POLITICS OF POLYGAMOUS PEOPLE: HOW A MINORITY RELIGION CAN HELP US UNDERSTAND RELIGION AND POLITICS IN AMERICA

  • Trent A. Engbers University of Southern Indiana, USA

Abstract

When Texas State Troopers invaded the Yearning for Zion Ranch occupied by polygamist Mormon’s in 2008, it was the third major raid in American history. Yet, fundamentalist Mormons represent a small and little understood element of the American religious landscape. Nonetheless their struggles in America represent the evolving conflicts between politics and private religious life. This study introduces the doctrine of plural marriage as understood by Fundamentalist Mormons and uses it as a case study to consider five aspects of the relationship between religions and politics in America. This includes a discussion of when government chooses to intervene in the practice of religious groups and the responses of those groups to government involvement, the impact of the federal system on religious actors, the dynamic justifications given for involvement and the constant tension between public concerns and private devotion.

Author Biography

Trent A. Engbers, University of Southern Indiana, USA

Trent Engbers is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN. His research focuses on public leadership, civic and political participation, religion and politics, Chinese policy and economic development. He has worked in community organizing, leadership development and nonprofit consulting. 

Keywords: Fundamentalist Mormons, Latter-Day Saints, religion and politics, polygamy, religious policy

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Published
2017-01-03
Section
TOPIC OF THIS ISSUE