La mort à tout prix : les justifications de la peine capitale chez les croyants américains
AbstractThe question of the death penalty in the United States reveals a near-systematic discrepancy between the opinion of believers and the official position of the church to which they belong. What is the significance of this discrepancy&#160;? In addition to supplying evidence of the weak normative capacity of churches, an empirical study carried out in three American churches sheds light on the registers that compete with and even supplant that of religion, bringing a new perspective to bear on interpretations that assign an over-determining power to the religious spirit in American political life. The secularization of American society has not, it turns out, resulted in the disappearance of the religious lexical field but is rather reflected in the combination of the religious register with other registers and a fluid circulation between these various types of discourse. More particularly, if one attends to the manner in which the religious register is employed, it becomes clear that it serves as a repertory from which believers can draw tools for elaborating their opinions. This leads to sometimes radical reinterpretations of the literal meaning of utterances &#8211; rendering the execution of criminals, for example, an &#8220;act of mercy&#8221;.