Sample Religious studies Essay Assignment on Polarizing Issue

Paper #2
Polarizing Issue
For this short (about 5-page) paper, map two opposing perspectives on a polarizing issue. Use
various resources to develop information about alternative viewpoints (social media op-eds,
position papers, essays, etc). As with Paper #1, think about the moral matrices of each position, or
the moral foundations described by Haidt, The Righteous Mind. The issue may be more complex
than either side recognizes and there may be more than two viewpoints, but begin by describing
two opposing sides that are roughly opposite. You might select an issue discussed in class (e.g.,
immigration) or another issue. The issue may be long-standing (like immigration, gun control) or a
more specific current event (Trump impeachment).
For the paper itself:
1. Briefly identify the polarizing issue that you researched and why you selected it.
2. Describe the two major opposing perspectives and their moral matrix. The point is to
describe the moral worldview of each perspective and make both sound reasonable and
sympathetic (similar to the substance of paper #1)
3. Reflect on your opinion about the issue. Has it shifted as a result of your research? Do you
side more with one perspective or another, or do you prefer a compromise or a more
moderate position? Indicate how you situate yourself in the moral universes surrounding the
polarizing issue.
The paper will be evaluated based on the above directions:
• Does the paper include each of the three sections outlined above?
• Are the two opposing perspectives described with equal detail, depth, and sympathy?
• Does the section describing the two moral matrices account for the bulk of the paper (more
than half)?
• Does the third section describe your own view of the issue?
• Is the paper about 1,500 words (i.e, 5 pages)?