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Christianity in the Twentieth CenturyA World History$
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Brian Stanley

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196848

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196848.001.0001

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A Noise of War in the Camp

A Noise of War in the Camp

Human Rights, Gender, and Sexuality

(p.266) Chapter Twelve A Noise of War in the Camp*
Christianity in the Twentieth Century

Brian Stanley

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the ramifications for Christian belief and practice of the application of human rights ideology to questions of gender and sexuality. It was only in the course of the twentieth century that rights ideology crossed the gender divide, giving rise to the women's suffrage movement and the substantial erosion of previously unquestioned assumptions about the God-given roles and hierarchical relationship of the sexes. From the second decade of the century in North America and Europe, inherited Christian convictions about the theological and ethical legitimacy of restricting ordained leadership in the churches to men began to be questioned. In Protestant and Anglican churches, these convictions were slowly and unevenly abandoned as the century proceeded. The chapter then considers the shifts in popular attitudes to sexual ethics. By the final decade of the century, some of the global denominational forums had become the arena for heated debate between conservatives and liberals. Churches or individuals could be “liberal” on an issue such as the ordination of women and “conservative” on homosexuality.

Keywords:   Christian belief, human rights, gender, sexuality, suffrage movement, ordained leadership, sexual ethics, conservatives, liberals, homosexuality

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