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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 40, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2020

Todd Whitmore
Pages 145-162

Holy Deviance: Christianity, Race, and Class in the Opioid Crisis

In recent years, public discourse has largely embraced the idea that persons with addictions have a “brain disease,” and ought to be treated medically rather than judicially. This article first argues that this social shift is mostly the result of middle- and upper-class whites being among the addicted. The medical language is deployed so that such persons avoid the stigma of “deviance” commonly linked to addiction. Second, this article argues for a Christian “holy deviance,” whereby Christians become deviant by going out to those who are already marked by society as deviant, letting the latter know in word and deed that they are loved.

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