How Americans Talk about Separation of Church and State: Moral Frameworks of Justice and Care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper draws on data from 12 focus group discussions of a faith-based prison ministry program to examine how ordinary Americans talk about the separation of church and state. The focus groups–conducted in Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Boston–revealed that program supporters and opponents draw on different moral frameworks, with supporters focusing on a framework of care and opponents focusing on a framework of justice. The findings affirm the centrality of moral concerns in shaping citizen stances on church-state separation and suggest that meaningful political compromise is possible on the issue of government support of faith-based social services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSociological Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Morality; religion; law; church-state separation; culture wars

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