Getting Religion

  • Janet R. Jakobsen
  • Ann Pellegrini


We wonder about “religion” and what it might mean to “get religion” in any number of ways. We certainly (at one time in our lives, at least) got religion, and we sometimes wonder if the resistance on the part of some left intellectuals to getting religion isn’t based on a desire to distance oneself from those early experiences of “getting it.” We also wonder about religion in the ever popular “public sphere.” Why, for example, do homosexuals “get it” so often—from religion, that is— but also the topic of this essay is to ask why do homosexuals “get it”—religion, that is— from that most secular of institutions, the Supreme Court? Why are the terms in which the Court establishes the regulation of sexuality so often religious, so that when it comes to homosexuals, at least, what the court seems to be handing out is not justice but religion? Finally, we also wonder about the implications of “getting it” for scholars of cultural studies or the intellectual left (a group within which we would include ourselves).1 What would it mean if they/we did “get it”? This question is a complicated one (rather than simply referring to a lacuna in the scholarship that can be easily filled in). What the attempt to simply take up the study of religion fails to ask is, what does it mean to take on religion as an “object” of cultural study? This is not the same question as, “What is religion?”


Homosexual Conduct Heterosexual Sodomy Sexual Mores Ancient Root Progressive Social Movement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Elizabeth A. Castelli 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet R. Jakobsen
  • Ann Pellegrini

There are no affiliations available

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