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Book: Buddhist Violence and Religious Authority

Chapter: 16. Selling Sex in Sin City: The Religious and Cultural Dimensions to the Opposition of the Legalization of Sex Work

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40736


In this paper, I examine the role of religion in the discourse surrounding sex work. Previous ways of understanding this have highlighted that in the United States, reference to religious doctrine and practice is especially important in reinforcing attitudes that treat sex work as inherently immoral. This paper will highlight the intersection of religion with culture and highlight this intersection as being the most essential towards understanding moral opposition to sex work in the United States. As a case study, I will use discursive analysis of newspaper publications in Las Vegas, as it is a city that is currently in the midst of an intense debate about the legalization of sex work. I will then put Las Vegas back in the content of the United States more broadly, and offer new ways of understanding the intensely morally infused opposition to sex work’s legalization.

Chapter Contributors

  • Lindsay Heldreth ( - lheldreth) 'Notre Dame'