Religion: The New Commandment: Thou Shalt Not

On Mount Sinai, God was unequivocal: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Traditionally, most devout Christians have interpreted the Hebraic commandment to extend to all sexual relations outside marriage. Jesus even condemned lustful thoughts, saying that the man who indulged them had "already committed adultery in his heart." But in recent years, pressed both by changing sexual behavior and by liberal theologians, the churches have reluctantly come to grips with a "new morality" that questions whether any "sin"—including adultery or other nonmarital sex —is wrong in all circumstances.

The movement began in the 1960s...

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