Religion and the Politics of Sexuality

Edited by Stephen Ellingson, Martha Van Haitsma, Edward O. Laumann and Nelson Tebbe

in The Sexual Organization of the City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780226470313
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226470337 | DOI:
Religion and the Politics of Sexuality

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This chapter explains how congregations' leaders devise policies and practices to address the sexuality issues facing members and how they attempt to channel sexual identities, sexual behaviors, and relationships into religiously sanctioned expressions. It describes how clergy and lay leaders take into account local social forces such as the demographic makeup of particular neighborhoods and the sexual cultures of residents as they negotiate between, on the one hand, the doctrines and rules of the larger denominations that lend them legitimacy and authority and, on the other hand, the needs and beliefs of the community on which they depend for survival. The chapter argues that congregations' responses to sexuality are a matter of negotiation at several social levels as clergy and lay leaders attempt to reconcile official teachings with local concerns about sexuality under a variety of organizational constraints and in a variety of social and institutional environments.

Keywords: congregations; sexuality; sexual identities; sexual behaviors; relationships; clergy; sexual cultures

Chapter.  16974 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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