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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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Human Sexuality

Sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life. All people have the right to the information, skills, and services they need to make responsible sexual decisions.

The theocratic right considers the Puritans to be the decisive illustration of a Christian society. The Puritans are remembered for their repressive attitudes toward sexuality.  What may be forgotten today, however, is the Puritan rejection of democracy in favor of rule by biblical law. "The Puritans," according to Thomas Ice, fused "church and state into a theocratic government." (Dominion Theology, Blessing or Curse, H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice, 1988, p. 95)

The Puritans' effort to build a Christian society ... is being imitated today by a small and increasingly influential group of persons who believe that only through establishment of Old Testament civil law can America -- and the world -- be saved from destruction. (Dominion Theology, Blessing or Curse, p. 15)

America's Providential History, a popular textbook in Christian schools and the Christian homeschool movement explains:

The primary strength of the Puritans was their "spirit of dominion." They recognized the scriptural mandate requiring Godly rule, and zealously set out to establish that in all aspects of society. (p. 84)

The Puritan ideology of repressed sexuality dates back to fifth Century theologian Saint Augustine whose concept of Original Sin became dogma: sexual desire is sinful; infants are infected from the moment of conception with the disease of original sin; and Adam and Eve's sin corrupted the whole of nature itself.

At the core of the theocratic right's political and cultural goals is an effort to delegitimize and censor all forms of human sexuality that don't fit into a narrow mold: sex between a man and woman who are married. Other expressions of sexuality are sinful and must be repressed or even punished.

To that end the theocratic right seeks to criminalize homosexuality, promote abstinence-only sex education, and advocate censorship. This page is a compendium of articles on what New York Times columnist Frank Rich calls "The Indecency Police."

To understand how intimidated elected officials are by the "indecency police,"consider the votes for the Broadcast Indecency Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was approved by an overwhelming vote of 389 to 38 on February 16, 2005. The huge fines called for by the Broadcast Indecency Act could have a chilling effect on the media. People for the American Way explains:

The Broadcast Indecency Act of 2004 treads a thin line between regulation and censorship. The bill calls for a tenfold increase of fines for the broadcast of indecent, profane, or obscene content over the public airwaves. While such penalties would hardly be crippling for big media conglomerates, smaller independent broadcasters would be stymied in their creative process. Given a choice between censoring themselves and financial ruin, many may be forced to choose censorship. Lost will be programming that may be provocative and challenging but which falls short of indecency.

Now that the House overwhelmingly passed the Braodcast Indecency Act, the FCC will decide who gets fined. On March 16, 2005:

"President Bush has chosen Kevin J. Martin, one of the Federal Communication Commission's leaders in the crackdown on indecency, to succeed the agency's outgoing chairman..." (Washington Post, March 17, 2005)

Sept. 11 TV Documentary to Challenge FCC Standards, NPR's morning edition, August 25, 2005:

CBS will push the limits of FCC indecency regulations when it airs a newly revised Sept. 11 documentary next month.

The Religious Right's Crusade for 'Decency' AlterNet, October 11, 2006


The late Dr. James Luther Adams, ethics professor at the Harvard Divinity school, made a powerful impression on his young student, Christopher Hedges, who went on to become a New York Times journalist and author:

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian Right's persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. (Soldier's of Christ II, Harper's, May, 2005)

To read articles and updates click here.

Important Resources

SIECUS-the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States-has served as the national voice for sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual rights for almost 40 years.

Abstinence-Only Sex Education, Planned Parenthood

The Effectiveness of Abstinence-Only Education, Politics and Science

Distorting Scientific Knowledge on Reproductive Health Issues, Scientific Integrity in Policymaking

Other Pages on the TheocracyWatch Web Site: Homophobia, Abstinence_only Sex Education

Last updated: August-2005