Sex & Religion

More Religious Bullying—Around Sex, Of Course

The “First Amendment Defense Act”—who could quarrel with that? I do. Maybe you do, too. HR2802 prohibits the federal government from acting against anyone who “believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief” that gays shouldn’t marry or that sex belongs only in heterosexual marriage. Under this law, the feds couldn’t withhold tax exemptions, contracts, or loans from people or corporations defying federal laws prohibiting discrimination against GLBT people. The bill would protect a business denying time off for a gay employee to care for a sick spouse. It would protect a private school refusing a child just because…

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Some gays slow to catch on to religious exceptionalism

In a recent op-ed piece, New York Times writer Frank Bruni says “I’ve been called many unpleasant things in my life…but I chafe at this latest label: A threat to your religious liberty.” Bruni is gay, and he resents people claiming that their religion allows them to discriminate against same-gender couples and individuals in arenas such as marriage, parenting, and employment. Indeed, an increasing number of bakers, photographers and other wedding vendors are claiming the right to not serve gay couples. I totally agree—it’s pathetic that adults hide behind religion to selfishly and piously opt out of our American constitutional…

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Training Women to Have No Eyes

I’m in New York training psychologists this week, and as I always do here, I visited a neighborhood with a professional guide. On previous trips I’ve toured Harlem, Wall Street, Brooklyn Heights, Midtown, Upper Park Avenue, and several other neighborhoods. This year we went to Williamsburg, home to the most insular and religious community of Hasidic Jews in North America. The group is called the Satmars, who came to this country from Eastern Europe after WWII. They dress meticulously like the nobility of 18th century Lithuania/Poland. Even in summer, the men wear long sleeve white shirts, black vests, long black…

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FAQ For Churches In The Era of Gay Marriage

In the wake of the DOMA and Proposition 8 Supreme Court decisions opening the door to same-sex marriage across America, churches have expressed anxiety. For years they’ve said that gay marriage would destroy straight marriage and the family. But what about the church? Here are some answers that should clarify and perhaps comfort those concerned. […]

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Religion & Sexuality: Iron Age or Dark Ages?

Since today is Christmas Day, our subject is sexuality and religion. Specifically, what do the world’s three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, & Judaism) say about sex? Of course, it depends on whom you ask. Each religion’s adherents form a wide spectrum of observance, from the orthodox/fundamentalist to the “I like the holiday food.” That said, here are some of the common ideas about sex featured in the mainstream traditions of one or more of the three religions: * no sex during menstruation * no birth control * no abortion * no same-gender sex * no anal sex * no oral…

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Can Pam Anderson Make Fur Non-Kosher?

Former super-babe Pamela Lee Anderson is in Israel to be a judge on their version of Dancing with the Stars. While there, she plans to use her “powers of seduction” on ultra-Orthodox Jewish lawmakers to get them to ban fur. Fur is a big issue for these guys because of the 200-year-old Eastern European tradition of wearing fur-trimmed hats (“streimel”) that many ultra-Orthodox follow. Good luck, little shiksa. Since they’re not married to you, these guys won’t shake your hand; many won’t even look at you. Listen to you? I doubt it. There are Orthodox Jews right here in San…

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