Sex. Religion. There is no denying that these two subjects are among the most provocative in American public life. Even the constitutional principle of church-state separation seems to give way when it comes to sex: the Supreme Court draws on theology as readily as it draws on case law when rendering decisions that touch on sexuality.
In this compelling and carefully argued study, Janet R. Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini examine this powerful and disturbing connection as they explore the reasons why secular institutions habitually use religion to regulate sexual life. From state legislatures to the halls of Congress and the Supreme Court, from daily newspapers to popular magazines and television talk shows, Jakobsen and Pellegrini illustrate the intensity of America's obsession with sex in the name of values and the dangers it poses to some of our most basic freedoms.
Using a wide range of case studies, Love the Sin offers an insightful critique of the ways in which sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular are discussed and debated in the public arena. Additionally, the book sets forth constructive alternatives that highlight the vital links between sexual and religious freedom and expose the hazards of using religion as a justification for regulating sexuality.
A timely, necessary, and refreshing contribution to the many debates surrounding religion, morality, and sex, Love the Sin boldly dreams an America that lives up to its promise of freedom and justice for all.
“A brilliant book, one that can move public conversations about sexual, racial, and religious difference beyond present assumptions and impasses. Love the Sin suggests that religion can become the ground for sexual freedom rather than the justification for sexual repression.”
—Margaret R. Miles, author of Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies
“Jakobsen and Pellegrini do a nice job of showing how the love-the-sinner/hate-the- sin tradition falls dramatically short of the higher aspiration to tolerance.”
—Stephen Pomper, Washington Monthly
“As ambitious, feisty, and exciting as any new passion, Love the Sin takes its readers on a compelling ride across the volatile landscape of religion and sex in American public life. The authors not only provoke and stimulate, guide and elucidate, but they redefine freedom and democracy as values for our sex lives as well as our sexual politics.”
—Lisa Duggan, coauthor of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture
“Gives us vital language to escape both the trap of toleration and the seduction of assimilation. Not afraid to challenge the certainties of the secular left on religion, nor willing to settle for a narrow version of gay and lesbian rights, Love the Sin presents a new vision of American sexual and religious freedom.”
—Laura Levitt, Director of Jewish Studies, Temple University
“Jakobsen and Pellegrini argue convincingly that movements for ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual justice would be well served by using the paradigm of religious freedom instead of biological determinism to make the case for social change. Love the Sin is required reading for all the sinners to whom the title euphemistically refers, and for everyone who dreams of a more just society.”
—Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, author of Like Bread on the Seder Plate
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