Essay on the Role of the Church and the State in Preventing Deviance in the Society

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Carnegie Mellon University
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In week five, much concern is put on the role of institutions, the church and the state, in preventing deviance in the society and advise the society on the moral and socially-accepted lifestyles. Despite the church and the state drawing the line of social living, there have been great pressure on the two to conform to societal standards and provide guidance to the population. In this manner, the social expectations are so high that they fail to be the authoritative measuring and quality apparatus to identify deviance. Both the state and the church need to live by a set of practices and inculcated values which guide the society. Guidance that the state and the church provided to the society to prevent deviance was much evident in the 20th century and they helped in ensuring a conformity to the social and societal morals, value and principles.

The role of both the church and the state was more evident in the 20th century, and this is apparent in the role that the two played in providing practical moral guidance. The powerful nature of both the church and the state made it easier for them to maintain morality in the society and guide against deviance of any kind (Verloo, 2015, p77). The two institutions drew a clear line between virtues and vices and the latter was met with due consequences, this encouraged the population to conform to the strict societal and social values. However, the onset of the 21st century has seen tremendous changes in both the church and the state where the two are seen to have lost their clout in the century. What was once considered to be immoral are now encourage, or otherwise supported by the church and the state; some of them being the increase in the number of female leaders, and female and gay members of the clergy.

The inability of the state and the church to crack the whip on immorality has led vices to flow into the two institutions making them to be powerless in preventing deviance. The spread of information and the great cynicism are some of the major factors that have negated the power of institutions in identifying and preventing deviance. The inability of the church and the state to wield power against deviance is also shared in the book Navigating community institutions: Black transgender womens experiences in schools, the criminal justice system, and churches by Graham, where the author admits that sexuality immorality has ravaged the modern-day churches. In this case, the church has failed to provide the right guidelines in the issues regarding deviant sexual behavior, the increase in social ills, Graham claims has negatively impacted various countries in the society thereby necessitating the need for a unified front to prevent social ills and eliminate, or at least, reduce deviance.

Week Eight

The main concern put forth is the punishment resulting from a crime of deviance. There are laws that stipulates the forms of punishment that conforms to different types of crimes and defiant behaviors. Punishment is aimed at correcting the offenders and help them to correct their mistakes to make them better citizens. Punishments differ from one criminal offence to another and there is a need to have a good understanding of the law to subject defiant behaviors to the right forms of punishment. One factors to put into consideration is that laws, and hence forms of punishment, change with time, the steps taken before one is punished are suspicion, arresting and charging, prosecution, conviction and finally sentencing of the offenders (Kappeler, and Potter, 2017, p127). Before sentencing of the offenders, there is a judgement made where a decision to either convict or free the suspect is made. The lesson also highlights the role of the public of reporting to the police as they help in enforcing the law.

The role of the law in enforcing conformity to social morals is echoed in the book, The reasoning criminal: Rational choice perspectives on offending by Cornish and Clarke. In the book, the authors claim that the use of sanctions has been the most effective form of correction in the modern society and the same can be either positive or negative and formal or informal. The increase of the deviant behaviors in the society makes punishment to be a very important concept, this is because of its impact in correcting the behaviors of the deviant. Punishment varies in stages as children get punished by their parents, students by their teachers and workers and punished by their bosses. Criminal deviance, on the other hand, ranges in various ways; from fining, to being incarcerated or execution. Punishment is viewed as a two-edged sword as it both corrects the offender and creates satisfaction to the offended.

The three main aims of punishment for deviance are retributions, deterrence and rehabilitation. In retributions, punishment for deviance works to instill pain on the offender to the same degree as the crime caused, this discourages the offender from criminal activities or acts of deviance in future. Secondly, punishment for deterrence works to warn the would-be offenders engaging in criminal activities hence reducing forms of deviance in the society. Finally, punishment rehabilitates offenders and helps in maintaining law and order in every society.



Cornish, D.B. and Clarke, R.V. eds., 2014. The reasoning criminal: Rational choice perspectives on offending. Transaction Publishers.

Graham, L.F., 2014. Navigating community institutions: Black transgender womens experiences in schools, the criminal justice system, and churches. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 11(4), pp.274-287.

Kappeler, V.E. and Potter, G.W., 2017. The mythology of crime and criminal justice. Waveland Press.

Verloo, M., 2015. Religion, church, intimate citizenship and gender equality. Jurnal Ilmiah Peuradeun, 3(1), pp.55-76.


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