We are at a time when institutional religion’s influence is waning in society. However, that doesn’t mean that religion itself is no longer influential, it just means that people are finding new and different ways to engage with their faith.
Last month I joined more than 1,200 individual religious leaders and pastoral counselors in signing a friend of the court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Texas state law designed to cut off women’s access to abortion by forcing clinics to close.
Despite The Episcopal Church’s General Convention resolutions supporting same sex marriage and equal access to all levels of ministry (lay and ordained) for transgender people, many LGBTIQ Episcopalians in the United States still face discrimination in their churches.
A Time to Embrace: Why the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Movement Needs Religion, a new report written by the Westport, Connecticut-based Religious Institute, corrects this misimpression and briefly traces the history of religious support for birth control, and later, abortion, LGBTQ rights, and the freedom to marry. The report also provides an insightful overview of how and why this support has waxed and waned over the past 85 years.
“The Religious Right tries to say it owns these issues, but the majority of religious Americans support sexual health,” said Rev. Debra W. Haffner, President of the Religious Institute. “It’s time to change the conversation.”
It’s time for policymakers to know that religious conservatives do not have a monopoly on moral views around sexual and reproductive issues. In fact, the truth is majorities of Americans – across religious traditions – support sexual rights, sexuality education and contraception. Majorities of all religious groups—with the exception of white evangelical Protestants—believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
See coverage on social media of the new Religious Institute report, “A Time to Embrace: Why the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Movement Needs Religion.”
Renewing the engagement of religious leaders and people of faith is essential to the progress and long-term success of the sexual and reproductive health and justice movement. That’s the key finding of a new white paper to be published by the Religious Institute titled “A Time to Embrace.”
One hundred percent of foundations and faith-based organizations and 89 percent of secular organizations surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that it was important for the sexual and reproductive health and justice movement to do more to engage religious leaders and people of faith. However very few have dedicated resources to doing so.
There is a pressing need to address the morality of sexual and reproductive health decisions; in particular, those committed to sexual and reproductive justice must work to close the morality/legality divide and help the US public and lawmakers understand that abortion is a moral decision.