Despite recent interest in examining church growth and decline, sociologists have not engaged in research aimed at determining what factors influence congregational doctrine. I analyzed factors affecting congregations' likelihood of adopting rules concerning same-sex behavior by testing several hypotheses related to potential influences. To do this, I used a nationally representative sample of congregations. I found that, in addition to theology and political ideology, church demographics and political developments influence church doctrine. These findings demonstrate that despite the existence of a formal church-state separation, congregational policy may not be immune to the influence of external social and political developments.
Gordon, Demoya R., "Policing Sexuality in America’s Churches: Theological, Congregational, and Political Influences on Regulation of Same-Sex Behavior" (2006). Sociology Honors Projects. 5.
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