Sunday, May 07, 2006

Contraception, Religion, and the NY Times

I hope you saw the excellent cover story in Sunday's New York Times Magazine on the increasing debates about contraception. If not, here's the URL:

But, there was one major flaw with the story, a flaw that I wrote about last week on the post on the Times article on Catholic bishops opposing marriage equality. Ten religious leaders are quoted in this article by Russell Short -- and all are conservative Catholics or evangelical Christians. Not a single mainstream or progressive religious leader is quoted. In fact, the story reads as if the controversy about contraception, abortion, and indeed sex in this country, is between secular public health and reproductive health professionals and religious leaders.

The fact is that debates about the role of sexuality in life go back to the early church. While many of the early Christian fathers warned about too much passion even in marriage, other religious leaders such as Jovinian and Athanasius argued that since sexuality was part of God’s creation, it must be good. Russell Shorto, in ignoring mainstream or progressive religious leaders in his otherwise excellent article on attacks on contraception, leaves the reader with the false impression that religious voices oppose the goodness of sex and sexuality. Has he interviewed some of us, he would have been able to report that the vast majority of faith traditions affirm that sexuality is God’s life-giving and life-fulfilling gift, and almost all Protestant and Jewish denominations affirm access to voluntary contraception.

Yes, I wrote the New York Times another letter pointing out that they once again failed to take note of the vast majority of people of faith who support sexual and reproductive rights. Anyone want to bet that once again they won't publish my letter?


Anonymous said...

Well done and on the button!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Debra,

Just a note to say thank you! for your comments in the OWL list and for your excellent, thought-provoking and entertainingly-written blog!


Anonymous said...

In describing sex education as an either-or proposition (mechanical "tab A inserts into slot B" or abstinence until marriage), the article ignores and thus dismisses truly comprehensive programs such as the UU-UCC "Our Whole Lives" curricula. Mechanics and contraception are a small part of this program, which focuses on respect, morality, faith, and responsible decision making. It is also a program with distinct, age-appropriate curricula spanning early elementary years to adulthood.