Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! Religious Institute 2010 In Review

Happy New Year!

2010 was a remarkable year for the Religious Institute!

We began the year by releasing our new report, "Religion and Sexuality 2020", which laid out goals for advancing sexual justice in faith communities in the next decade.

We launched the Faithful Voices Network, a multifaith grassroots network of people of faith concerned with sexual health, sexuality education, and sexual justice, including the full inclusion of women and LGBT people. Have you taken the pledge yet?

We published the first denominational database on sexuality positions and resolutions.

We completed a major needs assessment of the sexual health of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and worked with the leadership of the UUA to become even more sexually healthy and responsible.

We convened a colloquium of international leaders to develop the first religious framework on global maternal mortality and reproductive justice and assisted more than 200 congregations across the country in developing worship educating their congregants about the global crisis in maternal mortality.

We worked intensively with Yale Divinity School, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Brite Divinity School to meet the criteria of a sexually healthy and responsible seminary, and also provided programs at Pacific School of Religion, Princeton Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, and Hebrew Union College.

Our work was featured in hundreds of print, electronic, and blogs. I was selected to be a regular contributor to the Washington Post On Faith column. Our call to clergy to devote the Sunday before National Coming Out Day to speaking out for LGBT youth was featured on the front page of the Washington Post online and in a column in the New York Times.

Our network of religious leaders grew past 5300; we offered technical assistance to 294 congregations and organizations, and we gave more than 80 speeches, workshops and sermons across the country.

None of this could have happened without our fabulous staff (Dr. Kate Ott, Amanda Winters, Tim Palmer), the many foundations that support us, and the dedication of our volunteers and donors.

We would be grateful if you would consider making an end of year donation to support our continued work at

With warmest wishes for the New Year and hopes of sexual justice in the year ahead.

Rev.Debra W. Haffner

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Celebrating end of all DADT!

I'm just back from a week's vacation...but I know you join me in celebrating the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I can't wait to watch the President sign its repeal tomorrow.

This significant vote in both the House and the Senate, by a majority of Congresspersons, is the beginning of the end of government supported homophobia and discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Call me an optimist, but I believe that the repeal of DOMA and the passage of a trans inclusive ENDA can't be far behind.

The arc of the universe DOES bend towards justice.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Is Marriage Obsolete? Uh, NO.

The Washington Post asked the On Faith Panel this week, "Is Marriage Obsolete?" A new poll showed that nearly 40% of Americans think it is becoming so.

You can read my Washington Post response here:

Which is puzzling when at least more than half of adults will marry in their lifetime and two thirds think marriage and family are in good shape.

What's even more puzzling is that the very organizations that are most worried about the "state of the union" as the National Marriage Project cleverly called it are those who oppose allowing same sex couples to marry.

The anti-clerical, anti-gay voices are already leaving their comments on my Washington Post blog. Can you take a moment and add a supportive comment?