Religious Left Pushes Sexual Liberation

Article excerpt

A declaration from religious officials endorsing homosexuality and other forms of sexual liberation continues to attract new signatories, now claiming more than 2,000 mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jews, Unitarians, New-Agers, humanists and self-professed pagans. During the last year, the declaration's list of endorsers has more than doubled.

The overwhelming majority of signatories come from Christian or Jewish groups. But the declaration declines to explain how believers from those traditions can ignore their own scriptures and endorse the sexual revolution's latest fads.

The Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing, first released to the public more than a year ago, endorses same-sex unions, abortion rights and an end to sexual and social injustice. It was organized by the New York-based Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), which advocates more permissive attitudes toward sexuality.

SIECUS is a 37-year-old organization that advocates acceptance of homosexuality and pornography, full abortion rights and the provision of contraceptives to underage youth, without parental permission if necessary. SIECUS wants to ensure that all people -- including adolescents, the disabled, sexual minorities and the elderly -- have the right to affirm that sexuality is a natural and healthy part of their lives.

According to a denominational analysis by writer and analyst Lee Penn, Unitarians are the largest religious group supporting the signatories. United Church of Christ members rank second, followed by Episcopalians, Reformed Methodists and Presbyterians.

Leaders of the religious left who support the declaration include Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and Diana Eck, head of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, who received an award from President Clinton for her advocacy of a multicultural America. Other signatories are Rabbi David Saperstein, president of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, a Jewish lobby group for liberal causes in the nation's capital, and Carlton Veazey, head of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an abortion-rights lobby group to which some mainline Protestant denominations belong.

Eleven of the signatories identify themselves as Roman Catholic. They include abortion-rights activist Frances Kissling and the Rev. Thomas Orians, who heads Dignity, a pro-homosexuality caucus for Catholics.

Twenty-two Episcopal bishops signed, including the denomination's former presiding bishop. …