Thursday, March 26, 2009

PBS Features Religious Institute Seminary Study This Weekend -- Tune In

"United States seminaries and rabbinical schools are failing to prepare the next generation of clergy with the training they need to address sexuality issues in ministry." We thought that was pretty important news when we announced it in January. PBS does, too.

Beginning this weekend, PBS' Religion & Ethics Newsweekly will feature Sex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexual Health and Justice, the report published by the Religious Institute and Union Theological Seminary earlier this year. Dr. Kate Ott, associate director of the Religious Institute and the study director of Sex and the Seminary, is featured in the PBS broadcast. The program also highlights the excellent work in sexuality education underway at Chicago Theological Seminary, one of the institutions we highlight in our report.

You may recall that Sex and the Seminary is based on a survey of 36 leading seminaries and rabbinical schools, representing a range of Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist traditions. We found that sexuality courses are largely absent from most seminary curricula, and that students at most institutions can graduate without studying sexual ethics or taking a single sexuality-based course.

This lack of preparation reverberates throughout our denominations and across untold numbers of congregations, as religious leaders seek to address an array of sexuality issues – preventing clergy misconduct and child sexual abuse, counseling couples before and after marriage, providing sexuality education to young people, and taking positions from the pulpit and in the public square on such issues as abortion, marriage equality, stem cell research, full inclusion of LGBT persons and reproductive technologies, to name a few.

The Sex and the Seminary report was just the beginning. The Religious Institute has embarked on a multi-year initiative aimed at improving sexuality education in seminaries and promoting competencies in sexuality as an ordination requirement for all faith traditions.

I encourage you to tune in. The broadcast will be available online at Or check your local listings for the PBS affiliate in your area.

And let me know what YOU think!

No comments: