Debra Haffner, minister, sexologist, and Executive Director of the Religious Institute, just wrote a post called "Adults are the problem with teen sexuality." I couldn't agree more. For very recent evidence she cites the fake prom in Mississippi, the threat by Wisconsin DA Scott Southworth to charge educators with crimes if they teach the state's sex ed curriculum, and the Catholic Church's ongoing inability to formulate a helpful response to the sex abuse scandal in its own ranks.
And then instead of focusing on the critical she turns it around and tells us what she wants teens to be able to expect from adults who are truly looking out for them:
What do I want teens (and the adults who care for them) to know? That forming a sexual identity is a developmental task of adolescents. That adults need to support the teen virgins and the teens who engage in sexual behaviors. That truth telling should be the hallmark of all of our programs. That adults will do everything they can to protect youth from abusive adults, regardless of profession. That young people have the right to ask questions and a right to have answers. That they deserve our respect and our support as they become adults.
Those are among the smartest words I've read about how we should be addressing the developmental needs of teens. At a time when others, guided by moral panic, are focused on keeping information away from teens Haffner understands what they really need: support, truth, trust and respect.
I'm glad there are people of faith out there who understand that sexuality is not an awful thing from which we need protection but rather a part of being human and something we need to cultivate and understand.
Have a look at Tracy Quan's neat piece about "The Sexiest Saint" on the Daily Beast. SITPS readers will enjoy her fresh perspective on sex and religion. She points out that contemporary people can better identify with a saint with carnal appetites than, well, saintlier figures. Quan writes, "Today's multitasking, sexually experienced woman can relate more easily to Mary Magdalene than to Mother Mary or, for that matter, Mother Teresa." Amen!
There are essentially two ways to change unjust laws, by appealing to the legislature, or by referring the statutes to an independent judiciary for a determination of whether they transgress fundamental freedoms protected by the constitution. Both approaches have been tried in Canada with respect to sex work legislation.
The last judicial review ocurred in 1990, and was lost in an interesting split of the Supreme Court along gender lines. It nearly succceeded however. It passed the first test, in that of two sections of the Criminal Code that were being challenged, the majority of the court held that;
Section 195.1(1)(c) of the Code is inconsistent with s. 2(b of the Charter but is justifiable under s. 1 of the Charter
Section 195.11(1)(c), as it was then, dates from 1972 and prohibits solicitation in public. Specifically it states that;
At the beginning of the semester, my son brought home a permission slip to attend his Sex Ed class. My first thought was, "Oh, good. I hope they catch anything I forgot to tell him, clear up anything I might have..." And that's about where that thought died. I suddenly remembered I was standing in North Carolina, where they don't actually teach Sex Ed, but rather propagandize a useless religious doctrine.
There are few things in the world that get under my skin like superstition used as an excuse to hurt kids. Abstinence Only Mis-education is such a case.
It's not the teachers' fault, in North Carolina they are prohibited from educating our youth by state law. The law is clearly unconstitutional, though the religious fervor that blinds America has not yet subsided enough to hope for a successful court challenge to it here.
But regardless of blame, I had a decision to make about my son.
Why the Mormons (and other churches) are wrong about their support of the CA ballot initiative to restrictSubmitted by Elizabeth on 25 June 2008 - 4:20am
The Mormon church has asked its members to support the California ballot initiative that would amend the state's constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. Specifically, according to the Associated Press:
"We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to ensure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman," church leaders say in the letter. "Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."
They should rethink that strategy and their own writings explain why: The LDS church claims, in a letter signed by the LDS president, that:
It's Labor Day in the United States, and in the US for many people that doesn't mean "let's celebrate workers," it means "let's get to the beach" so I was pleased to find a story in this morning's New York Times that was a beach-related public/private space kind of story that touches on issues of sexuality and human rights.
The question is whether the Boardwalk Pavilion in Ocean Grove, NJ, is public space or private space, and whether the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (a Methodist organization) must let the space be used by by gay and lesbian couples for the same purposes that straight couples use it: that is, for ceremonies celebrating their state-recognized unions.
According to a Pew Research Center poll on attitudes toward premarital sex 38 percent of adults in the US think that premarital sex is always or almost always wrong (note that the question is framed in terms of heterosexual couples only).
I thought this was odd given that a much smaller percentage of people actually do wait until they are married before having sex, so I poked around in some of the charts. In terms of basic demographics, there are predictable differences between people's attitudes depending on their age group, with older respondents being more likely than younger ones to think that premarital sex is wrong. Other demographic factors that are correlated with a greater likelihood of thinking premarital sex is wrong include income (as income goes up tolerance for premarital sex also goes up) and education (people with more education are less likely to think that premarital sex is wrong), thought the differences are small.
It looks like the Catholic League is slithering out of the closet again.
The Catholic League is the worst of the worst who represent the Catholic Church. Ideologically, they hail from the bad old days, when everyone named Goldberg or Lieberman had hands that were literally, personally considered to be soaked in the blood of Christ. The League has been an active force in trying to suppress art and expression that they considered to be "anti-Catholic," which is defined extremely broadly. The sheer slavering paranoia of the Catholic League on virtually all fronts of the "culture wars" can be summed up by a single, infamous quote by League President William Donohue from an appearance on Scarborough Country in 2004:
I'm back in the city, which means I'm back in the country.
I just returned to NYC from Alberta and British Columbia where I spent six days meeting cousins on one branch of my partner's family tree, seeing beautiful countryside. We put over a thousand miles (1707 km) on our rental car, saw the oil industry service sector outside of Edmonton, the ranch land west of Calgary, the mountains separating Alberta and British Columbia, the lush greenness of British Columbia's Shuswap Lake region, and even got a peek at some of the disappearing glacier behind Lake Louise. And of course, as all my travels do, this one generated some sex-related insights.