Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Report from the South

The Religious Institute sponsored a great meeting in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday. Thirty two clergy, theologians, sexologists, and staff from sexual and reproductive health organizations gathered to discuss the intersection of sexuality and religion and how the can better work together.

We heard exciting presentations from such people as Rev. Steve Clapp, the Christian Community, Loretta Ross, Sister Song, Christian Thrasher, the Morehouse Center for Excellence, Rev. Erin Swenson, the Southern Gender Education Association on strategies for involving faith communities. In the afternoon, Dr. Randall Bailey of ITC, Dr. Daniel Helminiak of Georgia State, and Dr. Kate Ott of the Religious Institute presented some of the cutting edge theological research on sexuality and religion.

As stimulating as the presentations were, the best part of the day for me was learning about the exciting activities happening in the Southeast, meeting the people who are challenging sexual oppression on many levels, and listening as the group decided to meet again and discuss next steps for future collaboration.

Post the election, it is once again easy to talk about red and blue states, but what was clear from this time together is that even the deep south is really purple. I salute these folks for what they are doing to bring sexual justice in a part of the country dominated by conservative religious voices and look forward to seeing what happens next.

I once again experienced a little "Southern healing."

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