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1. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
John Kelsay, Sumner B. Twiss Preface
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presidential address
2. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Harlan Beckley Moral Justifications for the Welfare State
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poverty, welfare, and inequality
3. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Mary Jo Bane Social Science, Christian Ethics and Democratic Politics: Issues of Poverty and Welfare
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4. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Emilie M. Townes Response to "Social Science, Christian Ethics and Democratic Politics: Issues of Poverty and Wealth" by Mary Jo Bane
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5. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Christine Firer Hinze Dirt and Economic Inequality: A Christian-Ethical Peek Under the Rug
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This essay argues that cultural practices surrounding body-related dirt form a crucial axis along which racial-ethnic, class, and gender disparities are illumined, and ideological supports for inequities in household and public economies exposed. Late-modern technological, information-based societies valorize nearly-disembodied freedom and demand high degrees of bodily control, while denying or scorning bodies' limits, messiness, and incorrigibility. This leads to subtle but powerful prejudices concerning bodily dirt, dirty work, and those who perform it. A contemporary concatenation of dualistic leanings and purity rules fuels these prejudices, which in turn help legitimate otherwise patently unacceptable social and economic inequities. Effective Christian analyses of economic inequality, therefore, will uncover and challenge distorted cultural assumptions concerning bodily-related dirt, and develop strategies for renovating them.
6. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Douglas A. Hicks Inequality, Globalization, and Leadership: "Keeping Up with the Joneses" across National Boundaries
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Economists and sociologists have shown that social norms and relative standing are significant factors in the perception of one's well-being. Globalization increasingly extends the scope of the "neighbors" with whom persons compare themselves. Worldwide income inequality currently stands as high as inequality in Brazil, Guatemala, and South Africa. While Christian ethicists can applaud certain dimensions of globalization, we must also develop critiques of those inequalities that obstruct the full participation of persons in their societies. This paper considers how a social-relational anthropology informed by the preferential option for the poor should understand global inequality and deprivation. It offers a constructive account of how relative factors (local, national, and international) should count alongside absolute concerns in our understanding of well-being, and it suggests ways in which leaders, scholars, and citizens can respond to inequality and globalization.
religion and liberalism revisited
7. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
John R. Bowlin Nature, Grace, and Toleration: Civil Society and the Twinned Church
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Various theological benefits accrue as similarities are noted between Christian churches and other intermediate associations in societies like ours. Above all, we come to regard the church in ancient ways, as a twinned body, as a gemina persona, one thing by nature, another by grace. This in turn helps us see the morally ambiguous character of graced nature, even ecclesiastical nature, exemplified most plainly in the mixture of virtue and vice that natural societies yield, but also in the church's ambivalence about natural virtue and its supernatural transformation in time.
8. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
William T. Cavanaugh Is Public Theology Really Public?: Some Problems with Civil Society
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This paper sketches two ways in which the concept of civil society is currently being used to carve out a space for Christians to be "public," and makes some suggestions of problems that arise from these models. The first way involves the theoretical appropriation of John Courtney Murray's work by authors who advocate a "public theology." The second is a practical application of Harry Boyte's work on civil society which is being appropriated in Catholic schools to advance the public mission of Christian education. Despite differences, this essay argues that, though both seek to create a space for the church which is both "public" and "free," neither succeed. At the end of the paper, suggestions are made of a more adequate ecclesiology of the public.
9. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Charles T. Mathewes Faith, Hope, and Agony: Christian Political Participation Beyond Liberalism
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The recent emergence and maturation of "agonistic" political thought, in explicit opposition to liberal political theory, offers opportunities for Christian thinkers in two ways. First, it releases Christians from the unnecessarily narrow political etiquette of received liberal political theory, and makes possible a more comprehensive public debate in which thick Christian commitments can plausibly play a role. Second, it sets Christian thinkers the task of determining how they can legitimately participate in this movement for a more "agonistic" democratic theory (and, by extension, a more agonistic democracy.) Some agonists argue that Christianity is the sort of worldview which is blind to the ineliminable pervasiveness of violence, and so is potentially a dangerous participant in the development of agonistic theory. Others challenge the idea that Christians can comfortably participate in a pluralistic conversation at all, given that their aim inevitably is (or should be) the conversion of other participants. The former group claims others ought not allow Christians to participate; the latter claims Christians ought not want to participate. This paper explores and responds to these challenges in order to uncover a new and properly Christian approach to understanding political life, by contesting both sorts of challenges about Christian participation in agonistic democracy. It argues that, in contrast to agonists who see conflict as necessarily violent because essentially governed by a zero-sum logic of winners and losers, Christians can imagine and approach moments of conflict in the conviction that no one need lose or win, but that the struggle can be a struggle for conversion of one's loves and the loves of one's interlocutor. By so interpreting conflict, Christians can re-imagine politics as a conflict about loves, and the movement for "agonistic democracy" can be seen as clarifying the possibility of re-interpreting politics as a struggle over peoples' loves.
10. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Jean Bethke Elshtain Response to Panel Papers
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