A key tenet of Christianity is the concept of “loving your neighbor.” And yet manyconservative Christians hold views that seem contrary to this core belief. My study aims to explore how the religious beliefs of conservative Christians influence their views about homosexuality and government-organized welfare. Through qualitative analysis of six interviews (five Southern Baptists from Texas and one member of a Free Covenant Church in Illinois), I attempt to understand how they reconcile their, as many would argue, conflicting beliefs. In myanalysis I utilize Emile Durkheim’s discussion of religion, specifically the concept of the sacred versus the profane, and also employ Max Weber’s work on the Protestant work ethic, as well asthe findings of some existing literature on the topic. I discover through the process of interviewing that the following factors are at play: a need for certainty and stability, a process of cognitive dissonance reduction that involves the separation of their sacred (faith) from the profane (news and politics), and a glorification of the past, among several other factors.


Tierney, Thomas


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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