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Religion and the Politics of Sexuality

Religion and the Politics of Sexuality

(p.309) 11) Religion and the Politics of Sexuality
The Sexual Organization of the City
Stephen Ellingson, Martha Van Haitsma, Edward O. Laumann, Nelson Tebbe
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains how congregations' leaders devise policies and practices to address the sexuality issues facing members and how they attempt to channel sexual identities, sexual behaviors, and relationships into religiously sanctioned expressions. It describes how clergy and lay leaders take into account local social forces such as the demographic makeup of particular neighborhoods and the sexual cultures of residents as they negotiate between, on the one hand, the doctrines and rules of the larger denominations that lend them legitimacy and authority and, on the other hand, the needs and beliefs of the community on which they depend for survival. The chapter argues that congregations' responses to sexuality are a matter of negotiation at several social levels as clergy and lay leaders attempt to reconcile official teachings with local concerns about sexuality under a variety of organizational constraints and in a variety of social and institutional environments.

Keywords:   congregations, sexuality, sexual identities, sexual behaviors, relationships, clergy, sexual cultures

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