‘sex and 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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Quoted & Reviewed!

You may know that popular blogger Andrew Sullivan recently left Time for the Atlantic Monthly, one of my favorite magazines in the whole world. I’m pleased to say that Andrew’s column, The Daily Dish, excerpted my current book for his quote of the day on December 14. It’s linked to a rave review of the book by David Farthing. I don’t agree with everything the conservative Sullivan says. But he’s a real conservative—that is, a libertarian—and so he and I agree about many things, particularly about the need for government to keep out of people’s private affairs. If the review…

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Male & Female In India

Today’s the last day of my 3-week trip to India (click here to see my travel blog), so here are some observations on gender and male-female relations. * First, it really matters which India we’re talking about—Muslim, Sikh, Kerala, tribal, etc.. For example, most women here in the south are so liberated, even Catholics use birth control; in Orissa, by contrast, a friendly adolescent girl said I couldn’t take her photo because “my husband wouldn’t like it.” * Regardless of location, though, India remains a sexually conservative country. Clothes don’t reveal women’s bodies. This seems normal after just a short…

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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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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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Singer Stefani Censored In [where?]

Quiz: Where did this happen? You may know Gwen Stefani’s music. Formerly with the group No Doubt, she’s now a huge pop star. Incredible voice. Powerful stage presence. Movie-star face. Gorgeous body. An altogether thrilling artist. Quiz: Where did this happen? Stefani’s local stadium concert is announced. A religious student group demonstrates, demanding that the sexy star dress more modestly and turn down the heat on her stage show. Conservative critics chime in, claiming that her typically revealing costumes corrupt the country’s youth. Stefani agrees to make changes. In a magazine interview, she says she’s making a “major sacrifice,” mourning…

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