‘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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Sexual Policy Questions for Candidates

As the California primary beckons, bringing the season to a climax, the would-be candidates have been asked questions about practically everything. I suppose we should be grateful that Hillary hasn’t been asked about the size of her hands. As usual, there have been almost no questions regarding sexually-oriented policy. In our continuing effort to educate the media and politicians along with the public, here are 10 questions that serious candidates should answer: * Will you encourage states to have a humane policy about sexting by minors? Especially if a state has an age of consent under 18 (half the states…

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Rule 34: What It Says About Your Sexuality

Rule 34: If it exists, or you can imagine it, there is porn of it. No exceptions. Rule 34 summarizes everything about sexuality. It says that human sexual fantasy is limitless. It says that anything can be eroticized, can be arousing, can be life-affirming. It reminds us that any ideas we have about what’s normal sex are about us, not about sex. I’m always telling patients “don’t blame sex for your ideas about sex.” Rule 34 reminds us exactly what pornography is: a library of human eroticism. Pornography is a celebration of how humans can stretch their erotic imagination—sometimes in ways…

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Science & Sex—Why Are They Now Strangers?

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking at NECSS—the Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism. I was surrounded by world-class scientists, including Yale Med School neurologist Steve Novella, Stanford physicist Deborah Berebichez, Oxford neuroscientist Heather Berlin, and even Bill Nye The Science Guy. It was glorious—no explaining why science is important to everything we do or touch or think. Every one of the 600 attendees “believes” in gravity, evolution, and the Scientific Method. I started each of the conference’s three days in a wonderful bubble. But each day, news from the outside world was an ugly intruder—which, in…

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Indiana: Where Freedom Requires Discrimination

Indiana Governor Mike Pence continues to defend the state’s new law authorizing discrimination in business transactions if it’s based on “religious beliefs.” Religious beliefs—you know, the kind that have previously defended civic virtues like slavery, child-beating, and denying women’s right to vote. That’s “religious freedom” in action for you. The legislation is supposedly intended to protect people with strong religious beliefs who don’t want to provide services for same-sex weddings. America’s Christian community (population 240 million) continues to be obsessed with non-existent threats to their freedom to worship. “You don’t have to look too far to find a growing hostility…

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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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