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18 - Christian Conscience and Sexual Expression Rights

from Part III - Applied Topics in Law and Conscience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2021

Jeffrey B. Hammond
Faulkner University
Helen M. Alvare
George Mason University, Virginia
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Helen Alvaré chronicles tension between Christian individuals and institutions, and laws promoting sexual expression rights. Church and state used to share outlooks on these matters. Today, laws often mandate cooperation with behaviors opposed to Christian teachings on abortion, contraception, or same-sex relationships. State and certain private groups claim that new laws are necessary to secure interests such as dignity, equality, privacy, and personal identity. These laws are reinforced by cultural movements pressing individual autonomy and sexual freedom. Corporations and media have favored sexual expression protections and have discouraged exemptions for religious conscience. Christians, though, link religious teachings about sexual expression to core articles of faith on matters such as the nature of God, God’s relationship to humans, and how humans are to treat one another. Christians judge, then, that they should not cooperate with laws against these commitments. They also point to the close ties between impaired family relationships and increasing divides between racial and socioeconomic groups in the United States. The stakes for both sides of the controversy are high.

Christianity and the Laws of Conscience
An Introduction
, pp. 354 - 374
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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Recommended Reading

Alvaré, Helen. Putting Children’s Interests First in U.S. Family Law and Policy: With Power Comes Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.Google Scholar
Corvino, John, Anderson, Ryan, and Gergis, Sherif. Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.Google Scholar
Freitas, Donna. Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.Google Scholar
Giddens, Anthony. The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love, and Eroticism in Modern Societies. Redwood City, ca: Stanford University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
Harrison, Glynn. A Better Story: God, Sex & Human Flourishing. London: InterVarsity Press, 2016.Google Scholar
Illouz, Eva. Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012.Google Scholar
John Paul, II. Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, translated by Waldstein, Michael. Boston, ma: Pauline Books & Media, 2006.Google Scholar
Laycock, Douglas. “Religious Liberty and the Culture Wars.” University of Illinois Law Review (2014): 839–40.Google Scholar
Laycock, Douglas, Picarello, Anthony, and Wilson, Robin Fretwell, eds. Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts. Lantham, md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.Google Scholar
Regnerus, Mark. Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.Google Scholar
Seidman, Steven. Romantic Longings: Love in America 1830–1980. New York, ny: Routledge, 1991.Google Scholar
Trigg, Roger. Equality, Freedom & Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
Wilson, Robin Fretwell, ed. The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wojtyla, Karol. Love & Responsibility. San Francisco, ca: Ignatius Press, 1993.Google Scholar

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