Christians, Secular Democracy, and Sex
- ISBN: 9780231163453
- Published By: Columbia University Press
- Published: October 2023
Through a potent mix of authoritarianism, heterosexism, xenophobia, and ethnoracial nationalism, powerful illiberal Christian movements have upended liberal democracies in countries that were once seen as paradigms of secular governance. Ludger H. Viefhues-Bailey offers new insight into the foundations of these movements, demonstrating how they emerge from the contradictions at the intersection of secularism and democracy.
No Separation examines recent conflicts that link national identity, religion, and sexuality: debates over Muslim veiling practices in Germany, same-sex marriage in France, and migration and abortion in the United States. In each case, illiberal Christianities portray popular sovereignty as threatened at the same time as they display an obsessive concern with the politics of sex and reproduction. Underlying these conflicts, No Separation shows, is the fundamental tension of democracy—who belongs to “the People.” Viefhues-Bailey argues that when secularism and democracy meet, cultural religions appear, seeking control over women’s bodies, national borders, and the racialized reproduction of the People in defense of the ideal of popular sovereignty.
Connecting political theology, political philosophy, and the sociology of religion with gender and sexuality studies, No Separation is a deeply original analysis of the crisis of democracy and the limits of secularism. It also suggests alternative ways of imagining the People, proposing a more humane vision of borders, sexualities, and social bonds.