Between a Man and a Woman?: Why Conservatives Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

Kobo ebook | August 13, 2010

byLudger H. Viefhues-Bailey

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While conservative Christian groups refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, there is more to their debate than biblical literalism or nostalgia for simple gender roles. Investigating why conservative Christians are so energized by an issue that, according to their own statistics, affects only a small number of Americans, Ludger Viefhues-Bailey confronts a profound theological conundrum: conservatives of both sexes are asked at once to be assertive and submissive, masculine and feminine, both within the home, the church, society, and the state.

Focusing primarily on texts produced by Focus on the Family, a leading media and ministry organization informing conservative Christian culture, Viefhues-Bailey discovers two distinct ideas of male homosexuality: gender-disturbed and passive; and oversexed, strongly masculine, and aggressive. These homosexualities enable a complex ideal of Christian masculinity, according to which men are both assertive toward the world and submissive toward God and family. This web of sexual contradiction influences the flow of power between the sexes and within the state. Notions of sexual equality are joined to claims of "natural" difference, establishing a fraught basis for respectable romantic marriage. Heterosexual union is then treated as emblematic of, if not essential to, the success of American political life. Far from creating gender stability, these tensions produce an endless striving for balance. Viefhues-Bailey's final, brilliant move is to connect the desire for stability to strategies of political power.

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While conservative Christian groups refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, there is more to their debate than biblical literalism or nostalgia for simple gender roles. Investigating why conservative Christians are so energized by an issue that, according to their own statistics, affects only a small number of Americans, Ludger Viefhues...

Ludger Viefhues-Bailey is associate professor for methods and theory in the study of religion at Yale University and the author of Beyond the Philosopher's Fears: A Cavellian Reading of Gender, Religion, and Origins in Modern Skepticism. His teaching and research concerns the intersection of globalization, gender, epistemology, and t...

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Kobo ebook|Dec 5 2016

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:August 13, 2010Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231521014

ISBN - 13:9780231521017

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Table of Contents

Author's Note
Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
Who Are the Conservative Christians, by and Why the Focus on Focus on the Family?
Connection to Previous Research
Structure of the Book
Theoretical Considerations and Methodological Consequences
2. Religious Interests Between Bible and Politics
Love Between Gays or Lesbians Is Wrong, by Because the Bible Tells Me So?
A Confluence of Forces: Religion and Politics
3. America and the State of Respectable Christian Romance
Same-Sex Couples and the Moral and Spiritual Stamina of the Nation
Theologies of Christian Marriage
American (Christian) Marriage: A History of Change
Protecting the Body Politic: A Political Analysis
Conclusion: Religion, by Respectability
4. Same-Sex Love and the Impossibility of Christian Femininity and Masculinity
Gays and Feminists: From Logic to Rhetoric
Christian Masculinity as Crisis
Submission and the Crisis of Christian Womanhood
Complicated Flows of Power in Ordinary Family Life
5. A Political and Sexual Theology of Crisis
Beyond Functionalism
Struggling for the Christian Life
A Political and Sexual Theology of Crisis
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

...Viefhues-Bailey's book participates in a reserved yet powerful undermining of homophobia in general...