Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Antonio de Velasco
Religion's place in American society has been locked in a binary, seen either as an inappropriate societal "mind trap" or indispensable for community-building. I posit that this binary, or what I call the "religious hinge," limits how we view religion in the public sphere and constrains our understanding of democracy. My project seeks to pierce the current confining view of "religion-as-disease-or-cure" and open up our understanding of public conflict. I approach this task by moving past the abstract questions concerning church and state and examining analogical arguments in particular religio-civic controversies. I examine points of resistance between agonists through a method of controversia, an approach that allows me to understand the role of analogies in religio-civic debates. This dissertation focuses on three cases: the Park51 or "Ground Zero Mosque," the Westboro Baptist Church, and the Ordain Women movement in The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. I contend that the interconnected network of analogy, controversy, and religion expands our consideration for the many voices in communities, ultimately leading to a greater potential for scholarly approaches to religion in the broader public sphere.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Heslop, Brian Clair, "Piercing the Religious Hinge: Understanding Religio-Civic Controversy through Analogical Argument" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1215.