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Exceptional AmericaWhat Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other$
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Mugambi Jouet

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293298

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293298.001.0001

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The Culture Wars of Faith, Sex, and Gender

The Culture Wars of Faith, Sex, and Gender

(p.113) Four The Culture Wars of Faith, Sex, and Gender
Exceptional America

Mugambi Jouet

University of California Press

In virtually no other developed country are issues like abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and sexual education as controversial as in America. People in almost all other Western nations tend to share the liberal-moderate view of these questions. Few share the Christian fundamentalist position that represents a major side of America’s culture wars. Even though the vast majority of Americans are devout Christians, religion ironically divides them far more than Europeans. America is exceptionally polarized by rival understandings of faith, secularism, family values, gender roles, and sexuality. According to conventional wisdom, religious polarization in America reflects a clash between believers and non-believers. In reality, the divide is mainly among people of faith, as atheists or agnostics remain a limited proportion of the U.S. population. While nearly three-quarters of Americans identify as Christian, their churches are often at odds on basic issues like whether the Bible should be interpreted literally. The chapter particularly analyzes the ultra-traditionalist values prevalent in conservative America and demonstrates how unusual they are in the developed world.

Keywords:   Culture Wars, Christian Fundamentalism, Separation of Church and State, Gender, Sexism and Patriarchy, Gay Rights, Abortion, Reproductive Rights, Sexual Education, Contraception

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