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1. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Preface
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selected essays
2. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Sohail H. Hashmi Cultivating a Liberal Islamic Ethos, Building an Islamic Civil Society
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MUSLIM STATES HAVE BEEN CHARACTERIZED AS SUFFERING FROM A "democratic deficit." A wide-ranging debate has been taking place for many years on whether Islam is somehow to blame for the troubled history of liberal democracy in the Muslim world. This essay argues that if liberal democratic polities are to develop in Muslim countries, then nurturing civil society is a necessary first step. How can Islamic ethics help or hinder this process?
3. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
John Kelsay RESPONSE TO: "Cultivating a Liberal Islamic Ethos, Building an Islamic Civil Society"
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4. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Dov Nelkin RESPONSE TO: "Cultivating a Liberal Islamic Ethos, Building an Islamic Civil Society"
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5. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Jonathan E. Brockopp RESPONSE TO: "Cultivating a Liberal Islamic Ethos, Building an Islamic Civil Society"
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6. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Irene Oh RESPONSE TO: "Cultivating a Liberal Islamic Ethos, Building an Islamic Civil Society"
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7. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Sohail H. Hashmi RESPONSE TO REPONSES TO: "Cultivating a Liberal Islamic Ethos, Building an Islamic Civil Society"
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8. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Joe Pettit The Spoil of the Poor Is in Your Houses: Profits and Prophets in a Disrupted Society
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THIS ESSAY CONSIDERS THE ROLE OF THE PROPHET IN CONTEMPORARY public policy debate. After identifying some problems that contemporary appeals to the prophets often encounter, the essay moves into an analysis of the Babylonian and Egyptian contexts out of which the Israelites and the Hebrew prophets emerged. A consideration of all three contexts shows that the central prophetic concern is a disruption of the divinely established social order that is most clearly indicated by the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor. The essay then explores how this prophetic context can be understood in light of ethical appeals to the common good. Finally, the essay applies the notion of disruption in the social order to two issues of public policy: affordable housing and the stock market.
9. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Virginia W. Landgraf Competing Narratives of Property Rights and Justice for the Poor: Toward a Nonannihilationist Approach to Scarcity and Efficiency
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ULRICH DUCHROW AND FRANZ HINKELAMMERT'S PROPOSALS AGAINST private property contain a structural weakness analogous to that of which they accuse John Locke: an inability to attribute agency to their opponents. Analysis of antineoliberal and neoliberal narratives of economic history shows that they are mirror images of each other in what they consider fixed or changeable in life. The likelihood that each narrative contains partial truths means that faithful Christian economic ethics are best grounded in a theology according agency to all, acknowledging the universality of sin, and proclaiming transcendent hope.
10. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Patrick T. McCormick Volunteers and Incentives: Buying the Bodies of the Poor
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IN RESPONSE TO A SPREADING RECRUITMENT CRISIS AMONG THE ARMY, National Guard, and Army Reserve during the first half of 2005, the Pentagon sought to bolster combat volunteers for Iraq by offering a wide array of enlistment and reenlistment bonuses. This use of financial incentives to recruit bodies for the Iraq war echoed earlier White House efforts to induce nations to join the "coalition of the willing" by offering aid and trade packages, and paralleled the Pentagon's decision to outsource twenty thousand military jobs in Iraq to private military firms. When democratic nations seek to garner support for unpopular wars by offering financial incentives to those who serve in combat, they run the risk of exploiting the poor and undermining the moral legitimacy of their authority to wage war.
11. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Laura Stivers A Sense of Place in a Globalized World: Place-Based Organizing for Corporate Accountability
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AN EMPHASIS ON LABOR MOBILITY AS WELL AS THE EXPENDABILITY OF people and the environment in late-stage capitalism prompts my exploration of rootedness to place as one value that can inform how we more justly construct our economies. I argue that rootedness to place is important for many people, while also noting the dangers of romanticizing the notion of place and/or using it to justify exclusion or oppression. In this essay, I theologically reflect on our connections to both ecological and human communities of a place, and argue that these connections should be guided by justice. Then I show how communities have promoted social and environmental justice by organizing to hold corporations accountable to particular places.
12. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
William O'Neill Rights of Passage: The Ethics of Forced Displacement
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CONTEMPORARY HUMANITARIAN CRISES UNDERSCORE WHAT HANNAH Arendt called the "perplexities" of human rights; the very category "refugee" attests the failure of the global rights regime. Indeed, the "abstract nakedness of being nothing but human" belies the "right to have rights." In light of this criticism, I offer a reconstructive, communitarian interpretation of the rights of the forcibly displaced. The grammar of rights, I argue, presumes the communicative virtues of respect and recognition of the "concrete other." I conclude by showing how biblical narrative "re-inscribes" stateless persons/strangers precisely as neighbor (Lev. 19:18, 33—34) in "anamnestic solidarity."
13. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Ted A. Smith The Price of Respectable Equality: Eschatological Memories of Actually Existing Democracy
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I ENGAGE TWO CONVERSATIONS: ONE ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BEtween history and ethics, and another about the relationship of Christianity and democracy in the United States. In the first half of the essay I suggest two shifts in the ways ethicists engage history. I argue that ethicists should be concerned not only with ideas, but also with lived religion. I then propose "eschatological memory" as a genre for using historical studies for normative work. I develop it through contrast with MacIntyre's notion of tradition and through conversation with Benjamin's philosophy of history. In the second half of the paper I offer a long exemplum, an eschatological memory of the equality promised by Oberlin College. I recall the suppressed memory of a lynching, a memory that reveals the antinomies of equality and gives rise to a politics of piecemeal reform in the light of eschatological hope.
14. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
David M. Craig Debating Desire: Civil Rights, Ritual Protest, and the Shifting Boundaries of Public Reason
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THE CIVIL RIGHTS PROTESTS OF THE 1950S AND 1960S WERE AS MUCH about challenging normative conceptions of good desire as they were about claiming individual rights. Staged as rituals, these protests dramatized the social borders and sentiments existing in American society, and they performed a transforming vision of the desires and purposes appropriate to democratic citizens and institutions. This analysis of the reason-giving potential of ritual challenges John Rawls's criterion of "reciprocity" as the constraint on public reason and democratic legitimacy. Social activists sometimes have to revise public norms through asymmetrical appeals to religious ideals or moral convictions that other citizens may staunchly oppose. An expanded model of public reasoning teaches the importance and the difficulties of incorporating the arguments of ritual into other rights movements, including the movement for same-sex marriage.
15. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Grace Y. Kao "One Nation under God" Or Taking the Lord's Name in Vain?: Christian Reflections on the Pledge of Allegiance
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BY EXPLORING THE ONGOING CONTROVERSY WHETHER TEACHER-LED recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is constitutional, this paper demonstrates how and why Christians have much to gain from reverting the pledge to its pre-1954 text. I expose critical weaknesses in recent strategies to retain the contested words "under God" in the pledge employed by litigants, amici curiae ("friends of the court"), several Supreme Court justices, and other interested parties. I additionally interrogate the prominent place the American flag holds in public life and question whether such preoccupation rises to the level of fetishism or even idolatry. Finally, I conclude that pacifists and others who are critical of America's expanding military empire have good reason to reject the Pledge of Allegiance entirely, whether or not the nation is described as being "under God."
16. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Thomas A. Lewis Cultivating Our Intuitions: Hegel on Religion, Politics, and Public Discourse
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HEGEL'S LARGELY UNTRANSLATED VORLESUNGEN ÜBER RECHTSPHILO-sophie assign religion a vital role in shaping basic intuitions about justice and society. This role in cultivating intuitions gives society reason to be highly attentive to the political attitudes instilled by religious traditions. At the same time, since these intuitions can be questioned and revised, religion need not be a conversation stopper. Hegel thus connects religion to politics in a way that accounts for religion's political significance without conceiving it as immune to challenge. He brings religious claims into public discourse and contributes significantly to contemporary discussions of religion and democracy.
17. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Kathryn D. Blanchard The Gift of Contraception: Calvin, Barth, and a Lost Protestant Conversation
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ALTHOUGH BIRTH CONTROL REMAINS A CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC AMONG Roman Catholics, it has all but disappeared in Protestant discussions of sexual ethics, owing to the seemingly more pressing issues of abortion and in vitro fertilization, as well as to the almost unanimous approval of contraceptive use among Protestant church bodies in the mid-1900s. This essay seeks to revive some past Reformed arguments pertinent to the subject, especially John Calvin's and Karl Barth's teachings on marriage and children, which both theologians view as distinct goods. Marriage is seen as a covenant relationship, a good in and of itself, even apart from procreation; while children are a gift or "divine offer" from God that demands response. Reviving distinctively Christian descriptions of marriage and children is crucial to critiquing the utilitarian language that seeks to overshadow current conversations about marriage and children.
18. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
William C. Mattison III The Changing Face of Natural Law: The Necessity of Belief for Natural Law Norm Specification
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IN THE PAST THREE YEARS, TWO IMPORTANT CATHOLIC MORAL THINKERS—both well-respected Thomists—have published books on the natural law. Besides offering their own significant contributions to natural law thought, Jean Porter and Russell Hittinger each insightfully surveys developments in natural law thinking from the scholastics, into the early modern period, through today. In importantly similar narrations of the history of natural law, both Porter and Hittinger claim that natural law in the modern period has been understood as a source of specific moral norms that is independent of belief commitments and compelling to all rational creatures, even shorn of—in fact, precisely because it is shorn of—these authoritative commitments. However, both authors claim that this understanding of natural law is highly problematic. If the goal of natural law inquiry is a set of "independent" and "compelling to all" particular norms existing "free-floating" in an "authority-free zone," impossible demands have been made of natural law. Both Porter and Hittinger must and indeed do honor the notion of natural law as universally applicable and binding (or "written on every human heart," Rom. 2:15). Yet both acknowledge that something is necessary, beyond the specific norms of the natural law themselves, in order to identify and justify those norms.
book reviews
19. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Victor Lee Austin New Wine, New Wineskins: A Next Generation Reflects on Key Issues in Catholic Moral Theology
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20. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Joyce Kloc Babyak Aiming to Kill: The Ethics of Suicide and Euthanasia
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