Sunday Roundup

Some religion, gender, and sexuality related news and blog happenings from the past week:

The big news from this past week is the lawsuit filed by two young men against Bishop Eddie Long, alleging that Long used his pastoral authority and influence to coerce them into sexual relationships.  Long has been described by the SPLC as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.”  The men in the original suit have now been joined by two others, and some sources claim as many as 30 other men may file suit against Long on similar grounds.

There’s a lot to say about this case – not least about how we need to start taking the reality of spiritual abuse more seriously, and about how the internalized homophobia of people who are deeply closeted can poison their lives and the lives of people around them.  But for now there are some excellent commentaries on this case at Religion Dispatches: Eddie Long Case Should Mark the End of Black Church Homophobia and Eddie Long Plays Victim.

In other news:

Your WTF for the week: Texas radio host claims that the government and MSG in juice boxes are making kids gay.

Maggie Haberman broke the story that in 2001, GOP congressional candidate and Christian conservative Jim Russell wrote an extremely racist, anti-Semitic essay blasting (among other things) interracial marriage and school integration.  Russell’s racist beliefs intersect with equally problematic ideas about gender and sexuality.  He frames black masculinity in particular as a threat to the sexual purity of young white women and assumes that white female sexuality rightfully belongs to white men:

“The sociobiological warfare that our youth is subjected to is likely to be even more diabolical since it appears to deliberately exploit a biological theory of sexual imprinting at the critical period of sexual maturity. Movies like this past year’s spate of miscegenationist titles, Save the Last Dance, Crazy / Beautiful and O, a parody of Othello, appear deliberately designed to exploit the critical period of sexual imprinting in their target audiences of white pre-adolescent girls and adolescent young women.”

God’s emotions: why the biblical God is so human. First post in a series by Valerie Tarico “looking at how God’s emotions are depicted in the Bible, what is now known about emotions as physical and social phenomena, and how these two intersect.”  Not directly related to gender and sexuality issues, but potentially illuminating in terms of the broader context for Christian patriarchy based on literal readings of the Bible.

New study finds that teens who have abortions are no more likely to become depressed or have low self-esteem than their peers whose pregnancies do not end in abortion.  I found this interesting as someone raised to be very opposed to abortion for religious reasons – one of the things that was drilled into our heads was that women who have abortions always regret them and live with depression and self-loathing for the rest of their lives.


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