Journal Article

Evangelical Elites' Changing Responses to Homosexuality 1960–2009

Jeremy N. Thomas and Daniel V. A. Olson

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 73, issue 3, pages 239-272
Published in print September 2012 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online June 2012 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Evangelical Elites' Changing Responses to Homosexuality 1960–2009

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Although popular culture war depictions have often presented evangelical elites as intransigent in their opposition to homosexuality, we find that during the last several decades, evangelical elites have actually been subtly but significantly changing their moral reasoning about homosexuality. Based on content analysis of the popular evangelical magazine Christianity Today, we identify the shifts that compose this change, and we propose that various combinations of these shifts align with and map onto four overarching responses to homosexuality. We suggest that the development of these responses demonstrates a trajectory of change that portends the increasing liberalization of evangelical elites' positions and attitudes on public policy debates related to homosexuality. We argue that these changing responses are largely the result of underlying shifts in the sources of moral authority to which evangelical elites have been appealing when making arguments about homosexuality.

Keywords: evangelicalism; homosexuality; culture wars

Journal Article.  13117 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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