Religion and social protest

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  • Religion and social protest
    • Bruce is interested in the relationship between religion and social change,
    • The black civil right movement of the 1050s / 60s attempted to end racial segregation as blacks were denied legal and political rights.
      • Schools were segregated, inter-racial marriages forbidden and blacks often excluded from voting.
      • The movement began in 1955 and direct action through protest marches, boycotts and demonstrations followed until in 1964, segregation was outlawed.
      • The black clergy led by Dr Martin Luther King were the backbone of the movement.
        • They shamed whites into changing the law by appealing to their shared christian values of equality.
      • Bruce sees religion in this context as an ideological resource.
        • Religious organisations are well equipped to support protests and contribute change by:
          • Taking the moral high ground - pointing out the hypocrisy of white clergy who supported racial segregation.
          • Channelling dissent - Martin Luther Kings funeral was a rallying point for the civil right cause.
          • Acting as honest broker - because they are respected by both sides in a conflict and seen as standing above mere politics.
          • Mobilising public opinion - by campaigning for support.
    • The New Christian Right is a political and morally conservative, protestant fundamentalist movement.
      • The NCR aims to make abortion, homosexuality and divorce illegal and take the USA back to God.
        • Turning the clock back to a time before the liberation of american society.
      • The NCR beleives in tradiotional family and gender roles, campaigns for the teaching of creationism.
        • Wants to ban sex education in schools.
      • Bruce argues that the NCR has been largely unsuccessful because it has never had the support of more than 15% of the population at most.
        • The democratic values of american society mean most americans are comfortable with legalising activites such as abortion and homosexuality.


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