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The New Christian Right's View of the Family and Its Social Science Critics: A Study in Differing Presuppositions

Patrick H. McNamara
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 47, No. 2 (May, 1985), pp. 449-458
DOI: 10.2307/352143
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352143
Page Count: 10
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The New Christian Right's View of the Family and Its Social Science Critics: A Study in Differing Presuppositions
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Abstract

Social scientists' critiques of New Christian Right family ideology are based upon presuppositions which deserve examination in the light of postpositivist models of scientific inquiry. These models emphasize the inevitability of the observer's own prior theoretical convictions and the importance of grasping social actors' own beliefs, viewpoints, intentions, and behaviors. Content analysis of New Christian Right pastoral—as opposed to polemic—literature reveals ways in which evangelical beliefs and practices meet the cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal needs of believers. Assumptions of social science critics concerning the desirability of maximizing individual freedom and autonomy blind them to these needs of believers and to the ways in which New Christian Right ideology meets them.

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