JIS VII 1995
JIS VII 1995: 1-24
GOVERNMENT, MORALITY AND THE FAMILY
William R. Marty
University of Memphis
The question of government and morality is raised by public clashes over the proper role, if any, of government regulation of morals, or government fostering of things conducive to moral behavior. There are minimalist and maximalist views, akin to the failed ideologies of complete laissez-faire and full government ownership in the economic realm. Between the extremes, which have failed in the moral as well as the economic realm, there is a proper sphere for government support of morality, and institutions that produce virtue and civilized citizens. In particular, there is a need to restore authority to the family, moral education to the schools, and parental responsibility and choice in education.
JIS VII 1995: 25-50
THE POLITICS OF LOVE:
FROM CHIVALRY TO EQUALITY
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
Western culture, at its best, has been a continuous effort to move from the low, the necessities of the body, toward the high, an eternity toward which all men aspire in their capacity for goodness. The purpose of politics, now understood as democracy, has been to regulate the low, the base desires that set men apart from each other. Politics, then, follows culture. But this linkage has been broken by the feminist demand for equality in romantic union, thus destroying the connection between lovers, family, and the culture which seeks to protect them. The attack on courtly love through the leveling of male and female relatedness is a vicarious effort to undermine hierarchical love, natural and divine.
JIS VII 1995: 51-70
RESTORING THE FAMILY
AS THE PRIMARY HUMAN COMMUNITY *
George B. Palermo, M.D.
Medical College of Wisconsin
The thesis of this essay is that the family is the primary socializing agency and that present-day American families are breaking down under socio-economic pressures and new philosophical approaches to life. The institution of the family, which ideally gives its members physical, emotional, and educational support, and teaches them high moral and civic values, is undermined not only by rapid economic and technological changes, but primarily by the lack of personal and social responsibility of its members. Contemporary sociological thought explores some of the negative consequences of the crumbling of the American family. The essay concludes that the reintegration of the family presupposes individual spiritual renewal within the supporting and fulfilling presence of religious institutions.
* Oleg Zinam Award for Best Essay in JIS, 1995.
JIS VII 1995: 71-82
U. S. FAMILY POLICY
IN SEARCH OF VALUES, 1965 – 1995
Since 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan has advocated a comprehensive national family policy for the United States. The ups and downs of efforts to advocate family policy initiatives over the last thirty years reveal an increasing polarization over family-related issues. Since public policy affects families, family policy is inevitable, whether purposeful or not. But the lack of public consensus over what values should guide family policy is a serious obstacle to meaningful efforts at improving conditions for American families. This essay proposes an approach to family policy drawing on the best insights of conservative and liberal advocates, based on the values of compassion and personal responsibility.
JIS VII 1995: 83-100
FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
Susan D. Einbinder
University of Southern California
Researchers, housing program administrators, and others assume housing costs are affordable if they represent up to 30 percent of a household’s income. This standard appears to be skewed against families with children. Michael Stone’s “Shelter Poverty” offers a new, in some respects more precise, measure of housing affordability. Both measures were calculated to explore housing affordability among an estimated 30 million families with children, using the 1991 American Housing Survey. One-third of families had housing difficulties under either measure, but “Shelter Poverty,” concentrated among lower-income families, provides a more realistic classification for families. Adopting “Shelter Poverty” would, thus, offer a more credible guide to “affordable” housing policies for America’s families with children.
JIS VII 1995: 101-118
HOMELESSNESS IN AMERICA:
CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES AND SOLUTIONS
Ronald W. Fagan
This essay examines the causes and consequences of poverty and homelessness in America. In comparing the homeless historically, research shows that the more recent homeless tend to be more visible, younger, more women with children, more ethnic minorities, fewer receiving economic benefits, and numerically there are more homeless. Major policies and programs directed at the problems associated with homelessness may be divided into legal approaches; housing, health, economic, and social programs; and religious approaches. The essay concludes that a variety of programs and approaches are needed which provide meaningful short-term intervention and rehabilitation, while encouraging personal responsibility for recovery, and reforming the welfare system to break the “culture of dependency.”
JIS VII 1995: 119-134
A CHALLENGE TO SUBURBAN EVANGELICAL CHURCHES:
THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON POVERTY IN AMERICA *
Highland Street Church of Christ-Memphis
HOPE Program-New York City
Many suburban evangelical churches are failing to respond to urban poverty in America. The relationship between these churches and the urban poor may be described in terms of detachment. Biblical passages such as Deuteronomy 15 propose a theological agenda in which a community’s relationship to God turns on its ability to relate to its individual parts. People in the ideal community bridge gaps between the “haves” and the “have nots,” since God has already bridged the gap between divinity and humanity. Implications of this perspective include the example of life skills training and other programs as a means to implement the theological framework, thereby forming practical partnerships with the urban poor to help lift them out of poverty.
* David Morsey Award for Best Biblical Exegesis, 1995.
JIS VII 1995: 135-150
DANIEL BOORSTIN AND RUSSELL KIRK:
RELIGION AND AMERICAN POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT
Michael E. Meagher
University of Missouri-Rolla
The erstwhile consensus on morality has disintegrated with deleterious consequences for the family and the American community. The disappearance of a moral consensus has undermined the American social contract. Daniel J. Boorstin and Russell Kirk identify religion as the underlying bedrock of the American community. Kirk emphasizes the religious nature of tradition, while Boorstin celebrates God’s role in humanity’s creative activities. While both authors are devoted to a transcendental moral code or “essence,” Boorstin suggests the trait of pragmatic adaptation as a uniquely American phenomenon. Kirk’s return to tradition and Boorstin’s notion of a generalized religion may offer a solution to the contemporary crisis of moral community.
JIS VII 1995: 151-170
SCIENCE – RELIGION DIALOGUE:
FIFTH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY, 1994
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
The Fifth European Conference on Science and Theology, held in Freising and Munich, Germany, 1994, exemplified the growing worldwide interest in science-religion dialogue. The keys to this dialogue are the emerging linkages and interfaces among all the sciences, on the one hand, and the enigmatic complexity of questions concerning the origin, nature, and destiny of man and the universe, on the other. Both increasingly address issues of meaning, values, and ultimate causes, which lie well beyond the ken of science as presently understood. Underlying the current science-religion dialogue is a sense of awe, humility, and wonder in the face of incomplete knowledge seeking understanding, and transcendental faith seeking rational foundations.
JIS VII 1995: 171-182
PHILOSOPHY, SCIENCE AND RELIGION:
Brigitte Dehmelt Cooper
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
The dispute between faith and reason, religion and science, is a perennial dilemma for Western societies. The renewed interest in science-religion dialogue in the second half of the twentieth century was prompted by the development in the physical sciences, with their ever greater demand on tools to analyze and experiment with the increasingly elusive subatomic particles in physics, changing dimensions in astronomy, and different powers in cosmology. Increasingly, the sciences rely on mathematics divorced from well-defined concepts, splitting science into different camps. The loss of certainty encountered in physics–popularized by Werner Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle”–and the growing conviction that mathematics is merely “a play with marks,” arbitrarily defined by players, ended the positivism of the age of Enlightenment.