January 10, 2006

New book by Wake Forest sociologist tracks role of Catholic Church in state politics

Wake Forest University News Service

By Cheryl Walker
January 9, 2006

The Catholic Church plays an increasingly important role in state politics, according to a new book by Wake Forest University sociologist David Yamane.

"The Catholic Church in State Politics," published by Rowman and Littlefield, documents how conferences of Catholic bishops in 33 states and Washington, D.C., bring the church's theology into the legislative arena as they lobby on major issues such as abortion, capital punishment, education, health care and same-sex marriage.

Despite their importance among religious lobbying organizations at the state level, these bishops conferences operate effectively out of the public spotlight.

"A major goal of this book is to divulge the secret that is the state Catholic conferences," Yamane says. "It does so by examining their history and organization, the issues they engage, their bases of legitimacy, and how they bring their religious arguments into the public square."

Among the book's key findings is that the clergy sexual abuse scandal the "Catholic Watergate" of 2002 did not significantly or uniformly diminish the political influence of state Catholic conferences.

Posted by kshaw at January 10, 2006 04:14 PM