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81. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Alex Mikulich Mapping "Whiteness": The Complexity of Racial Formation and the Subversive Moral Imagination of the "Motley Crowd"
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THIS ESSAY MAPS SOCIAL HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC INTERPREtations of Whiteness to develop an understanding of the complexity and rootedness of Whiteness as a social construction. Mapping Whiteness helps clarify historical pitfalls in the interpretation of racial formation, including the problems of essentialism, dualism, and assimilationism. A social historical perspective retrieves the multiethnic and multiclass reality of the "motley crowd" —sailors, slaves, and commoners whose religious and radical praxis subverted the dominant political and economic forces of the revolutionary Atlantic. The subversive praxis of the motley crowd suggests an alternative moral imagination, moored by Black Catholic political theology, that affirms the historical complexity of racial formation, critiques and subverts White privilege, and celebrates the need to extend multiple struggles for social, political, and economic liberation.
82. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Gerald S. Vigna New Trajectories and Broader Audiences in Catholic Social Ethics
83. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Barbara Andolsen Plenty Good Room: Women Versus Male Power in the Black Church; Hitting Home: Feminist Ethics, Women's Work, and the Betrayal of "Family Values"
84. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Rothchild Ethics, Law, and Economics: Legal Regulation of Corporate Responsibility
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ECONOMICS AND LAW HAVE HISTORICALLY ATTENUATED THE CONTRIBUtion of ethics in their putative separation of fact and value. In this essay I argue that reconceptualizing the relationships between law, economics, and ethics reveals the shortcomings of positions that disavow ethics. In the first section I contend that thinkers must reread Adam Smith as an economist and a moral philosopher to appreciate his extended treatment of sympathy, conscience, and social justice. In the second section I appropriate the work of Amartya Sen to examine the entanglement of fact and value in deliberating economic choices, including moral motivations and social evaluations that problematize reductive images of economic actors. Finally, I interrogate legal regulation of corporate governance with respect to the Enron scandal and the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. I argue that legal regulation is a necessary but not sufficient resolution to corporate misconduct because it too enervates ethics and bifurcates fact and value.
85. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Diana Fritz Cates The Religious Dimension of Ordinary Human Emotions
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UNDERSTANDING HOW EMOTIONS ARE COMPOSED AS MENTAL STATES can help us understand the access many people have to their own emotions. It also can help us understand how people might increase this access and make more effective use of it in their efforts to become more free and responsible in their emotional lives. This essay focuses on some forms of cognition that enter into the composition of at least some emotional states. It shows how thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, intuitions, and questions that are arguably religious can condition the ways in which people construe objects and events in their lives and thus the ways in which they form emotional responses to those objects and events. The essay takes its bearings from the work of James Gustafson and Martha Nussbaum.
86. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Douglas A. Hicks Self-Interest, Deprivation, and Agency: Expanding the Capabilities Approach
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IN THIS ESSAY I ENGAGE THE DEBATE AMONG THEOLOGIANS, PHILOSOphers, and economists on the proper role of self-interest in the pursuit of economic well-being. Often, neither economists' use of self-interest nor critics' rejection of it is carefully specified. I consider conditions under which acting in one's self-interest is theologically and morally proper. Specifically, I argue that for socioeconomically disadvantaged persons, increased exercise of self-interest should not be regarded as sinful but as a fitting expansion of agency and well-being. Contextual factors of distribution and the quality of social relations must inform any analysis of self-interest. I introduce a theological perspective on self-interest within an egalitarian Christian framework and suggest ways in which this approach enables further theological and ethical reflection on the proper role of self-interest.
87. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
88. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Joe Pettit The Persistence of Injustice: Challenging Some Dominant Explanations
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IN THIS ESSAY I CONSIDER THE PROBLEM OF THE PERSISTENCE OF MASsive injustice in the United States and challenge some of the dominant explanations for this injustice. I argue that most explanations of injustice, such as appeals to corruption in human nature or the political order, only explain the injustice away by making it seem unreasonable to believe that anything could be done about it. Injustice, then, becomes only a state of affairs that is unfortunate for many but about which little can be done, beyond perhaps individual charity. Seeking to avoid this outcome, I argue that the persistence of injustice is best explained by lack of education on the part of citizens. This education involves knowledge of sociological and political realities as well as of ethical expectations requiring response to massive injustice. I conclude with suggestions for how ethicists might do a better of job of teaching about injustice.
89. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Jonathan K. Crane Because . . .: Justifying Law/Rationalizing Ethics
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ONE LINK WITHIN JUDAISM BETWEEN ETHICS AND LAW MAY BE FOUND IN the deployment of rationales in halakhah, Jewish law. Although rationales exist in biblical as well as rabbinic legal sources, in this essay I explore two rabbinic examples that are frequently cited, considered closely related, and applied to interactions between Jews and gentiles: mipnei darkhei shalom ("for the sake of peace") and mipnei eivah ("because of concern to prevent enmity"). I survey the broad range of issues to which these rationales are attached, evaluate current theories interpreting these rationales and their relationship to each other, and conclude with reflections on the dynamic tension between and historical development of halakhah and ethical concerns.
90. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
91. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Gloria H. Albrecht Ideals and Injuries: The Denial of Difference in the Construction of Christian Family Ideals
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CONCERN ABOUT THE WELL-BEING OF FAMILIES HAS BEEN A CONSTANT refrain in the history of the United States. Change in family forms often has been regarded as a breakdown of the family and a harbinger of social decay. In each historical period, a family form has been identified as an ideal in contrast to which other forms of family have been found deficient, even dysfunctional. Social policies have been designed to reward "good" families and discourage "bad" ones. Today, the increase in single-mother families, the high divorce rate, and the percentage of children living in poverty often are cited as evidence of the breakdown of the family and abandonment of family values because of a culture of "inordinate individualism." The Marriage Movement particularly represents this view. In this essay I first describe this approach to family values, its use of social science to support its claims, and the influence of this perspective on certain liberal Christian proposals for family ideals. I argue that family ideals assume race, gender, and economic privileges that are not available to all. By ignoring socioeconomic realities for many people, these ideals may mask and reinforce unjust inequalities. In fact, the themes and policies of the defense-of-marriage movement fit nicely with the neoliberal political economy that developed in the second half of the twentieth century. I argue that church and social policies that value families must connect the well-being of all families with a commitment to gender equality and economic justice.
92. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Sumner B. Twiss Humanities and Atrocities: Some Reflections
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FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE causes and mechanisms involved in human rights atrocities, as well as strategies for preventing or interdicting their occurrence. Although I have focused my attention on social scientific and psychological investigations in an effort to develop an integrated schema or framework that could be applied to particular cases, I launched a faculty seminar at Florida State University (FSU) and taught correlated courses on crimes against humanity that specifically used humanistic materials in examining such criminal activity. The underlying rationale for this effort stemmed from the charge to the FSU human rights center to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizing the international, comparative, and interdisciplinary aspects of human rights education and drawing on faculty resources throughout the university's schools and departments. In this essay I report on the theme that emerged in the FSU initiative that human rights education could be especially enhanced by engagement with humanistic materials ranging across history, literature, philosophy, and the arts. These materials can raise profound questions, appeal to the imagination and moral sensibilities, and engender critical and creative thinking.
93. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Paul Lauritzen Humanities and Atrocities: A Response
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SUMNER TWISS HAS ARGUED THAT HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION NEEDS TO be expanded to include work that traditionally is beyond the horizon of human rights literature. Specifically, human rights education could benefit from inclusion of humanistic genres such as novels, poetry, film, drama, and music, which engage our critical and emotional capacities. Examination of humanistic literature in relation to human rights atrocities might provide important and new insights into the causes of human rights abuses. In this essay I suggest that although Twiss identifies an important area for further reflection, there are some reasons to worry about the possibility of blurring genres that his proposal entails. I also suggest that we need to develop criteria for evaluating the kinds of experiential arguments that are frequently embedded in the literature Twiss highlights.
94. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
P. Travis Kroeker Whither Messianic Ethics?: Paul as Political Theorist
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IN RECENT YEARS SEVERAL IMPORTANT PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES ON THE ethical and political character of Pauline messianism have been published by continental philosophers such as Alain Badiou, Stanislaus Breton, Jacob Taubes, and Giorgio Agamben. In contrast to the Weberian "secularization thesis," which interprets Paul's eschatological messianism as one of indifference to worldly conditions, these authors—more in keeping with Walter Benjamin and Karl Barth—interpret it as radically political: a challenge to conventional modern politics of human and especially national sovereignty. In this essay I bring these studies of Paul into conversation with recent critical discussions of Christian political theology to consider how messianic ethics may or may not be relevant to contemporary political theory, particularly in reformulating a "secularity" that neither excludes nor privileges particular religious voices and traditions.
95. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Jack A. Hill Religion and the Workplace: Pluralism, Spirituality, Leadership
96. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Scott Bader-Saye Thomas Aquinas and the Culture of Fear
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FROM POLITICS TO THE MARKETPLACE, FEAR PLAYS AN INCREASINGLY important role in American culture. It shapes decisions as well as character, while it feeds an "ethic of security" that raises personal and national safety to the status of highest good. How might Christians respond faithfully to a culture of fear? This essay draws on Thomas Aquinas' account of fear in the Summa Theologica to provide a set of analytical categories and diagnostic questions in hopes of helping us become more reflective about fear. At the very least, this discussion seeks to reintroduce the premodern categories of ordered and disordered fear to challenge the modern presumption that fear is a pre-political "given" in its twin forms of anxiety and terror.
97. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Christine Gudorf, Paul Lauritzen Preface
98. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Stanley Hauerwas, Linda Hogan, Enda McDonagh The Case for Abolition of War in the Twenty-First Century
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IN THIS ESSAY WE ASK WHETHER CHRISTIANS HAVE THE RESOURCES AND the commitment to make the theological-ethical case for ending war as an instrument of international and national policy in an authentically Christian, intellectually coherent, and practically feasible way. Historical precedent for such shifts in mindsets and practices, as occurred with the abolition of slavery, give grounds for hope, as do witness pacifists. In this essay, we argue for a shift in the center of gravity of theological debate by reorienting our vision of the future to the continuing in-breaking of the Reign of God.
99. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Kyle D. Fedler Same-Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis; Faithful Conversation: Christian Perspectives on Homosexuality
100. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Brian Stiltner The Narrative Life: The Moral and Religious Thought of Frederick Douglass