Sex, Kids, and Religon
From: Catherine Kehl (
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 95 18:02 CST

On Wed, 1 Feb 1995, Rebecca Dawn Kaplan wrote:

> Although UU claims to be UNiversal, it really only is
> Universal with regard to many forms of christianity.  If someone
> were practicing traditional Jewish religious practices, their
> practices woudl not be encompassed in UU, which, first of
> all, alsmot allways hold their "nondenominational services"
> on sundays. Additionally, many forms of pagan/wiccan practice
> are not encompassed by most UU groups.

Just to be the Devil's Advocate or whatever, there is CUUPs (covenant of 
U U Pagans....) out there....  (I'm not a member, or anything)

Was it you, Rebecca, who posted about other conflicts in a similar vein 
(I think  came don't to sex, kids and money)?  I've really wondered about 
these myself, though a lot of my questions are really directed toward how 
well people have discussed these issues before move-in, and what things 
come up later.  There is this general thing, I've noticed in other 
groups, where the uncomfortable topics (the ones sometimes not talked 
about) are the ones that people have the most issues over and are 
therefore most likely to cause problems.

By the way, thank you, Rob, for posting about the evolution of what was 
and wasn't an issue in your group...  I have to admit that at previous 
points I've taken you "x isn't an issue" to be a prescriptive statement, 
rather at odds with my experience, and suddenly it clicks -- oh, in your 
group it never has been....  (Little slow over here...)

Dave G. Adams wrote:

> Social forces don't stop me from certain practices that cost a certain
> surgeon general her job.  Nor should they stop you from polyrelationships,
> if that's what works in your life and your partners' lives.  But I don't
> talk about masturbation here (oops, I guess I just did), so please explain
> to me why it is appropriate too focus on polyamory here.

Well, I assume you don't mastrubate in public.  Neither do I.  Nor do I 
have sex with any or all of my lovers in public.  

However, let's face it, everyone in a close knit community pretty much 
always knows who's involved with whom.  So right there it becomes a 
community issue.  It's not the sex, it's the romantic relationship part.

In an earlier discussion of this very issue, someone mentioned that a 
theoretical parent trying to raise their offspring in accordance with 
their own personal values (let's say monogamy, which is a pretty common 
value) might find having a member of the community involved in a poly 
relationship undermining their attempts to educate their children.  This 
parent might want to encourage their offspring not to associate with this 
person, for instance.  

Can you see how this could become a community issue?  Hell, if someone in 
my community started telling their kids not to hang out with me, my 
feelings would be hurt.  I've spent most of the last three years 
teaching, by the way.  Hanging out with kids is something that I'm used 
to doing, and like.  And yeah, while I'm resigned to the fact that a lot 
of people don't find me an acceptable role-model, I'd hate to get that 
kind of reaction inside of my own community.

At some point in the process of forming a community these issues have to 
be discussed.  And before move-in date is certainly preferable.  It's not 
only a question of polyamorous relationships (the specifics of which don't 
really strike me as appropriate to the list, though I would suggest 
alt.polyamory) but how a community deals with conflicting values on such 
issues as, say, sex and child-rearing.

And I'm kind of wondering in the end if groups can deal with values that 
diverge beyond a certain point.  I can't imagine a community being queer 
friendly where the kids were told not to hang out with those folks and 
not to grow up like that.  -- I'd move out, myself.

Which brings me around again to the subject of religon.

In most of the communities I hang out in, there isn't a ton of conflict 
over religon.  There seems to be a general policy of mutual acceptance, 
even to the point of mutual celebration -- the last several passover 
thingies I attended certainly had a Jewish minority, but everyone had a 
hell of a good time.

Does it come to a question of what you're willing to be exposed to and
what you're willing to have your children exposed to?  I've celebrated
Christmas, though I'm not Christian.  Same with holidays of at least half
a dozen other religons.  If I don't want to do something, I don't.  This
could be included in a general list of "how to be me".  I realise it
doesn't work for everyone. 

Someone commented on many co-housing groups being New-Agey.  I think a 
better word might really be ecumenical.  (though the New Age bit tends to 
to be ecumenical to the point of threatening to swallow everything with 
no apparent indigestion!  The great amorphous amoeba!)  The counter 
example given was a Christian who was not comfortable participating in 
ceremonies from other faiths.  

Now, I know this isn't some weird thing peculiar to Christians, as I know 
Christians who re more ecumenical than I, and Wiccans who would rather 
vote republican than enter a Christian church.  I do think ecumenism (is 
this the right form here?) is a value that needs to be discussed in 
communities, preferably before move-in date.  I see three general 
catagories of agreements that can be reached (though infinate shades 
between them).  1) Religous mono-culture.  Everyone has similar beliefs.  
2) Religon only a private concern.  Public displays are discouraged.  3) 
Some kind of ecumenical bit.  

I don't think any of these solutions are better than any other in 
general, it just depends on what works for the situation.  


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