‘atheism’

New York City Makes the Moral Choice: School Sex Ed

New York City has just mandated sex education in all public schools. Students in middle school and high school will get one semester each. The city’s logic is pretty simple: * New York teens have an unacceptably high rate of unintended pregnancy and STIs; * These outcomes are clearly linked with poverty, domestic violence and adult health problems; * Comprehensive sex education is scientifically proven to reduce these outcomes. As we say in school, 1+ 1 = 2. Parents should be celebrating the city’s decision. Medical and mental health organizations should be supporting it. The juvenile justice system should embrace…

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GOP Nominees Asked to Pledge Marital Fidelity…And More

As next month’s GOP straw poll in Iowa draws ever closer, all Republicans who wish to be President are being urged to sign “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage & Family.” Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum have already signed. The Pledge is a bizarre combination of 1950s sexual conservatism and Cold War-style doomsday-ism (it opposes “infanticide” and the “enslavement” of military wives), which it blends into an obsession with marriage and morality. It claims, with an absolutely straight face, that “candidates’ positions on core values, such as marriage, correlate directly to their moral stances on energy issues,…

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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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Prop 8, Minority Rights, & American Democracy

Democracy does not mean three wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner. And that’s why yesterday’s federal court ruling overturning California’s Proposition 8 is good news for all Americans. Prop 8 did something that should never be done—it put the question of a minority group’s rights up for a vote. America’s courts have two functions, one them far less understood than the over—and just as crucial to our democratic system. Of course, our courts try cases of wrongdoing—someone’s accused of breaking the law, they have their day in court, they’re found innocent or guilty. In addition, however, our…

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Destroying America to Save It

A group of California attorneys say they are literally on a mission from God to replace four current judges with themselves. They are running for San Diego Superior Court judge on June 8. “We believe our country is under assault and needs Christian values,” said candidate Craig Candelore, who believes “God has called upon us to do this.” The campaign is supported by clergymembers, gun enthusiasts, and opponents of reproductive choice and same-gender marriage. This is simply un-American. It threatens to take us back to the 17th century of the Puritans and the monarchy-centered Europe from which they came. For…

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Can Atheists Have a Code of Sexual Morality?

Can atheists have a code of sexual morality? With the publication of recent books about atheism, the simultaneous attempts to blur the separation of church and state promised in our Constitution, and Americans’ unending obsession with matters sexual, the question arises: Can atheists have a code of sexual morality? This question is at once hilarious, insulting, pathetic, and revealing. It only makes sense if you believe in two things: 1. Moral thought and behavior are essentially determined by the fear of punishment; 2. The definition of “morality” regarding sex is different than it is for other human endeavors. And indeed,…

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