Cover image for Love the sin : sexual regulation and the limits of religious tolerance
Love the sin : sexual regulation and the limits of religious tolerance
Jakobsen, Janet R., 1960-
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Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 175 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Getting religion -- What's wrong with tolerance? -- Not born that way -- Free exercise of sex -- Valuing sex.
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BR115.H6 J34 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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.

Author Notes

Janet R. Jakobsen is Director of the Center for Research on Women at Barnard College.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The authors of this short but succinct study explore the connection between the traditions of Christianity and the political and social regulation of sexuality in America. They conclude that legal restriction on the practices of gays and lesbians is religious domination by another name. Jakobsen (director, Ctr. for Research on Women, Barnard Coll.) and Pellegrini (drama, Univ. of California, Irvine) contend that gays will never achieve the full rights of citizenship as long as they couch their arguments in terms of tolerance for their lifestyles. Instead, the authors believe that sexuality should be held as a protected freedom like speech, association, or-for that matter-religion. While their argument is for the most part convincing, some readers might be put off by the obvious ideological agenda of this book. Far from being an obsolete concept, tolerance, particularly in the face of strongly held views on both sides, seems more important today than ever. This book is accessible to the general reader, although some may have difficulty with the writers' use of academic jargon. Recommended for larger public libraries.-Andrew Brodie Smith, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Preface: The More Things Change: Sexual Freedom after Lawrence v. Texasp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introduction: Why Religion, Why Sex?p. 1
1 Getting Religionp. 19
2 What's Wrong with Tolerance?p. 45
3 Not Born That Wayp. 75
4 The Free Exercise of Sexp. 103
5 Valuing Sexp. 127
Conclusion: Open Endings, Dreaming Americap. 149
Notesp. 153
Indexp. 169