God Forbid: Religion and Sex in American Public Life / Edition 1

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Overview

Since the 1980s, religion has been most visible in American public life when issues of sexuality and reproduction are at stake. Paradoxically, however, the voices that speak most loudly in the name of religion are often unschooled in religious history, world religions, theology, or ethics. As a result, religion in America is misrepresented as anxiously and obsessively concerned with sex, and as uniformly supporting the conservative agenda of "family values."
This volume corrects that distortion in American public discourse. Its thirteen previously unpublished articles introduce scholarly perspectives on issues including the family, gay rights, abortion, welfare policy, prostitution, and assisted reproduction. They richly display the complexities and conflicts that exist not only between but within America's various religious traditions—for example, the pro-choice strain within Christian history, the support of many religious denominations for gay rights, and the criticism of patriarchal family structures within religious communities past and present. In these essays, contributors put forth views of sexual ethics that are just and compassionate, respectful of cultural pluralism, and attentive to democratic processes.
Thorougly researched, lucidly written, and carefully argues, this anthology will debunk the claims of the Religious Right to be the only "religious" word on sexuality in America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"God Forbid will appeal to readers who are interested in a multidisciplinary liberal religious response to contemporary questions regarding sexuality and American public life."—Religious Studies Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195121629
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: Religion in America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Lexile: 1560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen M. Sands is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

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Table of Contents

Contributors
Introduction 3
Pt. I Foundations: Progressive Religion and Sexual Ethics
1 Decentering Sex: Rethinking Jewish Sexual Ethics 23
2 The Social Construction of Sexuality: Implications for the Churches 42
3 Public, Pubic, and Private: Religion in Political Discourse 60
Pt. II Families and Family Values: Historical, Ideological, and Religious Analyses
4 Church, Feminism, and Family 93
5 Why Sexual Regulation?: Family Values and Social Movements 104
6 Religious Liberty, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Case of Reconstructionist Judaism 124
Pt. III Sticks and Stones: The Language of Public Debate
7 The Policing of Poor Black Women's Sexual Reproduction 135
8 Too Sexy for Words: The Changing Vocabulary of Religious Ethics 155
9 The Bible, Heterosexism, and the American Public Discussion of Sexual Orientation 167
Pt. IV Contested Issues in Law and Public Policy
10 Religion and Reproductive Policy 185
11 Reproductive Technologies: Ethical and Religious Issues 203
12 "To Make Martyrs of Their Children": "Female Genital Mutilation," Religious Legitimation, and the Constitution 219
13 Politicians, Pastors, and Pimps: Christianity and Prostitution Policies 245
Index 263
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