Sex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexual Health and Justice

By Kate M. Ott

Union Theological Seminary, Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, 2009

This report is based on a survey of 36 leading seminaries and rabbinical schools of diverse size and geographic location, representing a range of Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist traditions. Each institution was evaluated on criteria for a sexually healthy and responsible seminary. These criteria measure sexuality content in the curriculum; institutional commitment to sexuality and gender equity (e.g., the existence of anti-discrimination, sexual harassment and full inclusion policies); and advocacy and support for sexuality-related issues. The survey revealed that:

-More than 90% of the seminaries surveyed do not require full-semester, sexuality-based courses for graduation.

-Two-thirds of the seminaries do not offer a course in sexuality issues for religious professionals.

-Three-quarters do not offer a course in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) studies.

-Seminaries offer three times as many courses in women's and feminist studies as they do in LGBT studies or other sexuality-related issues.

-The next generation of scholars is not addressing sexuality issues. Sexuality-based courses are taught by senior professors or adjunct faculty, not by upcoming faculty seeking tenured positions.

The study also recommends that the Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting body for U.S. seminaries, integrate sexuality education into its standards for ministerial formation. It calls on seminaries to strengthen their curricular offerings and inclusion policies, invest in faculty development and continuing education, and pursue collaboration with other institutions and advocacy groups to expand educational opportunities for seminarians regarding sexuality issues.

The only Jewish seminary listed as a model in this report is the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. It is one of only ten seminaries nationwide that meet the study's criteria for: practicing a progressive approach to sexuality content in the curriculum; institutional commitment to sexuality and gender equity; advocacy and support for sexuality-related issues

More information on this report can be found here: http://www.religiousinstitute.org/research-report/sex-and-the-seminary-preparing-ministers-for-sexual-health-and-justice

Topic: Organizational Development, Gender, Homosexuality, Reconstructionist Judaism, LGBT Issues, Training, Sex Education, GLBT Issues, Clergy

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Genre: Report

Coverage: United States

Identifier: ISBN10: 1-893-270-49-1

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Ott, Kate M. Sex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexual Health and Justice. Union Theological Seminary, Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. 2009: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=4584


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