Is this why we're not more popular?


This quote was found on a website recently: “Ethical Culture, the religion that Margaret Bourke-White grew up in, was an officially atheistic religion. The importance of virginity prior to marriage and celibacy even within marriage were key teachings of the religion. Prior to their marriage, Margaret Bourke-White’s father introduced Ethical Culture to his fiancé. They were both members of the Society of Ethical Culture of New York, and they agreed prior to getting married that they would live by the religion’s teaching that they completely abstain from sex, except for purpose of producing a child.”

First, Margaret Bourke-White was a well-known photographer.  Second, WHAT???

I can see where someone would get the mistaken notion that Ethical Culture is “officially atheistic,” as our actual official stance of non-theism (neither denial nor affirmation of God or gods) is new for a lot of folks.  I’m not so clear on where the mistaken notions that we teach strict virginity and celibacy come from.  It’s true that Felix Adler was very bothered by the “easy virtue” of young men in his day, and as a young man himself he promoted “purity” for men before marriage.  But I don’t think he ever suggested that married people should be celibate.  And in any case, he’s dead.

Ethical Culture advocates for healthy, mutually loving, ethical relationships, period.  For some people that might mean virginity or celibacy; for other people, not so much.