The Bible in Political Debate What Does it Really Say?

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-09-22
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark
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Politicians and pundits regularly invoke the Bible in social and political debates on a host of controversial social and political issues, including: abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, the death penalty, separation of church and state, family values, climate change, income distribution, teaching evolution in schools, taxation, school prayer, aid for the poor, and immigration. But is the Bible often used out of context in these major debates?

This book includes essays by fourteen biblical scholars who examine the use of the Bible in political debates, uncovering the original historical contexts and meanings of the biblical verses that are commonly cited. The contributors take a non-confessional approach, rooted in non-partisan scholarship, to show how specific texts have at times been distorted in order to support particular views. At the same time, they show how the Bible can sometimes make for unsettling reading in the modern day. The key questions remain: What does the Bible really say? Should the Bible be used to form public policy?

Author Biography

Frances Flannery is Director at the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Terrorism and Peace, and also Associate Professor of Religion at James Madison University, USA.

Rodney A. Werline is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Barton College, USA.

Table of Contents

Introduction: How Can We Know What the Bible Says? Frances Flannery, James Madison University, U.S.A. and Rodney Werline, Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina, U.S.A.

1. Forced Expulsion and Treatment of First Peoples in Canada and in the US Judith H. Newman, University of Toronto, Canada
2. Slavery Emerson B. Powery, Messiah College, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
3. The Death Penalty Anathea Portier-Young, Duke Divinity College, U.SA.
4. Work and Welfare Rodney Werline, Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina, U.S.
5. Submission to the Government Colleen Shantz, University of Toronto, Canada
6. When Life Begins (Abortion and Contraception) Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
7. The Proper Role of Women Christopher Rollston, George Washington University, U.S.A.
8. Climate Change Frances Flannery, James Madison University, U.S.A.
9. Family Values (Marriage is Between One Man and One Woman) Jack Levison, Southern Methodist University, U.S.A. Pricilla Pope-Levison, Seattle Pacific University, U.S.A.
10. How Biblical Texts Came to be Scripture - Kelley N. Coblentz Bautch
11. Same Sex Marriage - Jonathan Jackson
Conclusion: Compromise as a Biblical Value John Kutsko, Executive Director of the Society of Biblical Literature, U.S.A.
Appendix: Commonly cited verses in public debate

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