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Society

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 415–422 | Cite as

Same-Sex Marriage, Korean Christians, and the Challenge of Democratic Engagement

  • Joseph Yi
  • Joe PhillipsEmail author
  • Shin-Do Sung
Culture and Society

Abstract

The contest over gay rights (e.g., same-sex marriage) dramatizes the clash between increasingly nonwhite (“majority-world”), religious conservatives and mostly white, progressives. It renews longstanding debate about the compatibility of religious conservatism and liberal, pluralistic democracy. A study of one influential group, Korean Christians, shows that the younger, western-educated generation generally combines religious conservatism and political liberalism; they are much more likely to espouse liberal-democratic principles and to participate in the larger, plural society than the older, immigrant generation. However, the polarizing politics of gay rights partly reverses the generational pattern: the historically insular, first generation participate more in mainstream politics, while some western-educated, second-generation Korean Christians become intolerant and isolated from elite-educated circles. Ideological minorities self-segregate themselves in the face of hostile, energized majorities, whether progressives in Korean Christian circles or conservatives in secular, educated ones. Public deliberation on same-sex marriage depends on whether it becomes viewed like the clear-cut issue of interracial marriage or the more ambiguous one of abortion.

Keywords

Proposition 8 Same sex marriage Korean Asian Christian Evangelical Immigration Generation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceHanyang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Global StudiesPusan National UniversityBusanSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Public AdministrationHankuk University of Foreign StudiesSeoulSouth Korea

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