and personal reflections.


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Have You Got Good Religion?
Black Women's Faith, Courage, and Moral Leadership in the Civil Rights Movement
AnneMarie Mingo
University of Illinois Press, 2024
What compels a person to risk her life to change deeply rooted systems of injustice in ways that may not benefit her? The thousands of Black Churchwomen who took part in civil rights protests drew on faith, courage, and moral imagination to acquire the lived experiences at the heart of the answers to that question. AnneMarie Mingo brings these forgotten witnesses into the historical narrative to explore the moral and ethical world of a generation of Black Churchwomen and the extraordinary liberation theology they created. These women acted out of belief that what they did was bigger than themselves. Taking as their goal nothing less than the moral transformation of American society, they joined the movement because it was something they had to do. Their personal accounts of a lived religion enacted in the world provide powerful insights into how faith steels human beings to face threats, jail, violence, and seemingly implacable hatred. Throughout, Mingo draws on their experiences to construct an ethical model meant to guide contemporary activists in the ongoing pursuit of justice.

A depiction of moral imagination that resonates today, Have You Got Good Religion? reveals how Black Churchwomen’s understanding of God became action and transformed a nation.


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Predation and Pentecostalism in Guatemala
Kevin Lewis O'Neill
University of Chicago Press, 2019
“It’s not a process,” one pastor insisted, “rehabilitation is a miracle.” In the face of addiction and few state resources, Pentecostal pastors in Guatemala City are fighting what they understand to be a major crisis. Yet the treatment centers they operate produce this miracle of rehabilitation through extraordinary means: captivity. These men of faith snatch drug users off the streets, often at the request of family members, and then lock them up inside their centers for months, sometimes years.

Hunted is based on more than ten years of fieldwork among these centers and the drug users that populate them. Over time, as Kevin Lewis O’Neill engaged both those in treatment and those who surveilled them, he grew increasingly concerned that he, too, had become a hunter, albeit one snatching up information. This thoughtful, intense book will reframe the arc of redemption we so often associate with drug rehabilitation, painting instead a seemingly endless cycle of hunt, capture, and release.

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Imagining Persecution
Why American Christians Believe There Is a Global War against Their Faith
Jason Bruner
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Many American Christians have come to understand their relationship to other Christian denominations and traditions through the lens of religious persecution. This book provides a historical account of these developments, showing the global, theological, and political changes that made it possible for contemporary Christians to claim that there is a global war on Christians. This book, however, does not advocate on behalf of particular repressed Christian communities, nor does it argue for the genuineness (or lack thereof) of certain Christians’ claims of persecution. Instead, this book is the first to examine the idea that there is a “global war on Christians” and its analytical implications. It does so by giving a concise history of the categories (like “martyrs”), evidence (statistics and metrics), and theologies that have come together to produce a global Christian imagination premised upon the notion of shared suffering for one’s faith. The purpose in doing so is not to deny certain instances of suffering or death; rather, it is to reflect upon the consequences for thinking about religious violence and Christianity worldwide using terms such as a “global war on Christians.”

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Kingdom at Any Cost
Right-Wing Visions of Apocalypse in America
Johnnie Chamberlin
Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2009
Director Michael Wilson and producer Natalie Zimmerman, in their documentary film Silhouette City, have dramatically captured the religious right's concerted effort to form a theocracy in America, with an aim to spread control worldwide. This insightful book, Kingdom at Any Cost, includes valuable interviews and writings not covered in the film, but further revealing the impact of the ominous religious movement. It serves as a powerful resource: a handbook for studying the film and a reader for examining America's contemporary Christian extremes.

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Liberal Christianity and Women's Global Activism
The YWCA of the USA and the Maryknoll Sisters
Amanda L. Izzo
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Religiously influenced social movements tend to be characterized as products of the conservative turn in Protestant and Catholic life in the latter part of the twentieth century, with women's mobilizations centering on defense of the “traditional” family. In Liberal Christianity and Women’s Global Activism, Amanda L. Izzo argues that, contrary to this view, liberal wings of Christian churches have remained an instrumental presence in U.S. and transnational politics. Women have been at the forefront of such efforts.

Focusing on the histories of two highly influential groups, the Young Women’s Christian Association of the USA, an interdenominational Protestant organization, and the Maryknoll Sisters, a Roman Catholic religious order, Izzo offers new perspectives on the contributions of these women to transnational social movements, women’s history, and religious studies, as she traces the connections between turn-of-the-century Christian women’s reform culture and liberal and left-wing religious social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Izzo suggests that shared ethical, theological, and institutional underpinnings can transcend denominational divides, and that strategies for social change often associated with secular feminism have ties to spiritually inspired social movements.  

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Living Faith
Everyday Religion and Mothers in Poverty
Susan Crawford Sullivan
University of Chicago Press, 2012
Scholars have made urban mothers living in poverty a focus of their research for decades. These women’s lives can be difficult as they go about searching for housing and decent jobs and struggling to care for their children while surviving on welfare or working at low-wage service jobs and sometimes facing physical or mental health problems. But until now little attention has been paid to an important force in these women’s lives: religion.
Based on in-depth interviews with women and pastors, Susan Crawford Sullivan presents poor mothers’ often overlooked views. Recruited from a variety of social service programs, most of the women do not attend religious services, due to logistical challenges or because they feel stigmatized and unwanted at church. Yet, she discovers, religious faith often plays a strong role in their lives as they contend with and try to make sense of the challenges they face. Supportive religious congregations prove important for women who are involved, she finds, but understanding everyday religion entails exploring beyond formal religious organizations.
Offering a sophisticated analysis of how faith both motivates and at times constrains poor mothers’ actions, Living Faith reveals the ways it serves as a lens through which many view and interpret their worlds.

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Make Yourselves Gods
Mormons and the Unfinished Business of American Secularism
Peter Coviello
University of Chicago Press, 2019
From the perspective of Protestant America, nineteenth-century Mormons were the victims of a peculiar zealotry, a population deranged––socially, sexually, even racially––by the extravagances of belief they called “religion.” Make Yourselves Gods offers a counter-history of early Mormon theology and practice, tracking the Saints from their emergence as a dissident sect to their renunciation of polygamy at century’s end.
Over these turbulent decades, Mormons would appear by turns as heretics, sex-radicals, refugees, anti-imperialists, colonizers, and, eventually, reluctant monogamists and enfranchised citizens. Reading Mormonism through a synthesis of religious history, political theology, native studies, and queer theory, Peter Coviello deftly crafts a new framework for imagining orthodoxy, citizenship, and the fate of the flesh in nineteenth-century America. What emerges is a story about the violence, wild beauty, and extravagant imaginative power of this era of Mormonism—an impassioned book with a keen interest in the racial history of sexuality and the unfinished business of American secularism.

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Make Yourselves Gods
Mormons and the Unfinished Business of American Secularism
Peter Coviello
University of Chicago Press, 2019
This is an auto-narrated audiobook edition of this book.

From the perspective of Protestant America, nineteenth-century Mormons were the victims of a peculiar zealotry, a population deranged––socially, sexually, even racially––by the extravagances of belief they called “religion.” Make Yourselves Gods offers a counter-history of early Mormon theology and practice, tracking the Saints from their emergence as a dissident sect to their renunciation of polygamy at century’s end.
Over these turbulent decades, Mormons would appear by turns as heretics, sex-radicals, refugees, anti-imperialists, colonizers, and, eventually, reluctant monogamists and enfranchised citizens. Reading Mormonism through a synthesis of religious history, political theology, native studies, and queer theory, Peter Coviello deftly crafts a new framework for imagining orthodoxy, citizenship, and the fate of the flesh in nineteenth-century America. What emerges is a story about the violence, wild beauty, and extravagant imaginative power of this era of Mormonism—an impassioned book with a keen interest in the racial history of sexuality and the unfinished business of American secularism.

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Maurice Blondel, Social Catholicism, and Action Française
The Clash over the Church's Role in Society during the Modernist Era
Peter J. Bernardi
Catholic University of America Press, 2009
This work casts light on contemporary arguments over social Catholicism and the believer's role in society by illuminating a similar dispute among French Catholics during the Modernist Crisis (1909-1914)

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Modern Catholic Social Teaching
Commentaries and Interpretations, Second Edition
Kenneth R. Himes
Georgetown University Press

Including contributions from twenty-two leading moral theologians, this volume is the most thorough assessment of modern Roman Catholic social teaching available. In addition to interrogations of the major documents, it provides insight into the biblical and philosophical foundations of Catholic social teaching, addresses the doctrinal issues that arise in such a context, and explores the social thought leading up to the "modern" era, which is generally accepted as beginning in 1891 with the publication of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum. The book also includes a review of how Catholic social teaching has been received in the United States and offers an informed look at the shortcomings and questions that future generations must address. This second edition includes revised and updated essays as well as two new commentaries: one on Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate and one on Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si'. An outstanding reference work for anyone interested in studying and understanding the key documents that make up the central corpus of modern Catholic social teaching.


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The Power of Religious Societies in Shaping Early Modern Society and Identities
Rose-Marie Peake
Amsterdam University Press, 2020
The Power of Religious Societies in Shaping Early Modern Society and Identities studies the value system of the French Catholic community the Filles de la Charité, or the Daughters of Charity, in the first half of the seventeenth century. An analysis of the activities aimed at edifying morality in the different strata of society revealed a Christian anthropology with strong links to medieval traditions. The book argues that this was an important survival strategy for the Company with a disconcerting religious identity: the non-cloistered lifestyle of its members engaged in charity work had been made unlawful in the Council of Trent. Moreover, the directors Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul also had to find ways to curtail internal resistance as the sisters rebelled in quest of a more contemplative and enclosed vocation.

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Religion and Social Justice For Immigrants
Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette
Rutgers University Press, 2006

Religion has jumped into the sphere of global and domestic politics in ways that few would have imagined a century ago. Some expected that religion would die as modernity flourished.  Instead, it now stares at us almost daily from the front pages of newspapers and television broadcasts. Although it is usually stories about the Christian Right or conservative Islam that grab headlines, there are many religious activists of other political persuasions that are working quietly for social justice. This book examines how religious immigrants and religious activists are working for equitable treatment for immigrants in the United States.

The essays in this book analyze the different ways in which organized religion provides immigrants with an arena for mobilization, civic participation, and solidarity. Contributors explore topics including how non-Western religious groups such as the Vietnamese Caodai are striving for community recognition and addressing problems such as racism, economic issues, and the politics of diaspora; how interfaith groups organize religious people into immigrant civil rights activists at the U.S.–Mexican border; and how Catholic groups advocate governmental legislation and policies on behalf of refugees.


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Sex and Gender
Christian Ethical Reflections
Mary Jo Iozzio
Georgetown University Press

Sex and Gender: Christian Ethical Reflections contains some of the subject’s most important analyses in recent decades. The collection covers a wide range of topics: same-sex marriage, sexual minorities and biblical interpretation, sex and power, sexual harassment and sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS and prevention strategy, the military and masculinities, mobile porn and sexting, human trafficking, moral discernment, and more. Contributors represent various theological traditions and draw on scriptural texts as well as such disciplines as philosophy, sociology, psychology, and the life sciences. Each essay is followed by a set of discussion questions—for the classroom or for students to use as an assignment outline—and suggestions for further reading and research. Teachers and students of Christian ethics will appreciate this multidisciplinary approach to one of the most divisive and controversial issues in contemporary culture.


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Shades of White Flight
Evangelical Congregations and Urban Departure
Mark T. Mulder
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Since World War II, historians have analyzed a phenomenon of “white flight” plaguing the urban areas of the northern United States. One of the most interesting cases of “white flight” occurred in the Chicago neighborhoods of Englewood and Roseland, where seven entire church congregations from one denomination, the Christian Reformed Church, left the city in the 1960s and 1970s and relocated their churches to nearby suburbs. In Shades of White Flight, sociologist Mark T. Mulder investigates the migration of these Chicago church members, revealing how these churches not only failed to inhibit white flight, but actually facilitated the congregations’ departure.
Using a wealth of both archival and interview data, Mulder sheds light on the forces that shaped these midwestern neighborhoods and shows that, surprisingly, evangelical religion fostered both segregation as well as the decline of urban stability. Indeed, the Roseland and Englewood stories show how religion—often used to foster community and social connectedness—can sometimes help to disintegrate neighborhoods. Mulder describes how the Dutch CRC formed an insular social circle that focused on the local church and Christian school—instead of the local park or square or market—as the center point of the community. Rather than embrace the larger community, the CRC subculture sheltered themselves and their families within these two places. Thus it became relatively easy—when black families moved into the neighborhood—to sell the church and school and relocate in the suburbs. This is especially true because, in these congregations, authority rested at the local church level and in fact they owned the buildings themselves. 
Revealing how a dominant form of evangelical church polity—congregationalism—functioned within the larger phenomenon of white flight, Shades of White Flight lends new insights into the role of religion and how it can affect social change, not always for the better. 

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Sisters in the Faith
Shaker Women and Equality of the Sexes
Glendyne R. Wergland
University of Massachusetts Press, 2011
In 1788, following the death of charismatic founder Mother Ann Lee, the celibate religious group known as the Shakers set out to institutionalize equality of the sexes in their theology, government, and daily practice. In this book, Glendyne Wergland evaluates how well they succeeded in that mission by examining the experiences of women within Shaker communities over more than a century.

Drawing on an extensive archive of primary documents, Wergland discusses topics ranging from girlhood, health, and dress to why women joined the Shakers and how they were viewed by those outside their community. She analyzes the division of labor between men and women, showing that there was considerable cooperation and reciprocity in carrying out most tasks-from food production to laundering to gathering firewood-even as gendered conflicts remained.

In her conclusion, Wergland draws together all of these threads to show that Shaker communities achieved a remarkable degree of gender equality at a time when women elsewhere still suffered under the legal and social strictures of the traditional patriarchal order. In so doing, she argues, the experience of Shaker women served as a model for promoting women's rights in American political culture.

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St. Mark's and the Social Gospel
Methodist Women and Civil Rights in New Orleans, 1895–1965
Ellen Blue
University of Tennessee Press, 2011

    The impact of St. Mark’s Community Center and United Methodist Church on the city of New Orleans is immense. Their stories are dramatic reflections of the times. But these stories are more than mere reflections because St. Mark’s changed the picture, leading the way into different understandings of what urban diversity could and should mean. This book looks at the contributions of St. Mark’s, in particular the important role played by women (especially deaconesses) as the church confronted social issues through the rise of the social gospel movement and into the modern civil rights era.
    Ellen Blue uses St. Mark’s as a microcosm to tell a larger, overlooked story about women in the Methodist Church and the sources of reform. One of the few volumes on women’s history within the church, this book challenges the dominant narrative of the social gospel movement and its past.
     St. Mark’s and the Social Gospel begins by examining the period between 1895 and World War I, chronicling the center’s development from its early beginnings as a settlement house that served immigrants and documenting the early social gospel activities of Methodist women in New Orleans. Part II explores the efforts of subsequent generations of women to further gender and racial equality between the 1920s and 1960. Major topics addressed in this section include an examination of the deaconesses’ training in Christian Socialist economic theory and the church’s response to the Brown decision.  The third part focuses on the church’s direct involvement in the school desegregation crisis of 1960 , including an account of the pastor who broke the white boycott of a desegregated elementary school by taking his daughter back to class there. Part IV offers a brief look at the history of St. Mark’s since 1965.
    Shedding new light on an often neglected subject, St. Mark’s and the Social Gospel will be welcomed by scholars of religious history, local history, social history, and women’s studies.


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A Star in the East
The Rise of Christianity in China
Rodney Stark
Templeton Press, 2015

What is the state of Christianity in China? Some scholars say that China is invulnerable to religion. In contrast, others say that past efforts of missionaries have failed, writing off those converted as nothing more than “rice Christians” or cynical souls who had frequented the missions for the benefits they provided. Some wonder if the Cultural Revolution extinguished any chances of Christianity in China.

Rodney Stark and Xiuhua Wang offer a different perspective, arguing that Christianity is alive, well, and on the rise. Stark approaches the topic from an extensive research background in Christianity and Chinese history, and Wang provides an inside look at Christianity and its place in her home country of China. Both authors cover the history of religion in China, disproving older theories concerning the number of Christians and the kinds of Christians that have emerged in the past 155 years. Stark and Wang claim that when just considering the visible Christians—those not part of underground churches—thousands of Chinese are still converted to Christianity daily, and forty new churches are opening each week.

A Star in the East draws on two major national surveys to sketch a close-up of religion in China. A reliable estimate is that by 2007 there were approximately 60 million Christians in China. If the current growth rate were to hold until 2030, there would be more Christians in China—about 295 million—than in any other nation. This trend has significant implications, not just for China but for the greater world order. It is probable that Chinese Christianity will splinter into denominations, likely leading to the same political, social, and economic ramifications seen in the West today.

Whether you’re new to studying Christianity in China or whether this has been your area of interest for years, A Star in the East provides a reliable, thought-provoking, and engaging account of the resilience of the Christian faith in China and the implications it has for the future.


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Ties That Enable
Community Solidarity for People Living with Serious Mental Health Problems
Teresa L. Scheid
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Ties that Enable is written for students, providers, and advocates seeking to understand how best to improve mental health care – be it for themselves, their loved ones, their clients, or for the wider community. The authors integrate their knowledge of mental health care as researchers, teachers, and advocates and rely on the experiences of people living with severe mental health problems to help understand the sources of community solidarity. Communities are the primary source of social solidarity, and given the diversity of communities, solutions to the problems faced by individuals living with severe mental health problems must start with community level initiatives. “Ties that Enable” examines the role of a faith-based community group in providing a sense of place and belonging as well as reinforcing a valued social identity. The authors argue that mental health reform efforts need to move beyond a focus on individual recovery to more complex understandings of the meaning of community care. In addition, mental health care needs to move from a medical model to a social model which sees the roots of mental illness and recovery as lying in society, not the individual. It is our society’s inability to provide inclusive supportive environments which restrict the ability of individuals to recover. This book provides insights into how communities and system level reforms can promote justice and the higher ideals we aspire to as a society.

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To Offer Compassion
A History of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion
Doris Andrea Dirks and Patricia A. Relf
University of Wisconsin Press, 2019
In 1967, when abortion was either illegal or highly restricted in every U.S. state, a group of ministers and rabbis founded the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion (CSS) to counsel women with unwanted pregnancies—including referral to licensed physicians willing to perform the procedure. By the time Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide in 1973, CCS had grown into a surprisingly outspoken national medical consumer and women’s rights advocacy group. To Offer Compassion offers a detailed history of this unique and largely forgotten movement, drawing on extensive interviews with original participants and on primary documents from the CCS’s operations.

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An Introduction to Economic Reasoning and Social Issues
Harold Winter
University of Chicago Press, 2005
When economists wrestle with issues such as unemployment, inflation, or budget deficits, they do so by incorporating an impersonal, detached mode of reasoning. But economists also analyze issues that, to others, do not typically fall within the realm of economic reasoning, such as organ transplants, cigarette addiction, smoking in public, and product safety. Trade-Offs is an introduction to the economic approach to analyzing these controversial public policy issues.

Harold Winter provides readers with the analytical tools needed to identify and understand the trade-offs associated with these topics. By considering both the costs and benefits of potential policy solutions, Winter stresses that real-world policy decision making is best served by an explicit recognition of as many trade-offs as possible.

Intellectually stimulating yet accessible and entertaining, Trade-Offs will be appreciated by students of economics, public policy, health administration, political science, and law, as well as by anyone who follows current social policy debates.

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An Introduction to Economic Reasoning and Social Issues, Second Edition
Harold Winter
University of Chicago Press, 2013
When economists wrestle with issues such as unemployment, inflation, or budget deficits, they do so by incorporating an impersonal, detached mode of reasoning. But economists also analyze issues that, to others, typically do not fall within the realm of economic reasoning, such as organ transplants, cigarette addiction, overeating, and product safety. Trade-Offs is an introduction to the economic approach to analyzing these controversial public policy issues.
Harold Winter provides readers with the analytical tools needed to identify and understand the trade-offs associated with these topics. By considering both the costs and benefits of potential policy solutions, Winter stresses that real-world decision making is best served by an explicit recognition of as many trade-offs as possible. This new edition incorporates recent developments in policy debates, including the rise of “new paternalism,” or policies designed to protect people from themselves; alternative ways to increase the supply of organs available for transplant; and economic approaches to controlling infectious disease.
Intellectually stimulating yet accessible and entertaining, Trade-Offs will be appreciated by students of economics, public policy, health administration, political science, and law, as well as by anyone who follows current social policy debates.

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Wealth, Virtue, and Moral Luck
Christian Ethics in an Age of Inequality
Georgetown University Press, 2023

In a deeply unequal world, our economic status shapes our pursuit of virtue whether we have enough resources to live comfortably or struggle to survive

Our understanding of inequality as a moral problem is incomplete. It is not enough to say that inequality is caused by moral failing. We must also see that influence runs in both directions. Inequality harms people’s moral development.

In Wealth, Virtue, and Moral Luck, Kate Ward addresses the issue of inequality from the perspective of Christian virtue ethics, arguing that moral luck—our individual life circumstances—affects our ability to pursue virtue. Economic status functions as moral luck and impedes the ability of both the wealthy and the poor to pursue virtues such as prudence, justice, and temperance, and extreme inequality exacerbates the impact of wealth and poverty on virtue.

With these realities in mind, Ward shows how Christians and Christian communities should respond to the challenges inequality poses to virtue. Through working to change the structures that perpetuate extreme inequality—and through spiritual practices, including contentment, conversion, encountering others, and reminding ourselves of our ultimate dependence on God—Ward believes that we can create a world where all people can pursue and achieve virtue.


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The Social Issues in Philosophical Perspective
Nicholas Rescher
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1972
Nicholas Rescher examines the controversial social issue of the welfare state, and offers philosophical thoughts on the limits and liabilities of government and society. Questioning some of the principal assumptions of democratic theory and classical liberalism, Rescher theorizes that the current system is not a be-all end-all, but rather a necessity with limited scope that will ultimately fail to achieve its objectives. He further purports that the welfare state must be a transitional phase to a more affluent postindustrial society-a satisfying life, rather than an adequate one.

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Www.Here I Am
Russell Stannard
Templeton Press, 2002
Sam didn't think much of religion. What with science being able to explain almost everything about us and about the world we live in, there didn't seem much point to believing in God any more. But then came the day Sam was exploring the Internet, and stumbled across God's website! At least, that was what it claimed to be.
Sam decides to investigate, and becomes engrossed in conversations with the mysterious person on the other end. Together they explore the great questions arising out of evolution, astronomy, cosmology, the laws of nature, and the possibility of miracles. Not that Sam knew much science. Fortunately the stranger was able to explain the science from scratch in a way that Sam could understand. They also tackled the problems of evil, suffering, and death; that really set Sam thinking.
Readers will be challenged to form their own personal responses to the issues raised based on a listing of forty questions at the back of the book. Sample questions include:
•What do you hope to achieve in your lifetime?
•Does belief in God play a part in that?
•Do you believe in evolution—that you came from animals?
•Do you think there is life on other planets?
•If so, does that make human beings less important?
•Do the world religions contradict each other, or are they simply talking about the same God in somewhat different ways?
•How should belief in an afterlife affect the way you live this life?

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