•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Many political theorists extol the virtues of deliberation in efforts to reconcile differences in opinion and prevent group fracture. On August 21, 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted narrowly to reverse standing policy by allowing gay and lesbian people in committed relationships to serve openly as clergy. In the aftermath of this decision, numerous congregations began thinking about leaving the denomination. We surveyed a sample of ELCA clergy in the fall of 2009 and spring 2010 to assess their commitment to deliberative norms and practice, their implementation of such practices in congregational meetings designed to discuss the ELCA’s vote, and the outcomes of those more or less deliberative forums. We found considerable commitment both to deliberative practice itself and belief in the efficacy of such practice. Despite the assumption that religious doctrine and public deliberation are incompatible, religious organizations often find deliberative processes essential to their survival.

Share

COinS