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The Religious Institute Issues Manifesto about Transforming Sexuality Issues

 
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The Religious Institute recently issued a 46 page report on the state of sexuality in religious communities. The manifesto aims to transform the status quo in sexuality.

Goals include improved pastoral care of marital relationships, infertility and domestic abuse, and training for clergy in matters dealing with sexuality. The institute wants religious leaders to provide education for young people and adults, and leaders to become advocates for sex education and reproductive health.

According to Frederick Clarkson of WeNews, clergy are often the first response in issues of domestic violence and suicide by young people who struggle with sexual identity. The Religious Institute maintains that these clergy receive little or no training.

The institute is urging for a society “…in which there is full access to reproductive health care, including abortion, marriage equality and full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the life of religious communities,” according to Clarkson.

The report is titled, “Sexuality and Religion 2020: Goals for the Next Decade.” Clarkson says that media attention has been scarce. The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., Albert Mohler, described the manifesto as “evidence of the continued subversion of biblical authority and confessional integrity that characterizes the revolt against orthodoxy in so many churches.” He did however say that evangelicals should not avoid the report’s urgency in its call to Christian leaders to teach and preach about sex and sexuality.

The Religious Institute has a national network of more than 5,000 religious leaders and clergy from 50 religious traditions. It is not surprising that the founder of The Religious Institute, Rev. Debra Haffner has the suitable background. She served for several years as executive director of SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States), the country’s leading association of sex educators, according to Clarkson. She attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and became a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Association.

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