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The Impact That The Protestant Faith Has On Society In The United States

2547 words - 10 pages

The American education system is a prime example of an institution that has been formed around the exclusionary principles of American society and as a result the education system, which has become the preferred means of climbing the socioeconomic latter, is also an institution that works to indirectly keep poor minorities in their hierarchical place. Schools that were meant to be public facilities of education continue to be funded under the assumption that these institutions are necessary and inclusive. Although public schools are necessary, they are far from inclusive, in fact the best schools can be defined as sects. Max Weber wrote about the exclusive characteristics, benefits, and consequences of sects in terms of religious groups, however, the essence of his definition can also be applied to demonstrate the exclusive and unfair attributes of schools like Plant High School in Tampa Florida. The use of Weber's work to demonstrate that Plant High School can and should be classified as a sect will aid in bringing to light the unfair advantages that its attendees have, how its nature as a sect goes against the very intended nature of a publicly funded high school, and how its ability to continue to operate as a sect indirectly violates the 14th amendment as well as the precedence set forth by Brown v. Board of Education.
Max Weber in following his fascination with the impact that the Protestant faith had on society in the United States wrote about the many branch-offs of the main line Protestant church, classifying them as sects. Weber, in his work entitled The Protestant Sects and the Spirit of Capitalism, explained that all sects have common factors that make them a sect, they are all exclusive, they all have a heavy emphasis on their members living up to the set expectations of being "religiously and morally qualified" (Weber, 1920/2011, p. 212), and that a membership to a sect was voluntary. A membership to a sect brings with it many benefits that will be addressed at a later point in this essay; however, the nature of a sect to exclude individuals not solely based on a candidate’s "moral" qualifications, but also race, and class leaves those who were unjustly denied membership to be on the outside of society. When a person was denied entrance they were forced "to take the hard road, and especially so in business life" ( p.217), because in a community, members of a particular sect would only "give credit" and "make purchases" ( p.219) from other members of the same sect. In order to apply Weber's knowledge of sects to a modern day high school like Plant High School, there is a need to adapt his work for a secular environment.
In order for Weber's observations about religious sects to include a secular institution, words and concepts referencing 'religion' in Weber's work should be exchanged with the concepts of socioeconomic status. This change does not alter the essence or implications of Weber’s original work because those with a...

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