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Minister works at combining sex and religion
Capital Times ^ | 3/12/2009 | Phil Haslanger

Posted on 03/12/2009 3:51:36 PM PDT by SJackson

Debra Haffner delights in the reactions she gets when strangers ask her what she does for a living.

"I'm a minister and a sexologist," she says.

They blink their eyes and try to reconcile what seems to them to be two opposing forces. Religion in the U.S., after all, seems to have quite a reputation for trying to stifle the joy of sex. So how could she joyfully live in these two worlds of church and sexuality?

"Our sexuality and our spirituality are intimately connected," Haffner told a crowd at the First Unitarian Society in Madison earlier this month. At their best, after all, they share what Haffner called "a common moral vision" -- how to love each other and how to treat each other with respect.

Haffner is a Unitarian Universalist minister who in her previous career was head of SIECUS -- the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. Now she is the director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing.

As she reminded people at the annual Wartmann Lecture on sexuality, many people in American society carry with them a lot of negative messages from the religions of their childhood -- messages about gender roles, their bodies and the role of sexual pleasure in life. These messages have been amplified by the prominent place of the religious right in the political realm.

Her message is a very different one: "Sexuality is a blessing from God to be celebrated with joy." She strives to encourage religious congregations to help their members celebrate their sexuality while including all: male and female, gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered.

Haffner's personal story helps illuminate her approach to these issues. She grew up in a secular Jewish family with little exposure to the Bible. When she decided to pursue ministry as a career in the mid 1990s and took Scripture classes, she really was reading the Bible for the first time and she was reading it with the eyes of someone whose professional work was all about sex education.

What she found, she said, was a wealth of stories about man and woman being created at the same time and told to go have sex -- "be fruitful and multiply," was the phrase in Genesis. Even in the second creation story in Genesis, where man and woman are created separately, there is a sense that they were there for companionship to one another, for pleasure.

She talked about the erotic poetry in the biblical book of the Song of Songs, the wide variety of loving relationships in the Bible, and her realization that in the New Testament, Jesus was all about welcoming the people who had been marginalized for their sexual activity -- a woman at a dinner who washed his feet with her hair, a woman at a well who had had many lovers, a woman caught in the act of adultery.

"Both the Hebrew and the Christian Bibles have great messages," Haffner noted. "Sexuality is creative, good, our bodies are wonderful things, there are many forms of blessed relationships."

Which is not to say everything goes.

"Our sexuality must be exercised wisely so it is not in service of pain and exploitation," she cautioned. But that has to do with the nature of relationships, not with particular sexual acts. "The sin is never sex," she said, "but sexual exploitation."

So even as Haffner celebrates the joy of sexuality that she believes is a core message of the Bible, she also works against those who would use sex as a weapon. The Religious Institute has a new program called the Congo Sabbath Initiative aimed at the use of rape as a weapon in the wars that are occurring in Congo.

She wants religious settings to do a better job teaching about sexuality and to make sure that they are places where children are safe from sexual exploitation. She wants congregations that have prided themselves on their openness to all people, whatever their sexual orientation, to renew their efforts to make all feel welcome. And she continues to advocate for marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

After all, as Haffner put it, "our sexuality in all its stunning diversity is part of God's creation."


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: antichrist; congo; congosabbath; culturewar; debrahaffner; deceiver; godgap; hedonism; ifitfeelsgooddohim; lietothecongregation; religiousinstitute; religiousleft; sexologist; sexpositiveagenda; siecus; unitarians
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To: SJackson

Bump


21 posted on 03/12/2009 4:23:03 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own risk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: Melas
I met more than just a few professing Christians who act as though they’re terrified that someone, somewhere is going to have an orgasm.

Hmmm. Doubtful about that.

23 posted on 03/12/2009 4:31:05 PM PDT by FrdmLvr (What fresh hell is this?)
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To: SJackson
Haffner is a Unitarian Universalist minister

Speaking as a "born again" Christian, I will tell you the number one red flag that went up is that women are NOT to assume the positon as a "preacher," "minister" or whatever they want to call themselves.

The next red flag is that she belongs to the Unitarian church. They are NOT a Christian church, no matter what they call themselves. She also said that she is a "Universalist Minister." That means she buys into the NWO/global church.

Last, but certainly not least, is that she accepts homosexuals, bisexuals, transgeners and their perverted sexual acts, which is TOTALLY against what the Bible teaches.

Obviously, this woman has not read the Bible with any kind of understanding because the Bible could not be more clear about sexual relations being ONLY for married couples. Adultery is also forbidden.

24 posted on 03/12/2009 4:50:13 PM PDT by NRA2BFree
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you'd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

----------------------------

A little off topic, but probably of interest.

25 posted on 03/12/2009 5:08:01 PM PDT by SJackson (a tax cut is non-targeted…no guarantee…they’re free to invest anywhere that they want, J Kerry)
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To: OneVike; buccaneer81
buccaneer81:That's exactly what we as Catholics believe as well.

OneVike: From looking at the hundreds of children at my church, the Christians I know have no problem with sex. Now I will not speak of what sounds might be coming from their procreating.

Thank you.

I was concerned I was the only religious person who enjoys sex.

With my wife.

Who is female.

And a human.

Have to add all the disclaimers for this thread.

26 posted on 03/12/2009 5:22:11 PM PDT by SJackson (a tax cut is non-targeted…no guarantee…they’re free to invest anywhere that they want, J Kerry)
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To: SJackson; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; martin_fierro; ...
It's hard to have sex when you're an atheist. What do you shout?


27 posted on 03/12/2009 6:01:06 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows ("I HOPE you like your CHANGE."--MrB)
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To: Slings and Arrows
It's hard to have sex when you're an atheist. What do you shout?

Who's next!

28 posted on 03/12/2009 6:02:43 PM PDT by SJackson (a tax cut is non-targeted…no guarantee…they’re free to invest anywhere that they want, J Kerry)
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To: SJackson
First Unitarian Society in Madison

I bet THEIR potlucks are a lot of fun! I imagine that all the food smells like patchouli oil.

29 posted on 03/12/2009 6:12:12 PM PDT by Disambiguator
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To: SJackson

Uhhhhh errrr.....

Ummmm......

>.<


30 posted on 03/12/2009 6:12:27 PM PDT by Danae (Amerikan Unity My Ass)
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To: SJackson
Applause 2
31 posted on 03/12/2009 6:13:14 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows ("I HOPE you like your CHANGE."--MrB)
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To: SJackson

She can hardly be called a “minister” and be a member of the Unitarian church. Tough enough to call that a Church.


32 posted on 03/12/2009 6:28:01 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware of socialism in America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: Slings and Arrows
It's hard to have sex when you're an atheist. What do you shout?"Me!"No, not really. But anything for a laugh. Happy Friday the 13th, folks!
33 posted on 03/13/2009 6:25:43 AM PDT by Titan Magroyne ("Drill now drill hard drill often and give old Gaia a cigarette afterwards she deserves it." HerrBlu)
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To: SJackson; wagglebee
Haffner told a crowd at the First Unitarian Society

The giveaway...

34 posted on 03/13/2009 7:09:51 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("I certainly hope he (Bush) doesn’t succeed" - Democratic strategist James Carville 9-11-2001)
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To: SJackson; wagglebee
Haffner is a Unitarian Universalist minister who in her previous career was head of SIECUS

And moreso these are the people most closely aligned with advancing the sex positive agenda (end ALL moral judgements against ALL sexual pairings. ALL pairings).

35 posted on 03/13/2009 7:10:53 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("I certainly hope he (Bush) doesn’t succeed" - Democratic strategist James Carville 9-11-2001)
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To: SJackson
What she found, she said, was a wealth of stories about man and woman being created at the same time and told to go have sex -- "be fruitful and multiply," was the phrase in Genesis. Even in the second creation story in Genesis, where man and woman are created separately, there is a sense that they were there for companionship to one another, for pleasure.

She must've not read as far as the 10 Commandments and the prohibition on committing adultery or coveting your neighbor's wife.

I wonder which sex positive organization it was that came up with the term "Sex Negativity" to describe Christianity.

36 posted on 03/13/2009 7:13:54 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("I certainly hope he (Bush) doesn’t succeed" - Democratic strategist James Carville 9-11-2001)
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To: SJackson
Jesus was all about welcoming the people who had been marginalized for their sexual activity -- a woman at a dinner who washed his feet with her hair, a woman at a well who had had many lovers, a woman caught in the act of adultery.

Go forth and SIN NO MORE!

This woman who is "preaching" is deceiving the flock and she knows it.

PS the sex positive agenda groups are against abstinence not because it doesn't work but because they find it to be unhealthy, a denial of sexual desires, and they seek to see everyone sexual active at every age.

37 posted on 03/13/2009 7:15:58 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("I certainly hope he (Bush) doesn’t succeed" - Democratic strategist James Carville 9-11-2001)
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To: SJackson
And she continues to advocate for marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Don't know why we need the institution of marriage when we are talking about free love and open marriages.

38 posted on 03/13/2009 7:18:27 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("I certainly hope he (Bush) doesn’t succeed" - Democratic strategist James Carville 9-11-2001)
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To: SJackson

She may not mention your dogs but the question should be put to her all the same.


39 posted on 03/13/2009 7:19:24 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("I certainly hope he (Bush) doesn’t succeed" - Democratic strategist James Carville 9-11-2001)
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To: Nervous Tick
“3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

Reminds me of this thread from yesterday:

‘Comics guy’ sets his sights on scholarly translation of the Bible (Freeware Bible Blog February 2, 2009 Jeff Diamant)

40 posted on 03/13/2009 7:22:48 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("I certainly hope he (Bush) doesn’t succeed" - Democratic strategist James Carville 9-11-2001)
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