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H. Luke Shaefer

Facilitators and advocates: How mainline Protestant clergy respond to homosexuality

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Cadge, W., and Christopher Wildeman. 2008. "Facilitators and advocates: How mainline Protestant clergy respond to homosexuality." Sociological Perspectives, 51(3): 587-603.

This article analyzes how thirty mainline Protestant clergy who addressed homosexuality in their local congregations positioned themselves within their congregations on the issue. Regardless of their positions, all of the pastors first situated the root causes of religious and broader societal conflicts over homosexuality in an emotion, fear, which they understood as their congregants' fears of sexuality, gay and lesbian people, misinterpreting scripture, and the unknown. Based on their understandings of these fears, clergy then drew from their individual cultural "toolkits" to construct personal "strategies of action" via personal identities as facilitators, quiet advocates, or more outward advocates around homosexuality in their congregations. The authors analyze the processes by which clergy constructed these identities, with particular attention to the strategies of action attendant within each identity category. This analysis advances substantive knowledge about how clergy respond to homosexuality in local congregations and theoretical knowledge about how religious leaders construct personal identities as one "strategy of action" (among many) when addressing controversial social issues in local religious organizations.

DOI:10.1525/sop.2008.51.3.587 (Full Text)

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