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In one of my very first blog posts on Amplify, I wrote about the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its discussion about amending the discriminatory language in its constitution.  Currently, the PC(USA) Constitution states that church officers must conform to the historic standards of the church, one of which is “the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.”  As I wrote before, I’m positive that many individual Presbyterian congregations do not strictly adhere …

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Last Friday, I attended the Roosevelt Institution’s conference on Health Policy. The Roosevelt Institution is an organization dedicated to getting young people’s voice heard in policy conversations. Most of the attendees of the conference were students, and it was refreshing (and definitely intimidating) to hear so many of the presenters stress the important role that young people can and must play in reforming our country’s healthcare system.
 
One of the presenters discussed the need for messaging that targets young people. According to the research that his company does, young people (or, …

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The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA recently elected Dr. Katherine Ragsdale to be their new president and dean. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved her, and she’ll begin her term this July. In my opinion, Dr. Ragsdale is absolutely awesome. I think I would consider going to EDS, just so that she could be one of my professors. According to a press release from EDS, she has served on the boards of The White House Project, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. She has published pieces about the work …

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One of the podcasts I subscribe to is Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly from PBS. Recently, they did a piece entitled Sex and Seminaries. They highlighted a report called Sex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexual Health and Justice that the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing published in January of this year.

The PBS piece is really good, and you can read more about the Religious Institute’s report here. We (or at least I) don’t always think of the more distant consequences of not teaching comprehensive sex …

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Confession: I watch One Tree Hill. If you’re not a television expert, you may not know how embarrassing it is for me to admit to watching this trashy teen soap opera (that’s on the CW every Monday night). But the truth is – I love it; I’m so addicted. When visiting a couple of friends a few months ago, I ended up watching every episode on DVD, and now I’m completely hooked.
 
Last night, I was watching last week’s episode online (I’m a little behind in my TV watching), and shockingly, …

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Last week, I attended a briefing called You’ve Got to Have Faith: Building a Movement for Reproductive Justice about the role of faith in reproductive justice work. It was sponsored by all kinds of amazing organizations, and the four primary speakers were thought-provoking, enthusiastic, and inspiring. Faith and reproductive justice are already obviously issues that I about deeply, but the presentations that I heard were even better than I expected.
 
Most of the time, when I think about faith and reproductive justice, I think about it in terms of adding …

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Because I was out of town over the weekend, I only got to attend one day of the SEAT (Sexuality Education Advocacy Training) Conference. Though I wish I could have been there the whole time, yesterday was awesome, and I met some really great people. Not surprisingly, a lot of the people in attendance work closely with the Our Whole Lives curriculum for sexuality education. The OWL curriculum “helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior.” In addition to its great comprehensive sex education, the OWL curriculum has …

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This week on Amplify, we’ll be highlighting the voices of progressive religious people.  When thinking about the role of religious people in the sexuality sphere, it’s easy to think of the Pope who doesn’t want condoms in Africa and the evangelicals who oppose abortion rights and comprehensive sex education.  But, there are many progressive, pro-condom, pro-comprehensive sex ed people of faith working for reproductive justice from a religious framework, and we should make more of an effort to hear those voices and understand their complexity.

For three days this …

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Did anyone else see this article yesterday in The New York Times? It’s an article about how a public school in the Bronx is experimenting with single-sex classrooms for fifth- and sixth-grade students. Though my first reaction to single-sex education is usually not one of excitement, I tried to keep an open mind while reading this article. It didn’t last very long though.
 
While I understand how a single-sex classroom can be potentially good for self-esteem and is often linked to fewer behavior problems, the gender stereotypes are often too …

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Last week, RH Reality Check posted about right-wing Catholic groups criticizing Kathleen Sebelius (Kansas Governor and Obama’s Secretary of HHS nominee).  She identifies as a Catholic person, but some groups (notably the Catholic League and the American Life League) are criticizing her for her "off-the-charts" support for abortion.  She has been called a "fake Catholic," and the archbishop of Kansas City said she should refrain from receiving communion.

Unfortunately, Governor Sebelius is not the first (and probably not the last) Catholic and pro-choice politician to be criticized in this way.  …

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Another intern here at Advocates came across some interesting e-cards this afternoon.  Exhale, an after-abortion counseling talkline, has some after-abortion e-cards available for anyone to send to a friend or relative who has recently had an abortion.  The creators of the cards recognize that there are a range of different thoughts and emotions that women can experience after having an abortion, so there are several different messages.  Visitors to the site are encouraged to choose a card for their loved one after carefully considering how the woman is …

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On Monday, Feministing posted a link to a Charlotte Observer article about a vote in the Charlotte Presbytery (the governing body of all of the Presbyterian churches around Charlotte, NC).  Since I’m assuming a lot of you also read Feministing (and if you don’t, you should), I wanted to do a little clarification on the subject and hopefully, spur you to action.
 
Though the Feministing post (and related news article) point out the progressive work of the Charlotte Presbytery, this is a national issue.  The Charlotte Presbytery was …

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In response to the Daily Kos coverage of one of today’s Amplify posts , many Daily Kos commenters are criticizing conservative religious groups, calling this the work of “religious nuts.” It’s not surprising that these are the comments – it’s easy to associate abstinence-only messages with faith-based organizations, and what follows is an association between faith-based organizations and jaw-dropping social conservatism. It seems hard to forget all of the less-than-progressive acts and viewpoints promoted by people of faith.