Sex & Religion

Catholic Hospitals Should Stop Playing God

Is a hospital more like a public utility or more like a car dealership? As long as you pay your bill, the Water Department supplies you with water whether it likes what you do with it or not. If the Water Department refuses to supply, say, Jews or Blacks, these people can’t simply take their business elsewhere. So why is it legal for certain hospitals to discriminate against some people because of “religious beliefs” if they’re not allowed to discriminate based on inconvenience, discomfort, or hate? California’s Seton Medical Center refused Charlene Hastings breast enlargement surgery because, said a surgical…

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Rocky Raccoon and Gideon’s Bible

It’s an official trend: upscale hotels are removing their in-room Bibles, often replacing them with “intimacy kits” containing condoms. The American Family Association, noting that the number of luxury hotels with in-room Bibles has dropped 18% since 2001, is predictably outraged: “Without action now, it is simply a matter of time before other chains remove the Bibles.” And the problem with that is…what? The AFA press release is just the latest reminder by the religious-industrial complex: organized religion deserves special privileges everywhere. Why a religious text in every hotel room? And why a Christian one? As the Sofitel chain explains,…

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Does Jesus Love Shortstops?

Although I wrote this for Sexual Intelligence last year, it’s especially timely now that the Rockies are in the World Series. The latest institution to seize and abuse Christianity is Major League Baseball. The Colorado Rockies now acknowledge that they actively seek out Christians when acquiring new players. There are Bible quotes on locker room walls, prayer meetings, and a lack of girlie mags and rap music. The Coors family (which founded and bankrolls the team and its stadium) has a long history of union-busting, anti-choice philanthropy, and racism. And yet the team has been explicitly looking for players with…

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Religious Freedom: More Important Than Sexual Freedom?

There’s nothing as educational—or aggravating—as monitoring the websites and listserves of anti-freedom activists. Over the years, I’ve discussed Morality in Media, Parents Television Council, Abstinence Clearinghouse, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and many others committed to undermining America’s unique, life-affirming promises of secular liberty. Their mission is bad enough (God-awful, you might say), but it’s extra-aggravating when they describe their work as defending Americans’ liberty. One such group is the Rutherford Institute, a 501(c)(3) (that means you and I subsidize it), which claims it’s “dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights.” Rutherford lawyers have cynically leaped to the…

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“So Help You God?”

“Do you promise that your testimony will be the truth, the whole truth—so help you God?” I was sworn in as an expert witness at a trial last week (I’m asked to do so several times each year). Once again, I was asked to swear to a God I don’t believe in. I said yes (it’s part of the job), but doing so always makes me cranky (and having to wear a suit while saying it doesn’t help my mood). Some U.S. courts ask you to simply swear or affirm to tell the truth, but I’ve always been asked to…

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Church Offers Everyone (Mostly Useless) Marriage Advice

America’s Catholic bishops have launched a media campaign aimed at promoting and strengthening marriage. This is like an arsonist discussing fire safety while watching your house burn. Despite their obsessive campaigns to deprive men and women of condoms, despite hundreds of priests molesting thousands of kids, despite their evil work to limit sexual expression to less than half of Americans, the Church has launched the National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage. You’ll soon be seeing the Campaign’s TV ads, featuring ordinary people talking about what they do to enrich their marriages—extra hugs, carrying a wife’s purse, leaving lovenotes. There’s also a…

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