Honors Theses

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Sarah Moses

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

For my thesis, I have focused on the recent religious freedom bill passed in Mississippi and the arguments and influences Southern Baptists have had on the bill. I used the list of resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention to trace the history and development of Southern Baptist thought on the subject of religious freedom. I consulted outside scholarly works to examine the history of the Baptist tradition and how that history has influenced modern day arguments. I compared these texts to the wording of the Mississippi bill. After conducting this research, I found that the Southern Baptist tradition and ethical thought are reflected in the wording of the Mississippi bill. I found that the large percentage of the Mississippi population comprised of Southern Baptists holds a large amount of political power in the state, and this power was used to pass a law reflecting their ethical positions. I concluded that the ethical positions of Southern Baptists could be an interesting and educating framework in which to base future discussions on these issues. By focusing on the ethical positions espoused by Southern Baptists, these conversations could become more productive through acknowledging the legitimacy of these beliefs and using them to center the argument on the most significant issues.

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