Sourcing the major traditions of progressive Christian social ethics-social gospel
liberalism, Niebuhrian realism, and liberation theology-Gary Dorrien argues for the social-ethical necessity of social justice politics. In carefully reasoned essays, he focuses on three broad subjects: the ethics and politics of economic justice; racial and gender justice; and anti-militarism, and makes a constructive case for economic democracy, a liberationist understanding of racial and gender justice, and an anti-imperial form of liberal internationalism.
In Dorrien's view, the three major discourse traditions of progressive Christian social ethics share a fundamental commitment to transform the structures of society in the direction of social justice. His reflections on these topics feature extensive and innovative analyses of major figures, such as Walter Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr, James Burnham, Norman Thomas, and Michael Harrington, and contemporary intellectuals, such as Rosemary R. Ruether, Katie Cannon, Gregory Baum, and Cornel West. Dorrien also weaves his personal experiences into his narrative, especially his involvement in social justice movements. The volume features a special chapter on Dorrien's published work during the 2008 presidential campaign and historic candidacy of Barack Obama.
About the Author
Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and professor of religion at Columbia University. His recent works include the three-volume The Making of Liberal Theology and Social Ethics in the Making: Interpreting an American Tradition.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Social Gospel and Niebuhrian Realism
1. Society as the Subject of Redemption: Washington Gladden, Walter Rauschenbusch, and the Social Gospel
2. Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, and the Crises of War and Capitalism
3. The Niebuhrian Legacy: Christian Realism as Theology, Ethics, and Public Intellectualism
4. Ironic Complexity: Reinhold Niebuhr, Billy Graham, Modernity, and Racial Justice
Part II: Economic Democracy in Question
5. Norman Thomas and the Dilemma of American Socialism
6. Michael Harrington and the "Left Wing of the Possible"
7. Christian Socialism as Tradition and Problem
8. Breaking the Oligarchy: Globalization, Turbo-Capitalism, Economic Crash, Economic Democracy
9. Rethinking and Renewing Economic Democracy
Part III: Neoconservatism and American Empire
10. The Neoconservative Phenomenon: American Power and the War of Ideology
11. Imperial Designs: Neoconservatism and the Iraq War
12. Militaristic Illusions: The Iraq Debacle and the Crisis of American Empire
13. Empire in Denial: American Exceptionalism and the Community of Nations
Part IV: Social Ethics and the Politics of Difference
14. The Feminist Difference: Rosemary R. Ruether and Eco-Socialist Christianity
15. Pragmatic Postmodern Prophecy: Cornel West as Social Critic and Public Intellectual
16. As Purple to Lavender: Katie Cannon and Womanist Ethics
17. Religious Pluralism as a Justice Issue: Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Ecumenism
18. The Obama Phenomenon and Presidency
19. Social Ethics in the Making: History, Method, and White Supremacism
What People are Saying About This
Like his other works, Gary Dorrien's book is richly researched and beautifully written. Dorrien is among the leading academic voices of progressive Christianity, and his book brings the various threads of his scholarship together in one place.
Gary Dorrien's scholarly investigation of capitalism's destructive collision with society has greater urgency for America than ever before. Given all the adversities our nation faces, Americans need to learn and consider the great possibilities that Dorrien discusses for disarming the conflict and creating a more equitable and humane country.
The most rigorous theological historian of our time, moving from analyses of social context and personal struggles through the most abstruse theological and metaphysical issues.
Gary Dorrien is the preeminent social ethicist in North America today.